It’s no more a secret that whatever may be your domain or your business, without customers it’s nothing.
So when was the last time you had a good conversation with your customer?
If you had one recently, then you have surely tried or created a good relationship with your customers. If not, then maybe you should be focusing more time on creating one.
Customer success connects with your customer and maximizes the value of your business. And the numbers don’t lie!
Did you know that over 86% of the buyers are willing to pay more for great customer experience? In fact, a Walker study found that by the end of 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
There is a stronger alignment between customer success and sales of your business. To drive sales, it is important to focus on those long-term customer retention goals. And only a healthy correlation between the two can help your business to deliver a better customer experience and drive the revenue of your organization.
There exist several anticipations about the new trends at the beginning of every new year. But this time, in 2021, we do have to be extra cautious, owing to the unprecedented times.
Let’s have a look at a few and discover how these customer success trends can help your business stand out in the challenging market conditions.
1. Customer Success is going to be the Centre Of Attraction
We’re all acutely aware of the global pandemic situation prevailing in 2020. If this year sees an economic slowdown or recession, customer success will be the first sector that will be affected. The entire sector will be centralized on customer success and not just the CS team. It would be a pivotal job of every single entity related to the organization to care about the customer goals.
For this, your CS team needs to take a few things into consideration:
- Share customer data over a single platform making it accessible for everyone.
- Establishing cross-functional communication.
- Provide an exceptional personalized customer experience
With the customer data accessible, everyone in your organization can have a complete picture of your target customers and their goals. This will also provide an opportunity for everyone to contribute to the customer success process and brainstorm a wide variety of tactics and plans. Cross-functional communication plays a crucial role in creating a top-notch customer journey. With the help of the data available and through consistent communication, it would be easier to update customer records, exchange customer information, and generate comprehensive insights.
According to Forrester Research, over 72% of the businesses say that improving customer success would be their top priority.
2. The Usage of Technology to Uplift the Customer Success Efforts
With the digital transformation taking place in the market, the smart usage of technology will be another important factor to look at in 2021. But before choosing the right technology for your business, you need to ask yourself these questions:
- What do you need your tech to do?
- Is the tech stack appropriate for your domain of business?
- Can you track customer metrics with that tech?
These smart solutions can provide your customer success initiatives with the necessary customer analytics, tracking product usage, cross-functional communication, and much more.
Just as the Internet Of Things (IoT) can today reveal key information about customer behavior, in the upcoming days Artificial Intelligence(AI) and Machine Learning(ML) have the potential to deliver greater results. This includes a better understanding of your customers and providing a feasible solution to any real-time problems.
Over 40% of the customer interactions will be automated via AI and MI by 2023.
3. The Foremost Priority will be Proactive Engagement
With the customers in the driver’s seat, it is wise for the businesses to commence and integrate customer-centric philosophy across every sector. You have to nurture the customer’s ambitions, modify your delivery accordingly, and proactively improve your brand value.
Merely supplying the products, providing support, and checking in periodically won’t suffice. You constantly have to make efforts, identify the growth opportunities, and work on the churn rates and revenue models.
To achieve this, just ask yourself these salient questions:
- How can my product/service deliver more value to the customers?
- How can my business enhance relationships with customers?
- How can my business perform better than competitors?
The answers to these questions will set a well-defined image of your customers, and these will be the stepping stones for customer success initiatives.
4. Deliver Personalized Experience to the Customer with Superior Dynamics
Personalization is going to be the most outstanding trend in 2021. Every customer loves to be approached individually, hear them out, and get exact solutions to their problems.
To make things easier, many businesses have deployed the concept of dynamic assignment that automatically matches the new customers with the right person at the right time.
Want to know the outcomes?
- Efficient delivery of personalized experience to the customers.
- Developing a solid relationship with the customers improving retention rates.
- Enhanced Customer Lifetime Value(CLV)
To sum everything up, ‘Get Personal’ with your customers, remind them what they’ve achieved with your products, and set the milestones for them. This strengthens the bond between both the parties involved and paves the foundation for success stories.
Over 62% of the businesses are willing to invest to meet the changing demands of the customers and provide them a positive experience.
5. Development and Engagement of Customer Health Score Metrics
Beyond individual tickets and cold emails, it is equally important to see if the customer actually values your product or services. Long gone are the days when customer support was just signing on the dotted line, setting up the new service, and answering calls and emails. Today, to survive in the long run you ought to consistently follow up with the customers, rectify their problems, and see if they are thriving with your product.
And hence it becomes crucial to keep a health score and maintain it throughout. If customer retention is your ultimate goal, then having a quality health score is a must.
Implementing customer health scores is a much more hefty process than you think. The elements involved and the metrics truly define what “customer health” actually means for your business.
Did you know that by improving customer retention by 5%, your organization’s profits can increase as much as 95%?
6. Utilizing Customer Data Stream in Decision-Making and Generating Better Insights
Owing to the advancements made in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in the decade, the ways of capturing data and utilizing it has affected the sales cycle and customer success as well.
The real-time data will help the CS teams to get a better understanding of the customer metrics such as Annual Recurring Revenue(ARR), Monthly Recurring Revenue(MRR), Retention rates, Net Promoter Score, Customer Lifetime Value(CLV), and much more.
The data-driven insights will further:
- Upscale customer success initiatives.
- Assist CS teams to demonstrate ROI.
- Provide actionable resources to resolve customer problems.
- Offer timely delivery of the updates as per the customers’ feedback.
7. Substantial Investment in Customer Journey Mapping
With the smart technology and data-driven comprehensive insights available, it has become a cakewalk for the CS teams to readily measure and map the customer journey.
