The challenge of the digital marketplace is to make every customer feel like they are your only customer. Thankfully, the same advances that helped build that digital market also make it possible to provide every customer with personalized service.
Having the ability to automate your CS teams’ work can make customer success scalable. For large high-touch accounts to tech-touch accounts, and everything in between, automation—used the right way—can add value for customers, while freeing up time for your Customer Success team members to focus on high-impact projects.
With the right customer success software features, you can maximize your time, resources, and ROI—and that of your customers.
What Is Customer Success Automation?
Customer success automation is the process of turning data into goal-oriented, results-based action. More than just the collection and dissemination of real-time information on the customer experience, automation makes use of data to trigger action—whether automated action or prompts for your team—driving proactive, personalized engagements that create a more consistent experience and ultimately increases renewals and reduces costs.
It is a process headlined by five key practices:
- Enabling Personalized Communication at Scale
- Establishing Best Practices to Operationalize Your Team
- Providing Warning of Churn Potential
- Producing Instant, Highly Visible Customer Health Checks
- Matching Expertise to Customer Needs
Each of these benefits allows your Customer Success team to reach their customer service and retention potential. In turn, your enterprise can grow into the future while remaining nimble and efficient.
Why It Pays to Be Nimble
The recent uncertainty created by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has provided ample evidence of the need for subscription and software-as-a-service (SaaS) enterprises to remain nimble and highly responsive at any size.
The digitization of business has already placed customers in the driving seat of service provision, with subscription services offering minimal expenditure and commitment. Coupled with the economic downturn, the situation has challenged enterprises to adapt to their customers’ changing financial positions and find new ways to provide value, or risk becoming an unnecessary “extra” that is cut from the budget in favor of services providing clearer value.
Enterprises that can continually evolve with their customers, identify new challenges, and provide solutions no matter what conditions arise, are the ones that earn the recurring renewals and upsells that maximize customer lifetime value.
So, how does customer success automation keep you nimble even as you grow?
How Customer Success Automation Works
Customer success automation is the use of customer information to improve the delivery of customer value, leading to mutual growth. Customer data should be drawn from every aspect of the customer journey, from the demographics captured at the sales event to the product usage data that flows from the customer’s incorporation of your product into their daily workflow.
Aligning your enterprise goals with your customer’s creates a customer-centric model that research suggests is 60 percent more profitable than traditional systems.
What you do with this information changes as the customer progresses through the stages of their product journey, but at each turn, your automation should make it simple to turn hard data into actionable goals and KPIs that deliver real-world business success for your customers. Aligning your enterprise goals with your customer’s creates a customer-centric model that research suggests is 60 percent more profitable than traditional systems.
Automation makes this process more effective by helping your staff maximize their ability to support your customers. With trigger-based tasks and actions, CS team members get clear and easy insight into what they should be doing next to reduce churn, capitalize on opportunities, or increase adoption.
1. Enabling Personalized Communication at Scale
The right customer success software makes it possible to ensure regular interaction between customer and enterprise that offers personalized value to customers and feels high-touch, regardless of the customer’s tier.
That’s because a customer success solution lets you collect the customer data you need and use it to intimately influence customer behavior along the product journey. Segmenting customers into closely matched groups, observing feature usage, and balancing progress against optimal performance gives a single customer success manager the context to reach out to many customers in a way that provides value. That might mean offering training on an unused feature, collaborating with the customer on a new set of goals, or offering to re-onboard a particular customer.
Provided that incoming data is actioned correctly, you can celebrate every customer achievement and ward off any potential churn with the sensitivity of one-to-one communication.
2. Establishing Best Practices to Operationalize Your Team
Getting your team the data they need is a start, but equally important is having the next steps preset and ready to go for situations you know will come. Give your team the advantage of what you already know by helping them with their next steps. Automating your playbook allows you and your team to have a clear, standardized path forward that leaves less room for ambiguity and ensures a consistent customer experience across the organization.
3. Providing Warning of Potential Churn
Conversely, automation can provide advance warning to ward off potential churn. Often, by the time it is apparent that a customer is going to churn, it is too late to win them back. Automation offers a way to predict churn. If customer usage of your software falls by a certain amount, for example, a SuccessPlay would alert the CSM that a customer has been identified as at-risk and ask them to schedule a follow-up in order to identify where they may be struggling or to schedule a meeting with their director to discuss their findings and make a game plan. The details and execution of this campaign can be automated using your customer success solution.
4. Producing Instant, Highly Visible Customer Health Checks
The best way to save your Customer Success team time is to increase their ease of access to data across their portfolio. By combining a range of customer behavior metrics with proven business algorithms, you can create a highly visible, color-coded indication of every customer’s health score. This score places the customer into one of three categories according to customizable metrics and can suggest action to reduce possible churn or take advantage of the chance for expansion. This is the tip of what is possible using a solution that is built for Customer Success, but the onus remains on staff to take action based on digital alerts and triggers.
As with each of the above customer success automation best practices, an easily digested health score allows your team members to accurately assess their portfolio in just a few minutes. They can then spend the rest of their day acting on the opportunities they just uncovered.
5. Matching Expertise to Customer Needs
You can save time and resources by allowing automation to dynamically pair your product experts with the right customers. Dynamic engagement is the next big step for customer success, it makes for more efficient and cost-effective use of your entire organization, while better aligning customer needs with expert solutions. Totango created dynamic assignment to help connect incoming customers with product experts and to expand the reach of the customer success team to include the entire organization.
It encourages a smoother transition from product promise to the experience of value by maximizing your available resources. Dynamic assignment has the potential to improve the customer experience and make customers into promoters of your business while making the most efficient possible use of your team members.
Customer Success Automation Relies on the Right Software
You cannot realize the full potential of time and resource savings that customer success automation offers unless your underlying software is capable of more than just data collection. You need a solution that uses effective metrics to create a complete vision of the customer and then offers easy ways to capitalize on that understanding.
Customer success automation lets every customer think they are your only customer. By taking care of some of the repetitive and time-consuming tasks involved in customer success management, automation gives your CS team more time to focus on building real and long-term relationships that offer value to every customer.