As we welcome in a new year, it's the perfect time to take a look at the trends that will shape the future of customer success. As the industry matures and shifts towards greater efficiency and profitability, customers will play a crucial role in driving these changes. In 2023, customer success leaders will need to be more adaptable than ever, developing new skills and processes to deliver more value to customers and stakeholders alike. With the right approach, customer success teams can not only meet but exceed the expectations of their customers and drive positive business outcomes for their organizations.
Cross-departmental involvement in customer success
As the focus shifts from pre-sales to post-sales, we can expect to see a stronger involvement from other departments such as account managers, product managers, finance, and operations in existing customer success efforts.
This will require customer success teams to be more transparent and communicative internally, while also being open to feedback and criticism. Smart CS leaders will use this opportunity to build stronger relationships within the company and demonstrate additional value to their customer base by connecting product managers and decision makers directly with customer feedback.
Emphasis on efficient team management
In 2023, customer success teams will be under increased scrutiny to examine how resources are being allocated and the impact it creates. This means that CS leaders will need to be more involved in the day-to-day operations of their teams and have a better understanding of how their team members are spending their time and serving customers.
This transition may pose a challenge for CS leaders in terms of avoiding micromanagement while still effectively managing their teams.
Strategic planning and account accountability
As customer success metrics become increasingly important, teams will need to have strategic plans and conversations to achieve desired results. This will require a shift away from improvised approaches to customer onboarding, with team leads implementing success plans for high-touch accounts to ensure accountability for both customers and CSMs. This means that CSMs will need to have clear goals and objectives for each customer interaction, and be able to demonstrate how their efforts are contributing to the overall success of the account. In addition, team leads will need to regularly review and assess these success plans, to ensure that they are still aligned with the customer's goals and objectives and that the team is on track to achieve them.
This also means that customer success teams will need to have a strong understanding of their customer's industry, business objectives and needs, and work closely with the sales, marketing, and product teams to create a tailored customer onboarding plan that addresses the key pain points, identify the customer's critical success factors, and set up a clear plan of actions and milestones that will help the customer to achieve their desired outcomes.
Delivering enhanced value to customers through personalization and education
In 2023, customer success teams will be expected to deliver more value to customers beyond the product or solution they have purchased. This starts with customer education and enablement, as it is widely acknowledged that less than 80% of product features are being used. Customer success teams will play a vital role in increasing adoption rates by educating customers and discovering new use cases. Additionally, customer success teams will be expected to provide more actionable insights, personalized reports, and professional services, in order to deliver even more value to customers.
Increasing customer touch-points with personalization 2.0
Personalization has been a buzzword in the business world for quite some time, but its importance is becoming more pronounced as the economy becomes increasingly digital. Companies are recognizing that in order to stand out and attract new customers, they need to provide a more personalized experience for their customers. One way to achieve this is by leveraging technology to create more touchpoints and opportunities for personalized interactions.This can be done with tailored content creation, dedicated to every persona in every stage of the customer lifecycle through customer portals, communities, chatbot etc.
By creating these personalized experiences, companies can foster stronger relationships with their customers, increase customer loyalty and retention, and ultimately drive more business.
Move from onboarding to ongoing focus
Onboarding is a process that never really ends. Keeping customers engaged is key to ensuring they continue to find value in your product and achieve their desired outcomes. This can be achieved through regularly checking in with customers, addressing any issues or concerns, and providing valuable resources and support.
There are many reasons why customer success teams may struggle to maintain ongoing communication with customers, such as being too busy with other tasks, lack of strategic discussion with customers, and difficulty in tracking and managing customer interactions.
One way to address these challenges is by using a customer hub, which is a centralized source of information for everything a customer needs throughout the lifecycle.
By fostering constant engagement and ensuring that there is never a misalignment or gap in communication, customer hubs can help customer success teams overcome the post-onboarding engagement challenge and drive better outcomes for both the customer and the company. It streamlines the way companies interact with their customers, which can lead to a more efficient and effective service, and in the long run, result in increased customer loyalty and retention.
A retrospective perspective is needed
As cross-departmental involvement in customer success increases, it's crucial for customer success organizations to adopt a retrospective perspective. This means looking back at past performance, identifying areas for improvement, and using that information to drive more efficient and effective customer success strategies in the future. By being more transparent, sharing more information, and being open to feedback, customer success teams can build stronger relationships with other departments and with their customers.
Smart CS leaders will take advantage of this retrospective perspective to not only improve their own work but also to demonstrate additional value to their customer base. By analyzing past performance, identifying patterns, and tracking key metrics, CS leaders can make data-driven decisions that lead to increased customer satisfaction, product adoption, and revenue growth. Additionally, this retrospective perspective can also help to identify areas where the customer success team could benefit from additional resources, training or support.