At UserIQ, customer success is our business. In fact, it’s one of the core operating philosophies that motivates us as we grow and leads how we conduct our operations, but we realize getting to that point isn’t an easy road. There is a lot of groundwork to be laid before you can truly have a proactive customer success team.

In our recent survey of B2B customer success leaders, we discovered that most CS teams struggle with developing proactive processes and that being better at it is a top priority for 2017. Proactivity is vital in delivering value at each stage of the customer journey to prevent churn and eventually reaching the expansion and advocacy stages to grow revenue.

We’ve boiled the ultimate proactive customer success strategy down to four key tips:

Help your customers meet their goals with every interaction. Helping your customers be successful is likely the very reason your business decided to implement a customer success strategy to begin with. As you may already know, customer success is about much more than simply providing reactive support after something has gone wrong; that’s customer support’s job.

“Customer Success is proactively working our customers toward their Desired Outcome whereas Customer Support is reactive to customer’s break/fix issues.” – Lincoln Murphy

While customer support is certainly necessary and feeds valuable insights into your customer success strategy, customer success is about ensuring customers are successfully adopting the product, reaching success milestones, expanding their accounts and becoming advocates. Each conversation you have should be helping your customers get one step closer to meeting their goals.

Be honest about the health of your customers. Allow yourself to take a step back from your own product and recognize whether you’re doing the right things to get your customer to where they need to be. Being proactive with customer health and satisfaction not only requires an easy-to-use tool that tracks churn indicators, Net Promoter Score (NPS) ratings, and how each customer moves through their journey, but it also requires checkins and communications.

In our survey, customer success leaders indicated that their greatest challenge is visibility into key metrics like customer health. This is a problem because monitoring customer health is a key piece to facilitating customer growth because healthy, successful customers are the ones who stay longer, spend more, and tell their friends. CS teams are unable to react, let alone be proactive, if these metrics are not accessible.

Customer success starts the moment your customer enters the buyer journey. If customer success is one of your core operating philosophies, then each function within your organization should be using customer success strategies in their own roles. The best way for CS teams to be proactive is to have help from sales and marketing by staying away from bad-fit customers to begin with.

When sales, marketing, and customer success are aligned, your CS team gets a headstart in making sure the initial transition from purchase to adoption is smooth and seamless. This alignment helps customer success stay proactive and allows them to guide customers to success in each stage of the customer journey.

Minimize churn ahead of time. Identifying areas of potential churn before they’re on the horizon is a critical action that differentiates a proactive CS team from a reactive one. There are a few ways to help prevent churn:

  • Stay away from bad-fit customers.
  • Create an exceptional onboarding experience.
  • Ensure you have customizable churn indicators in your customer health tool.
  • Deploy targeted engagements that continually provide value as-needed.
  • Blueprint your customer’s journey to know where churn is most likely to happen so you can create a strategy that avoids hang-ups in these areas.

A proactive team learns from every customer journey, creates an open conversation with customers about areas of misunderstanding, and is therefore able to spot areas of potential churn long before they occur.

Download the Driving Growth Beyond the Funnel whitepaper to learn more about how customer success teams can be proactive and ignite customer growth at each stage of the customer journey.