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Building a customer success plan

A successful company focuses on the success of its customers. Because what is good for your customers is also good for you. But how do you make sure that your organisation builds on customer success?

By Renée Müller

5.1 min read

11 October 2021

customer success plan

What is a customer success plan?

Let’s start with the beginning. Customer success means that you strive to get your customers to achieve their desired goals with your products or services. It translates into business strategies designed to support your customers through the buying process while reducing churn.

A customer success plan defines what customer success looks like for you and the steps your customer contact teams should follow to help your customers achieve their goals.

With this plan, you can accurately gather customer feedback, track people’s behaviour and needs and map out the customer journey from start to finish.

The insights gained will help your team further define what actions and resources are needed to ensure customer satisfaction.

But what is the difference between customer success and customer service?

The terms customer success and customer service often lead to confusion. Because if you already have a customer service team supporting your customers, do you really need a customer success framework?

The answer is yes. There’s one crucial difference between the two: customer service solves your customers’ problems while customer success anticipates their needs, challenges and questions.

A customer success roadmap is meant to better understand your customer, it gives your team guidelines to act upon. The roadmap also focuses more on your customer’s needs and goals than on desired business results. It is about your customer, not your company.

In summary:

  • Your customer service will deal with your customers’ questions and problems
  • Your Customer Success Team tries to anticipate common frustration points to avoid, so that customers successfully achieve their goals.

What is the point of a customer success plan?

There are plenty of reasons. Among them:

→ You reduce churn

Churn is the number of customers who stop buying products and services or cancel their subscriptions.

Customer abandonment is not good for business, so reducing churn is essential for companies that want to be successful and grow in a highly competitive market.

Your customer success plan will give you a better understanding of why your customers leave and help you prevent them from doing so. With the right plan, you highlight all the pain points of users and develop a strategy to reduce frustration.

→ It boosts acquisition

A good customer success plan will also help you acquire new customers. It is no surprise that word of mouth still works extremely well.

People like to share success stories and recommendations, which can have both a positive and a negative effect on a particular company.

Investing in a solid customer success plan therefore helps you both attract and retain new customers.

→ It will increase sales

An inside joke: more customers, more money. Customer retention and customer acquisition have a direct impact on your turnover.

High customer satisfaction leads to greater loyalty, positive mouth-to-mouth advertising, repeat purchases and long-term relationships, all of which impact the bottom line of your business.

Steps to building a customer success plan

Convinced, but don’t know where to start? The steps below will help you build a solid strategy.

Step 1: Make sure you have a clear understanding of your customer’s end goal

First, determine what your customer’s ultimate goal is. What will make him happy? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is our vision of the customer experience?
  • What values drive this vision?
  • How far or near are we from this vision?
  • How do we close the gaps?

Having a goal will help you achieve it:

    • Get a clear idea of how you want to develop your customer success plan
    • Keep in mind the gaps between the current state and the desired state
    • Have action steps and priorities in place

Take the time to research your customers’ needs and adjust your actions accordingly. Have you determined your goals? Then follow four steps to create a customer success plan:

  1. Identify the risks of your current customer journey. Work with your team to identify service gaps. Are your customers disengaging right after they go onboard or somewhere in the buying process? Gather data, including from feedback tools.
  2. Define the value-based outcome you want to see. Ask your team how they want to impress your customers. How does this fit into your broader vision? What resources in money, technology and people will you need to achieve it?
  3. Make sure each person in your team is responsible and accountable for at least one task. Ownership of the project will keep them involved. To start with, make a simple division of labour, but in time you can move on to advanced management tools to monitor your progress.
  4. Select the statistics you want to track over time.
  5. Decide with your team what your definition of success is. When is your customer successful? What tools do you use to measure success? Use this to build your appropriate KPIs.

Step 2: Build a Customer Success Team

To implement your customer success plan, you need a committed team. Your roadmap is a forward-looking document and to make it a success you need to make sure it is supported organization-wide.

In other words, the power of building a roadmap is to break through silos and unite perspectives on customer success across the company. However, this is not an easy task to complete.

Step 3: Appoint a customer success roadmap leader

And that person has strong strategic and communication skills. He or she has a holistic view of the vision, the stakeholders involved, the available budget and the market requirements. Typically, product managers are the carriers of customer success processes. But they need a whole team of professionals behind them.

One of the roles you should have at the table is that of data analyst. And don’t forget yourUX team as they know how to design things.

Your product manager should be someone who can bring different backgrounds together. Finding the right person to lead this process is probably the most valuable investment you can make.

Finally

A customer success plan is vital for sustainable business development. It will help you identify service traps but also improve your internal collaboration. Taking the time to create such a plan will ensure a successful future for your business.

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