Is your customer success team burnt out? How about stressed? If the answer is yes, I’m not surprised. With recent emphasis on customer success programs and the rise in rapidly scaling tech companies, customer success teams are often strapped for resources and time.
Obviously, burnt-out customer success teams digging through disparate data sources and patching resources together for customers isn’t ideal.
These issues are roadblocks to your customer success team’s ultimate goal of improving customer satisfaction and growing your revenue. But how can you get past these roadblocks to activate your customer success team’s success?
It comes down to connecting with your customers online.
If you’re not seeing the link, bear with me.
How can connecting your customers in a dedicated online space, or an online customer community, impact the way your customer success team does its job?
The Draw of an Online Community for Your Customers
Building a customer community is an investment in your customers, but it also yields surprising benefits for your staff by empowering their efficiency. Interpretation? A community turns your average customer success team into a regular band of superheroes.
A community gives your customers a self-service option and a way to problem-solve with each other. And when YOU own the connection with a community, your customer success team has access to all the data those customer actions produce.
Community is such an integral part of how our own company runs that we sometimes forget other companies’ customers don’t have access to the same resources ours do (like the HL Vanilla Success community, our online customer community). Their only chance to talk to each other might be at your annual user group conference, or in their independent social media or Slack channels (which don’t offer the same organizational insight and data).
Our entire company benefits from having our customers connected. We can learn from negative feedback, find our customer advocates, and inform our strategy on various levels.
Through our online community, our customers can connect on a regular basis, ask about community management best practices, or:
- Ask questions about our product
- Suggest ideas
- Submit support tickets
- “@ mention” our staff or any other customer to spark a discussion
- Get to know other people in the industry
- Ask for product updates
- Talk about our user group conferences
The list goes on, and on. But who benefits most from this data but your customer success team? Every time your customers offer up information about their experience, your customer success team gets a better idea of where they’re coming from and how to help.
Community Data Unlocks 3 Superpowers for Your Customer Success Team
If you could have one superpower, what would it be? With all the box office buzz about superheroes in the past few years, it’s no surprise that we’ve all got special powers on the brain (and surely, a go-to answer to this question – like flying, for example).
But if you asked your customer success team which one they’d choose… I’d bet you’d hear them list any or all three powers below (which, unlike a human flying, are totally within reach).
1. X-Ray Vision
A customer community unlocks X-Ray vision for your customer success team. How? It all circles back to that data. When customers chat, your customer success managers get intel. They can use that data to understand customers and harness their data for change.
One of the key responsibilities for customer success teams is to identify and engage with at-risk customers to prevent churn, before it’s too late. Your team is calling customers and setting up meetings, and they’ll still need to do that with a community. But if your customers are also sharing in your online community, your customer success team can prioritize and deprioritize, and escalate customers who seem extremely unhappy per their community activity.
(And let’s be honest – as much as we’d all say we’re 100 percent honest in calls with customer success managers, we don’t share every issue we’re having, so the community is a great way for a company to hear customers’ honest complaints.)
For example, meet Customers Jill, Joe, and Sally:
- Jill posts in the community that leadership is really breathing down her neck to get better numbers this year, and Customer Joe totally gets where she’s coming from.
- Sally starts telling them about how this happened to her at her last company, and how she used your product to turn the situation around.
- Your customer success team now knows that Jill and Joe need some extra attention to help them use your product successfully (and your customer marketing team now knows that Sally is a great advocate).
Now, both teams can jump into action productively. Plus, with integrations to customer success tools and your CRM, customers’ community data can factor back to their overall health score.
Replication is that superpower stay-at-home parents seem to possess for getting eighty things done at once while keeping their kids alive. If you’re a tech company that’s in a high-growth pattern, as most tech companies are these days, your customer success team is probably tapped out and ready for a long vacation to Hawaii. They’re trying to scale their tasks as quickly as your revenue and customer base are growing.
As your team tries to scale their customer success initiatives, help your customer success managers be everywhere at once with the community.
When they don’t have the time to give every customer white-glove service (even if they would LOVE to), they can rely on the community to help customers get answers and solve problems. If a customer reaches out with a problem, and there’s a recent thread in the community that answers their question, solving the problem is as easy as linking to the discussion in the reply email.
One of our former B2B software customers put it this way:
“The community helps us reach the customers we don’t have a lot of bandwidth to reach personally. We provide self-service options through the community so they can still find the information they need.”
And when you’re trying to scale rapidly, your customer success managers will love being able to lean on the community. You’re giving them the resources and support they need to continue operating efficiently.
The last superpower is the least well-known, but it’s the best power of all: Power-bestowal. At its core? It means your customer success managers have a better way to empower your customers.
Enabling success is one of the most proactive (and enjoyable) tasks of a customer success team, because instead of wrestling with complaints and fielding objections about product issues, they’re getting to actively engage with customers about how to maximize their results.
How does the community help them with this?
- Create a knowledge base
On top of the natural resource your customers have in connecting with each other, your customer success team can build a centralized hub of resources in the community, and direct customers to this knowledge base. Once customers know the library is there, they can use it as a self-service tool. Overall, you’ll find that this improves onboarding and increases product adoption.
- Understand the customer’s journey
Just like your customer success team can observe when customers are unhappy, they can observe when customers are happy and ready to buy more. Remember Customer Sally, who helped Jill and Joe with that problem on the community? She mentioned she was planning to look into an add-on service or product to take her solution to the next level. Once your customer success team reads this, they know Sally is ready for an additional purchase, and they can schedule that next meeting. This insight from customers gives your customer success team an idea where your customers are in their journey, and helps them reach out at the right time, improving the customer experience.
Take Your Team From “Burned Out” to “Saving the Day” with These Customer Success Superpowers
Your customer success team wants to help customers who need it, and ensure they’re maximizing the value of their purchase, but it’s hard to do that without data. So if you want to turn your team’s burnout into excitement about coming into work every day, think about how you can do a little power-bestowing yourself with an online community.