The role of a customer success specialist is to develop customer relationships, which promote loyalty and retention. A customer success manager or specialist work with customers to make sure they are satisfied with the products or services.
If the customers are not satisfied, the specialist implements different ways to improve certain areas so that the churn rates are decreased.
Primarily, software-based companies such as SaaS companies employ customer success specialists, which provide technical support to customers. The main objective is to satisfy them and provide them support on SaaS products.
A customer success specialist works with customers to make sure they receive the right tools. Doing so allow the company to achieve its goals. The role of customer success managers is important as they support customers regarding purchase decisions.
They also make a substantial effort using different technology tools for onboarding customers after purchase. Customer success specialists understand the needs of customers and communicate with them to comprehend sales, marketing, and other behavioral patterns to increase retention rates and reduce churns.
In the world of technology, many companies are working to develop, sell, and enable software solutions. We all know that the business world is changing as well as evolving into new fields. In recent years, the most significant change is the emergence of SaaS.
Anyway, the question “is tech making the customer success specialist’s role easier or tougher” is the main topic of today. Read on to get the answer!
How Tech Helps Customer Success Specialists?
Customer success specialists can leverage technology and prepare themselves to increase the loyalty and retention of customers. Using different tools, you, as a customer success specialist, can understand the customer behavior, purchase patterns, survey scores, the number of support cases, and checking of invoices – to name a few.
When you get a broader view of the customer, you would be able to reach out at just-in-time using value-added data and information like adoption data, optimal practices, and benchmarking.
Maximizing customer lifetime value is the best way to achieve success in the world of SaaS, which is a subscription-based business different from traditional and perpetual license vendors.
SaaS companies re-sell continuously and retain customers. If they don’t do well, they can lose customers to competitors. This is why most of the SaaS companies focus on reducing churns to help drive growth, more profitability, and valuation.
Investment in customer success technology is important. It allows customer success specialists to acquire new customers for the company and keep them. So, it is no surprise to tell you that SaaS companies view customer success as an essential business strategy, which is not possible without customer success specialists.
The only thing important here is how skillful are customer success managers or specialists in using different technology tools such as data analytics, machine learning models, and other software.
A customer success specialist uses technology to increase productivity and to scale customer operations. As a result, they achieve better outcomes in churn reduction as well as account expansion and renewals.
What is Customer Success Metrics?
There are three main types of customer success metrics, which you can use to find out when your customer needs attention from your or your customer success management team. This includes “account behavior,” “account attributes” and “subjective data.”
Account Behavior and Attributes
For customer success specialists working for a SaaS company, the main source of behavioral data is the analysis of product usage by customers. So, a customer success manager using sophisticated methods like customer management solutions “CMS,” you can automate the details of product usage.
This includes activities such as login frequency and session length, module usage such as the time customers spend on the product, and feature usage such as what feature is most used by the customer and how often they used a specific feature.
When you use CSM solutions, you can collect detailed usage data at different levels such as individual user and account level. Using this approach, you can improve the accuracy of predictions. Also, you can analyze the behavior of customers for improving processes, products, or services.
Account attributes are also important. Imagine doing these things manually is time-consuming and requires a lot of effort. On the other hand, automation and technology help reduce the time a customer success manager would take to identify problems and present solutions.
Account attributes refer to the data you have collected on your customers in different systems like “Customer Relationship Management,” “Billing,” and “Support Solutions. Using CMS, you can collect data automatically from various systems. This way, you can provide a broader and in-depth view of each account, which includes customer relationship management, support, and billing.
Customer relationship management includes account name, contact, industry, size, and location. Likewise, the examples of support are the number of tickets filed, type of ticket, open tickets, and time to resolve tickets. Billing involves revenues, payment history, invoicing, and subscription data.
Subjective Data and Health Score
Using subjective data, you can supplement customer behavior as well as attributes of account with human input. Usually, this type of data exists in different forms and comes from various sources such as your personal assessment, “Net Promoter Score (NPS)” and survey feedback.
