Now, perhaps more than ever before, retaining customer loyalty is the key to maintaining a thriving business. In today’s web-based business world, clients are able to view other product choices with astonishing ease, while competitors are constantly prowling for new customers with high profile marketing campaigns. Compounding both of these factors are the economic effects of COVID-19, which have caused a significant number of companies to reduce their budgets over the course of the year. In response, many subscription-based businesses are taking another look at their digital customer journey and increasing the role of their Customer Success teams to show clients the value of their services as soon as possible to encourage renewals. One of the strongest tools at these teams’ disposal is digital outreach.
A digital touch allows teams to continuously demonstrate value at each stage of the customer journey and address client needs. In turn, customers will feel confident that your service is helping them meet their goals on a consistent basis. In this article, we will explore 7 actions that CS professionals can take to create a digital customer journey that inspires loyalty, drives retention, and increases lifetime value.
The Changing Reality of Customer Success
Even prior to the pandemic, the role of CS teams in the customer journey was shifting. Previously, customers were continuously handed off to one another, with a lack of centralized data. Marketing teams handled initial evaluations, sales teams worked through purchases, professional services onboarded new clients, support teams aided product usage, and account management leveraged renewals. Traditionally, CS teams worked in between the stages of usage and renewal to help demonstrate value and increase retention rates. Gradually, this role expanded over time.
Now, CS teams are helping to demonstrate value at every stage of the customer journey. Companies are striving to deliver value as soon as possible, and this requires clients to utilize product features and capabilities early on. To deliver this value-first mindset, businesses must optimize each stage of the customer journey to reflect client needs and provide an engaging experience. This is where evolving digital engagement within the customer journey comes in.
7 Ways to Create a Client-Focused Digital Customer Journey
Although the customer journey does have distinct stages, it is not a one-size-fits-all experience. Clients are unique, with individual needs, goals, expectations, and perspectives—one standardized approach across the board will never be sufficient. Fortunately, Customer Success software enables CS teams to quickly adapt the journey recording what works, what doesn’t, what has been achieved, and what still needs to be done.
To design and implement a digital customer journey, these seven actions are key:
- Design a Client-Centered Customer Journey: It is important to maintain a client-focused mindset at every stage of the customer journey—from onboarding to adoption to renewal. As you turn from journey design to implementation, it can be tempting to return to an operational attitude. A better approach is to keep customer goals first and form your strategy around them. By using a CS platform, you can document the evolving goals of your clients and constantly work towards achieving them.
- Define What Success Is and Manage a Scorecard: Record customer goals and metrics that capture value. Tracking elements like product usage, adoption, license utilization, open tickets, and feedback metrics will show how a customer is fairing along the journey. Tools like customer health scorecards consolidate these data points into an easily readable metric that is accessible company-wide.
- Work Cross-Functionally: A successful customer journey cannot be delivered by one team alone. Marketing, product teams, and customer service all need to share data to foster collaboration that benefits the customer. Enable everyone in your organization to have a real-time view of each customer to create seamless communication regarding goals and outstanding action items.
- Unify Customer Data: It is difficult to make decisions and enact change when client data is scattered and siloed. Today’s customer data platforms, in combination with customer success operating systems, place all data in one centralized location to create a holistic view of your customers and start providing data in context.
- Conduct Digital Orchestration: CS teams often deal with so many clients that regular personal interactions are not only impractical, but impossible. Having a digital fabric to facilitate workflows, customer responses, and client outreach enables customer success that drives value. A digital touch can be used to bring value to high-touch, low-touch, and every customer in-between.
- Share Customer Context for Collaboration: Without a shared context for where users are in the customer journey, collaboration becomes stunted. With shared data, everyone can make data-driven decisions based on the same customer data—your marketing team can search for customers in good health to highlight in case studies, your product team can track the behavior of users, and sales can search for referenceable customers.
- Consolidate Communication into a Single Voice: How you send an email probably differs from your colleagues. When these different styles are sent to the customer, the differing voices can be confusing. CS software can help you to unify communication into a single, consistent voice, ensuring your messaging is aligned with your overall brand.
Following these steps will allow you to understand the needs and expectations of each member of your customer base. As clients progress along the customer journey, these elements will evolve, and the capabilities of a Customer Success platform will allow you to make adjustments as needed and share them across your organization. These practices help ensure that customers continuously see value in your service, inspiring ongoing loyalty.
Build Loyalty by Optimizing the Digital Customer Journey
Engaged customers become loyal customers, and fostering engagement begins at the very start of the customer journey. Through the use of a Customer Success platform, everyone in your enterprise can understand the needs and expectations of each client and work towards delivering value at an individual level. At every step of the customer journey, updates can be made and unified messaging can demonstrate that these evolutions have been implemented.
Even in times of great uncertainty, you can drive retention and build loyalty by delivering an unparalleled customer experience—obtain these benefits through digital CS tools.
Totango’s Customer Success platform enables a comprehensive understanding of your client base, allowing you to orchestrate a digital customer journey that meets the needs of each individual user. In these challenging times, you can’t afford to buy before you try. Get started for free today.