If there's anything that COVID-19 has taught businesses, it's the importance of customer retention. In these uncertain times, a company's ability to keep its customers happy and engaged could be the difference between survival and failure. And as the customer becomes more powerful, the role of the Chief Customer Officer (CCO) grows alongside it.
What does a CCO do? Simply put, they are a company's strongest advocate for the customer. A CCO is a C-suite role that focuses on maximizing customer relationships and loyalty. CCOs also handle their company's posture on customer experience, service, and success—handling everything from ensuring secure customer data practices to designing customer-centric policies.
One of the most important responsibilities of a CCO is to create and manage a customer success team. This team is responsible for ensuring that customers can achieve their desired outcomes with your product or service. Team members work closely with the sales and support teams to help customers get the most out of your company's offerings.
Customer success teams are especially popular in the age of Software as a Service (SaaS). SaaS products are often more flexible and customizable than traditional software, which can make them more complex to use. As a result, customers need more guidance to get the most out of them and keep paying month after month.
Different industries and companies will have different approaches to customer success, but there are five best practices that all CCOs should keep in mind:
1. Don't Skip the Onboarding Process
Too many companies skip or rush their onboarding process, leaving employees to fend for themselves as they try to become familiar with the company's products and services. This is a recipe for disaster, as customers will quickly become frustrated with staff who are unable to provide them with the assistance they need.
Make sure your onboarding process is thorough and covers all of the basics that your employees will need to know to be successful. Use active verbs such as "explain," "demonstrate," and "teach" to make it clear that this is an instructional process. And don't forget to include a review of your company's policies and procedures so that everyone is on the same page.
2. Use Surveys to Map the Customer Journey
You can't improve what you don't measure, and surveys are one of the best ways to get feedback from your customers.
Each customer's journey is different, so it's important to get feedback at various touchpoints along the way. This will help you identify areas of improvement and optimize the customer experience.
One thing to keep in mind is to hit that sweet spot between too little and too much communication. You don't want to bombard your customers with surveys, but you also don't want to go too long without getting feedback.
The bottom line is that surveys are a valuable tool for understanding your customers and ensuring their satisfaction. Use them wisely, and you'll be on your way to success!
3. Automate Where You Can
Automation brings a host of benefits to any customer success team. It can help you keep track of customer engagement, identify at-risk customers, and free up your team’s time so they can focus on high-touch activities.
Examples of processes you can automate without breaking the bank:
Remember to be judicious about which tasks you automate. You don’t want to lose the personal touch that can make your team so successful. Some tasks are best left to humans, like building relationships and solving complex problems. When in doubt, err on the side of personalization and human interaction—you never know when a small gesture will go a long way.
4. Offer a Self-Service Option
Providing self-service options can be a game-changer for your business. For many customers, going through a company's customer service process is a last resort. More often than not, customers would rather find the answer to their question on their own using a search engine or company website.
To get started, consider creating a list of the most frequently asked questions by your customers. Then, write down clear and concise answers to each question, using terms that are easy to understand. Once you have a solid foundation of content, you can start building out your knowledge base by adding new articles and sections as needed.
You don't have to limit yourself to text, either—you can also include videos and images to help explain complex concepts. And if you're looking to go above and beyond, you can even create interactive content, like quizzes or infographics.
Note that your self-service options don't have to be perfect. What matters is that they’re available and that they evolve with your customers’ needs.
5. Touch Base with Other Departments
Customer service is just one spoke on the wheel of success. To make your team even more effective, encourage transparency and communication with other departments in your company. When customer service knows what's going on in product, engineering, marketing, and sales, they can make sure every issue is getting the attention it deserves—and keeping customers happy becomes a team effort.
Developing and maintaining open communication lines can be difficult, but there are a few things you can do to make it easier:
Your customer service team leaders--from the VP of customer success to the Chief Customer Officer—should model the kind of behavior they want to see from their reps. If they're not willing to open up the lines of communication, it'll be that much harder for everyone else.
More and more companies are looking to their CCOs to build and lead customer success teams.
These teams can spell the difference between a one-time buyer and a lifelong advocate. When customers are successful, they not only continue to use your product or service but also become their biggest advocates.
Following the five tips above will help you create a customer success team that can take your company to the next level! And if you’re looking to take your business all the way to the top, consider Clairant Services. We’re dedicated to helping our clients thrive!
Contact us today to get started.
Desirae Haluk is passionate about marketing for startups and small businesses. For the last 15 years she has held marketing executive positions for organizations both large and small. She realizes that her true passion is helping establish, grow and evolve startups and small businesses to make them successful and help achieve their goals.