A Customer Success Mindset brings Business Success
Having a team customer success mindset is as important to your business success as product development and sales. Here’s the process.
Starting a business is challenging and the first areas of focus are typically product development and sales. Once companies have enough customers on the books, they can then justify a Customer Success Manager. Before a Customer Success Department is formed, you can start implementing a customer success mindset to your growing business.
What does customer success mean to you?
Before you can establish a customer success mindset in your company, you must determine what customer success means to you – to your business. Customers investing in and deploying a software product, for example, have entirely different expectations from customers buying sneakers. They may all have the same general requirements – a quality product, excellent service – but beyond that their needs differ greatly.
Ask yourself these questions:
- what makes my customers different?
- what makes my industry different?
- how long is the journey I will take with my customer, and what will make it satisfying for them?
- do I need different employees with different skillsets to handle various parts of the customer journey, or can I allocate one well-trained team member to one customer for the duration of the relationship?
Hire for a Customer Success mindset
Have a “customer first” mentality across your entire team. Customer Success is not a department, it is a mindset for your entire company. That starts from the founder to the latest person hired. When looking to hire team members look for people that have a customer first approach to their job. People who want to see the customer success as much as the company. People who will build the solution as if they were using the solution daily, people who will sell the solution with the customers business needs in mind not their commission check. And people who will show empathy towards the customer throughout the customer journey.
Example interview question: Tell me about a time a customer criticized your product and how you handled it? (You should look for signs of empathy and the candidate being open to accepting criticism)
Customer Success vs Customer Support
Survey your customers once a year
Ask them what they like most and least about your product, how they are using your product and what features/use cases are most important for their success. Ask your customers or prospects the hard questions:
- what don’t you like about our solution?
- what areas can we improve?
- what enhancements would you like to see?
- why didn’t you choose our solution?
- and even… what made our competitor the right choice for you?
Asking your customers these tough questions will open the door to positive and negative feedback. The most important thing you can do is act on this feedback as an entire company.
Share and track your wins and losses
Provide transparency to your team about why you won a customer and why a customer chose another solution. This will help each department make informed decisions and marketing/branding, sales strategy and product development.
Do you know the top 3 reasons why customers use your product today? Do you know the main reason your customers cancel?