Finding bugs in your product is part for your customer’s journey. A stable product means happier users and less user tension. But there’s more to making customers happy than having a bug-free product. This is where customer success comes in.
The term customer success was coined only recently but it is already big with SaaS companies in the Valley. The idea is that making sure your customers are successful ensures a higher customer LTV (Lifetime Value), reduces churn and boosts your NPS (Net Promoter Score).
At Server Density, we think about customer success a lot. Here are six things we do to ensure our customers are happy and making the most of our product.
Optimise The Onboarding Journey
Onboarding your users properly sets the foundation for happy customers. It’s at this point that you should be nurturing your customers and ensuring that they are aware of and are using all parts of your service or product.
When a user signs up with Server Density, a customer success manager personally reaches out to them to schedule a call to understand their monitoring requirements.
Using Totango, we take note of everything about the customer: what they need, the key contacts, how they see their infrastructure evolving and how we can help them achieve their goals.
This may be something as simple as sending over relevant documentation or as significant as expediting feature requests or getting stuck writing scripts for them.
Regardless of what you do, make sure your success managers are doing something at this crucial stage of your customer’s journey. It makes a big difference when you make contact early on and get to know your customers on a more personal level.
But you can do more because onboarding doesn’t need to be an entirely manual process.
At Server Density, we send a number of automated lifecycle-related emails during the onboarding journey. It’s essential that you identify and create campaigns that are relevant and highlight the most important parts of your product.
We look at our most successful long-term customers and ask them what they’re doing. We find that they’re heavily invested in APIs, using our ops dashboard and often make contact with our support team (note: lots of support requests from a customer doesn’t necessarily mean they’re unhappy).
A few days before the trial expiry, reach out again. We do this to identify any blockers that would prevent customers from moving into a paid package. We try to achieve positive engagement, to work with customers in solving any commercial problems and to genuinely ensure they’re going to make the most out of our product.
Deliver Incredible Support
Customer support is something I’m personally very passionate about.
I truly believe giving your customers the best treatment when they contact you is a key to happier customers. Ask somebody why they’re loyal to Apple and he or she will probably say customer care. Ask a Server Density customer and they will also probably mention our support.
Make sure you are quick, concise and personal.
Picking up the phone within 2 rings, accepting a live chat in seconds as opposed to minutes and pulling up a Zendesk ticket right after we get the notification is key here.
We start looking into an issue immediately. Our support team always knows our customers and their infrastructure as well as their previous support requests in order to deliver unrivalled personal support.
Never send dull, one-liner responses.
Go above and beyond by sending links to relevant documentation, explaining issues, fixing scripts and debugging API calls. And if you think you should be speaking to the customer properly – pick up the phone and talk through it. Customers remember that.
At Server Density we define internal SLAs (Service Level Agreements) to ensure we’re beating response time expectations but don’t do this if it results in your support engineers rushing to give answers. It looks sloppy and you may as well not have the SLA!
Set up Account Reviews
For larger customers, we manually review accounts every 3 months. We use Totango to trigger tasks that are assigned to the user’s success manager. This is a good way to be proactive and ensure that you’re checking in with customers before they’re checking in with you.
When performing account reviews, it’s a good idea to have a template and know what you should be taking away from the meeting.
For us, we identify how our customer’s infrastructure is changing, how it’s recently changed, their goals for the next quarter, talk about new features, any problems and then open up the discussion for general chat. Not all customers will want a quarterly business review, but offer it anyway.
Visit Your Customers
Recently, our CEO David came back from the USA. Part of this trip involved visiting some of our larger customers in person – and previously some others in Europe during summer. I don’t think we need to explain why we do this, but it goes a long way in tightening relationships with our customers.
Remember these accounts make up a larger portion of your revenue.
Build Custom Metrics
Customer success software provides “out of the box” metrics and this is usually about how often your users are logging into your app, what they’re doing, license utilisation etc.
Crunching these figures just won’t work for all companies – Server Density included.
We use Totango’s custom metrics to build more relevant numbers that better help us identify the health of a customer. Our customer’s servers post back to Server Density (“payloads”) almost like a heartbeat. We then get the total daily number of payloads and send this to Totango and perform the following equation:
Payload utilisation = Payloads / Total device quota
This metric is called payload utilisation which, amongst others, we use to judge whether or not our customers are making the most out of monitoring. Think about what actionable unique metrics your company has, measure them and then act on them if they’re not normal.
Define Better Health Profiles
Most customer success software has default health profiles — poor, average and good health.
Often these profiles segment accounts by how often users are logging into your app (e.g. daily for good health, weekly for average health etc). These profiles aren’t suitable for some SaaS companies, Server Density included.
Some of our customers may log in every day, others every week and the rest monthly. Therefore, we needed to define relevant health profiles.
This is where the custom metrics previously mentioned comes in useful. If a customer’s payload utilisation drops by 50%, this means they’ve removed 50% of their servers and thus classifies the customer in bad health.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to really think about what classifies your customers as good or poor health. Set these up properly and then make sure that your customer success managers are taking the correct action when accounts move between different profiles.
About the author:
Harry Perks leads Customer Success at Server Density. He ensures customers are making the most of their monitoring, and should they run into any issue, he makes sure they’re delivered world-class support. You can find Harry on Twitter.
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