Min-Hwee Lim is one of Tenzing’s Sherpas, a team of commercially experienced talents who are deployed into our portfolio businesses. Our Sherpas deliver strategic projects that help our portfolio firms grow faster. In the first article in this series, Min explored the business benefits of customer health scoring. Now she sets out the wider advantages that customer success software brings.
Customer health scoring is a brilliant way to drive incredible customer insights that will help your business care for its customers, retain their trade and improve your turnover. Customer success software is a great tool to empower your business to accurately score your customers’ health. But it takes time to get a reliable score in place. Which is why it’s so important to understand the other quick wins you can secure for your business. Even in the early stages of the software implementation and well before your health score is ready.
Benefit 1 – more data and insights will help you improve customer care
Improving customer support and retention relies on having deep insight into the challenges your customers face as well as your ability to solve their problems. Introducing a customer success platform to your business provides more places for new types of data to be recorded. Data that helps you paint a more detailed picture of your customers and empowers you to act on your insight.
An example from the portfolio company I’m currently working in is the introduction of customer ratings. This is a subjective measure provided by the Customer Success Managers (CSMs). They regularly rate each customer’s sentiment towards the business and enter this rating into the system. Because they’re in regular contact with their customers, they may know something the data does not tell us. This empowers us to report on clients with negative ratings and take action to support these high-risk customers.
To support this process, we’ve also implemented reason codes. These codes allow CSMs to quickly select a definitions, like ‘product performance’ or ‘product feature’, to provide a rationale for their score. This has been quick and easy to implement. And, because the customer success platform doesn’t need to be fully functional to do this, we’ve gained amazing insights early in the project implementation.
These scores will also contribute to our customer health scores in future. But for now, this data provides new insight into the scale of issues that previously weren’t well documented. These challenges can then be addressed using the customer success platform’s other features. Like bringing problems to the attention of the product team or asking marketing to help with a campaign.
New software drives data improvements
You could also find that introducing this kind of software will force your business to resolve any data issues. An example that springs to mind from the implementation I’m carrying out is the introduction of a unique customer identifier across all systems. The business had intended to establish a unique identifier for a long time. But it was the introduction of customer success software that gave us the push to get this over the line.
By introducing a unique identifier we’ll be able to link our customer data and systems together. It will also empower us to make full use of our customer success platform, ChurnZero. And it will be easier to automatically and accurately update and record more customer information.
Benefit 2 – better data visibility across your business
When your customer data is split between systems you rely on time-consuming manual processes to access it. And, in some cases, the relevant teams don’t have access at all.
With all your customer success data regularly feeding into one platform, customer information becomes more accessible for everyone. Your Customer Success team will be able to pull up a customer’s account and see all the relevant, up-to-date information in one place. This also improves the customer experience as each CSM will be on the ball with the latest activity on the account.
The platform can also aggregate your data allowing you to set up custom dashboards. These dashboards give leaders a holistic view of all your customers and the products or services they buy from you. You can also identify a wide range of other information. From how often your customer success team is engaging with customers to the extent to which customers are using products. This high-level data allows your leaders to spot trends, identify anything that looks odd and dig deeper to solve problems. The dashboards also present the data in a visually pleasing way, making them perfect for any presentation.
Benefit 3 – segmentation secures customer support success
Another benefit of having all your data in one system is the ability to segment your customer base. With the customer success platform in place, you can easily run a report identifying different customer segments. The criteria will vary depending on your business but you could identify very specific customer sets using information like:
- Customers who are due to renew in the next x days
- Total contract value of more than £xk
- Customers with a low Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- Customers who have raised more than 10 support tickets in the last 180 days
Before introducing ChurnZero, it would have taken an incredible amount of time to combine this information. Particularly without a unique identifier. But now with a few button clicks, I can identify a specific customer subset. This gives me the ability to run targeted campaigns or automated customer care.
Benefit 4 – automation accelerates growth without compromising customer care
I think automation is the biggest benefit that customer success software brings. Without this software, CSMs would need to manually check hundreds of customer accounts every few minutes to keep on top of each account’s status in real-time. Obviously this isn’t possible. But with the right technology your business can do this and much more through automation.
Customer success software makes it easy to set up automatic alerts and trigger automated email workflows for a variety of situations. For example, alerts can flag when a customer hasn’t made contact with your business for more than x days. These flags prompt CSMs to contact the customer to see if there’s a problem they can solve. Or an automated email can be sent when a licence or membership is about to expire to prompt a customer to engage in renewal conversations.
You can also create more specific emails. Let’s think about the customer segment identified in the previous point. All the customers who meet that particular criteria will receive an email explaining the customer service improvements we’re making.
Using ChurnZero, it’s possible to set the system up so every time a customer meets certain criteria, an automated, personalised email can be generated. The email can then be sent from the relevant person, say a Director of Customer Success. This saves time because you would only need to set this workflow up once before leaving it to run in the background. The email could include:
- The customer’s first name
- The relevant content with wording signed off by marketing in your company branding
- A reminder of who the customer’s CSM is and their contact details
- The Director of Customer Success’ personal calendar link should the customer want to book any meetings directly
Transforming customer service
This kind of automation vastly improves customer service because it:
- Empowers your business to offer consistently high-calibre service while driving efficiencies. Instead of asking each CSM to manually check each account for issues and write individual emails to customers, you only need a few people to invest a small amount of time to set up the right automated email transcripts.
- Transforms service from reactive to proactive.
- Helps your business stand out by showing you care throughout the whole relationship, not just before renewal.
- Expands your business reach giving you customer service at scale while freeing up capacity for your CSMs.
If your business has growth and efficiency goals, you could find it’s possible to increase the number of accounts each of your CSMs look after. All while improving customer service levels and allowing you to scale your business at very little additional cost.
Benefit 5 – integrated systems lead to a more collaborative and efficient workforce
The average employee switches between 35 job-critical applications more than 1,100 times every day.
That’s a huge amount of time that could be better spent serving customers. And it’s another reason why I love customer success software.
When you integrate your platform with other business critical systems, both sets of data will be visible in one place. Which will prevent your CSMs from toggling backwards and forwards between the two platforms. This alone drives productivity. But there are other benefits too.
A CS platform will bring your company closer by centralising information and creating one place for collaboration. For example, as part of my current project, when a CSM marks a customer as being at risk due to a product performance issue:
- The product team is automatically alerted.
- As everyone’s emails are integrated into the platform, the product team can look at the customer’s account and see any communication between the customer and the CSM. Giving them key background information needed to problem-solve effectively. They can also find any recent support tickets the customer has raised plus the latest NPS and comments.
- The software also empowers your teams to create and assign tasks to each other and track progress. This ensures a more efficient way of working for employees and rapidly provides better solutions for customers.
It’s also worth noting that people in your company who don’t live in ChurnZero can benefit from customer success software too. For example, finance teams – who are often overlooked in this sort of project – would find access to the customer sentiment score helpful. If finance can spot an upset customer, they can hold back on sending a chaser email for a late invoice. It’s this kind of joined up thinking that can break down silos and transform your entire business’ service levels.
Customer success software can be truly transformational in a short period of time
Combining all your customer data in a customer success system is a brilliant way to gain powerful client insight and accelerate your ability to support them. Even before you configure your health score. There’s so much you can do with customer success software. From improving reporting and data visibility to driving engagement from the Customer Success team and automating customer care. All of which drives efficiencies for your business, boosts customer retention and enhances the bottom line. Making customer success software a solid investment for your business.