What is Customer Success and Why Does It Matter?

Modern technology changed marketing. Focusing entirely on sales is not enough to be competitive. According to Forbes, retention and revenue can be increased by 25% when including the customer experience into an overall strategy. So, what exactly is customer success and why is it attracting the attention of so many chief marketing officers?

Defining Customer Success

Industry experts see customer success (CS) as a long-term solution. This is necessary to implement strategies that maximize value for both a company and its customers. It must include systematic procedures that find their origin in data. Scientific evaluation provides the basis for a company’s strategy. Solutions are multifaceted and affect everyone from salespeople and CS teams to strategists. Becoming readily apparent is how CS involves more than just sales. Customer acquisition is just one aspect. Acquisition is the starting point of an extended customer journey that develops into a cyclical CS pipeline. For simplicity’s sake, CS can be thought of as a scientifically engineered method to employ a company’s strategy that increases sustainable value and relationships with customers.

Why Focusing on Sales is Not Enough

A sales strategy alone will not account for relationships between consumers and the companies that produce the products they use. From the consumer’s perspective, this means that a user of a product cannot effect change when their needs are not being met. From a producer’s perspective, not knowing the mindset of their users results in inefficiencies and overly complex solutions. Similarly, customer acquisition only makes up part of a company’s overall strategy. A superior long-term solution will maintain, grow, and develop customer relationships. This enables companies and their customers to grow together. The best way to employ a long-term strategy is to embrace the entirety of the customer’s journey through the CS pipeline.

A Pipeline in the Shape of an Hourglass

UserIQ describes the customer journey taking the shape of an hourglass. In essence, there are two funnel-shaped ends. These two funnels can be considered purchase and after-purchase. The entry, or purchase, point is the widest. As a customer moves through the purchase funnel, fewer of them make it through to adopt a company brand, and so the purchase funnel narrows. UserIQ lists four key elements in addition to the purchase side of the funnel. These are listed below in the order that a customer is funneled through once a purchase has been made:

  • adoption
  • retention
  • expansion
  • advocacy

The customer journey resembles an hourglass because it is widest at the entry point of purchase, narrow in the middle at adoption and wide again at the end of advocacy. Automated marketing technology guides customers through the after-purchase funnel. CS tools are very important to moving a customer through into retention. Without CS tools, company resources can become excessively strained. The advantage of investing in CS tools is clearly shown by increased revenue that is directly tied to the expansion and advocacy stages. Qualified leads are generated during advocacy. It is here that the customer journey either ends or re-enters the purchase point.

Why Employing a Complete Approach is Essential

Each aspect of the CS pipeline is important to lead generation and ultimately new customer acquisition. However, it is not the focus on sales that most concern CS teams. Rather, the focus is on building customer relationships. CS teams are so committed to building relationships that their goal is to elevate a proactive company culture. This must be a symbiotic relationship between the customer and the company. They must both value the actions of the CS team.

CS teams and their tools are both essential to achieving the type of real, long-term relationships for the healthy flow of customers through the pipeline. Unfortunately, only about a quarter of marketing organizations believe that they have the best and most modern tools. This means that most businesses are letting potential customers slip through their grasp. Below are just a few of the factors that UserIQ recognizes CS teams must contend with:

  • analysis
  • user flows
  • friction
  • micro-feedback

CS tools are critical to an overall strategy because teams operate in a multifaceted environment. They must communicate executive strategies with the salespeople who interact directly with customers. In this way, CS teams and tools provide the fabric of a marketing strategy.

Final Thoughts

The customer journey proves to be more important than previously thought. CS tools can improve customer engagements, first-impressions, and onboarding. The right CS tools also aids a company’s effort to keep pace with innovation and scale their operations. CS strategies can be effective. They simply must apply each of these fundamental aspects.

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