Time to Value: Customer Success Best Practices to Help Your Customers Grow
Your customers are working with you because your company’s products and services are valuable The quicker you can deliver that value, the more likely you are to build trust and loyalty with customers. When you have customer loyalty, you have the basis for an ongoing relationship that generates customer lifetime value.
Thanks to the digitization of business, your customers have more choices than ever before. They can freely move between solutions until they find one that returns the best value for their investment. You must prove quickly that you can provide that return. Time to value (TTV) in customer success is quickly becoming one of the most important aspects of building and maintaining mutually beneficial growth, as well as a KPI for company performance.
What Time to Value in Customer Success Means
Customers have specific goals to drive the growth and success of their enterprise. Your ability to help them reach their goals depends on two things:
- The suitability of your product to achieve the customer’s desired outcomes.
- Your team’s ability to use customer success strategies that maximize the speed and the degree of success of the customer experiences.
Time to value is, therefore, both a goal and target KPI. It is dependent on the enterprise-wide dedication to delivering value quickly and the actual measure of how long it takes for the customer to realize value.
A fast TTV is achieved by making a commitment to gather, share, and act on customer data.
Why Time to Value in Customer Success Matters
Value is the proof your product works. It fulfills the promises established during the sales process and is the basis of your customer relationship. Delivering results quickly gives customers the confidence that they made the right choice and increases their likelihood of continuing the partnership long-term.
By contrast, if your customer has to longer than expected to start seeing value from your product, they run a high risk of churn. Why should they continue to invest in a partnership that doesn’t meet their goals?
Fortunately, you can avoid such a scenario by using customer success best practices that maximize a customer’s opportunity to experience value.
Best Practices for a Fast Time to Value
Onboarding is your organization’s first opportunity to bring value to a new customer. The process is all about progressing the customer from product awareness to product mastery as quickly as possible and involves education in both your products and industry best practices. A customer remains in the onboarding phase until they can independently incorporate your product into their daily workflow. The sooner your customer can use your product, the sooner they can achieve value.
You can reduce time to value for your customers during onboarding by demonstrating a clear link between your product and their business goals. The customer success team should measure the customer’s progress against established goals and engage with the customer to keep them on track.
For example, you can aim to have the customer complete onboarding within an optimal timeframe. Likewise, you can anticipate and avoid customer challenges during onboarding and make sure issues are resolved within a specified timeframe—long before they become an escalation.
Onboarding is the customer’s first experience of your product and, therefore, your first opportunity to speed up time to value. However, there are also strategies you can employ throughout the customer journey:
- Set Milestones Based on Customer Goals. The first step to delivering value is understanding how your customer defines it. For example, a software company may be hoping to increase the conversion rate of free product trials, improve customer support ratings, or efficiently track revenue across accounts. Whatever the desired outcome, your internal goals should reflect theirs.
- Effective Customer Engagements. Engagements need to be proactive and personalized based on the unique customer situation. Understanding the customer’s business and using data and technology to support customer interactions will enable the CS team to deliver value with every engagement.
- Set Up an Early Warning System. Customer data will reveal when a customer is struggling. Use a system that can be triggered by these events to alert the customer success team and provide the customer success manager clear next steps to take—whether it’s following up right away, scheduling a meeting, or reaching out to a specific key contact. This way, you can respond right away and quickly get them back on the path to realizing value.
- Anticipate Customer Needs. Your experiences with previous customers should prepare you to anticipate the future needs of current customers. You should, for example, be aware of potential bottlenecks during onboarding and be ready to apply a trusted solution. Or you might know that a midsized software provider is likely to benefit from certain product features at a specific time in their journey.
- Always Keep Improving. The best customer success companies are those that run multiple programs and initiatives, measuring their success and iterating. Continuously improving your work with customers will make sure you stay relevant and helpful to your customers.
- Employ an Agile Software Solution. Your customer success team needs to understand and react to the customer experience in real-time. To effectively monitor the changing customer experience, you need a customer success platform that not only collects but also analyzes customer data and helps your team take results-oriented, goals-based action. Your software should pull data from a range of sources, make this data available to teams across your enterprise, and help you identify key patterns.
To maximize time to value, your customer success team must gather, understand, and act on customer information. When you do this, you will set your team—and your customers—for success.
Time to Value is Vital to Customer Success
Your customer came to you with specific goals. Providing them with value as quickly as possible is your way of giving them peace of mind that they’ve found the right solution. Establishing this credibility early in your relationship makes it easier to continue your partnership. By optimizing the time it takes to master your product and constantly tracking customer progress, you give your customers even more reasons to work with you.
Totango’s customer success platform helps you deliver value throughout the customer journey. When you explore Spark, you’ll find a solution that generates actionable goals that guide your day-to-day engagements. Request a demo today and turn your best intentions into practical solutions.