Customer Success Playbook Strategies: Mapping a Path to Winning Outcomes
A customer success playbook maps out a game plan you can use to automate successful outcomes for your clients. Having a playbook in place can help you deliver better results for your SaaS customers and yield higher satisfaction, retention, and revenue for your business. Here we’ll show you how to use customer success playbooks to support your CS strategy:
- We’ll define the customer success playbook and clarify how customer success differs from customer service. Then we’ll consider the benefits of using success playbooks.
- We’ll walk you through a five-step strategy to promote customer success using playbooks.
- We’ll show you how to create a customer success playbook customized for your business.
What Is a Customer Success Playbook?
A customer success playbook is a set of best practices, key performance indicators, workflows, templates, and monitoring tools designed to ensure that clients achieve desired outcomes from using your product at each stage of their customer journey. At Totango, we build customer success playbooks from SuccessBLOCs: modules that combine optimized automated and manual workflows called SuccessPlays with KPI, monitoring, and segmentation tools to trigger SuccessPlays at the exact moment when your customer needs them to achieve their goal. To give a customer success playbook example, let’s say a customer has just started the onboarding process. Your onboarding SuccessBLOC might include an automated email series that sends the customer a series of welcome messages with instructions on how to proceed with onboarding, followed by a follow-up email if onboarding hasn’t been completed in a set amount of time. Triggering these email templates depends on KPI monitoring tools included within the SuccessBLOC. You can incorporate different workflows and KPIs into your standard operating procedures to create a customer success playbook template for your customer onboarding phase.
Developing Playbooks for Your Customer Journey and Individual Customers
Similarly, your customer success team can piece SuccessBLOCs together to construct playbooks for your entire customer journey. For example, you can design a customer success renewal playbook for clients whose subscription is nearing expiration. SuccessBLOCs come with out-of-the-box workflows, KPIs, and monitoring tools for each customer journey touchpoint. These serve as customer success playbook templates you can customize for specific scenarios. For example, you can have a different playbook script for customers with low satisfaction scores versus those with high satisfaction scores. In this way, you can develop multiple playbooks deployed based on what an individual customer is doing, leveraging data segmentation to deliver personalized success outcomes to your clients.
What Is the Difference between Customer Success and Customer Service?
When using customer success playbooks, it’s essential to be clear on the difference between customer success and customer service. Your customer service team supports clients when they encounter problems along their customer journey. In contrast, your customer success team seeks to provide customers with desired outcomes at each stage of their customer journey, ideally pre-empting support issues before they arise. While distinct from customer service, customer success can help optimize customer service by tracking support issues and using the information to develop standard procedures for preventing and responding to common problems. This way, customer support, and customer service teams can work in tandem to help deliver outstanding experiences and desired outcomes to customers.
What Are The Benefits Of Having A Customer Success Playbook in SaaS?
The benefits of customer success playbooks for SaaS providers are numerous. Success playbooks can help you:
- Take a proactive approach to customer experience rather than reacting to support issues
- Plan, analyze, and understand your customer lifecycle
- Set well-defined goals leading to desired outcomes for each stage of your customer journey
- Track metrics measuring customer success
- Automate best practices that promote better customer experiences
- Optimize customer onboarding
- Promote customer engagement
- Increase overall customer health for an improved customer retention rate
- Limit churn for a lower churn rate
- Build a brand reputation as a customer-centric business
These benefits make customer success playbooks invaluable for SaaS companies.
How Do You Use Playbooks For Customer Success?
Customer playbooks can form part of a systematic customer success strategy. Here are five key steps to get the most out of success playbooks:
1. Define Success Goals for Each Journey Stage
Your customer success playbooks should be keyed to the stages of your customer journey. These include:
- Freemium to premium conversion
- Adoption of advanced features
- Renewal of subscriptions
- Expansion of product usage through upsells
- Brand advocacy by satisfied customers who recruit new prospects
For each stage, you can use key performance indicators to define measurable goals for your customer base as a whole and individual customers. For example, you might set a goal of having new customers complete onboarding within a week.
2. Plan for Each Stage of Your Customer Journey
For each stage of your customer journey, you’ll need to play specific actions to achieve your defined goals. For example, in the above example, what will you do to meet your goal of making sure new customers complete onboarding within a week? You might monitor onboarding progress and set up your SuccessBLOC to trigger automated email reminders or manual outreach by your support team whenever a customer hasn’t completed onboarding within that time frame. Similar strategies can be incorporated throughout your customer lifecycle.
3. Include Digital and Human Engagement Strategies
Effective customer success playbooks should incorporate digital and human engagement strategies. Automated means may be sufficient to achieve most customer goals and resolve common support issues. Still, manual actions may be required for achieving certain objectives, particularly with high-touch accounts and for certain support tickets. Plan your playbook to address both types of scenarios.
4. Deliver the Right Message at the Right Time by Segmenting Customers
For best results, SuccessBLOCs in your playbook should be designed to be adaptable to individual customer needs. This can be done by using your KPI data to segment customers. For example, suppose your KPI monitoring detects that a customer nearing the expiration of their subscription has a low satisfaction score. In that case, this might trigger a customer retention workflow to reach out and take corrective action, while a customer with a high satisfaction score might trigger an upsell offer. Such activities can be executed through automated emails sent out according to segmentation criteria as defined by your KPIs.
5. Keep Your Playbooks Current by Measuring Impact and Incorporating Feedback
Customer needs are changing continually along with your market, and your playbook needs periodic updating to remain effective. Keep your playbooks current using KPI data and customer feedback surveys to find out what’s working and isn’t. Implement appropriate adjustments, and monitor the results to refine your playbook further. In this way, you can make continuous adjustments and improvements.
How Do You Create A Customer Success Playbook?
To create a customer success playbook, follow these steps:
- Map out the steps in your customer journey
- Establish which KPIs you will use to measure success for each stage
- Use your KPIs to define successful outcomes and milestones for each stage
- Develop workflows to achieve each desired result and associated milestone, including workflows for different scenarios
- Automate your workflows and KPI monitoring
Totango SuccessBLOCs are designed to help Customer Success Managers and team members streamline the process of creating playbooks. Select the modules relevant to your ideal customer journey and customize them to create your playbooks.
Use Playbooks for Customer Success to Increase SaaS Client Engagement
Customer success playbooks automate delivering customers’ desired outcomes, promoting high satisfaction, engagement, and retention rates. Totango SuccessBLOCs automate the process of creating playbooks by providing you with built-in workflows, KPIs, and dashboards to promote success at each stage of your customer journey. SuccessBLOCs provide a ready-made framework for mapping customer journeys, defining goals, planning digital and manual engagement strategies, delivering segmented communications, and keeping your playbooks current. See a live demo, or try it free to see how SuccessBLOCs can help you create customer success playbooks that deliver winning results to your customers and your business.