Customer success program prep: a six-point checklist

In part one of our three-part series on customer success (CS) we covered the definition and importance of customer success. Now let’s move to the next phase of launching a CS program: preparation.

We cover important steps, like building the right team to drive your efforts, defining customers’ needs, and mapping your process and touchpoints to align with those needs. We then discuss the technology that drives customer success today. 

We wrap up by walking you through creating predefined, repeatable practices to streamline each stage of your mapped process and the metrics used to measure your performance. 

Preparation is the most important phase of kicking off a CS program. Let’s dig in. 

1. Hire top talent to drive your efforts

The success and effectiveness of your CS efforts hinge on the team that drives it. They will be at the center of every CS process, so it’s important to invest in top talent. 

However, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to attract and retain the best candidates available. Research indicates that employee turnover of those born between 1980 and 1996 is costing the U.S. economy $30.5 billion annually.(1) So, how do you prevent employee turnover? 

Retaining top talent through employee engagement

The key to maintaining high levels of employee satisfaction and retaining top talent lies in engaging employees. Consider the following statistics from Gallup:

Well engaged teams see a 41% drop in absenteeism and a 17% rise in productivity  Those highly engaged teams experience 59% less employee turnover  Highly-engaged business units generate 21% greater profitability for their organizations (2)

2. Understand & relate to customers’ needs

It’s easy to start a CS program with a strategy defined by your perception of what your customers need. However, this is a common mistake that can have serious impacts on your program’s outcomes. To truly drive lasting success, you need to understand what success means to your customers.

Market research helps. But the best way to gain this insight is by going directly to the source and asking customers and what they need to be successful. Customer surveys help you do this, particularly if you offer incentives for participation. 

PRO TIP: Be sure to carefully select your survey participants. Customers without a vested interest in your objective will complete a survey to receive the incentive without thinking critically about the answers they provide. 

3. Map the customer journey

With fresh, reliable insight into customers’ needs, you can more accurately map the customer journey. When creating your customer journey map, be sure to include the touchpoints and deliverables customers require at each stage. This will act as a roadmap to ensure you deliver a consistent customer experience. 

PRO TIP: This is a vital step in preparing to launch your CS program. It will align teams around a central, documented process and define your CS playbooks (more on playbooks below).

4. Implement technology to drive your success

Much of the administration of your CS program should be streamlined with automation technology. 

The role of CRMs

Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms play a major role in driving customer success. They capture the data needed to drive CS programs, track defined KPIs, and provide invaluable insight into customers’ needs, challenges, goals, etc. 

Having a CRM solution in place is key to sustaining an

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