Customer success management is becoming increasingly important to companies looking to achieve recurring revenues. Content can play a key role in helping businesses drive their CSM programmes.
It may sounds like yet another business fad, but “customer success management” is an area – and, indeed, a science – that is growing quickly as organisations realise that to continue to build their own businesses they need to develop stronger relationships with their customers. At the same time, you need to ensure that those customers are getting an experience that matches their expectations and ultimately that you are helping them to build and grow their own businesses.
Wikipedia defines customer success management as: “The function at a company responsible for managing the relationship between a vendor and its customers. The goal of customer success is to make the customer as successful as possible, which in turn, improves customer lifetime value for the vendor.”
This is particularly poignant in fast-paced industries such as software as a service (SaaS), where churn can be high and the provider can be seen as distant and disinterested. For any business that depend on a continuing income stream from its customers, which lets be honest is most of us, there is a decision to be made: either actively manage your customer relationships or hand control over to a potentially fatal cocktail of chance and/or the competition.
Getting new customers is just the start
The reality for many modern businesses is that getting new customers in the door is just the start. There needs to be a long-term, engineered and directed strategy in place to then support, nurture, grown and retain these customers once you have them.
The ultimate strategic goal of customer success management is to create the right environment for sustainable corporate profitability and growth, by making your customers as profitable and productive as possible. What you could term, the “you grow, we grow” scenario.
Customer success management sets out to achieve this by pulling together activities from marketing, sales, professional services, training and support into a new profession to meet the needs of recurring revenue model companies. There are three crucial building blocks for this emerging role: an in-depth knowledge of the customers; effective knowledge of the product being sold; and extensive industry expertise.
Content is key to communicating expertise
But how do you effectively communicate these building blocks to your customers? Aside from an in-depth knowledge of customers, which requires spending quality time getting to know and understand them, the answer is through the content you deliver.
Of course, there is nothing that beats actually getting on the phone to customers or being face to face with them when it comes to helping them through their problems – particularly if you have someone that is about to walk out of the door to the competition. However, one of the most powerful ways of helping customers get the most out of your product is to produce a knowledge bank of content that helps them deal with the most commonly asked questions.
And there’s a number of ways you can do this. Written tips and guides are quick and easy to digest, but for sheer power and speed of communication, video tutorials can be unrivalled. Short digestible bites of video footage that walk customers through an issue step-by-step are the easiest way for people to learn. And they don’t have to be difficult or expensive to produce – a copy of Camtasia will allow you to do pretty much everything you need. As long as the videos are clear and concise with good quality audio, you have a great customer retention tool in your hands.
Educating your customers
Similarly, the best way to demonstrate your expertise in your area and your understanding of your customers’ market place is to educate them on how to grow their businesses, and how your product (without the hard sell) can help them achieve this.
You can use a range of different content formats to do this… for example, a series of educational webinars, which you can then put on your YouTube channel on demand show that you really care about helping your customers grow. This can be important not just for your existing customers, but also for those prospects looking to come on board. If they see that you produce this level of content then they will feel assured that your desire to work in partnership with them is not just shallow promises to get them through the door.
Beyond this, offering targeted blogs, eBooks and white papers that provide your customers with the tools and knowledge to develop their business, no matter what stage of growth they are at, is crucial to building the goodwill that helps prevents churn.
So make sure that if you’re planning on developing your own customer success management programme that content forms a key part of your strategy.
And, if you don’t have the resources in-house to produce the content to drive your customers success management programme, then get in touch.