Customer Success is a widely used, but potentially vague term. It means something different in whatever position you are in, but it also uses the same basic skills no matter what you’re doing. You may have heard the term Customer Success as “Customer Relations” or “Customer Service”. There are many different terms but they all mean one thing: helping the customer succeed.
This is potentially the most important part of growing and maintaining any business! It not only keeps your current client base happy and fulfilled, but it also brings in more business when they are satisfied.
What is Customer Success
Someone who is skilled in Customer Success is someone who possesses a wide range of people and problem solving skills. Your ultimate goal is to help your customer use your product in the best way possible. This may be by guiding them through how to use the product, how they could benefit the most from the product, troubleshooting if something goes wrong, or just creating a personal-professional relationship with the customer.
Someone who is good at doing this will need to have patience, be a good listener, have critical-thinking skills, be able to problem solve on a high level, have strong emotional intelligence, and be communicative. As a successful manager, I had to have it all.
Good Skills + Sales Process= Customer Success
As a Department Manager in a large retail store, I was the head of multiple operations and ultimately facilitated nearly every customer success opportunity. I had many personal interactions with customers to help them with projects or specific product usage to attempt to make sales.
As a manager, I am expected to be the top sales representative of my department which means to make the sales, I am teaching each guest looking for a product on how to use it, and what to use with it.
We broke down the sales process in store for sales team-members to make it easier to engage with guests and make them more successful.
- Ask for Sale
Each of these steps is crucial for the best customer success, but it is not necessarily a linear process. You’ll qualify a guest and try to show them what you think they’re looking for, and it may be way off and you’ll have to qualify all over. Sometimes you’ll skip a step or double-back around multiple times even! Let me explain what each step means.
First things first we all know what greet means, but for best customer success, you should be greeting the customer in a friendly tone and ready to help. This is the most intuitive step but one of the most important because it sets the tone and begins with a positive first impression. Sometimes the guest may set the tone first, and it isn’t always positive. Good customer success also means to be ready for that and be able to react accordingly to get the situation back to a favorable position. Having good emotional intelligence and people skills is important in this kind of situation.
Second, we qualify the customer by listening to what they’re looking for and gauge what their needs are by asking questions. You want to ask them open ended questions to make sure you both are on the same page. You can be proactive by asking them questions they hadn’t thought of and solve problems they weren’t even aware of. This step often takes the longest time, but will help in the long run if your customer has the time to do it thoroughly. Being communicative and patient are essential during this step.
Next is to present to the customer your product or service! This is where you explain all the bells and whistles and how they will tie into the customer’s experience while using it. Base your presentation off their answers from the previous step and now you’ve tailored the product specifically to them! This will leave them even happier and create trust between you and the customer. They understand you’re listening to them and trust your judgment and expertise.
Asking for The Sale
Then, we have to ask for the sale! In a physical retail environment, this may be a simple “can I put this in your cart for you?” and in an online front, this would be the time to indicate to the “sign up button” or ask for their card or information.
Asking for the sale will either get an immediate response from your customer, or you may have to revisit the presentation or maybe requalify the customer. Either way, we are trying to make the process easy and straightforward for the customer, so it’s important to continuously gauge their emotions and reactions so it isn’t like you’re forcing them or being pushy to make the sale.
Lastly we have follow-up. This step is important to keep the ball rolling for the customer and their continued success with your company. This is when you ask them if you can help them with other projects or products that you offer. You can also provide a business card or personal information for them to contact you in the future.
It really solidifies that personal touch which is all too lost in the growing digital age. If you are working with the customer on a digital platform, this step is not always an easy thing to do. You may only be able to offer them future help with the company rather than yourself in particular.
Each of these steps can arguably be the most important to create the best customer success, but in truth they are all integral pieces to the overall experience.
Success is Service
Being a manager did not only mean I was improving customer success by interacting with them personally. I also had to teach all of my employees how to help everyone to the best of their ability and problem solve when they came across a difficult situation. It is very important to make sure everyone on the team knows the product, knows the process, and can identify with the skills mentioned before.
If the managers are the only people who know how to make the customers successful, you might as well close up shop now because you won’t be going very far with that business.
Customer success is one of the most important aspects of a business’s personal success. If you aren’t actively looking to make your clients happy and successful while using your product or service, then it will become more and more difficult to retain clients let alone bring more in.
It is important to teach everyone how to do each step and to nurture their skills to make the entire team confident and prepared for your client base!