In Customer Success we measure a lot: NPS, LTV, CSAT, Churn, Retention, Customer Health…. I could go on and on and on. And lately, the hot topic has been around ROI and Value Realization. Customers are combing through their spend with a fine tooth comb and weeding out the “nice to haves”.
This has me thinking, “what if we are spinning our wheels measuring the wrong things?”
- Why do your customers buy your product/service? Is it the same for everyone?
- Do you know what matters most to each of your customers?
- What are their goals & desired outcomes, and how are they pacing?
- Is your CS team merely reacting to the needs of your customers, or are they shepherding your customers on a journey to achieve real, tangible results that matter to them (and their CFO)?
Customer Success is not just a team, Customer Success is a business objective. Ensuring customers are achieving value and their desired outcomes should be at the forefront of your interactions with customers. More than ever, we need to put more emphasis back on value and helping our customers achieve their desired outcomes.
How to Get Started
- Talk to your customers. You do not have to “build” anything in order to start having conversations with your customers.
- Ideally you have sales notes that you can reference
- “When you joined X a year ago, you bought X because X, Y, Z. How are we pacing on those initiatives?
- How have your goals shifted?”
- Even if you don’t have those notes, you can still talk to your customers
- “I’m curious, when you began using X, what was most important to you?
- Is that still the most important or has that evolved?
- What are your biggest business goals today?”
- Enable and train your team on why these discussions are important, how best to communicate and discuss goals with customers, and how you would like them to track progress.
- You can begin with a list of common, assumed, or possible goals & outcomes. Eventually, create a list of higher level themes/ goals and a list of more specific desired outcomes.
- Talk to your team. Gain insights from different teams - marketing, sales, onboarding/implementation, customer success managers.
- Incorporate this list into your discussions with customers during onboarding & implementation and ongoing throughout their journey with your product and team.
- Look for commonalities around customer profiles on who is achieving success with your product and use this for discussion around Ideal Customer Profile
- Begin to put pen to paper and create a joint strategic plan with your customer.
- This should include their top goals, why they are important, how we will measure them, key stakeholders, and timelines for achieving.
- Make it clear what the milestones are and what is expected from the customer and from the CSM/team.
Tip: Many goals are too big or broad, a great CSM will break out the goals into more tangible, easier to digest, milestones and will help the customer determine smaller wins.
Increase Customer Experience
There are so many additional layers here to really level up your customer experience and team.
- Share this with your cross functional team to collaborate and gain feedback. Ideally, this becomes something that all teams can be using so your entire company is “speaking the same language” and creating a more natural, cohesive customer experience.
- Incorporate these questions into your surveys, especially if your team does not meet regularly with all customers.
- Leverage this discussion as an opportunity to create an Executive Business Review or a live customer on-site inviting the CFO and key stakeholders into the conversation.
- Utilize your Customer Success CRM to track the goals, timelines, key stakeholders, and how they are pacing.
- Use the data above to create reports to share both internally with your team and to help guide conversations with prospects and customers that are struggling with change management. This can help teams leverage storytelling to speak to the value your customers can achieve.
- Create targeted drip campaigns and messaging for each of the different goals and desired outcomes. You can enroll a customer in a focused campaign with resources and tips to help them achieve their desired outcomes. If you are not set up for 1:many, create templated emails and resources that your CSMs can leverage to help support your customers.
- Utilize your community to bring customers with similar goals together. Create roundtables and customer panels to help connect customers with each other.
Tools and Templates
When talking about customer goals and desired outcomes, Details Matter. Some sample questions you can incorporate into your discovery:
Look back questions:
- When you first purchased, you were hoping to….
- Why did you choose X…..
- What was your previous process….
- Why is this important….
- How will this impact your team….
- Who are the key stakeholders….
- When do you need to achieve this….
- What is your process today…
- How will you know when you’ve achieved it…
- Where can we start today…
- How are we pacing on X…..
- Have your goals shifted any over the past year…
To help you get started, I’ve included some templates for the Goals and Desired Outcomes discussion as well as a sample Joint Impact Plan that can be completed with your customers.
One of the most important things we can do is to stay laser focused on value for our customers and driving real, tangible results that matter to them. Help support your team and customers by measuring what really matters to your customers.
The Churn Benchmark Report shared the following graphic:
This shows that just measuring customer goals doubles their lifespan and that a customer is 6x more likely to stay when they achieve their expected results.
Julie Fox's people-focused approach to customer success involves understanding all facets of the business, getting to know customers, keeping up with an ever-evolving marketplace and industry, and a high level of accountability to make sure we deliver.
Julie is the Senior Manager of Customer Success at FloQast, who deliver workflow automation to enable the operationalization of accounting excellence.