The Customer Success Function Demands Domain Knowledge More Than It Does Technical or Selling Skills
The customer success function expects domain level expertise to achieve ultimate customer success. It helps clearly understand customers’ needs and wants.
May 27, 2020
The customer success function is sometimes misunderstood. There are startups under the assumption that achieving customer success relies more on technical skills or the ability to sell/market something really well.
We’re here to let you know that you need domain knowledge over anything else. We will go over customer success knowledge you need to know to unlock greater product success. You should always be open to revisiting and reimagining the functions and features of your products. This will help you ensure they are fulfilling the needs and wants of your customers.
What’s more, you want to make sure they are doing so in a way that is simple and easy. After all, you want your business and customers to succeed as much as possible.
Understanding Domain Knowledge
Achieving customer success is predicated on understanding a product on every level and in every way. Besides this, you have to understand your customers as well. This requires seeing things from a customer’s perspective. How are they using a product? What issues may they run into? By developing a deep understanding of various use-cases of your product, you can tackle any issues customers have in a proactive way.
Customers are likely to ask many questions related to product features. They may also reach out to you about the problems they are having with using them. These situations should be minimized as much as possible. Customer success function will require testing to discover how users are using a product. It’s the best way to have an experiential understanding of potential issues, which can then be addressed, so customers don’t have to reach out to you in the first place.
This can even have a bearing on reducing customer churn, which is especially important when you factor in how it costs five times as much to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one. Increasing negative churn by just 5% can boost your profits anywhere from 25% to an astonishing 95%.
What Are Customers Looking For?
Whether they are new customers or existing ones, they will not be buying your product, or a feature within it, just for fun. They are looking to get some sort of real value from making that payment. When you want to achieve the greatest customer success you can, you need to intimately understand what customers need and want. You have to be aware of what it takes for them to achieve success.
You have likely made promises during the buying process in terms of what your product can do for people. Your current customers became that way because they believed what you said. You need to make sure everything you mentioned about what the product can achieve still holds true. This also means knowing how your customers are defining success. When you understand what results they are expecting, you gain insight into what is most important for customers.
A key part of the customer success function is understanding how your customers measure success. Overall, this means achieving something with your product. What this means more specifically will vary from product to product.
Reduce Churn With Domain Knowledge
Increasing customer success knowledge reduces churn rates. Sure, inbound marketing skills are important when it comes to customer success. However, you also need to understand what customers are feeling and thinking about your product. You can obtain user feedback in a number of ways to gain insights. Besides asking for feedback, you can scope out user reviews that both existing and churned customers have left elsewhere online.
Customer health data will inform you of whether there need to be any additional features added to a product, or whether existing ones should be enhanced. You want to get ahead of any potential issues or confusion a customer may have. You essentially want to solve problems that they don’t even realize they have. When customers do not perceive there to be any issues, they are not going to leave.
Greater customer success leads to greater revenue. In fact, most of the revenue you will generate will come after your customers have bought into your product. SaaS businesses have a wealth of opportunities to upsell and cross-sell. Greater customer success knowledge allows you to identify those opportunities and capitalize on them.
The cost of acquiring new customers is simply too much for you to completely neglect the potential additional revenue you could be generating from your existing customers. With recurring subscriptions, after that first year, you are going to see a steep drop in what it costs to retain existing customers. It’s essentially pure profit. This is largely thanks to understanding what customers need and want, while identifying potential issues before customers are aware of them. The greater customer retention you have, the more your business can grow and make.
The customer success function has evolved into being involved within the entire lifetime of a customer. This allows for a continuous understanding of what customers’ needs and wants are. After all, if a product no longer provides the ability to do what users need it to do, they will leave and find a product that fulfills their needs. Continuously improving a product’s features and functions, based on domain knowledge, will ensure customer retention stays at its highest.
Find new ways of driving efficiency by asking the right questions and understanding the user experience from the user’s perspective. Whenever necessary, you should refocus your team on problem areas that may be causing more significant churn. Your product may be great in theory, but if it is difficult to use or has now-outdated features, you are going to lose your market share to a product that doesn’t have these issues.
Ritesh has over 20 years of experience collaborating with customers and adding value to their organizations. In his prior role as head of healthcare practice for a high growth US healthcare tech organization, he built a centralized knowledge house to drive customer-centric delivery.