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How To Build A Great Customer Success Machine

Companies that prioritize customer success tend to perform better than their peers when it comes to user engagement and retention. Creating a great customer success infrastructure involves a lot of work and some process, but the benefits for your business are well worth it. This article provides a detailed guide on how to build a great customer success machine.

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By Elliot
August 25th, 2021

Businesses that focus on creating great customer experiences are able to see increased revenues as a result of higher customer lifetime value, increased engagement and retention rates, and positive brand awareness and reputation. Customers who love your products are more likely to recommend your business to their friends, and customers who have a good experience with your company are more likely to become loyal customers. This is why creating a great customer experience can make or break a business.

Overview Of Customer Success

Customer success teams are responsible for providing a great experience to customers in order to increase user retention rates. Customer success managers help support the sales team by helping to onboard new customers, and provide valuable feedback to the sales team that can be used to improve their process. Customer success teams also help the support team by providing valuable feedback on potential bugs and issues that can cause customers to leave, and may be able to provide context on customers' problems.

The role of customer success is growing in importance as more companies realize that a happy customer base leads to increased revenues, and this has led to an increase in the number of companies that are building their own CS departments and hiring customer success managers. In addition, sales and support teams are integrating customer success into their own operations. The best customer success teams provide a great customer experience throughout the customers' lifecycle, and are able to collect data on their customers in order to better serve them.

Building Loyal Customers

When a company prioritizes customer success, it is able to create more loyal customers. This can be accomplished by providing a great overall experience, offering quality products and services, and communicating with customers in a timely manner. A company that prioritizes customer success will also have an easier time acquiring new business, because it has loyal customers who are willing to recommend the company's products and services to their friends and colleagues.

By creating a great customer experience, a company is able to show its customers that it cares about their needs. The best way to do this is by being attentive and responsive. This is done by consistently following up with customers, making sure to thank them for their business, and identifying ways to improve their overall experience. Customer success can be tracked through calls, meetings, customer surveys and NPS ratings, which will enable a company to see how their efforts are paying off, and adjust accordingly.

Qualities Of A Good CS Organization

There are some basic qualities that a good customer success organization should possess. It needs to have a team who are well-trained on the products and services offered by the company. Each member of the CS team should know how to onboard customers, and be able to provide good customer service. Additionally, customer success should be a top priority for the company. This means that customer success activities should be considered just as important as other core business functions such as sales and marketing.

It takes time and effort to build a good customer success organization, but the benefits that come from creating loyal customers and adding value to your business can make the process worthwhile.

Tips On Ramping Your Customer Success Efforts

There are many things that a company can do to help it build a great customer success machine, including the following:

1. Develop User Engagement And Retention KPIs

A great way to start off any customer success initiative is by setting up dashboards that track user engagement and retention. Once these metrics are tracked, they can be analyzed to provide valuable insights into the ways in which your customers are experiencing your product, and what you need to do to help them. Identifying the other KPIs that are most important to your business will help you to better prioritize your activities, and to identify the areas in which you need to make improvements.

There are many different types of metrics which a company can track in order to gauge the quality of their customer experience. They include:

Ratings - NPS and Net Promoter Scores are some of the most popular customer success metrics that are used by businesses around the world. These scores help a company gauge how happy their customers are with their products, and help determine what areas of the business need to be improved.

Customer Metrics - Metrics such as retention rates, churn rates, and daily or monthly active users can be used as proxies to determine the overall effectiveness of a business's customer success efforts.

Customer Surveys - Surveys can be used to collect both quantitative and qualitative data on a company's customers. A company can ask customers for their opinions on a variety of topics, such as their opinion on the product or service offered by the company, as well as what they would like to see improved in the future.

Conversation Analytics - Conversation analytics can help a company understand what their customers are saying about them, both directly and indirectly. Conversations can be recorded and transcribed when a customer calls in for support, when they call to upgrade their service, and when they talk with their account rep. This data can be analyzed to identify trends and better understand what customers are saying about the company. This can be used to inform the company's product development strategy.

