A profitable Customer Success framework is built on the various stages that a customer goes through in his/her relationship with your business. On the other hand, Customer Experience, which is an important component of Customer Success, is created at every level of the contact between the customer and vendor.
While building your Customer Success framework, you should be able to:
- Recognize your customer personalities
- Create customer segments
- Map the customer journey
- Determine when and how to engage with customers
- Appoint a customer success leader
- Set up dashboards and reporting structure
- Develop your customer success team
- Decide whether to build or choose a customer success platform
What is a Customer Success Framework?
The customer Success framework is not a blueprint. It’s a process, a series of steps that encourage your customers to become advocates. They become advocates as they realize the value that your product brings to the table. They realize the value because they’re able to achieve their business goals.
You see, this is a repeatable process that starts post-sales. Once a prospect becomes a customer, the wheels of the framework start turning. Hence, the Customer Success framework is the foundation to design and build your aligned processes.
Why is it essential to design a Customer Success framework?
The recurring revenue model of the B2B SaaS industry pushes the Customer Success teams to retain and expand the existing customer base. But, customer retention and expansion are no joking matters! Without a proper framework or strategy, it is impossible to attain these goals.
There is no stability without a framework. Even if part of the framework is missing, your Customer Success structure will eventually break.
The importance of the CS framework has increased because Customer Success is now a critical business practice in most SaaS organizations. This framework is built on the main pillars of Customer Success to ensure the efficiency of processes. A profitable customer success framework is crucial to:
- Envision what your company wants to achieve,
- Align all the relevant cross-functional teams,
- Create a strong foundation for the critical processes, and most importantly,
- Generate recurring revenue for the business.
Let’s understand the process of designing a profitable customer success framework in detail.
Designing a Profitable Customer Success Framework.
To begin with, identify the stages of your customer’s lifecycle. Then, for each stage, make a list of the actions your customer does. At each stage, try to anticipate the customer’s expectations.
Identify the roles, processes, and tools that will help customers achieve their goals at each level. Keep in mind that all your clients are unique!
Suggested Read: How to Develop a Customer Success Strategy
While the concept of a customer success framework is appealing, determining where to begin can be tough. There are 4 steps to creating an effective and profitable customer success framework;
- Define the stages of the client lifecycle for your business.
- Make a list of what your customer does at each stage.
- Try to gauge the customer’s expectations at each phase.
- Identify the roles, methods, and tools that enable customers to achieve their goals at each level.
A better way of looking at it is to build the customer success framework around the core processes of the Customer Success function.
So start mapping your customer’s journey! Remember, before you start building a profitable customer success framework, you need to have a Customer Success tool in place. This tool or software helps you in carrying out the major processes smoothly and efficiently.
This is the point at which the customer transitions from hearing about all the promises made during the sales cycle, to actually experiencing them. It is your company’s obligation to ensure that the customer’s expectations stay the same as they were as when they initially agreed to acquire your service. There’s nothing like having a proper onboarding strategy in place ahead of time. This strategy aims at targeted onboarding by creating segments or customer groups.
Most of the churn happens at this stage. If you have got a good onboarding strategy in place, it automatically ensures higher chances of renewal. Translating into higher recurring revenue. So, that makes your customer success framework profitable!
Although a perfectly onboarded customer is usually a happy one, you still need to engage them with your product going forward. And to do so, there are different engagement models you can utilize for different segments of customers.
- High-touch customers – The customer segment that requires a dedicated Customer Success Manager (CSM), Business Review (QBR) meetings required, etc.
- Medium-touch customers – This is a hybrid model of human interaction and automation.
- Low-touch customers – This customer group is managed by automated techniques rather than having a dedicated CSM
The customer Success Framework or customer success plan must be personalized to the customer group as well as the stage of the customer journey the customer is in. It is necessary to define and follow the parameters of such engagement. For example, if high-touch clients are promised business review meetings every three months during the adoption period, it is critical that they actually get them.
Customers who adopt your product and realize the value it offers like to stick with it. You can call them a devoted customer once they have fully accepted your software and have fully integrated your product with their business ecosystem, as evidenced by their real-time usage data. As a result, you can take advantage of their loyalty in a variety of ways, once you’ve confirmed that your product is their first choice for meeting their business needs and that they will undoubtedly renew their subscription.
On the other hand, to create a profitable Customer Success Framework, one must keep in mind the scope of retaining your existing customer base. You must not only acquire new customers but also retain them, otherwise, you can’t succeed.
Renewals and/or Expansion
The best time to upsell or cross-sell your product to a customer is when one has gone through all of the stages of adoption, has acknowledged the value of your product, and has decided to become a brand advocate. It is at this point that the CSMs are able to easily predict the customer’s response if contacted to discuss the possibility of expanding their business in light of previous interactions.
Some important points to remember:
- Collaboration and teamwork are essential – For a successful renewal process, your customer should interact with several people at your firm during the journey. And documenting these interactions helps everyone to quickly review recent transactions and get up to speed on the account’s current status.
- Metrics can help you improve your software and provide insights into data. Data that can show potential renewal/expansion opportunities.
- Scale with Automation – Having reminders and reports in place to alert you of approaching renewal dates is vital; however, it is equally essential to remind consumers of their impending renewal dates.
Expansion can take the shape of a service renewal or the purchase of related or higher-featured versions of products. In any event, the customer success personnel should be able to gloss over how their new offering’s values have been enhanced while promoting them to clients.
Customer advocacy aims to turn your most ardent and committed customers into brand ambassadors. These brand ambassadors, in turn, spread your company’s message at every chance they can get. In today’s corporate world, advocacy can take many forms, it can be verbal referrals to your company, online posts, blogging, references at events, etc. Through your advocacy campaign, your organization receives critical client feedback for product development while building up customer retention.
This whole process of designing the framework recognizes the criticality of the first 90 days of a Customer Success leader.
The B2B SaaS industry’s recurring revenue model encourages Customer Success teams to keep and grow their existing customer base. Customer retention and expansion, on the other hand, is no easy task! These objectives are impossible to achieve without a proper Customer Success Framework.
In conclusion, designing a profitable Customer Success Framework can be quite challenging. So, when developing these frameworks, work with your customers to align what success means for both of you. And determine what your client’s objectives are, who measures their success or failure, and how your product assists them in achieving their objectives.