Given how much the success of a company is dependent on the success of its customers, it is surprising that customer success, as a field, is only just beginning to gain popularity.
You ‘the business owner’ are not the hero. Your product or service did not make the customer successful. Your customer makes their own success. By accepting that, you put the customer first.Brian Gladstein
Everyone has heard of fields like sales, marketing, customer service etc. But customer success management? What’s that?
Very simply put, the field of customer success management focuses on the customer’s definition of success and how well they believe they’re reaching it. It’s about thinking from the point of the view of the customer, making them successful in their aims and thereby benefiting the company which is selling them a product or providing them with a service. As the title of this Forbes article says, “Customer success management is proving that the customer made the right decision to do business with you.”
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The Role of the Customer Success Management
The role of the Customer Success Management or CSM can best be understood by taking an example. Let’s say that you run a yoga studio. If you hire a Customer Success Manager, their job will be to make sure that the people coming to your yoga studio achieve the goals they have set for themselves. In order to do this, the CSM will have to think from the point of view of the customer.
- Understanding the Customer’s Aims: Why do people go to yoga studios? There are a few reasons. Yoga is a great form of exercise and helps people to get fit. Plus, it also calms the mind and allows you to think in a relaxed manner, which in turn leads you into making better decisions. In the long run, yoga can really improve your whole life. A customer at a yoga studio could be looking to reach any of these goals.
- Different Customers Have Different Aims: The job of the Customer Success Management is to keep in touch with the yoga practitioners at your studio and find out what success means to them. Each person will be looking for something different from their yoga practice; some people want to achieve short-term aims like a higher level of fitness and muscle tone while others aim for an improved long-term lifestyle. To what extent are they achieving what they want? Figuring this out is the job of the customer success manager, because a successful customer is one who keeps coming back.
- Knowing the Customer’s Options: If your customers aren’t achieving their aims, then Customer Success Management needs to figure out how to help them do so. Do they need to take more classes? Switch to a different form of yoga? Focus on different aspects of yoga, such as breathing or meditation? A complete familiarity with all the options available is indispensable to the customer success manager.
Basically, Customer Success Management needs to know the ins and outs of consumer psychology to understand why customers behave the way they do. They need to have a genuine interest in helping customers to get what they want in their lives.
What Does Customer Success Management Mean Today?
The truth is that everyone is looking for success in their lives. All the things we do—working jobs, running businesses, going shopping, even dating and having relationships—are geared towards being more successful. This doesn’t mean that people aren’t looking for happiness; they are. It’s just that the idea of success is deeply ingrained in our culture.
- Finding the Best “Deal”: In order to be successful, people want to get the best value for their money. They’re constantly looking for “deals”—the things which don’t cost much, last for a long time and are used a lot. And it’s possible to find these deals on many items—from the blender you use to make smoothies in the morning to the dress that you found on sale and wore on several occasions.
- Understanding Your Customer’s Mindset: In order to do this, ask yourself the following questions: How do you make sure that your product or service becomes a “deal” for the customer? How do you convince them that they’re getting the best value for their money? And that their long-term happiness and success are going to be positively influenced by what you’re selling?
- Money vs. Enjoyment: Remember that customer success management is not just about spending less money. Most people won’t mind spending more on a product or a service as long as they’re convinced that they’re getting good returns. Even luxurious items which cost a great deal, such as perfumes, can contribute to customer success management if they lead to that “Ahhh” moment in which there is true enjoyment.
Customer Success Management from the Outside vs. Success from the Inside
Success is one of those things which looks different from the outside and from the inside. When you look at someone else and think that they’re successful, you’re taking in their appearance, their professional life, their relationships, their popularity, their financial status etc. Money is generally a leading factor in determining whether someone is successful, at least from the outside.
However, as this article from Inc. puts it, “If you believe success is simply making (or having) a lot of money, you may be setting yourself up for failure.” This is because, from the inside, success is determined by whether the things you have in your life are bringing you true enjoyment. A successful day is one in which you string together a number of “Ahh” moments, in which you feel good about the things you do. You might have a good career, a good relationship, and a good family from the outside but if they’re not bringing you that sense of satisfaction on the inside, then you’re not going to consider yourself truly successful.
It’s important for customer success management to keep this in mind and figure out how the product in question can lead the customer towards their definition of success.
Gearing Up for Customer Success Management
Whether or not a customer is going to be successful after using your product or availing themselves of your service can only be completely determined after they make a purchase. Each individual is different and has different expectations and requirements. However, there are certain things you, as a business owner, can do to make sure that you’re helping your customers achieve their aims.
- The Personal Touch: Having Customer Success Management on your staff can help a great deal in making sure that your customers are achieving their idea of success. But even if you can’t afford to have a separate person for this purpose, you can make sure that your sales and customer service staff are trained to give your customers the personal touch, by getting to know what they’re looking for and how their lives can be genuinely improved.
- Organization: If you truly want to give the personal touch to your customers and assure them that their success matters to you, then it’s necessary for your right hand to know what the left is doing and vice versa. Your business needs to be run in an organized fashion and this can be done by using an app like Tallyfy which ensures that the tasks that you need to get done will get done without any fuss. It helps you to keep track of what’s going on within your organization without physically having to be there at all times.
- Responsiveness: Another thing that you can do to increase customer satisfaction and customer success management is to be responsive to what customers say. The point of customer surveys is to find out what customers are looking for. This information can also be gleaned from comments on your blog and social media pages. According to this article from Entrepreneur, “These techniques will help you transcend demographic lines to understand your customers’ emotions and behaviors.” What are people saying about the product you make or the service you provide? What changes are they looking for? How do they think you can help them to be more successful? Try and give them that.