When you’re managing customer relationships, you can’t afford to miss much. So, after an eventful year like 2021, and as we enter 2022, ensure you’re updated on the latest customer success trends I am likely to see this year. Many of the trends I wrote about last year didn’t just come to fruition this year, they’ve evolved and shifted along with the customer success space. I’ve compiled ten trends, all based on what I’ve seen over the past two years.
If you are still unfamiliar, Customer Success is all about being proactive in reaching out to customers and improving their experience at every point in their customer journey.
The rise of customer advocacy and expansion
Customer Success’ bread and butter is making sure clients stick around, but we see a rising focus on expansion and customer advocacy. Successful customer management is the foundation for building brand advocates and bringing new deals through the door. If someone sees value when using your product, they’re more likely to up their spend or continue their contracts — meaning that CS influences and drives revenue. Those people are also more likely to recommend you to others.
Customer Success evolves as the new growth engine
Today’s customers have high expectations around achieving business value from their technology investments, which is why customer success has evolved as a growth engine for software companies. Thus, CSMs are playing a more strategic game, drawing from their intimate knowledge of a customer’s business objectives and technology landscape to identify growth opportunities.
Sales and Customer Success alignment creates synergy
Like CS, the sales process has also evolved. The traditional sales cycle, with pre-sales and post-sales, is being replaced by a continuous process comprising two key phases: prospect and growth.This new sales process requires that the customer success role be introduced early so that Sales and CS are working together in the prospect phase. Once this is complete, the customer moves into the growth phase where CSM works to realize business value and uncover further value. CSM hands the opportunity back to Sales, and the process continues.
Greater emphasis on customer onboarding
How well you onboard a new customer affects their overall experience with a product, especially during those early stages.
Sales and CS really need to have the same relationship as the one marketing’s built over the past few years. Because if the sales team are overpromising during the deal-closing stage, they’ll give customer success an onboarding mountain to climb. The dialogue door between the two needs to stay firmly wedged open, so that they have a clear understanding of the other’s capabilities.
Effective communication with the customer is a critical component of good customer service. The last thing you want is for your customer to leave a conversation frustrated, whether it is by phone, email, or in-person. To that end, customer representatives must always improve their soft skills: listening, negotiation, creativity, being resourceful, attentiveness — essentially anything that not only shows the customer that you care about their problem, but also that you are happy to hear from them.
Mapping customer journeys are going to be one of the most booming trends in 2022. Throughout the customer journey, there are various touchpoints and with the smart technology and data-driven comprehensive, these insights are easily available.
The journey of a customer doesn’t end when they buy your product, but it actually is the very beginning. Throughout the entire journey, understand your customers, their behaviours, and their needs. Also, it is important to get their feedback and improve your service. Customer success begins after purchase and understanding the story of the customer journey, then visualizing it will be the best way to assist them. With customer journey mapping, you can:
- Create better alignment between teams
- Measure and enhance customer experience
- Define milestones and work towards them
- Execute better customer success strategies that are more likely to be successful
Proactive and customer-first strategies
Customer success focuses on being proactive, as opposed to customer service which is reactive.
With plenty of analytical data in hand, a vendor can be well equipped to provide preemptive and proactive services — services that can be specially designed to target a customer’s needs and wants before the customer even knows what they need and want. This creates a personalized customer experience that really resonates with the individual and improves customer loyalty. In other words, customer success occurs before the customer reaches out to you. More specifically, in customer success, your business reaches out to customers to make their experience better. Over the years, businesses have noticed that customers respond better to personalized service. By offering custom solutions and personalized service, your customer understands that their business is important to you. Additionally, you make it easier for them to see how your products and services can directly relieve their problems and make their lives or businesses function better.
Go beyond your product/service
There are plenty of businesses out selling a product like yours. And for the customers to use just your product you have to run that extra mile. How?
- Know your customer’s metrics for success.
- Be patient with your customers and nurture them.
- Deliver product updates wisely.
- Bring the customer in the spotlight.
- Educate the customers about your products.
Customer Success goals must be integrated with every department
Customer success is no longer a department limited function. Customer success is a state of functioning where every employee has to be aligned and involved with customer growth. Customer success needs to be integrated with every part of the company.
Customer Success is becoming a promising career discipline
Customer success is gaining traction as a promising career option among post-secondary graduates and experienced professionals alike. And as more companies invest in customer success, the demand for CS professionals will only continue to grow. LinkedIn listed Customer Success Manager as the third most promising job for 2018. And the University of San Francisco recently launched an MBA Program: Customer Success Management.