2. Understand The Data You Are Collecting

Customer success data can be provided by a variety of sources, including surveys, live chats, social media, phone calls, and video chats. When it comes to analyzing data, there are many factors that need to be taken into account. For example, it is important to recognize the difference between intent and action. One of the main challenges that businesses face when it comes to analyzing customer success data is that customers will often give great feedback on what they intend to do, but fail to follow through with their plans.

An example of this can be seen in one of the most popular customer success metrics, Net Promoter Score (NPS). A company may ask its customers if they would recommend their products and services to their friends and colleagues, and may receive an overwhelming positive response. However, when customers are given the opportunity to actually recommend the company's products and services, they may not take the chance.

Combining traditional NPS and survey data with user behavioral data can help a company to better understand where their customers are coming from. When this is leveraged with other information such as clickstream data, a company can better understand how customer sentiment correlates to actual usage of a company's products and services.

3. Prioritize The Onboarding Process

One of the most important tasks for a customer success manager is to ensure that their customers are able to onboard smoothly and quickly. This involves providing the customer with clear instructions on how to get started with the product or service, and offering them support when they need it. When setting up an onboarding process, there are several things that a company should consider, including the following:

Prepare a Getting Started Guide - Companies should always have a dedicated onboarding guide that is tailored to their customers. This should be accessible to new users when they sign up for the service. It should contain everything that a new customer will need to get started using the product or service, including setup instructions, step-by-step walkthroughs, and tips on what to do next.

Offer Easy Tutorials - The onboarding process should also involve a series of tutorials that are designed to show new users how to get the most out of a company's product or service. These tutorials should be designed with the purpose of giving customers a step-by-step guide on how to use the product or service, and should offer detailed information on each of the features that are offered.

Create A Community For Your Customers - A community is an excellent way for a company to offer support to its customers. A community can be used to answer customer questions, as well as to provide them with tips on how to get the most out of the product or service.

Make It Possible To Reach A Human - In order to provide the best customer experience possible, a company should have a dedicated team who are available to answer customer questions. These representatives should be well-trained and equipped with all of the information that they need to help customers.

4. Communicate With Customers In A Timely Manner

Communication is one of the most important aspects of customer success. This means that customer success representatives should be available to answer questions, and should respond to customer issues in a timely manner. Some of the best ways for a company to communicate with their customers include:

Live Chat - A live chat feature is an effective way for a company to communicate with their customers. This is especially true when the company has a support team who can quickly answer customers' questions. Customers like being able to chat directly with a support representative instead of having to fill out a form and wait for a response.

Video Calls - Video calls are becoming more and more popular, and can be a great way for a company to communicate with their customers. Video calls are especially useful when a customer is experiencing issues that need to be resolved quickly. They are also useful for training purposes, and can help to teach new users how to use a product or service effectively.

5. Have A Unified Customer Success Function

When it comes to customer success, a company's entire organization should be onboard with the effort. This means that customer success should be integrated into the DNA of a company's business, and that everyone should be working towards the same goal. In order to achieve this, a company's sales, marketing, and customer success teams should be working together in a coordinated fashion.

When customer success is integrated into a company's business, it can be set up as a separate department, or it can be integrated into the sales organization. A dedicated CS department may be necessary if a company has a large amount of customers, or if it has a complex product or service.

6. Make Customer Success Involve Both The Sales And Support Teams

Both sales and support should be involved with customer success. This will enable them to work better together to meet customers' needs, and will make it easier for the company to learn from its customers. Some of the ways in which a company can involve both the sales and support teams in customer success include:

Use Sales Data To Improve CS Efforts - The data that is collected by a company's sales team should be used to improve its customer success efforts. This includes both information on new accounts and information on existing customers. New accounts should be analyzed to see if there are any red flags expressed in their sales conversations that will result in a bad customer experience.

