What Customer Success Software Can Do for You

    customer success software skyscraper main imageA Customer Success Platform Primer

    Customer success software was once a nice-to-have bonus that made life easier for those directly involved in the customer experience. 

    You may have picked up on the operative phrase: “was once.” 

    Customer success technology is now a necessary piece of every SaaS company’s toolkit. And don’t let the name fool you. From the C-Suite to product development, customer success software can empower each team in your organization, helping you to:

    • Generate actionable insights across the customer journey
    • Better support users and leverage expansion opportunities as they arise
    • Uncover advocates and find the drivers of success in desired customer outcomes

    With the right technology on your side, you can build personalized, scaleable customer experiences that result in stronger recurring revenue and long-term profitability.

    What is customer success software?

    Let’s backtrack a bit before we get into everything you can do with CS software. First, it’s important to understand the origins of customer success itself. 

    Although there's no singular consensus on when the idea of customer success really began to pick up speed, the first dedicated team made its appearance at an early software company dating back to 1996, according to the Customer Success Association. 

    Success came as the natural next step as SaaS businesses began to realize that superior customer service could be the competitive advantage they needed to pave the way to higher retention and lower churn. But, with the rise of cloud-based solutions, mobile apps and hyper personalization, traditional CRM software options like Salesforce or even Excel weren’t enough to keep up with consumer demand. 

    You simply can’t meet the needs of today’s customers with a spreadsheet.

    Recognizing the demand for more relationship-based interactions, companies began investing in the technology we know today as some of the first pieces of CS software.

    Since then, the market for customer-focused software has expanded into the Wild West we know today. 

    At its most basic, customer success technology is defined as any product used by a business to create desired outcomes driven by personalized interactions and meaningful support. This means it can be as standard as in-app notification and as complex as a fully automated health scoring system — more on that later, though. 

    Just some of the benefits of today’s software include: 

    • Faster time to first value for new customers
    • Optimized feedback loop between internal teams and customers
    • Enhanced adoption and customer retention via the application of self-service tools and the ability to highlight specific features and monitor product usage

    A word of warning: The challenge today isn’t finding software that offers some or even all of these features. It’s figuring out what will work best for your team.

    What traits should I look out for in customer success software? 

    The CS software market can quickly become overwhelming for even the most experienced customer success manager. A report by MarketsandMarkets estimates the industry will reach $2.5 billion by 2025, with no signs of slowing down. 

    Don’t feel like you have to spend weeks or even months sorting through each and every option before you can begin to support your customers. By the time you do that, more will have already hit the market. We recommend checking out our software guide to help guide you in your quest for the best software.

    No matter which specific features you’re looking for, your CS software should align with your strategy and fulfill the following characteristics:

    • Actionable: All the customer data in the world won’t help you if you don’t know what to do with it.
    • Foundational: Watch out for features that you may not use. Our experience shows that SaaS users often use less than 20% of the platform they pay for — don’t fall victim to overspending.
    • Scalable: As you grow, can your tech grow with you? 
    • Visual: Data analytics presented in an aesthetically pleasing way will yield faster insight and higher adoption internally.

    Once you’ve found the right customer success solution for your team, your SaaS company will be well on its way to delivering an optimized customer experience.

    How can customer success teams use CS software?

    Let's face it: For CSMs, the job only gets harder the better you do. 

    It's one thing to successfully onboard your first 10 customers using the very same processes you created yourself. But what about when your user base expands to 100? Or when your team seemingly multiplies overnight and are scattered across different locations

    You don’t have the time to sort through an endless catalogue of customer data or provide each individual representative with real-time instructions on how to manage their accounts. What you do have is your own accounts to serve, product issues to deal with and renewal numbers to make.

    As you establish your team as an up-and-coming profit center, CS software can make your load a little lighter.

    For customer success specialists, your users' wins are your own wins. To sustainably maintain the level of personalization needed to drive desired customer outcomes, processes have to be repeatable and scalable. Software can help you achieve this with features including:

    • Guided product tours: Start every customer relationship off on the right foot with customizable tutorials, guides and tooltips. And, with the ability to monitor feature adoption, you'll know exactly what your customers need before your next check-in.
    • User segmentation: Segment your customers by account details to know what problems you need to focus on and which features users will benefit from the most.
    • Repeatable processes: Guide your CS representatives with a clear play-by-play depending on specific customer behavior.

