Inform and Educate – This very important step in the customer lifecycle begins at presale. Create a user experience that walks the customer through how to use your product or service. A great example is Canva, a design tool for non-designers. They have simplified the sign-up process and demonstrate right out of the gate how easy it is to use their product.
Even after purchase, additional proactive outreach should be done to get customers engaged. Identify the most important features and benefits that lead to long term retention and then begin to highlight those through different channels. This can be done through a call to action in an email, or proactive interaction with your customer such as a phone call or SMS message (make sure they opted in for contact). If it is the first time the customer is logging on, consider a proactive chat session guiding them through the best way to utilize your service.
Make it easy for the customer to engage and use your product or service.
This can be done through simple video tutorials or a series of messages that introduce or remind the customer of the key benefits and features. Include a link to schedule an onboarding appointment or an invitation to a webinar. If it fits into your budget and the desired customer experience, a proactive phone call could be made to verify they have everything to get started using your services. The important thing to remember, do not make it complicated or overwhelming. Keep it simple and straight forward.
Notice and Measure Engagement – From the moment the sale is made, look for ways to measure customer engagement. Start by first measuring frequency. Frequency is the number of times a customer logs in to your site. Determine the right pattern for your business. Should it be once a day, once a week, once a month? Identify the preferred frequency and begin to measure it. Stratify your customers into buckets and monitor associated churn rates over time. You will begin to see milestones of when and how the most valuable customers engage with your product.
Next look at amount of time on the site and patterns of usage. Identify and measure the leading indicators for engagement or potential churn. If a customer is looking for ways to cancel the service, it is a pretty strong sign they are getting ready to churn. On the flipside, if they are consistently using the technology the way you intended, they are probably more engaged and more likely to continue using your service.
Using customer engagement surveys is another option for measuring engagement. Look for points in time that make sense to send a survey. Maybe after a live interaction such as a phone call, chat session or email correspondence. Ask them about the service provided and if they would recommend your service. This simple question can be one of the best ways of measuring engagement. If the response is negative take the opportunity to reach back out to the customer to see if there is anything you can do to help satisfy their concerns.
The Customer Success Movement
The Customer Success movement ultimately boils down to active focus on W-I-N, including the ability for SaaS business to recognize customer usage patterns and proactively engage to improve customer lifetime value. While the line between customer support and customer success is a blurry one, and where it gets drawn depends on who you are talking to, we believe that whatever you call your team, the goal is the same – successful, engaged customers that feel valued and get value from the products and services you deliver. We’ve previously blogged about the Popular SaaS Companies Offering Live Chat Software, if you are interested in a view of across the Customer Success software ecosystem, we suggest checking out G2Crowd.
In the end, you are in business to resolve a problem for the customer and we suggest you stay focused on that.