Today’s customers are discerning when it comes to the service experience, and they reward companies that offer them the level of customer service they expect. Research from American Express found that 90% of consumers factor in customer service when deciding whether or not to do business with a company. The research also showed that those consumers will spend 17% more on a company that demonstrates excellent customer service. The reverse is true as well. American businesses lose $1.6 trillion per year due to buyers switching providers over a customer service issue.
No matter what industry you’re in, you need a customer success process that can produce exceptional results. Automation can help speed up customer service interactions, provide reliable assistance with minimal wait time and maintain consistent quality. So, is it time for you to invest in customer success software? Here are 11 signs that your company may need to upgrade its customer success technology.
1. You don’t have a standardized customer success process
Many people think of customer success as a form of problem-solving. They think of helping out if a customer doesn’t understand how to use a product, needs help with a breakdown or has some other complaint.
While popular with businesses for decades, this model no longer works. Customer success is not old-school, break-fix customer service—it’s a comprehensive process that gets to the heart of how customers interact with your company.
Hubspot defines customer success as “an organizational function that helps customers get maximum value out of a product or service while working closely with sales, marketing and product to achieve that goal.”
Using this definition, customer success actually forms a logical cycle that includes expectations, goals, processes, metrics and defined responsibilities. Could your customer service process fit on a repeatable template? Or are you using a system that involves more exceptions than rules? If your answer is the latter, it’s time to upgrade.
2. You have no way to measure if customers are engaged
It costs five times more (at least) to acquire a new customer than it does to keep one you already have. That’s why maintaining strong customer engagement is important to your bottom line. Customer engagement might seem like a soft statistic that’s impossible to track, but you can actually measure engagement using a variety of metrics that go further than only churn rate.
Tracking service accessibility metrics, for example, can show how effective your customer service is and how likely your buyers are to defect to the competition. Monitoring service quality metrics such as number of customer complaints and feedback from satisfaction surveys can highlight areas for improvement, along with urgent issues that can affect the quality of customer experience.
3. Your Customer Success team feels burdened by tedious and mundane tasks
Do your team’s members start the day feeling energized and excited about helping your buyers, only to end it exhausted and frustrated? That could be because they’ve been captured by repetitive and tedious tasks that a robot could do more efficiently and effectively. Entering data into spreadsheets, composing emails and assigning tasks can take up the better portion of a workday for members of your team.
Your team signed up to help customers succeed, minimize their problems and generally make people feel good throughout the buying process. Instead, many customer success team members spend their time entering the same data into the same forms over and over again. No wonder customer service jobs see turnover that’s two to three times higher than the national average.
Automating your team’s work doesn’t mean you’ll lose that personal touch you prize. On the contrary, automated customer service enhances personalization by increasing the efficiency of the human-to-human touchpoints in the process and eliminating impersonal and repetitive interactions.
4. Your team is working around data silos
Data silos are groups of information that are not accessible to teams across the company. These silos may result from bad blood between teams, hierarchical structures or lack of technology needed to democratize information and make it accessible. Why are data silos bad? They add expenses, multiply redundancies and divide management attention between different pieces of a larger puzzle, leaving you with information, but no actionable knowledge.
How do you know if you have a data silo problem? There are two important clues to look for: customers complaining of having to explain their problems over and over again and customer support hearing the same buyer feedback with development making no changes to the product.
5. Your Customer Success staff members are reactive instead of proactive
In most companies, customer service begins with a responsive approach. In order to scale up, leadership needs to reassess and reconfigure the nature of the department. This can be a tough transition—customer service departments are notoriously reactive, focused on solving customer frustrations, instead of being proactive and focusing on anticipating customer needs.
In a reactive customer service situation, customers will typically feel like their experience was “okay,” but they won’t be wowed in a way that builds ongoing brand loyalty. Your customer service team, meanwhile, will feel like a brigade of firefighters who can just keep control of the fire but never get it put out.
6. You’re missing customer lifecycle milestones
Like developing children, healthy customer relationships should meet certain milestones during their lifecycles with your company. The customer journey typically looks something like this:
However, unlike children who seem to know when they are falling behind their peers, customers don’t notice anything wrong if they miss a milestone. After all, these are your milestones for them, not ones they set for themselves. It’s important for your team to make sure your customer relationships are growing at the right rate. If they aren’t, outdated customer service processes are a common culprit.
7. Upsells and cross-sells are falling short
While sales typically precede service, customer success teams do control two critical components of sales: upsells and cross-sells. Your customer success team members are the people who have the opportunity to talk to your buyers or users about upgrading their subscription to a higher tier or suggesting additional services or products to complement their existing purchase. If you aren’t seeing the upsell and cross-sell numbers you’d like, it could be because your customer success process has broken down.
8. Messaging is not aligned across your teams
Your internal communications alignment directly reflects the quality of your systems. Whether all your employees fit around a card table or fill a stadium, they should each tell the same story in the same language and know how to interact with one another.
When staff members don’t have their facts straight, tell the brand story differently or feel like they are working in totally separate company cultures, you may have a messaging alignment problem. Systems serve to keep messages fully aligned, making sure companies can rely on processes instead of people to maintain continuity.
9. You don’t know which barriers frustrate your customers
What frustrates your customers? Is it the product, the onboarding process or the long wait when they call your customer service line? Or are you not sure?
To do customer success right, you absolutely must know what your customers find frustrating. Without a system for learning that, you may hear snatches of customer feedback from calls, see reviews on social media and get various reports from the success team, but you still won’t really know what your customers don’t like—and therefore, you can’t fix it. Your development team and your sales team live and die by customer feedback. Are they getting the feedback they need? If not, your system isn’t working as it should.
10. Your customers aren’t loyal to your brand
Brand loyalty is the key to business success. Customers who love your brand, keep coming back and recommend you to their friends will sustain your operations. What gives you that kind of loyal buyer? Customer success.
Researchers Fundera report that 80% of customers say they would pay more for a better customer experience, but 50% say they’ve stopped patronizing a company after a bad experience. Happy customers tell 11 friends about you on average. If you aren’t seeing that kind of brand loyalty, you’ve got a problem in the customer service department. It might be unfriendly or untrained staff members. More likely, however, it’s the lack of an efficient customer success system allowing your representatives to do what they do best.
11. Users are not renewing
If your subscribers, buyers or users aren’t coming back for more, your business isn’t long for this world. The cause probably lies in your customer success area. If this is happening in your business, pull every fire alarm you can and start changing things—fast.
Streamlining Customer Success
If you’re seeing any of these red flags at your company, it is time to look into a new work management platform or other systems for improving your customer service experience.
Investing in your company’s customer success technology ensures your customers a smooth journey through the consumer pipeline, connecting the end of your sales process to your customer success flow. This way, your customers are taken care of before a problem arises.
Successful customers are the key to a successful business. With the right tech and well-developed systems on your side, you’ll have a customer base that feels supported, understood and satisfied through every interaction with your team.