By Szuyin Leow, LogicGate
Growing up, we are taught about the importance of a first impression. You likely heard something along the lines of, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” This holds true in the software industry. Getting off on the right foot with a new customer is key to the long-term health of a relationship.
Businesses often measure the health of customer relationships through churn. In the world of SaaS, the average churn rate is around 5%. One of the best ways to combat customer churn is through the Customer Success team. Within a software company, the Customer Success team is in many ways the growth engine of the business, helping prevent low adoption rates and churn. They are the primary driver of the customer experience. In other words, they are the ones making that first impression on your customers.
So as a Customer Success professional, how do you ensure you make a great first impression? Regardless of industry or vertical, there are common questions customers are asking. It is your responsibility to be prepared to answer them.
Let’s walk through some common questions your customers are likely asking and ways you can answer.
What Should Be Done Before Onboarding This Software?
Buying software is a big investment. To ensure your customer gets the most out of their investment, the team must align on what outcomes they are looking to achieve by implementing this new technology. “Success” can mean different things to different people, so thinking through each stakeholder group and what they care about is critical. Equally as important is identifying how the achievement of those success outcomes will be measured. Clear alignment on key results and metrics upfront can often help to highlight additional requirements which should be considered during implementation
How Can I Approach Change Management?
Any time a company is introduced to new software they need to plan for managing the change that comes with it. And with change comes the need to get buy-in, so helping your customers think through how they can encourage user adoption is vital. They must identify who will be involved, as well as when and wherein the process each stakeholder will fit in. You likely will want to get the whole team involved from the get-go. Whoever will be using the software should be able to provide input from the beginning of the onboarding process. By helping your customers give their team ownership of the platform, they will be more likely to utilize the product. It’s important to keep in mind less is more. You might need to encourage customers to take a phased approach to make adoption an easier process.
What Are Some Best Practices For Using This Software?
Companies want to know how they can best utilize a new software solution. They will learn from looking at what other companies are doing. Replicating the success of others is a common approach. There are ways you can support your customers in this. Consider creating an education platform for customers to reinforce and deepen their skills. Perhaps you can create a community for your platform users to connect with other customers and exchange tips and best practices. Templates can serve as starting points for customers looking for best practices. Your team has subject matter experts, so don’t shy away from leveraging your internal experts to share best practices.
It’s not enough to simply know these common questions, a Customer Success team that stands out will be proactive in coaching their customers to ask these questions. The goal is to have a successful implementation that helps establish a healthy relationship for the long run. But a truly successful implementation starts with proper expectations from the beginning, which requires great alignment internally. The Customer Success team needs to do their part in ensuring there is internal alignment so there can be a solid foundation set with each customer. Here are the four key stages of a successful implementation.
- Understand Client Needs
It’s extremely important for time to be invested in understanding the needs of your customer. This starts with an internal transition meeting with the sales team and sales engineers where you can better understand what expectations were set and what problem the customer is looking to solve. Your Customer Success team is comprised of experts on your product and in your industry, this is their time to leverage their expertise. Have a kickoff call with the client to reiterate what the goals and value of partnering with your company are. After that, you can conduct a deep dive into what challenges the customer is facing and where they are looking to make improvements. Don’t forget to take time coaching your customer on what they can be doing to ensure implementation is successful.
- Start Building
With the customer challenges in mind, it is time to start building out the application. This is a crucial time to set foundational pieces into place. Take time to share with key stakeholders and get their feedback. Again, this is a great way to encourage user adoption.
- Start Testing
Once you have the initial platform built out and approved, you can start adjusting. Continue to seek feedback from users - both the administrators and end users. Make iterations based on the feedback you get along the way to reiterate ownership to all stakeholders.
- Go Live
At this stage, your customer should be ready to go live with their software. You can offer further training here and answer any questions that arise.
The Customer Success team’s role doesn’t stop when the platform goes live. Be there for the customer to provide ongoing support, answer questions, educate them, and connect them with other customers to share ideas. By doing this, you can not only make a great first impression, but you can be part of the ongoing success of your customers and business.
About The Author
Szuyin Leow is a Director of Customer Success at LogicGate. In her role, she works with LogicGate’s customers and partners to operationalize their governance, risk, and compliance objectives to deliver meaningful results and value through the LogicGate platform. Before LogicGate, she worked as a cybersecurity GRC consultant at PwC advising clients across multiple industries on their Information Technology and IT Security programs.