Health Score is another important metric for customer success. It is an aggregate number based on various factors such as feature, activity, usage, subjective input, and support history. Using “Health Scores,” you can understand the overall health of the customer and group of accounts.
Technology Predicts Which Customers need Attention
The main objective of using technology solutions like CMS is to boost the productivity and efficiency of your customer success specialists by altering them to users who need attention. This allows you, as a customer success specialist to know why the customers need attention and what you can do about it.
So, using tech solutions, you can look for solutions to reduce the risks of churning. Also, there are some tools, which can help you predict the number of customers, who will likely upgrade or convert from the trial version of your SaaS product to full subscription.
Advanced tech solutions incorporate predictive analytics, which analyzes multiple factors and variables as well as datasets to determine the most relevant indicators of retention, churning, expansion, and conversion.
Managing a Customer’s Lifecycle Journey
Advanced tech solutions can help you track a customer’s journey concerning specific timeframes and achievements. If your customers do not see expected value in a specific timeframe, they will lose confidence in your product and chances are that they will quit – even if your product could have given that particular value to them.
So, providing value is important within a defined timeframe. How to know the expectations or demands of customers? Well, you can’t analyze the behavior pattern of your existing and potential customers manually due to a large volume of data.
Therefore, data analytics and machine learning models are helpful to measure the large volume of data, structure the data in segments, and enable the machine learning models to predict future patterns.
Tech helps you engage with customers
You must know that CMS solutions also provide you with the data and information you need to engage with your customers. The information includes alert details, account information including product usage, customer relationship management data, support incidents, recent interactions, and billing history, etc.
You can also use this information to handle the alert. In simple words, this is known as “Playbook.” You can incorporate playbooks in each alert – as well as can include elements like questions, suggestions, and concepts on addressing customer objections or approving offers and discounts.
When you analyze the data provided by CSM, you can measure the impact of processes continually. As a customer success specialist working for a SaaS company, you can CSM goals and drive consistent improvements in the activity rates, health scores, and retention of customers.
So, advanced technology tools are helping customer success specialists to predict customers’ behaviors, manage customer lifecycle, and improve customer lifetime value.
Customer Success Specialists – High-Touch vs. Tech-Touch
It is no surprise to tell you that in today’s competitive business environment, your SaaS customers expect a lot from your company. It won’t be wrong if we say that customers, today, expect and demand something exceptional – i.e. a never-ending wheel of attraction, value, engagement, and retention after purchasing your SaaS product.
When the volume of your customers creeps up and you are focused on deploying tech-touch strategies, how do you stay engaged with the element of your customers?
Also, when your highly engaged customers demand your attention and everything is state-of-the-art, is that the right type of approach? Remember, in SaaS, there are never-ending sales. So, Cloud computing has almost taken the business world. It is revolutionizing many types of businesses including SaaS.
SaaS, today, is available to millions of people around the world through cloud computing, which allows for the reduction in costs, scalability, and self-service for customers. Everyone likes this colossal shift in thinking for the most obvious reasons.
Obviously, everyone loves a customer-focused growth of the company. In fact, one of the less obvious reasons is most companies have an obsession with sales funnels.
It is true that SaaS companies look for simple ways to reach more customers at lower costs. You would want the same as you bring customers on as real clients and then let them enjoy what you are offering.
You do this repeatedly until you have no more customers to acquire. The issue with conventional analyses of the sales funnels is that they imply an end. Similarly, it creates a false belief that after acquiring customers, you can move on. Therefore, it completely negates the concept of a symbiotic relationship. This can affect the role of customer success specialists.
Experts recommend finding the right balance between high-touch and tech-touch to carry out the customer success management processes or activities efficiently. Both strategies are a bit rough on each other – especially when companies make transitions from high-touch to low-touch while scaling their business.
