Any highly valued job in a growing company is full of opportunities as well as challenges. While customer success is one of the latest business functions that companies are incorporating in their organizational structure, there are many customer success challenges that they need to face. These challenges help them re-evaluate their business from many viewpoints and come up with suitable solutions.
A specific thing about customer success is that it is a new field. Everyone is experimenting, innovating and learning on their own. There are hardly any institutionalized best practices made so far which everyone can refer to. Hence, there is a lot of communication happening between different CS communities who openly share their challenges and learnings. Thus, the whole industry is growing based on their own ways of shaping this job profile.
Out of all the research we have done on the customer success teams across different industries, we have come up with these top customer success challenges which almost everyone in this position faces. Learning about these challenges and how to handle them would equip you for a more confident way of doing your job. It would also prepare you for further challenges you would face as you evolve in the role of a customer success manager.
So, let’s dive straight into the top challenges in customer success and how to overcome them.
#1 Monitoring Customer Usage
As soon as the sales team is done dealing with the customer, the customer success team has to take over. After onboarding, they have to ensure that the customer is using the product in the right manner. But one of the top customer success challenges at this point is about how to monitor the customer usage. You cannot keep asking your client for every tiny bit of information about their usage.
So, most of the customer success managers keep away from the exact data that would reveal the customer’s usage pattern of the product. This is a problem. Because being oblivious to the customer’s usage pattern can prove quite harmful at a later stage. If they are not using the product in the right manner and not reaching their success milestones, then you are not far from getting the news about their churn.
Solution: Use a monitoring product
Using a customer success platform is the solution to this challenge. Through this, you would be able to map the customer’s technical platform to your own and integrate your product with this platform. This will reveal all the necessary details about the usage pattern of your product like, how frequently the customer is logging in to your product, how long they are using it, etc. An intelligent CS platform would always show you the customer health score through which you can keep an eye on every customer.
#2 Maintaining Relationships With Every Customer
Nurturing relationships with every customer is as much a necessity as it is a pain point for a CSM. When your customer base is smaller, it is still manageable to keep interacting with every customer. But when it grows bigger, it becomes too challenging to keep a personal touch with everyone.
When your customers do not feel valued in a relationship with your brand, it can hamper their retention. The performance of your product is no doubt a necessary parameter in keeping them loyal to your brand but there are other factors too that are at play. According to a survey by Salesforce, around 76% of their customers expect brands to understand their needs and expectations.
Solution: Invest more on CSMs or Use tech-touch engagement
There can be two solutions to this situation. First, based on your customer base scaling rate, you should invest more on expanding your team of CSMs. In the beginning it would feel like you are not making any progress because the amount of extra revenue you would generate by acquiring new customers would offset the extra cost of hiring new CSMs. But in the long run, it would eventually pay off and start reaping more profits as you improve your customer retention rate.
Second solution would be to use tech-touch or hybrid-touch engagement model. In this, you use automation to keep in touch with your customers regularly. You can schedule at which points you need to auto-send them emails or any reminders. These reminders can be, for example, to renew their subscriptions, or just updating them about a launch of new features.
#3 Customers Not Finding Value
One of the biggest customer success challenges would be when your customer doesn’t find value in your product. They purchased the product with some initial expectations, but later on found that product is not providing enough value. They end up getting frustrated with the extra cost they need to put in to continue using your product. Hence, they eventually decide to stop their subscription.
Solution: Engage with customers strategically
The solution to this challenge is to engage with customers through the right strategy. Right from the beginning, you must create a roadmap for your customers. You need to set their expectations right in your onboarding discussions with them. Tell them clearly what they can achieve from your product and what they can’t. Then you must set some realistic goals they would achieve as they move along in their usage of the product.
At every milestone they reach, you must make them aware and also inform what more is coming on their way. This will keep them engaged to your product and give them a chance to raise their voice immediately when they get dissatisfied with your service. This is the best way to always stay updated of your customer’s satisfaction. And you must also take a survey occasionally to know their net promoter score.
Customer success has become an indispensable function in modern SaaS organizations. You need to stay ahead of the curve at all stages of your customer journey. The customer success challenges are an inevitable part of your evolution as a customer-centric organization. Customers have totally changed the ball game in this subscription based economy. Just a slight miss in your ways of serving your customer would cost them to churn.
You have to continuously demonstrate the value of your product to the customer’s organization. There might be different stakeholders at different levels that you need to interact with. But your value proposition must be tailor made to satisfy every stakeholder in their own terms. The business value must be shown to the top management. While the reduction in workflow and ease of access must be demonstrated to the end-users and their leaders.
All the challenges are a part of your learning curve. And if you are finding the right solutions and maintaining a playbook to document them for further use, then you are on the right path towards the success of your organization.