Achieving Company Success Through Customer Success
Customer success isn’t just a buzzword.
Customer success is a proactive strategy for anticipating the needs of your customers, and delivering exceptional products, services, and experiences – increasing the ROI of your partnership.
B2B companies are implementing full customer success strategies to power their business’ growth – And it’s working.
Good for the Customer = Good for the Company
There’s no argument – what’s good for the customer is good for the company. In fact, Bain & Company found that a 5% increase in customer retention can yield profit increases anywhere from 25-95%.
Similarly, a HubSpot study found that “growing businesses are 21% more likely to say customer success is very important than stagnant or declining companies.”
One could argue these growing companies are able to focus on customer success because of the increased cash flow. However, the study found that growing companies are also more focused on cost efficiency – showing that growing companies view customer success as a revenue contributor versus a cost center.
It’s no wonder why customer success teams on the rise. ChurnZero reported that between 2015-16 alone, 60% of companies that reported having customer success teams created them in the last two years.
Even if building a customer success team isn’t an option for your SMB yet, there are a number of customer success solutions on the market that are affordable and scalable for your company, like customer advisory hubs.
What is a Customer Advisory Hub?
Customer advisory hubs use gamification and incentives to reward your top customers for advocating for your brand and providing feedback on your products/services. Within the hub, customers are able to:
- Provide insights on your products, specific features, challenges, service feedback, future enhancement suggestions, and more.
- Maximize ROI of your solution by learning from other customers how they successfully utilize your solutions to grow their business.
- Help drive new business by advocating for your brand in front of your target audience.
In short, customer advisory hubs help B2B companies and their customers get the most out of their partnership.
How do Customer Advisory Hubs Work?
Customer advisory hubs are usually run by the marketing team, and supported by sales, account management, customer success, and product management teams.
- Engage customers with challenges.
Marketing teams create challenges for customers to complete, based on the goals of your customer advisory hub. Challenges are any activity that encourages action from your customers, such as:
- Providing product/service feedback
- Sharing use cases for your solutions
- Attending product trainings, user groups, or annual conferences
- Engaging with your brand on social media
- Completing online product reviews
- Offering customer referral introductions
- Build community with facilitated discussion boards.
Pose questions to your customers to garner more feedback for your cross-functional teams, facilitate conversations between users, and ignite innovative product/service ideas.
- Reward customer engagement.
Customers earn points each time they complete challenges or participate in discussion boards. Customers can exchange their points for fun rewards like gift cards and donations to charity.
Benefits for Every Area of Business
Customer advisory hubs benefit multiple departments in your business:
Advocacy fuels and supports marketing efforts by driving more social engagement, case studies/success stories, customer presenters, testimonials, and webinar attendees. Laura Ramos, Principal Analyst at Forrester highlighted the marketing benefits of advocacy at the 2016 Content2Conversion Conference. “It’s really important in B2B marketing to be able to have validation for your claims that what you do is what you do, but also having customers that sing your praise and sing it to a broader audience that you can reach.”
Additionally, advocacy helps bring in more customer referrals and references for your sales team. Edelman reports that 84% of B2B decision-makers begin their buying process with a referral, and Nielsen adds that people are 4x more likely to buy when they are referred by a friend.
Product teams benefit from being able to gather product insights and feedback from end users. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Marketing found customer participation during ideation (e.g., idea generation) and during launch (e.g., prototype testing) have a net positive impact on new product financial performance via speed-to-market.
Customer Success/Account Management
Customer success and account management teams are able to measure the success of different processes throughout the entire customer journey by gathering feedback each step of the way directly from the customer. This enables them to fine tune processes such as onboarding, customer service, trainings, and support to maximize ROI for all customers.
Focusing on Customer Success is Always a Win
Customer success is all about making sure your solution is getting rid of your customers’ current and future pain points. When customers are successfully utilizing your product/service to the fullest, your company is successfully:
- Reducing churn – Customers don’t feel they need to look elsewhere for a solution.
- Cross-selling and up-selling – Customers are looking for more opportunities to work with you.
- Increasing profits – Maximizing your customers’ lifetime value.
- Creating advocates – Even in the age of technology, the best way to attract new business is by word-of-mouth.
Don’t let customer success become an afterthought. Put customers at the forethought of your business let them drive your company success.