On the other hand, companies make the transition from low-to-high when they don’t want to spend more time and effort on acquiring customers only to lose them to needless churn. If a SaaS company is completely based on high-touch, it can be harmful to it. Likewise, it is focused completely on tech-touch, it can face certain repercussions that would eventually harm the business. So, experts recommend combining both strategies to allow customer success managers to work effectively.
If you analyze these methods closely, you will come to know that each strategy has its own pros and cons. Remember, both high-touch and tech-touch are effective when you use them in a hybrid approach.
The effect of High-Touch on Customer Success Specialist
The high-touch strategy allows customer success managers to interact with customers on a human level via different stages or purchase process and lifecycle. This approach involves customer success specialists to get more involved with the customers and maintain personal, direct, and frequent contact with customers’ accounts.
When it comes to the benefits of the high-touch approach, although it is highly advantageous for the customers – nonetheless a little daunting for the customer success specialists. It is because human beings crave for interacting with real human beings.
So, many SaaS companies use maintains this type of approach to keep their customers. On the other hand, you must know that this type of approach is not cheap and is not always scalable. In addition, it is not always easy to provide this level of service to every customer – making the job of the customer success specialist a bit difficult.
The effect of Tech-Touch on Customer Success Specialist
When it comes to tech-touch, a customer success specialist has very little involvement in it, which means infrequent interaction with the customer because most of the work is done by the software.
Tech-touch is a data-driven technology approach, which is a type of proactive management helping customer success specialists to focus on other tasks while at the same time help customers to feel valued. This approach ensures the customers know and understand how to interact with the company and find solutions for their problems. An example of this is AI-based chatbots.
Talking about the benefits of this approach, tech-touch gives relief to customer success managers and free them for high-needs customers or specific high-touch solutions. Using the tech-touch approach, customer success managers can focus on un-contacted customers and side-step the avoidable churn by proactive action and management.
However, this approach also has some disadvantages. When customer success managers do not interact with customers in real-time, the customers may feel the company is not valuing them. As a result, they will see your SaaS Company as cold, distant, and or removed. Chances of customers churn are likewise increased.
The Combination of High-Touch and Tech-Touch in Onboarding
One of the most important steps for customer success is the optimal onboarding experience. If procedures are not up to the mark or if is troublesome for customers to see your product or service’s value, higher chances are that they may end up churning. This is why the customer success manager’s interaction and guidance in such a situation are important.
A customer success manager can use tech-touch workflows for administrative tasks. Most customers do well by exploring the company’s site and looking on their own – however, in this regard, your SaaS product must be intuitive. Using the tech-touch approach, your customers can look into in-app alerts and notifications providing real-time digital support while your customers lean to navigate the basics.
Moreover, using a high-touch strategy for strategic conversations with your customers is a great idea. A customer success manager evaluates these conversations, which are mostly centered around the customer’s purchase behavior, why did they purchase the product, what are specific use cases as well as what things are confusing for the customers, etc.
If customer success specialists decide on using a tech-touch approach, they must ensure that the customer can call support to reach a real person and not a Chabot. The ability or providing proactive help to your customers is not an option sometimes – so, staffing a support line for customers to have a reactive help is an important element. As a customer success manager, it is your duty not to leave your customers stranded.
Wrapping up, it is not easy to clearly answer the question “is tech making the customer success specialist role easier or tougher?” The reason is that technology has both advantages and downsides for customer success managers.
For instance, when you implement a high-touch approach, you and your team will have to work more and with newly acquired customers on daily basis, you would need more customer support members to interact with customers and solve their problems. So, this is quite daunting.
On the other hand, when you implement tech-touch solutions, your customers will feel disvalued and chances of retention are decreased. Therefore, the best way is to combine or blend high-touch and tech-touch solutions. 57
This way, customer success specialists can interact with highly-engaged clients only and occasionally communicate with other clients. Similarly, other customers can be communicated with check-in emails, chatbots, and automated responses.
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 May 29, 2020, Updated December 30, 2020