    As your user base grows, your CS programs need to adapt alongside it to provide every new and existing customer the support they need. While software will help you achieve this, it will be up to your team to execute the strategies needed to drive customer success. 

    Although your customer success team may be logging the most time on your CS software, the benefits of the technology extend all the way to the top of your organization. 

    What can CS software offer to my C-Suite?

    Ask yourself: Is my company driving long-term adoption or are we just pushing short-term wins through? 

    According to our research, 75% of SaaS executives are being inundated with adoption initiatives. However, few are actually seeing the long-term growth these programs aim to achieve. Although this challenge stems from a variety of factors, it comes down to two leading causes:

    1. A lack of visibility.
    2. Uncertainty surrounding what to do next.

    When the C-Suite is stuck waiting for a weekly leadership call or even a monthly check-in with the CS team, time that could be spent improving the customer experience goes to the wayside. During that waiting period, users may become frustrated and accounts can — and will —  churn.

    Customer success has become just as much a profit center as marketing and sales, making it essential that leaders have clear visibility across the customer journey. 

    CS software can help the C-suite

    The technology gives leaders a real-time snapshot of customer health as well as emerging patterns across accounts, leading to benefits such as:

    • Organization-wide alignment: Customer success is an all-hands-on-deck initiative, meaning buy-in from the C-Suite is a must. In fact, we've found 97% of SaaS businesses that are cross-functionally aligned report that leadership has pushed a customer success program from the top down.
    • Enhanced communications: With clearer insight into account health and your current user base, the C-Suite will have a comprehensive understanding of the returns on new or existing CS initiatives. 
    • A customer-first approach: Your users should be at the front of everyone’s mind when it comes to developing your organization’s customer success strategy. Customer-centric companies that achieve this are 60% more profitable than companies that aren't, as reported by Hubspot.

    For some companies, change can be overwhelming. However, it’s important to keep an open mind and remember that the customer experience directly correlates with the success of your business. When your users succeed, so do you and your bottom line. 

    Whether you're the one reporting — or the one being reported to — easy-to-understand data surrounding the customer experience will help leaders make confident decisions, quicker.

    How can my product development team use CS software?

    After months of some serious development work, you’ve just released a new feature. 

    It offers some cutting-edge functionality, a seamless user interface and aligns closely to what you think customers want. The big day has come, and it’s finally time to roll it out to your users.

    A few weeks pass and … no one is using it.

    What gives?

    When it comes to product adoption, onboarding is often the first thing teams think of. However, there’s still one major component that comes before onboarding that can derail the entire user experience: the product itself. 

    Even the most sophisticated technology in the world is rendered obsolete if users aren’t able to get any value from it. That means your development team needs a clear understanding of exactly how customers are interacting with your product, including where the platform may need some extra work. 

    Your product can’t just do what you think customers want — it has to deliver what you know they need.

    In comes your customer success software. 

    With the right technology on your side, your product development team can get insight into:

    • The ins and outs of the user experience: Where are your customers thriving? Where are they struggling? Create a feedback loop between your product team and CS and find the usage patterns that indicate success versus those that may mean an account is at risk. 
    • Advanced intelligence and reporting: Cut through the noise and get clarity on exactly how specific user segments are interacting with your product.
    • User sentiment: Leverage a variety of Voice-of-Customer tools including in-app surveys to gather feedback, measure sentiment and increase your customer lifetime value.

    Your product is the foundation of everything you do. With customer success software guiding your product development team, they’ll be able to make accurate, data-driven decisions to deliver a best-in-class user experience — no guesswork required.

    What are the major benefits of using CS software?

    From top leadership to individual customer success representatives, CS software offers an array of unique features and benefits all designed with the user in mind. 

    While every SaaS company may use the technology a little bit differently across day-to-day operations, just some of the advantages you can enjoy include:


    Automate manual and time-consuming tasks 

    Hopefully, the word “automation” doesn’t conjure up any images of robot overlords. 

    If it does, rest assured that a machine is far from replacing anyone on your customer success team. Instead, the idea of automation is to free up resources from manual — but highly necessary — tasks so your CS reps can instead focus their time and energy on finding new ways to provide your customers with more value.