The journey of a customer doesn’t end when they buy your product, but it actually begins from that very moment. The process begins through awareness and goes through advocacy. Throughout the entire journey, understand your customers, their behaviors and perceptions, obtain feedback, and improve their overall experience.
Why is Customer Journey Mapping so important?
- Determine the touchpoints based on the feedback, deliver accordingly, and drive feature usage.
- Build alignment between teams for a better success rate.
- Help measure and optimize customer experience.
- Monitor customer success and define milestones.
- Plan content and marketing strategies to drive revenue and CLV.
It’s equally crucial to understand that customer journey mapping is not just one-and-done thing. It’s a continuously changing process and will keep evolving with time.
8. Your Customer Success software will stimulate your Customer Lifetime Value
With lesser opportunities to have physical contact with the customers, CS software will play a significant role in the upcoming year. And this is only possible if you have an out-and-out technology to reach out to your customers, build a strong base, and supply their requirements thoroughly.
Here’s why you have to wisely choose the right platform for success:
- Obtain data from various sources, analyze it, and effectively turn it to satisfy your customers.
- Reduce churn, generate CSM efficiencies of sales.
- Provide touchpoint management and track alters and tasks through automated dashboards.
- Build an accurate success plan to achieve customer goals.
- Configure health scores, and provide product adoption guidance.
9. Keep your customers engaged and connect with them via Multiple Channels
Sending a plethora of emails and newsletters to your customers and some potentials to generate leads?
Not getting enough response as expected?
Well, you surely are making a rookie mistake and that’s why you’re ineffective in reaching out to the customers and getting sufficient engagement. Sharing valuable content via fascinating templates won’t work in the long run.
As most of your customers are staying indoors in the pandemic situation, only digital platforms will help you to get the necessary reach. The goal is to interact with them and just give them an article to read.
Through the analysis obtained from the customer database, create outreach campaigns not just via emails, but through various social media platforms. Make sure that it reaches the right customer, and encourage them to reply, and spread the word.
These responses obtained through these campaigns provide both positive and negative feedback and helps you to better understand your customers. In turn, it also develops an efficacious connection between both parties.
In their recent report, PWC found the number of companies investing in omnichannel experience has jumped from 20% to more than 80%
10. Go Beyond Your Product/ Service
There are plenty of businesses out selling a product similar to yours. And for the customers to use just your product you have to run that extra mile!
So, how will you convince your customer to buy just your product?
- Know your customer’s metrics for success.
- Be patient with your customers and nurture them.
- Deliver product updates wisely.
- Bring the customer in the spotlight.
- Educate the customers about your products.
And yes that will do it for you! Running this extra mile to personally reach out to your customers is sure to create wonders for your business.
11. Automations will become more Important than ever
Businesses need to choose a mix of personalization and automation. It is important to recheck the automation process and make sure it is personalized to a huge extent. When customers are mostly online due to the COVID-19 era, it is important to scale them. A good customer success tool then looks at automating a task. With automation, it is easier for customer success managers to work with clients. Better tools will enable tasks to be done in a better manner. It is also possible to send custom automation to people based on their movement, activity, or lack of activity.
Automation can bring efficiency and increase scale to a large extent. You can automate communication, referrals, surveys, and more with a good CS tool.
12. CX and UX will Make the Cut
It is also important to note a huge trend in customer success. Like Gartner once said, ‘Customer experience is all set to be the business battlefield.’
If your UX or CX is bad, customers will easily move to other brands. Customer data is needed to improve UX or CX. Customers are now looking for experience from a different vision. It is important to offer the best customer experience while reducing human contact to a great extent. CX and UX are necessary in making sure customers get their ‘wow’ moment.
UX and CX are measured differently. However, their end goal is to make sure customers are satisfied and feel successful. If customers get easy access to the website and can comb pages with ease, chances of a pleasant interaction are more.
13. Customer Education will Revolutionise Customer Success
In 2021, customer success leaders will scale efforts through customer education. Good customer education programs will increase tech-touch and increase customer growth. Customer education improves grasp on product knowledge. Alternatively, it encourages the shift of the customer engagement strategy to a long-term one. The focus then moves to customer onboarding, engagement, retention, and ultimately success.
Customer education is the role of the company in offering customers the skills, information, and abilities to become a more informed user. Customer education will engage customers in the best way as they get clarity on the best uses of the product.
14. Customer Success moves Remote
As offices became empty, there was a need to transition to remote work. Processes need to be optimized to suit the new normal. All cracks should be filled to make work easy and seamless. With remote customer success operations, it is possible to deliver results. Customers can now connect with companies online and digitally. To get customer success, it is important to adapt to digital tools that will make it easier for CSMs. To succeed as a CSM in the COVID era, it is important to focus on value. Making sure that communication, targets, and client requirements are aligned is important.
15. CS goals must be integrated with every department
Customer success is no longer a department limited function. Customer success is a state of functioning where every employee has to be aligned and involved with customer growth. Customer success needs to be integrated with every part of the company. Some of the prominent ways a business can integrate CS includes-
- Product team
- Marketing team
- Sales team
- Leadership team
The job of the CSM is to make sure customers see an increase in their growth via products or services.59
Customer success isn’t something that would just randomly in a little span of time. Sometimes it might take a few days, a quarter, or maybe several years. In a nutshell, it’s all about how precisely you can deal with customer retention and loyalty. You have to effectively demonstrate your customers about products or services and assist them in generating better ROI from it. And once you realize that customer success is not just about customer support and delivering the best to your customers, then there’s no way looking back again.
Rohan has over 11 years of experience in client services, marketing and hospitality field. Previously, he was head of digital marketing for a hi-tech mobile application. Rohan is driven by new challenges and the possibility of making an impact on individuals and businesses.
Published September 25, 2020, Updated January 25, 2021