Customer Success is a relatively new term among B2B software companies. It combines elements of account management, customer relationship management (CRM), onboarding, training, implementation, and support in order to help customers successfully adopt and use a product in the long-term.
Previously, customers bought software on multi-year license agreements that required heavy implementation. Once the contract was signed, it was very difficult and expensive to switch providers. In today's subscription economy, many B2B software companies have self-service billing options and customers are able to try many different options before signing up. With fewer human touchpoints and ever-decreasing transition costs, Customer Success has evolved as a practice to help companies proactively manage the health and retention of their customer base.
This article summarizes the different types of software that are commonly used by customer success professionals.
Customer Success Analytics
Customer success software provides a 360 degree view of customer activity based on signals like revenue, support contacts, product usage, and more. These signals can be quantified into a customer health score and acted upon accordingly. Tracking customer data in this manner also enables companies to identify trends and predict future performance based on customer attributes and actions.
There are many tools and channels now available for companies to communicate with their customers. Email providers like Marketo, ExactTarget, and Hubspot offer onboarding and lifecycle emails that can be customized depending on particular customer actions.
Training is a structured process for onboarding and educating customers. Courses can be self-paced, virtual live, or in-classroom. Training can be offered as a value-added service, or many companies offer it for free.
Skilljar is a learning management system that enables companies to develop and deliver online training. It is optimized for software companies that are streamlining their customer onboarding process. For live training, popular options include WebEx, GoToMeeting and Adobe Connect.
Whereas training is a proactive tool to help customers, support is typically a reactive tool for handling customer questions and problems. Support software includes documentation management, ticketing, and community forums.
Customer Success is a new, multi-disciplinary business function that combines analytics, communications, training, and support tools to help companies better understand and engage with their customers. We hope this overview of customer success software will help you improve product adoption and retention for your own customers!