    Goodbye, slow decision-making and manual reporting, hello, happy customers.

    Take advantage of features such as:

    • Event-based triggers: A customer has reported an especially low NPS rating or has begun to log extra usage on a specific feature … now what? Event-based triggers immediately prompt your CS specialists to take a specific action depending on an account’s predicted health. 
    • Playbooks: By creating an outcome-driven plan of attack for any given scenario, no time is lost determining best practices for specific account behaviors. 
    • Customer-driven onboarding: The onboarding process looks a little different for each user, however, you’ll quickly find some aspects are shared across several segments. Give your customers the option to take advantage of walkthroughs and other automated tools to get them comfortable with your product on their own terms.

    By creating repeatable and sustainable processes, teams can stop wasting time trying to make the right decision and go forward with the confidence that they’re following the best plan possible. 

    For customers, this means they get the support they need when they need it. No more waiting on your team to notice a red flag before it’s too late.

    What does this all mean for you?

    Enjoy minimized customer churn, higher revenue and more expansion opportunities. 


    Have visibility into which accounts are in danger

    Think back to your last doctor’s visit. 

    When there, they likely measured your temperature and heart rate (among other things). 

    Although those factors alone don't reveal much about your immediate state of well-being, they give your doctor the knowledge they need to get a general understanding of where things stand. More importantly, this info will be used as data points, creating a more comprehensive picture of your health over time. 

    A customer health score is almost the same exact concept — minus the stethoscope and way-too-cold hands. 

    A customer health score is a metric used by customer success teams to determine whether customers are “healthy” or at-risk of churning. Deciding on a scoring system is a subjective process, and will vary from company to company, however the right CS platform will help to simplify it. 

    And, as leaders and managers work to collaborate with team members and conduct one-on-one check-ins, there’s no question as to which accounts are thriving, whether tasks are on time or if CS reps may need some additional support.


    Know which accounts are likely to renew and expand

    OK, we covered how software can help you manage at-risk accounts. What about those that are in good standing?

    Let’s say renewal is fast approaching. What will your team do to re-up the contract? Is there the opportunity for expansion? Is the account healthy or is there any possible risk of churn? 

    Similar to how a health score can give you an objective measurement of at-risk accounts, it can also be applied to get a deeper understanding of drivers of satisfaction. 

    Maybe this user achieved a quick time to value, or perhaps they have maintained a high NPS ranking since they've been engaged with your customer. Either way, the path to renewal will be a smooth one with a health score system on your side. 

    The data visualization tool will help you sort through insights via a user-friendly format, allowing your team to quickly identify trends and behaviors without having to dive into each individual account’s history. By not having to spend time sorting through each individual interaction, your team can instead focus on executing the best plan for renewal. 

    And, when you have clear insight into which accounts are healthy as well as those at risk, your organization can easily forecast your book of business with accuracy.


    Create a central location for entire team 

    How many times has this happened to you: A major account is up for renewal and there’s uncertainty regarding whether they’ll stay or churn.

    When you go to view their history in your CRM, you only have a piece of the story.

    You don’t have access to information from when the customer was first a prospect and you lack the data that shows how they’re using your product every day. 

    With only a fraction of their account history, how can your CS team create a compelling case for renewal? 

    When you leverage CS software, your teams receive a 360-degree view of the customer journey. This includes notes from every single user-facing interaction, data about product usage and customer feedback collected via your VOC program.

    Being able to analyze customer data with a cross-functional perspective allows organizations to get to the heart of why customers behave the way they do. When you know how to spot drivers of satisfaction and —  maybe, even more importantly — dissatisfaction, your CS team can always be in the right place at the right time.


    Getting started with CS software

    From your C-Suite all the way through to your product and customer success teams, CS software is no longer an optional tool. The must-have technology will quickly prove to be an essential part of your day-to-day operations. 

    While the market for CS software can be a confusing one, it doesn’t have to be. With some strategy and a customer-driven focus, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a customer success leader. All you need are the right tools to drive long-term customer wins and stronger revenue.

    No matter where you are in your journey for customer success software, UserIQ is here to help. Learn what our technology can do for you and your users.

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