Senior Writer: Parul Saxena
Having an amazing product and marketing it effectively can definitely bring customers in. But the key to forming long-term relationships with these customers is ensuring their success with your business.
When done right, customer success can help you reduce churn, increase the value of existing customers by upselling and cross-selling, and create brand advocates that contribute to increasing the overall revenue.
There are many customer success techniques you can use. But one of the most overlooked ones is calling them.
How calling fits in with your Customer Success strategy
Calling customers helps you achieve your goals, and therefore it should be an integral part of the customer success strategy. By talking to their customers, organizations can:
- Identify (new) target personas: having a deep understanding of your buyer persona(s) is critical to driving content creation, digital product development, sales follow up, and really anything that relates to customer acquisition and retention.
- Map out different customer journeys: a customer journey is very specific to the physical experiences your customers have, so the best way to understand it is by asking your customers directly.
- Define what success looks like for each persona: each customer is unique, so their motivation or way in which they’re using your product is also different.
- Optimize their current onboarding journey: if your customer onboarding journey isn’t optimized in a way that helps your users understand how a product will solve their problems, it’s very unlikely that they’ll follow through with all the steps they need to take to start receiving the value of your product.
To make sure you’re reaching out to relevant customers and at the right time, you can also use customer success software. These types of platforms enable you to gain insight into customer product adoption behavior by tracking product usage in real-time.
They also help you identify renewal and upsell opportunities for additional services. Instead of wasting your time gathering information from various sources, you can automate customer success and spend more time with your clients. If you’ve always wanted to have phone conversations with your customers but never found the time to do so, now you know where to get that time from.
Here are 4 reasons businesses with recurring revenue models should use customer success software:
- Get a 360 view of your customers: see all the relevant data from various systems and platforms in one place.
- Stay informed: you need to know when a customer is stuck during onboarding, at risk to not renew, or about to churn, and customer success software can notify you in real-time.
- Understand customer lifecycles: a client that never finishes onboarding isn’t going to generate more revenue. With the help of customer success software, you can track customers’ journeys, get a global view of their progress, and proactively reach out when they need your help.
- Identify at-risk customers that you should prioritize: by constantly monitoring customer health, you can address potential issues before your customers decide to leave.
What SaaS businesses should ask when calling customers
First of all, you should NEVER “just call to check in and see how things are going”. That’s a waste of both your and your customers’ time.
Instead, you should aim to achieve one of the following:
- Inspire your customers: customers come on board with specific goals they want to achieve. You should make sure they reach (or keep pursuing) those goals.
- Hold their hand: if your customer success software reveals your customers are using a new feature for the first time, that’s the perfect opportunity to reach out and lend a helping hand.
- Highlight a win: take a look at their usage data within your product. Has a customer achieved one of their initial goals? This is the perfect opportunity to let them know. You can take this even further and write a success story so that other customers can achieve the same results as well.
You can also touch upon the following topics to trigger in-depth discussions and ensure you achieve maximum value from each phone call:
1) Ask them about their business use-case: business needs, requirements, and workflows keep evolving. They’re dynamic and hence, staying on top of them ensures that your product is in line with your customers’ goals and objectives. Business use-cases help you understand your customer’s needs better, opening the gate for up-sell/cross-sell and relevant future opportunities.
2) Ask them what it takes to make them successful: ask them how they define success. Or, simply put: “12 months from now, how will you determine whether this is a successful investment for you?”
3) Ask for feedback, both positive and negative: asking your customers about the times you’ve exceeded their expectations will bring happy memories back to their mindset and position the discussion into a positive framework. This will help you document your best product features and keep track of what we’re doing right. It’s also a great way to identify advocates and ask eligible customers to refer your product to their colleagues and professional circles.
At the same time, it’s important to face negative feedback head-on. When your customer cancels their subscription, the last thing you want is talking to them. But that’s exactly why you should do it – you need to learn the truth about your product.
4) Inquire about other products they use: always! Doing so gets you insights and knowledge about their ecosystem and the integrations they need. If you do this well, you can even create opportunities for cross-sells (if you have a multi-product portfolio) and thereby increase the ARR/MRR of their account.
Tips and best practices for calling your customers
- Be focused and patient; listen to your customers.
- Research your customers before calling them. Learn as much as you can about their business and, if relevant, take a quick glance at their peers and competitors.
- Research industry standards, geographic trends, common issues, and new changes to develop trust and enable easy decision making.
- Write everything down and send a detailed MoM (minutes of the meeting) right after the phone call.
- Send the agenda well in advance. Your customers should know what to expect out of your call to make the best use of their time.
- Set up the next call and mark it on the calendar (this shows interest and diligence).
- Set goals with your customers to add context and value to your call. This also provides a reason for them to talk to you again.
If there’s one thing you should keep in mind from these best practices, it’s this: your business exists to serve your customers. As long as you and your team keep that in mind, success is sure to come. Schedule your next customer call now.