Ten Strategies to Build Customer Proficiency

Ten Strategies to Build Customer Proficiency

BLOG

Ten Strategies to Build Customer Proficiency

The more you can build customer proficiency with your products, the more good things will happen. You’ll increase product adoption, a positive indicator for future purchases. And you’ll reduce the need for customers to contact your Support teams, giving you more runway to scale your Support operations.

Companies need to look beyond just helping customers help themselves and consider how they can build customers’ expertise so they can use and apply products more competently. Proficiency will require companies to move beyond a reliance on self-help-focused strategies and invest in building the foundational technical and business skills customers need to use products fully and successfully.

Leverage these 10 strategies to build customer proficiency, speed product adoption and reduce the need for support assistance:

  1. Define formal onboarding procedures that can assess customer proficiency and recommend appropriate skills development and training.
  2. Establish a skills inventory and recommended training plan as part of onboarding and adoption planning.
  3. Provide access to on-demand self-paced training and skills development.
  4. Provide access to on-demand live coaching to help customers gain experience and build skills in the context of using a product.
  5. Provide access to instructor led in-person and virtual training programs.
  6. Define learning paths to recommend skills development activities and align with available training resources.
  7. Encourage proficiency development by offering customers incentives to develop product-related skills.
  8. Provide skills inventory and assessment tools and services to assess customer proficiency on an ongoing basis.
  9. Define standards of proficiency and offer assessments and skills certification programs.
  10. Make learning fun for customers and reward proficiency development.

Learn more about Customer Proficiency Metrics that gauge the impact of issue prevention initiatives – Download the ServiceXRG whitepaper:
Four Imperatives for Scaling Support.

 

How successful are your efforts to scale Support?

We’re here to help you do better.

Reach out anytime to get answers and insights about proven, measurable ways for your Support function to run at greater scale. Use the chat button at bottom right, send an e-mail, or click on my calendar to schedule a specific time to talk.

 

Support demand is on the rise. What’s your response plan?

Download the ServiceXRG Whitepaper:

Four Imperatives for Scaling Support

Download Four Imperatives for Scaling Support and discover:

  • The most effective approaches to scaling support — proven in high-volume support organizations.
  • The 4 top strategies to scale support and reduce demand.
  • The best practices that make these strategies effective.
  • The metrics that enable precise tracking of your efforts to scale support.
Download the ServiceXRG whitepaper, "Ensuring a Successful Journey to Customer Success"

Related Articles

Five Ways to Automate Service Delivery

Automation plays an increasingly important role in support case deflection and management activities. Leverage these 5 service automation strategies to free up your skilled support staff for higher value activities:

read more

Seven Strategies to Prevent Support Cases

Identifying and alleviating performance and usability issues can go a long way toward preventing demand for Support. Leverage these 7 strategies for issue prevention to help lessen Support demand:

read more

Maximizing the Return on Your Support Knowledge Base

The Support organization encompasses extensive experience and expertise about how to use and apply products. Access to this Support knowledge is the primary reason customers contact Support. This article explains how companies can maximize the return on the creation and distribution of Support knowledge.

read more

Eight Strategies for Keeping in Touch with Customers

Eight Strategies for Keeping in Touch with Customers

BLOG

Eight Strategies for Keeping in Touch with Customers

Inactive customers may be less costly to serve, but they’re more likely to churn. Keeping in touch with customers is essential to developing, retaining, and growing customer relationships—and these eight best practices can help.

Healthy customer relationships require an ongoing dialogue. This dialogue consists of a mix of:

  • Regular interactions through digital media
  • Self-help materials
  • User communities
  • Direct interaction with your Support and Customer Success team members

To accelerate time-to-value, nurture long-term relationships, and drive recurring revenue, leverage these eight strategies for keeping in touch with customers:

  1.  Develop a communications plan based on onboarding programs, success plans or journey maps to determine type and frequency of contact.
  2. Proactively communicate with customers on a regular basis through newsletters, social media, blog posts and contact by Customer Success team members.
  3. Introduce best practices and new ways for customers to use and apply your products through workshops and webinars.
  4. Extend relationships beyond technical points of contact to end-users and executive stakeholders.
  5. Prioritize proactive contact based on customer relationship value.
  6. Look for opportunities to expand quantity and quality of interactions through digital outreach.
  7. Conduct periodic Executive or Quarterly Business Reviews (EBR / QBR) with customers.
  8. Proactively contact inactive customers to determine the reason for inactivity and what actions, if any, can be taken to preserve the relationship.

How much customer interaction is enough? How can you better keep in touch with your customers?

I’m here to help you get the answers you need.

Reach out anytime to get answers and insights about the best ways to engage and retain your customers. Use the chat button at bottom right, send an e-mail, or click on my calendar to schedule a specific time to talk.

 

Ready to commit to a Customer Success strategy? Learn the 5 critical milestones.

Exclusive ServiceXRG White Paper:

Ensuring a Successful Journey to Customer Success

Download the ServiceXRG whitepaper, "Ensuring a Successful Journey to Customer Success"

Related Articles

Recurring Revenue Rate

The amount of recurring revenue a company receives may increase, stay the same, or decline for a given period. Recurring Revenue Rate indicates the percent change in the amount of recurring revenue at the end of a specified period compared to the recurring revenue at the beginning of the same period. Measuring recurring revenue rate is essential to help identify the factors that lead to revenue retention and attrition and provides an indicator of the overall state of customer relationship health.

read more

Eight Strategies for Keeping in Touch with Customers

Healthy customer relationships require an ongoing dialogue through digital media, self-help, communities and direct interaction with Support and Customer Success team members. This article introduces eight customer interaction best practices to engage and retain your customers.

read more

Six Steps to Effective Customer Success Planning

Planning for customer success starts with establishing how your customers define success with your products. By understanding what your customers expect it is possible to align resources to help customers achieve their desired outcomes. Six steps to effective Customer Success planning practices to engage and retain your customers.

read more

Six Steps to Effective Customer Success Planning

Six Steps to Effective Customer Success Planning

BLOG

Six Steps to Effective Customer Success Planning

Customer Success doesn’t just happen. It requires intentional, meaningful engagements across the product lifespan. Take these 6 steps toward more effective Customer Success Planning.

