If you don’t understand people, you don’t understand business.
Customer success is a hot topic in the B2B world. Companies are always looking for ways to improve customer retention and increase customer loyalty. In fact, if you think about it, your MRR or ARR (Monthly Recurring Revenue or Annual Recurring Revenue) really depends on retaining and growing your existing customer base. During the pandemic many companies reported that over 60% of their revenues came from expansions in their existing customer base rather than net new logos. After all, as many marketing departments were retooling and pivoting to models that worked, your current customers might have been the reason a lot of companies kept going and even thrived.
One of the key departments in B2B enterprises was the Customer Success department. As they were counted on to keep the client base vibrant, reduce possibility of churn and especially grow the accounts under their purview.
There are a few key secrets to success that every company should keep in mind.
The first secret is to build deeper and stronger relationships and more connections with your customers.
In order to build a successful business, you need to have a strong customer base. In order to build a strong customer base, you need to develop deeper and stronger relationships with your customers. Champions and Advocates come and go in business. Always make sure you are strengthening your relationship with each and every customer and each contact that is in your CRM System.
The second secret is to make sure you are focused on your customers' needs, not on yours.
As a business owner, it is important to remember that you are not the only one who matters. Your customers are the lifeblood of your company, and without them, you would not be in business. It is therefore essential to make sure that your focus is on their needs, not on yours. This means taking the time to understand what they want and need, and then delivering on that promise. It also means being responsive to their feedback and adapting your business accordingly.
The third secret is to always be responsive to customers' requests and complaints.
There is no question that responsiveness to customers' requests and complaints is critical for any business. A recent study by the Aberdeen Group found that companies that are highly responsive to customer feedback enjoy a 19% increase in customer retention rates, as compared to companies that are only somewhat responsive.
What's more, companies that are highly responsive to customer feedback also see a 45% improvement in their Net Promoter Score (NPS), which is a key metric for measuring customer loyalty.
The fourth secret is to develop higher value 'Customer Only' perks.
In order to keep your customers coming back, it's important to offer them incentives that are unique to your business. By developing higher value 'customer only' perks, you can set yourself apart from the competition and keep your customers loyal. Some great ideas for customer perks include early access to sales or new products, exclusive discounts, and special privileges like free shipping or part of a Beta program or a Loyalty Rewards Program.
In many technology companies, Customer Success starts with the Customer On-Boarding. Can you 'gamify' at this point and track events that trigger incentives?
The fifth secret is Celebrate Customer Milestones!
In business, there are many things to celebrate. One of the most important, yet often overlooked, is customer milestones. When a company reaches a milestone with one of its customers, it should take time to acknowledge and appreciate the customer. This could be done in a variety of ways, such as through a special promotion, a personalized thank-you note, or even just by recognizing the customer publicly. Don't let any opportunity to celebrate a customer go unnoticed.
Reaching milestones with customers is an indication that the company is doing something right. In B2B Businesses you might look at:
- The Project Kick-Off,
- The Planning Session (Discovery & Scoping)
- The Product Training and Knowledge Transfer
- Various Project Milestones
We should note here that the Go-Live of any technology is a celebration worthy event if nothing else. In my last company, we might throw the department of our customer a Pizza Party or send T-Shirts and Water Bottles for the event.
The sixth secret is to offer your customers building blocks to success.
In an age where people are inundated with technology, it can be difficult to keep up. Sometimes it seems like there's a new app or new version/update of software released every day. How can you be expected to keep track of them all and learn how to use them? While most companies feel their products are intuitive, the reality is they are mostly intuitive to the people building them, not always the ones using them to make their lives better.
Keep in mind that your customers did without your product before and the sky didn't fall, so make sure you develop a program that keeps adding value to the product they are using and they can say that they still get value from it months or years later.
One way to make things easier on yourself is to create templates and getting started guides for the technology you use most often. In fact in my last company, we did just that. We created a boatload of templates for various use cases that we put on our University website, that not only were very helpful, but acted as advanced training and idea starters. Once your customers get the hang of your product they will use their ingenuity and imagination and show you things you never even thought of.
In order to build a successful business, you need to have a strong customer base. In order to build a strong customer base, you need to develop deeper and stronger relationships with your customers. You also need to maintain retention and reduce churn. To do this you need to be able to forecast MRR and ARR and the best way to count on those numbers is by having a great relationship with each customer. Champions and Advocates come and go in business. Always make sure you are strengthening your relationship with each and every customer, every new person involved in either using your system or making decisions on systems and each contact that is in your CRM System.