Leveraging Support Data To Improve CS Efforts - The data that is collected by a company's support team should be used to improve its customer success efforts. This includes both structured and unstructured data. Structured data includes metrics such as call length, average response time, and customer satisfaction ratings. Unstructured data includes information gleaned from transcribed phone calls and meetings that are not a part of the company's standard support metrics, such as specific feature requests or customer feedback.

7. Be Consistent In Your Team's Approach

When it comes to customer success, consistency is important.  This means that CSMs should be trained to follow the same process when working to enable a customer. It also means that the sales and support teams should work together to implement consistent policies and procedures when dealing with customer handoffs.

One of the most important things that a company can do is establish a clear process for engaging with their customers. As a company scales and expands their business, it is important that it does not lose focus on this task. The company should ensure that its new hires are able to properly prioritize their customers' issues, and are able to maintain focus on customer satisfaction.

8. Plan And Track Your CS Efforts With KPIs

When it comes to planning and tracking CS efforts, companies should use KPIs. KPIs can help a company track the performance of its various CS initiatives, make adjustments when necessary, and understand the impact of any changes. Some useful KPIs that a company can be using include:

New Account Onboarding Percentage - This is the percentage of new accounts that a company is able to successfully onboard. This metric is important because it measures how successful a company is at getting new customers started with its product or service. In order to plan based on this metric, a company should have some pre-defined criteria that will be used to measure success. For example, the company may want to set goals around a certain percentage of new accounts that are able to go through onboarding successfully within a certain amount of time.

DAU or MAU Retention Rate - This is the percentage of new users who come back on a daily or monthly basis. This metric is important because it measures user engagement, and can help a company determine if it is doing a good job of keeping its users.

Mean Time To Resolve (MTTR) - This is the average amount of time that it takes for a company to resolve an issue for a customer. This metric is important because it helps a company understand how quickly it is able to respond to its customers' needs. It can also help a company figure out if it needs to adjust its support processes to ensure that customer issues are resolved quickly.

9. Leverage Conversational Data For Insights

When it comes to collecting data, a company should be listening to its customers. Analysis of customer conversations can be a very effective way for a company to learn more about its customer base. Transcribed calls and meetings can also help companies develop better products and services, improve how it supports its customer base, and better engage with its users.

AI meeting assistants and call transcription systems can be a great way for a company to generate high quality conversational data. These systems can automatically analyze phone calls and meetings, using a combination of automatic recording, transcription, summarization, and other algorithms. AI call and meeting capture solutions analyze a company's customer interactions to generate customer and business insights. Things to look for in a good AI call and meeting capture solution include:

Automatic Calendar Sync - A company should be able to automatically sync its sales, support, and customer success calendars with their call and meeting capture solution. This will allow the system to join and record important calls automatically.

Unified View Of All Call And Meeting Data - A good AI call and meeting capture solution should be able to provide companies with a unified view of all of their call and meeting data. This includes data from both the sales and support teams.

Analytics Dashboards - Data visualization is an important part of data analysis. With a good AI call and meeting capture solution, a company should be able to access analytics dashboards that can display the company's sales and support data and customer interactions in a way that is easy to understand.

10. Don't Treat Customers As A Number

Customers today expect a personalized experience. Businesses should strive to engage with the customer as a person, and to understand their needs. Customer success should always be viewed from the perspective of the customer, thus a company should be able to empathize with its users. It is frustrating to interact with a company regarding an issue if you are forced to provide the same information over and over again. A customer success manager should be aware of a customer's previous interactions with their company and any active issues.

Personalized outreach has become one of the most effective ways for a company to maintain customer engagement. One of the biggest benefits of using AI solutions is that they provide a history of every conversation a customer has had with any individual across your organization. This information can be easily browsed, searched, and otherwise leveraged to gain a solid understanding of who a customer is and how they are using your product or service. With this information, a company can engage with its customers in a personalized manner, and develop more meaningful relationships.

11. Wire Customer Success Into The DNA Of Your Company

Customer success efforts should be an integral part of how a company does business. When it comes to building a great customer success machine, the CS department should be viewed as an asset to the company's bottom line. If CS isn't viewed as a core part of the company, it can be very difficult to develop a strong customer success infrastructure.

