Let’s face it. Customer success is hard work. There are MANY things being thrown at you on a daily basis. At the end of the day, your customers are looking to accomplish certain tasks and they need your help. You are the one that has been hired and trained to do what few others can do. I’m going to outline in this post some great customer success tactics (or hacks) that you can use to elevate your game and cover why you should put in this extra effort.
Two Things That get in the Way of Customer Success
Before I get into the specifics of these customer success hacks (the “what” and “how”), I want to talk about why you should care. Here’s the thing – while your customers need your help and you want to be there for them, there are typically two things that can get in the way:
- Your time (or lack there of it)
- The customer’s willingness to work with you
Lack of time is a problem that most Customer Success Managers suffer from but there are tactics to address this (we’ll cover a few tactics below). The second item is much more complex and something that you may not want to admit to as it places blame solely on your shoulders. You may say to yourself: “what do you mean the customer doesn’t want to work with me? I know everything about this product and how it will help their business!”. The customer doesn’t care. It all comes down to how you are perceived. If they don’t believe in you, they will be hesitant to work with you.
There are two areas that you need to focus on to establish credibility with your customers so they will want to work with you and see you as a true partner.
- Your competency: Do you know what the hell you’re talking about?
- Trust: Will you do what you said you were going to do?
While you may be super smart and have the reputation as the most dependable person on Earth, your customer won’t care unless you prove yourself early on in the customer/vendor relationship. Moreover, your reputation is only as good as your last interaction. If your customer had a great experience on one call and a lacklustre one on another, you can fall out of favour very quickly. As they say in baseball, you’re only as good as you’re last game. The good news is that there are some hacks that I can share that can help you build and maintain trust as well as exhibit your “skillz” and make you look like a superstar. Let’s get to them.
The First 5 Customer Success Hacks
I’ll cover the first five in this post and another five in the next one.
- Use an app like Charlie to help you prepare for your daily customer meetings. Charlie provides a briefing on the people you’re meeting (with once you integrate it with your calendar) that includes their latest social media posts, their interests (including common interests), the latest news on their company and even who they compete against. I read the daily summary every morning when I get up. I walk into my meetings 10 times more prepared and I do it in a fraction of the time.
- Have something of value in your back pocket for customer meetings. Never come into a meeting without something that will be of benefit to your customers. There are too many times that I’ve seen Customer Success Managers start off a call with a customer and say something like “what should we discuss today?”. No way! Your customer’s time is way more valuable than that (and so is yours!). A hack that I use at times is to find something of value that not many of our customers are aware of. It could be a new best practice that we found another customer using or a new feature that is underused. I call these hidden gems “golden eggs”. Have a few of these golden eggs lined up on a weekly basis and share the “wealth” with your customers. Your Customer Success team should share these with each other to shoulder the load and spread the love with customers. The next level up is to group these golden eggs together and create a customer email nurture campaign or a customer webinar. Think one to many in your approach to customer success to maximize your time.
- Establish a strong social presence on LinkedIn and Twitter. This is an obvious hack but not enough Customer Success Managers are doing this. In a previous post, I discussed how you need to become a Social Customer Success Manager. What does this mean? It involves posting information to your social channels that is relevant to your customers and not just content generated by your company. Think about what interests your customers and try and post information that will improve how you are perceived by them. You should also use it as a way for them to learn more about your interests (as long as will not hurt their perception of you!). The next level up is to create posts on LinkedIn that outline how you help your customers.
- Use email plugin tools like Discover.ly (or other similar tools) to easily follow and connect with your customers on Twitter and LinkedIn respectively. As an added bonus, these tools allow you to see what your customers look like as these tools typically pulls in their LinkedIn photo. This came in handy on a past trip when I bumped into the customer (who I never met) I was meeting as I walked into their building. I knew exactly who to look for.There are many advantages to connecting with your customers on their social networks. One hack I use is to mix up my communication by sending them a message via LinkedIn or a quick shout out on Twitter. It’s helped me in the past when the regular channels like email weren’t working. In addition, it strengthens the bond you have with your customers. On a side note, another similar hack is to text message your customers when you’re having trouble getting a response. Warning: only use this after you’ve established a strong relationship.
- Create a Twitter list of your customers and review that list periodically. Twitter can be a big black whole but if you use it effectively, it can be a great source of information about your customers. When I follow customers using Discover.ly or if I see that they’ve tweeted about my company via a search on Twitter I add them to a Twitter list. I use Flipboard or Hootsuite on my phone to review that list every few days to better understand what is important to our customers. They tend to be sharing content about who they work for, what their frustrations are or random things. I not only review these tweets but may respond to them or share them. This helps build a relationship with your customers without actually speaking to them. They know you’re listening.
Stay tuned for part II where I’ll include 5 more Customer Success hacks.
Do you have any Customer Success hacks of your own that you use?