The Corona crisis currently means working from home for many of us. This does not necessarily make working as a team any easier. You are stuck in online meetings with your own team, you have to share your WiFi with your 15-year-old, and the cat is always sitting on the keyboard. Working with external service providers? Additionally difficult. Often the impersonal ticket systems and long waiting times of the classic customer support do not necessarily make life easier, and certainly not in a crisis home office situation. It’s an advantage to have a Customer Success Team on hand who is always providing advice and, above all, acts.
“Every single employee, from the front line to corner office, should know what value your customers are seeking.” Tom Krackeler
A Customer Success Team (CST) includes Jan, for example, who enjoys dealing with technology, Luca, who tracks down errors in the manner of Sherlock Holmes, or Sofia, who has become completely familiar with the software and is very patient when she navigates Mr. Müller through the new upload function step by step on the phone. A Customer Success Manager (CSM) is someone who understands customers’ needs, makes them his own, and acts as a link between the company and its customers.
“You can focus on adoption, retention, expansion, or advocacy; or you can focus on the customers’ Desired Outcome and get all of those things.” – Lincoln Murphy
A CSM does not wait until a problem arises but works proactively with customers from the outset. The success of the customer always comes first, together with the success of the own company. This is an important point that leads to the fact that a CST is in a better position than a simple support team, especially in times of crisis, both from the point of view of the customer and the company. The CSM knows his customers, in the best case he has accompanied them from the very beginning and therefore knows exactly where the problems often occur and how to overcome the obstacles together. He ensures customer loyalty and thus secures the financial basis of the company.
Especially in times of crisis and general home office times, when the colleague cannot even come over for a moment to look together at a faulty process, it is important to be able to get in touch with your account manager. A CST is not only about the customer having to overcome major hurdles but also working together with the service provider as a partner.
“Today’s B2B customers feel empowered. They demand a whole new level of customer focus, expecting companies to know them personally, recognize their challenges, and cater to their needs.” – Dana Niv
The CSM knows his customers in detail. He passes on potential upselling opportunities to the sales team or discusses them directly with the customer. He knows the customer’s needs and can plan and implement appropriate solutions with the product development team. If an error occurs in the system, he keeps searching until he finds the root cause. To do this, he works closely with the development team. He is also an important source of information for the marketing department and management. The CSM knows the customers’ mindsets and how to address them in the best way possible. Which company is willing to share its Success Story on your company’s blog? Who might be able to bring more customers on board via a bonus program? Which FAQ would be useful next?
“Make everyone think about things from the customer’s perspective.” Mike Grafham
As a link between customers and the company, the CSM is responsible for much more than just solving the day-to-day problems of the customers. He must ensure that customers use the software exactly as it is intended. Therefore, he is not only responsible for trainings whenever changes in the system occur but also trains new customers, their employees, and partners. He is also responsible for other tasks like documentation, which ensures that the software is tested continuously, and that customers are informed of all changes. He is always in touch with them about new developments, changes, and suggestions for improvement. As the customer’s closest confidant, the CSM is most likely to notice when a customer does not feel comfortable and works out strategies together with his team to keep the customer with the company.
“With the shift to a SaaS model, the connection between your customer’s success and your success is much more direct.” Ken Lownie
If a company has a SaaS business model, it must convince its customers of its products time and again. The work is not completed by just signing the contract. That is why the Customer Success Team has become immensely important, especially in this business model. Classic support service is just one piece of the puzzle that makes the CST one of the most important teams in the entire company. By helping customers to succeed, the CS Team also ensures the success of the entire company. Therefore, especially in difficult times, it is better to have a Customer Success Team than a simple support and sales team. A CST works proactively to avoid problems occurring in the first place. It creates customer loyalty by listening to customers and addressing their concerns. It also provides valuable insight into the day-to-day work of customers and their needs, so that all teams can use this information to further improve the customer experience.