Everything you do in your business should keep your customers in mind – and that includes your tech stack! This guide will help you understand customer success and build the ideal tech stack to ensure your strategy succeeds.
Introduction to Customer Success
Let’s start by defining customer success.
This term refers to how you help your customers use your products and services. It is the process by which you anticipate customer questions and challenges to provide them with answers and solutions proactively!
The goal of customer success is to increase client satisfaction, so you can, in turn, boost revenues and customer loyalty. If you can get this right, you will also benefit from more upselling opportunities and reduced customer churn.
Growing companies recognize how valuable this is, and as a result, are 21% more likely to prioritize customer success than their stagnant counterparts!
The Difference Between Customer Success and Customer Support
You may be wondering, how is customer success different than customer support?
For starters, customer success focuses on proactive steps the ensure that your audience gets the most from your products. This team is responsible for taking satisfaction to the next level, collecting feedback, and using that data to drive your business to future success.
That means they focus on onboarding and ensuring your customers know exactly how to use your products and services to solve their problems.
Customer support, on the other hand, is a more reactive part of your organization. They handle questions from clients on the phone, via email, or on social media to solve specific requests. For example, if someone has trouble setting up a tool on your system, customer support is there to help.
Why is it Important?
Customer success is essential to the success of any startup.
If you want to drive revenue and improve your bottom line, start by looking at customer success. According to the Gainsight Pulse Conference, almost 90% of the revenues are being driven by customer success!
Another Forbes article echoed this sentiment, stating that the bulk of your revenue from a customer happens after the initial sale.
Similarly, customer success can help you significantly reduce churn. This is especially true when your business model is subscription-based and relies on renewals – you need to work to keep as many customers as you can.
Boosting retention requires you to have a team of experts proactively working to keep your customers happy. They must find solutions to problems that customers don’t even know they have yet to continue to derive value from your brand!
Doing this successfully will make the renewal sales processes easier too. It won’t be tough to convince customers to stay when they already have meaningful interactions with your team and products.
The Different Stages of CS
There are several different stages of the customer success function. As your business grows and develops, so will the efforts of your CS team. We can break this down into four distinct phases:
The first phase of customer success is basic support. At this point, your business is still small and having a website with a product specialist to back it up should be sufficient.
This individual will manage incoming inquiries and create internal documentation to troubleshoot as necessary. In other words, you are still not at the customer success level since you are mainly working on reactive processes.
Streamlining Your Processes
The next stage involves streamlining your processes to manage your growing customer base. You must implement the right systems at this stage so that you can stay on top of incoming inquiries!
Internal workflows and centralized knowledge bases are key here. Your support team should be able to quickly answer customer questions and move on to the next request.
Once your business has entered the phase where growth is happening quickly, efficiency becomes even more valuable. You will likely need to switch from individualized support to 1-to-many support to keep up with the influx of requests!
That means you need to take a proactive approach to customer success. This also involves offering self-service solutions and support. These tools will help you onboard large groups of people and prepare you for continued growth.
Scale your Reach
The last phase of customer success occurs when you have a considerable customer base of clients internationally. You need a comprehensive CRM system and several streamlined processes to keep your customers engaged and satisfied. Likewise, consider a complete customer success tool to support your efforts further.
Most customers will be able to use your self-service tools to get answers to their questions, and your dedicated CS team will proactively engage with them to boost the value that your brand offers.
What Tools Do You Need at Each Stage?
As you may have guessed, you will need different tools and technology at each stage of the customer success lifecycle. Unfortunately, the CRM tool market has been plagued with a lack of a tech stack dedicated solely to customer success.
Customer success in this market is complex and difficult, and having to use a patchwork of software to manage the process is inefficient. That's why you must build your tech stack with CS in mind!
Let’s review some tools you could consider at each phase:
The Build Stage
When you're in the build stage, your customer success team is still learning and deals with a lower volume of customers. You may not need a full-blown CS platform yet, so you can rely on things like spreadsheets and video-calling tools – for now.
Consider a tool like Custify:
Custify is a CS platform that is very intuitive and user-friendly. It allows you to customize the onboarding process and incorporates automation so you can set up your tech stack appropriately from the beginning. It even allows you to track the customer lifecycle and send personalized messages!
Pricing starts at $199 per month for up to 2 users and jumps up to $499 per month for 5 users. If you need more licenses than that, you will need to reach out to them for a quote.
The Early Growth Stage
In the early growth stage, you need a ticketing system and robust sales CRM. Similarly, as your customer base grows, so should your online community! You have moved past spreadsheets at this point since they can be inefficient and cumbersome with the volume of requests you have.
Consider a system like SmartKarrot:
SmartKarrot is a tool that lets you move your customer success team from just focusing on onboarding to brand advocacy. It is designed for fast-growing startups and is easy to use without sacrificing tools like predictive insights.
This platform offers a 14-day free trial, then starts at $499 per month for a total of 5 users. If you need more than 15 users, contact them for specific pricing.
The Later Growth Stage
As you enter the later growth stages, one of the most important things you need is multi-channel support. Not only are you dealing with a large customer volume, but there is more complexity when compared to earlier phases.
You may have multiple products and various target audiences, so your tech stack should center around a large-scale CRM that offers adoption tools and support.
Gainsight is one of the biggest names in customer success! It offers a robust set of features that can do everything from strategic planning to account management. Likewise, it facilitates employee onboarding to ensure that your CS team has all the tools it needs to drive your business forward.
The cost of this platform will vary, so you must request a quote from Gainsight directly.