Every business knows about customer service, but few know about customer success, and even fewer focus on it. Today, if you want to be successful as a SaaS business, you need to make customer success a key focus. Here is what you need to know if you want to upgrade from customer service to customer success.
What Is Customer Service?
Customer service encompasses the services you provide customers prior to and during using your product. This service assists them in having an easier time using your product for their success. It is essential to provide exemplary customer service today. It is no longer an option.
Customer service can be provided through any means of communication, be it email, video call, chatbot, SMS, social media, or something else. This also includes self-service features within a product or your website’s knowledge base. This allows customers to quickly and easily find the answers to the questions they have, 24/7. When you provide customer service to your customers, you are showing them that you care about their success.
What Is Customer Success?
Customer success involves the determination of whether a customer is satisfied and reaching their target goals by using your product. Essentially, you are gauging the true impact your product is making in the lives of others. Is your product helping your customers? Customer success will help you find out what the answer to that question is. When focused on, customer service helps you retain your customers, reduce customer churn, and get more customers due to referrals.
While customer service is reactive, customer success is proactive. Since your business is running on a subscription-based model, you need to make sure your customers are satisfied with it. Otherwise, they will cancel their subscription and go elsewhere. Customer success ensures your customers will remain subscribers for the long-term. It will be an ongoing process that needs to be one of your key areas of focus. When looking at customer journeys customer service needs to upgrade customer success.
Upgrading from Customer Service to Customer Success
Now that you know the difference between customer service and customer success, you should know about how to upgrade to the more proactive customer success. When you do, you reduce the amount of reactive customer service requests you receive, while increasing customer satisfaction. Of course, you are also increasing the success of your customers.
Gartner Research has found that 9 out of 10 companies now understand that they need to compete based on how great of a customer experience they provide to their customers. What this indicates is that you cannot slack on upgrading from customer service to customer success, if you want to stay competitive.
Understand Your Most Important Asset
Your single most valuable asset is your customer. The sooner you realize this, the quicker you will achieve higher revenues. To really embody this understanding, you need to make customer success a priority. While the upgrade from customer service to customer success may be subtle, it will be the key to your customers continuously renewing their subscriptions, which will extend your revenue stream.
Look at Your Customer’s Goals as Your Goals
In customer service, you are responding to inquiries and issues your customers are faced with. With customer success, you are proactively striving towards helping your customers achieve success. Why not make your customer’s goals your goals? For example, your customer has a need that can be fulfilled by your product. Stay on top of whatever your product is continuing to fulfill that need. When it does, they will continue to renew their subscription. When they do, you will continue to receive revenue from their subscription. Their success is your success.
Pursue Success More Than Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction has become part of a mantra in the world of business. However, just because you have satisfied customers doesn’t mean those customers will stay loyal to your business. That is why you should really emphasize customer success as being a primary pillar of your company mission. You want to ensure your customers are successful above and beyond their expectations, because that will ensure you retain loyal customers who will provide you with revenue for the long-term.
Optimize Your Customer Engagement
A Gallup study has uncovered that companies that provided the greatest customer impact receive 72% more engaged customers. It can be the most significant predictor of how much growth you will generate. When you provide meaningful change to a customer and their needs, you increase their engagement with your product. Outperform your competitors and enjoy more growth than they do. Increasing customer engagement will lead to them staying subscribed for longer.
Turn Your Customers Into Your Advocates
The greatest thing that can happen for your business is for your customers to succeed in their goals. When this occurs, the doors become open to direct recommendations and referrals coming due to their customer success. This is far more valuable than any advertising you may do. Personal referrals are significantly more meaningful and trusted than ads. When customers are satisfied, they are content. When they are content, they stick around for longer.
Both customer service and customer success are important functions to perform in your SaaS business. Customer service is a necessary reactive situation you need to be ready for, to quickly resolve any issue a customer may have. Customer success is a proactive approach that you initiate, to ensure a customer is satisfied is achieving the success they envisioned they would achieve with the help of your product. 13
When we take a look at journeys customer service has to get upgraded to customer success. This refined focus on the success of your customers’ needs to be engrained into your organization’s culture. The more success your customers actualize, the higher loyalty they will have to your product and the more word-of-mouth referrals you will receive.
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.
Published June 18, 2020, Updated December 30, 2020