Customer success has become an essential part of customer loyalty, customer satisfaction, and a positive customer experience. So it's obvious why many companies are looking to build not only customer support teams, but also customer success teams.
The process of building a customer success team can be challenging even for established companies. Therefore, building a startup customer success team can face various challenges as well.
What is a customer success team?
Unlike customer support that solves customer issues, customer service teams are concerned with improving the quality of customer experience in order to achieve the desired results when using a product or service. This relationship-focused team helps manage customer needs in a way that aligns with customer and company goals, delivering win-win results.
Typically, customer success goals are to increase long-term customer retention and reduce customer churn. The goal of a customer success team is to make the customer more satisfied with the product or service they use, which in turn increases customer lifetime value for the company.
It's never too early or too late to start building a customer success team. If you're a startup that doesn't already have a dedicated customer success team, retention can suffer or worse, it can lead to customer churn.
However, according to Sam Chandler, Zendesk’s Director of Startup Success, “the earlier you build a customer success team, the less time you’ll spend playing catch-up when retention becomes a critical component to hitting your revenue targets. Companies need a team whose sole focus is keeping customers. Otherwise, it’s everyone’s job, which means it’s no one’s job”.
Why is it important?
A customer success process should be an essential part of your business vision, purpose, and mission. Building a customer success process can help you achieve important company goals as well as meet your customers' expectations.
Customer retention depends on your company's ability to manage them. To manage clients, you need to involve a dedicated team that does the right thing at the right time. With the right approach, building a customer success team will help your customers get the most out of their relationship with your company.
If a company does not focus on customer success, churn is likely to grow exponentially. The churn rate measures how quickly customers become disloyal and stop buying from a company and is one of the most common causes of business failure.
According to OpenView, effective customer success strategies can bring churn rates below 1 percent. What further highlights the importance of customer success. This study shows that not only will sales increase by promoting customer success, but costs will also decrease as customers become more loyal and continue to buy.
Steps to Build Customer Success Team for Startup
If you're starting a startup and just getting started building an customer success team from scratch, here are the steps to building a high-performing team:
- Hire skilled staff.
The first step to building a customer success team is hiring the right high-skilled people. They should have good technical knowledge and soft skills.
Once you have selected candidates, interview them, describe customer problems, and test their approach. This will help you understand how the representative will deal with issues during the job.
2. Know the target customer.
Each person on the customer success team will work directly with customers. They will be a key touch point in building strong relationships with customers. So, figure out the target market, the problems and pain points of the customers.
This is an important step in developing the buyer persona and aligning your team with it. If your customer success team is unaware of customer types and tendencies, it will be difficult for them to pinpoint the exact problem.
3. Listen to your customers.
Customer success team's main goal is to help customers achieve their desired goals. Since most customers are unaware of solutions to their problems, team representatives should act as guides.
The customer success process must work closely with the customers. In this way, representatives can find out the customer's perception of your product. You can collect your customers' ideas and feedback about the product in order to have a clear picture of the situation.
Make sure that you share this information with the entire company, especially the new team members. Remember: the customer success team should act as a close friend of the customers.
4. Create an effective onboarding process.
Most likely, you are already familiar with the interface and operation of your products. But your customers will face some difficulties when using it for the first time, which is natural. Because you are a product expert and your customers need help with early adoption.
This is why you must create an effective onboarding process as part of building a customer success team. Rather than expecting customers to figure things out on their own, your team can actively assist them.
This saves a lot of time for the customers and your support team as well as makes it easy for customers to use the products to achieve their desired goal.
5. Create a customer success program.
Creating a win-win strategy helps CS teams to build strong relationships with customers. However, be sure to review your program to see if it remains effective from time to time. Since your customer success program can be effective when you are a startup, but as you grow and become more stable this strategy may not be useful.
This also means having an effective customer support team to address issues as they arise, as well as developing self-service resources for customers to quickly find answers to common questions and concerns. This is an area where technology can also help, such as automation tools to streamline the service desk and free up a customer success team to scale their work as your company grows.
A ticketing system is a good example that manages incoming requests and assigns them to both support and customer success teams. HelpCenter app is a great tool that makes work with customers easier and saves a lot of time.
6. Empower your team members.
Your customer success team can't succeed if you don't empower every member of the team. They should be allowed to implement their ideas and strategies to build customer relationships. Empowerment helps them to make better decisions. Each team member will understand that you trust them, and they will also feel their importance and responsibility for the decisions made.
The customer success team is the voice of your customers as well as the face of your company; they interact directly with customers and know their day-to-day issues. Thus, the customer success team must coordinate with other teams to provide excellent customer experience without any delay.
Building an effective customer success team is quite a challenging process especially for startups. Unfortunately, there is no universal recipe for success, the customer success process is full of experimentations and even fails.
However, do not be afraid to try different strategies to find out your unique way to succeed. Implementing our strategies into your process of building a successful team will definitely help your startup to grow and develop.