Every company should aim to be customer centric, providing a positive customer experience before and after sales to ensure growth of the business, through its customers.
However, when it comes to early stage start-ups, the focus is usually on selling as much of the product as possible. And while growth and volume are equally dependent on new sales, retention of customers and expansion of existing accounts; not every early stage start-up is ready to appoint a dedicate resource to manage Customer Success.
So what can be done today to ensure Customer Success in the future?
Note: As you read through the following actions, consider the implications each step can have on your existing teams, when navigating through the world of Customer Centricity (and eventually Customer Success):
Start collecting data - Collecting sufficient data to analyze and identify trends takes time! Start gathering data today so that you can avoid unnecessary wait time later on. Collect any and all data about your customers' product usage, activity and satisfaction, This data will serve you later in determining what variables are important in your customer journey. What contributes to the success of a customer vs. what can be identified as red flags that may bring to churn. This data will also serve your product, marketing and sales teams. Tip: Ask yourself what data will be relevant as you're looking to expand your business and focus your energy on customer experience and product usage.
Document everything! Almost everything is repeatable so start documenting what worked as well as what didn't (so that others can learn from these experiences). Document processes, activities, and suggestions that had positive results with your customers. Eventually someone will have to do it again, so write down the steps and actions you took to complete the tasks for your customers. When you're ready to hire, you'll be able to provide a playbook to follow (or at least start with), allowing you to focus your resources on higher value projects. Examples of things to document can include: Customer onboarding plans, strategies to show value (ROI), email templates, reporting tools (even if it's just excel), and business reviews. Later, you can easily turn this information into knowledge base articles, FAQs and even video tutorials that your future customers can use as "self-serve" materials, again saving you time and resources.
Choose systems that can scale with your business - In early days of a company, money is normally a scarce resource. It's important that you choose systems that not only answer your needs today but can scale with you in the future. Consider available integrations, customizations, relevance to multiple teams within your company (sales, marketing, support....). A good system will be able to provide you with a holistic view of your customers' interactions, activities and overall journey with your company.
Prioritize customer experience - 86% of buyers will pay more for a product or service if they receive better customer experience so make sure you have quick resolution times, have plenty of self-serve options and ensure consistency by training everyone within your company on how to interact with customers.
Define company wide success metrics - Knowing what metrics a company is focused on provides your marketing, sales and product teams with direction and will help you measure their progress. An example of a customer centric company metrics is increasing Customer Lifetime Value (LTV), meaning the amount of money that a customer will spend with your company over their lifetime. LTV will help you determine what is considered a good acquisition cost for new customers and/or what actions, functionalities, aspects contribute to higher valued customers.
The important thing to remember is that growth is not just new sales! Growth is about selling more product to the same customers, while spending less money and resources to land new customers.
If you take anything away from this blog, it's that you should invest early so that when you are ready to create and implement Customer Success strategies, you have already set up the infrastructure needed and can immediately work to grow the overall revenue for your company.