To help build a strong customer success team, a company should develop a strategy for how it can incorporate customer success efforts into its DNA. This involves defining the roles and responsibilities of a company's customer success team, and determining what it wants to accomplish with these roles. The next step is to create a strategic plan for how customer success efforts will be integrated into the company's existing sales and support infrastructure. In order to do this, a company should create a roadmap that establishes metrics, goals, and timelines for its CS initiatives.

12. Showcase Your Customer Success Efforts

It is important for a company to showcase its customer success efforts both internally and externally. Shining a light on what your company is doing for its customers will help to demonstrate that customer success is an important part of your company's culture, and will help to build trust with your users. One of the best ways to get people interested in your customer success efforts is to publish the work that you are doing. Publishing blog posts, case studies, and other material can help to draw attention to your customer success activities, and can also serve as a way for others to learn from your experience.

Internally, a company should showcase its customer success efforts by communicating with employees. This can also be accomplished by giving the team a chance to learn about the company's customer success efforts through regular meetings, team huddles, internal wikis or newsletters, and more. When your company's sales, support, and CS teams are communicating and working together to build a great overall customer experience, you should be sure to highlight the importance of these initiatives to others.

13. Train Your Customer Success Team

Proper training is an important part of building a strong customer success team. There are many different things that customer success team members can be trained to do, including the following:

Understand Product - CS team members should understand your product or service. They should know what your product does, how it works, and how it can benefit users. If a company's CS team is able to deeply understand its products, they will be able to better serve their customers.

Customer Handoffs - Customer handoffs can be an important part of building a great customer success machine. Often, CS team members will have to collaborate with other departments to ensure that customers are taken care of.

Know Your Customers - Knowing your customers is critical when it comes to building a great customer success machine. Understanding how to properly research a customer, identifying their pain points, and gaining clarity on how you can help them can be the difference between a successful CS program and a failure.

14. Give Your Team Ways To Share With Customers

One of the best ways to build a great customer success machine is to give your customer success team a place to share with your customers. This can be done through a variety of different mechanisms, including the following:

Customer Portals - Customer portals can be a great way for customers to gain access to the information that they need. For example, a company could provide its users with access to personalized customer support materials, sales collateral, and more.

Online Webinars - Webinars can be a useful tool for a company to share its knowledge with users. For example, a company could use webinars to educate customers on how to use specific features of its products, and how to get the most value out of them.

Check-in Calls and Meetings - Customer success can be a very hands-on endeavor. It involves a lot of conversations and interactions with customers, and many CS team members have frequent check-in calls or meetings as a result.

15. Ensure Your Customer Success Team Is Constantly Learning

One of the most important things a company can do to build a great customer success machine is to ensure that its CS team is constantly learning. Companies should look for new ways to keep their CS team members up to date on customer success trends, best practices, and other information that can help to improve their efforts.

There are many different ways that a company can help to keep its CS team members up to date on what is happening in the industry. These methods include:

Conferences - Attending customer success conferences and other events is a great way for a company to learn about best practices.

Communities - There are many different customer success communities that can help to keep a company's CS team members up to date. These include online forums, Slack communities, and more.

Resources - There are many different online resources that can help to keep a company's CS team members informed. These include customer success magazines, podcasts, webinars, and more.

Final Thoughts

Customer success is a multi-faceted activity that takes some time to master. To build a great customer success machine, you should develop a clear plan for how you can incorporate customer success efforts into your existing sales and support efforts. This involves defining the roles and responsibilities of your CS team, creating strategic goals and timelines, and more.

Arming your team with accurate data from transcribed customer calls and meetings can also be helpful when it comes to building a great customer success machine. Data can be used to measure customer sentiment, understand how your company's CS efforts are performing, and more.

Proper measurement of customer success metrics is important as it will help to give your company an idea of how to best allocate its resources, and how to best improve. The process of building a great customer success machine can be a daunting task, but the end result will be a business that is well positioned to achieve success.

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