Customer Success for Service Companies

September 15 2019 0comment

All businesses promise to deliver value to their customers. The starting point for excellent customer success is that the promises are kept, empowering the customers to achieve their business goals. However, customer success extends to driving long-term customer lifetime value through various processes and operations.

For a service company, the operations could be focusing more on renewals and upsells, keeping the communication lines open and responsive, enlightening the client about new solutions you can offer, or checking up on dormant accounts that are likely to churn.

Value Creation for Service Companies

In customer success, we could classify the goal of maximizing value into monetized and non-monetized value. The monetized value is displayed when your service company delivers more than the client paid for or expects. The non-monetized value is maximized for improved all-around customer experience with your company. The CES index (Customer Effort Score) measures this value by asking customers how easy it was for them to work with you. This metric should be used to evaluate all your departments and not just the customer success team.

Another non-monetized value creation approach is to conduct an in-depth assessment of your customer’s expected business outcomes. Through this, you can identify other business problems that your service or SaaS can solve for them. You can then open a buffet of other business outcomes that the client can extract from your service. The client will select ideas that are important to them at that time and you can finish the job by showing them a blueprint of how to achieve more with your service.

All your departments should be geared towards this value creation journey. Ensuring customer success will require turning the entire business around to be customer-centric. Regardless of company size, the customer-friendly mindset must be spread across all departments as it is crucial to customer retention and long-term relationships.

Client Success Approach for Small Companies

If you have a startup or small service company, begin working on implementing client success strategies early. Here are a few processes that worked successfully for our consulting firm, CSM Practice:

1)   Onboarding Process

The onboarding process for new clients should demonstrate utmost integrity and be as easy as possible. At this stage, only necessary information should be requested to make the process less cumbersome. This process leaves a lasting impression on the client so it should be handled carefully.

2)   Meeting With the Decision Makers

When conducting an Executive Review meeting with your decision makers, update the top executives about recent progress and business outcomes that are important to them. Leverage the executive review meetings to open the discussion and ask questions about your client’s overall business direction, goals, and key challenges. Find out opportunities to optimized solutions for them and help them scale their operations and become more efficient.

3)   Workshops

For key accounts, consider offering free on-site workshops to engage in more in-depth strategy discussions and continuously develop a trusted advisory rapport with your decision makers. These workshops can help you discover opportunities to add additional business value to your clients by offering additional services or technical solutions to help with additional business areas, processes, and goals.

4)   Customer Experience Evaluation

Having considered the client’s business outcomes, focus on augmenting the client’s experience with you. To constantly find opportunities to do so, consider using a tool to promote transparency and better collaboration on open tasks related to your service offerings. This will help you and your client complete open tasks in lesser time, improve your bottom line while improving the customer’s experience. For CSM Practice, collaborating on projects on a shared workspace (we use Redbooth) made it better, easier, and more cost-effective to work with us. Putting the customer in the center of how we deliver our services is the bedrock of customer satisfaction, as well as customer success for a services organization.

Client Success Approach for Large Companies

Effecting business-wide changes for larger services companies is different due to its already existing functions. As such, implementing a successful customer success plan at this stage requires strong executive interest. With this support, a CSM team can be developed according to the company’s service model.

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Since large services organizations often manage a large client base, their Customer Success team will typically include account executives that manage different tiers of account. This account segmentation is done to prioritize resources based on the amount of business each client does with the company. The top tiers receive dedicated attention (“High Touch” model) while the lower tiers – which might make up the largest pool of clients – get periodic checks (“Low Touch” model).

Client Success Metrics

After all is said and done, you need to measure your success with respect to every client. For service organization, we recommend gauging the health of each account by asking the following questions :

1)   Is the client engaged in the project and dedicating the appropriate resources?

2)   Does the client have a clear plan on how to assess the success of the project with you?

3)   Do you have repeatable business with the client?

4)   Has the client given you a referral?

5)   Is the client willing to give you a testimonial for your website?

Summary

As service companies strive to increase customer value, the key to customer success is a joint effort across all departments to maintain a customer-friendly front. From meeting with the top executives of your client’s company to segmenting your accounts, your customer success endeavors will increase your productivity and generate monetary and non-monetary value for your company. With over 20 years’ experience and a solid playbook, CSM Practice can take your service company into the next phase of customer success and satisfaction.

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Written By:

Irit Eizips

Irit Eizips brings deep expertise in the area of Customer Success. As an early member of Gainsight's executive team, Irit has been pivotal in shaping Customer Success methodologies and best practices. For the past 3 years, Irit has been voted as a top Customer Success influencer and is frequently featured as a speaker at conferences and Customer Success public events. Irit serves as CEO for CSM Practice, a global Customer Success consultancy firm. The firm specializes in working with customer success leaders to accelerate the creation and implementation of Customer Success strategies, derive extensive value from Customer Success technology solutions as well as certify and train customer facing teams in becoming more proactive and efficient.

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