Industry Insights

Four Tools Your Team Needs to Drive Customer Success

By Kam Rawal / May 31, 2018

Four Tools Drive Customer Success

For companies in the digital economy, you know that the barriers for customers to churn are extremely low. That’s why you’re investing in ways to drive customer success by offering services that help your customers gain value from your product quickly. Part of that investment should be used for making sure that your team has the right tools it needs to proactively reach out to your customers at the right time.  

The good news is that you don’t have to throw out the tools your customer support teams already use. Instead, you’ll be using them in new ways to support your customer success strategy. The following tools are the basic components that you need to have in your customer-success toolbox. 

1. Customer relationship management (CRM) system

Unlike customer support, which operates in a primarily reactive mode, customer success is proactive and focused over a period of time on building relationships with customers. The point is to help them realize the full potential of your product or service, and you do that by managing their success through a series of journeys—from the trial through purchase, onboarding to full adoption. In fact, AppDirect research shows that delivering a streamlined onboarding experience within four business days after purchase results in up to four times greater adoption of services than those who do not receive onboarding help.     

Delivering a streamlined onboarding experience within four business days results in up to 4x greater service adoption rates.

Your CRM system helps you track and manage these journeys, as well as serving as the system of record for the information your team members gather about the customer’s business needs and goals for using the new software. You can use the CRM to trigger outreach when a customer accepts a trial or moves to the next step in the journey.

2. Knowledge management system

You know how valuable it is for customer support to have ready answers to questions at their fingertips in a knowledgebase. Team members focused on customer success need access to the same knowledgebase when helping customers learn to use the product. A knowledgebase gives them ready access to how-to information and serves as the centralized point for sharing what they learn to help others with the same issue.

You should also make the knowledge available to customers for self-service support. An Aberdeen report shows that companies with self-service programs retain 40 percent more of their clientele year over year.

3. Customer usage analytics

With SaaS solutions, it’s much easier than with on-premises products to track customer usage and identify patterns of usage that signal potential issues. Whether your application has a built-in dashboard or whether your company uses application monitoring tools to provide insight into customer product and feature usage, the customer success team needs to regularly review these statistics to understand, track, and measure customer success.

Companies need to regularly review customer statistics to understand, track, and measure customer success.

If you have alerting functionality in the dashboard or reporting system, you should use it to alert on red flags that could indicate customers that are at risk of churning. For example, a sudden drop in activity could signal that a primary user left the company and the customer doesn’t have anyone else who knows how to use the product. An alert lets you pick up on this trend before it’s too late and proactively offer training and support to help other employees in the customer’s business use your product. This also helps your team understand the best time to engage the customer. Looking at this information is helpful, but you have to action it by creating alerts that trigger response.

4. A tool for documenting customer journeys

An essential part of offering proactive services to customers is knowing where they are in the journey so you can offer the most appropriate help at the right time. That’s why you need a tool that lets you visually document the most critical customer journeys that your customers take—from unqualified lead to trial, from trial to sign-up, from sign-up to onboarding, and so on. You can then design the experience to offer proactive guidance at the right moment to streamline each journey and help the customer achieve success faster.

In addition to the four tools above, there are other tools that can help your team be efficient and effective in driving customer success. Some companies rely on collaboration and communication tools such as Slack, project management tools such as Basecamp or Wrike, and even full-blown customer success management platforms. The technology stack you choose will depend on your business model, products, and customers.

Kam Rawal is Head of Global Services at AppDirect.

This post was originally published on LinkedIn.