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Top 5 Customer Success Trends in the COVID aftermath

September 9, 2021

Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95% (Bain & Company)!

Yet, budgets are tight, and COVID-19 hasn't helped, so it can be hard for Customer Success to be taken into account since it doesn't necessarily bring about an immediate ROI.

We wanted to share with you 5 Top CS trends and challenges we've identified for the following months.

1. Customer Success: companies won't be able to do without it

Customer Success has actually turned out to be one of the most valuable assets of SaaS companies:

Facing this upward trend, companies will have to enhance their CS strategy, making it an issue that concerns all departments (product, support, marketing teams, etc.) – not only the customer service.

So it has become clear that a culture of growth-oriented Customer Success has been emerging, aiming at providing the best customer retention and loyalty, so that companies can generate better ROI.

2. The increasing role of data and AI to uplift the CS efforts

a) Increasing use of data

Data have been used to drive business decisions since the early 2000s, but now that companies are becoming aware that Customer Success is unavoidable to drive growth and revenue, they're starting to focus even more on centralizing their data, while diversifying and scaling their data sources.

Since data are about deeply understanding the customers and their behavior and needs, data sources are bound to be both:

  • objective (what are the industry trends, the adoption rate, the product usage?)
  • and subjective (how do customers perceive the quality of the product, their relationship with the brand?)

In other words, CS teams are going to gather increasingly more data to try and build an accurate portrait of their customers. They'll therefore be able to build better Customer Experience and Relations in order to reach higher revenue.

b) Rise of Machine Learning and AI

In addition to an increasing gathering and use of data, machine learning and AI are going to be at the center of all CS strategies to help them analyze it. CS is indeed a truly complex field, that's why basing it more and more on algorithms will become inevitable: it will make CSMs' work easier, and they'll get therefore more efficient and more accurate.

3. The necessity of a health score to measure customer relationship throughout the customer journey

a) Health scores are an easy way to interpret accurately the large amount of data at your disposal

The purchase of the product does no longer sign the end of the customer journey: it's the beginning of an opportunity for companies to pay attention to customers' behavior and to take into account their feedback in order to enhance their overall experience.

That's why it's going to become crucial to select key data and interpret them efficiently.

This is where the absolute necessity of having a health score to interpret data comes into play: it will be a key indicator of whether the solutions provided to customers are consistent with their needs or not. And understanding clearly how they value the product will allow businesses to adapt over time.

  • Hence companies that use a health score will gain a clear advantage: they'll get a clearer and deeper understanding of their customers' health, and so they'll be more able to build customer happiness.
  • And firms who haven't adopted a health score will therefore lack the ability to track and fix problems and to know whether the customer has adopted the product or not.

b) Health scores are about to become inevitable for they allow a more constant follow-up and a better view of the product value

While dealing with individual tickets or complaint emails – which customer support does – is about resolving product-related issues, health scores are about understanding how your customers value your product: they take other metrics into account (website use, email opening, etc.) and give you a broader vision.

Today, to thrive in the long term, you have to follow up with your customers continuously, which you cannot do without keeping and maintaining a quality health score. In so doing, you'll boost your customer retention.

4. The rise of proactivity to solve the inadequacies of Customer Support and to offer a full customer experience

Even though a company needs and will keep needing a well-functioning Customer Support service in the future, merely providing products and support isn't enough anymore.

Firms will have to complete it by adopting a much more proactive approach to customer relations: having a proactive Customer Success strategy will allow them to develop a sustainable model based on identifying growth opportunities and issues before they even appear.

More proof that proactivity can concretely benefit your company

  • It boosts your customer retention rate: by proactively reaching out to them, you can enhance the feeling that they are cared for and therefore deepen your relationship.
  • It improves your advocacy rate: since you give them better care, your customers are more likely to speak well of your company.
  • As being proactive is often based on alerts, it helps you focus on your at-risk customers only rather than your whole portfolio: that way, you can spend more time to solve their potential issues (more about it here).

So how can you keep up with this trend and adopt a proactive CS strategy? Start by asking yourself the following questions before each action you undertake:

  • How can your product deliver more value to the customers?
  • How can your company improve relationships with the customers?
  • What can your company do to leapfrog your competitors?

So once again, companies that don't adopt a proactive approach will find themselves strongly disadvantaged, hence the increasing necessity of having both reactive Customer Support and proactive Customer Success to offer a complete customer experience.

5. Finding a balance between Automations and Human Interactions

A CS leader has no time to communicate manually with each of their accounts. Yet, a fully automated, non-personalized approach cannot be an option.

That's why it's becoming essential for companies to choose a well thought-out balance between automations and human interactions (be they per email, phone call, or direct message on social platforms), not to mention that most customers are now online (a trend that COVID-19 has consolidated).

This major challenge can be decomposed in two parts.

  1. First, companies will have to build customized automations and remember that 'automated' must never mean 'not personalized'. To do so, they'll have to custom what triggers the automations, based on customers' activity, status, position, etc. That way, customers will be more likely to feel that the message they receive is personally addressed to them.
  2. Second, human interactions will have to be used wisely. The necessity to build personalized, automated messages does not mean that human interactions are to be banned – far from it. The technology behind automations is precisely a way for CS leaders to select the strategic customers that need them the most.

In the end, automation will come as an inevitable tool that completes the traditional high-touch way of dealing with customers, making CSMs' work much easier since it allows them to select the customers they most need to have human interactions with, while maintaining automated, yet personalized relations with the others: they'll gain therefore both time, and efficiency.

Nalia's team
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