Sounds obvious, but it isn’t always: Customer Success Planning starts with how your customers (not your company) define success with your products and services. When you clearly understand what your customers’ expectations are, your organization can then align resources to help them achieve their desired outcomes.

It is possible that a customer’s expectations will only “scratch the surface” of what your product can do, or what they can do with it. This is the most fertile ground for nurturing Customer Success and growth — because when you can augment their desired outcomes with an enticing and useful positioning of what’s possible, you’re exceeding expectations.

The Success planning and management process is ongoing — from the initial Sales engagement, through product adoption and use, to value realization. Knowing this, you can help your customers define and achieve their desired outcomes by developing success plans.

To accelerate time-to-value, sustain long-term relationships, and drive recurring revenue, leverage these six steps to effective Customer Success planning:

  1. Engage customers to understand their needs and expectations of your products. Use automated (e-mail, web-based surveys, etc.) or direct engagement (phone, video conference, on-site) methods.
  2. Identify customer-focused success criteria and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
  3. Work with customers to develop a success plan.  Use the plan as a basis for aligning resources and setting expectations for service types and levels.
  4. Define journey maps to attain specific outcomes.  Introduce the practices and methods necessary to achieve defined goals. Journey maps may address the needs of many customers or be tailored to the needs of a specific customer.
  5. Establish success metrics to indicate progress against a success plan or journey map.  These may be standalone indicators of success or part of an overall customer health metric.
  6. Keep success plans up-to-date and relevant through periodic business reviews to assess progress against the current plan.  Regular interactions may be conducted informally or through Executive or Quarterly Business Reviews. (EBR / QBR).

 

How effectively do you help your customers plan for success?

I’m here to help you get the answers you need.

Reach out anytime to get answers and insights about the best ways to engage and retain your customers. Use the chat button at bottom right, send an e-mail, or click on my calendar to schedule a specific time to talk.

 

Ready to commit to a Customer Success strategy? Learn the 5 critical milestones.

Exclusive ServiceXRG White Paper:

Ensuring a Successful Journey to Customer Success

Download the ServiceXRG whitepaper, "Ensuring a Successful Journey to Customer Success"

Related Articles

Eight Strategies for Keeping in Touch with Customers

Healthy customer relationships require an ongoing dialogue through digital media, self-help, communities and direct interaction with Support and Customer Success team members. This article introduces eight customer interaction best practices to engage and retain your customers.

read more

Six Steps to Effective Customer Success Planning

Planning for customer success starts with establishing how your customers define success with your products. By understanding what your customers expect it is possible to align resources to help customers achieve their desired outcomes. Six steps to effective Customer Success planning practices to engage and retain your customers.

read more

Five Customer Engagement Best Practices to Develop, Retain, and Grow Relationships

Five Customer Engagement Best Practices to Develop, Retain, and Grow Relationships

BLOG

Five Customer Engagement Best Practices to Develop, Retain, and Grow Relationships

Authentic customer engagement is vital to long-term positive relationships with the people who use your products and services. From onboarding to adoption and value realization, your organization should be generating a regular cadence of customer interactions. How do your current interactions stack up to these five customer engagement best practices?

Effective engagement activities start with understanding your customers’ desired outcomes. They continue with interactions that help them plan for success with your products and services.

Within all those interactions, it’s critical that clear expectations be set for the type and level of services you can provide your customer. When all members of your team know these expectations, they can then focus of meeting them—and strive to exceed them.

To accelerate time-to-value, nurture long-term relationships, and drive recurring revenue, leverage these five customer engagement best practices:

 

1. Sales Hand-Off

Define an effective hand-off from the Sales to Service team.

2. Onboarding

Provide self-guided or assisted onboarding to all new customers.

3. Customer Outcomes Assessment

Identify customer needs and desired outcomes.

4. Success Planning

Provide self-guided or assisted success planning.

5. Regular Interactions

Assess customer health, provide planning and conduct business and technical reviews.

Key Customer Engagement Metrics to Know and Use

To assess the effectiveness of your Customer Engagement activities, consider the following metrics:

  • Success Plan Rate – Percent of eligible customers with success plan.
  • % Onboarded – Percent of new customers successfully onboarded.
  • Time to Value – The average time to achieve outcomes and realize value from product.
  • Adoption Rate – Percent of customers to reach adoption milestones.
  • Customer Touchpoints – The number and frequency of customer interactions through both digital and personal channels.

 

How effective are your customer engagement efforts?

I’m here to help you get the answers you need.

Reach out anytime to get answers and insights about the best ways to engage and retain your customers. Use the chat button at bottom right, send an e-mail, or click on my calendar to schedule a specific time to talk.

Ready to commit to a Customer Success strategy? Learn the 5 critical milestones.

Exclusive ServiceXRG White Paper:

Ensuring a Successful Journey to Customer Success

Download the ServiceXRG whitepaper, "Ensuring a Successful Journey to Customer Success"

Related Articles

Recurring Revenue Rate

The amount of recurring revenue a company receives may increase, stay the same, or decline for a given period. Recurring Revenue Rate indicates the percent change in the amount of recurring revenue at the end of a specified period compared to the recurring revenue at the beginning of the same period. Measuring recurring revenue rate is essential to help identify the factors that lead to revenue retention and attrition and provides an indicator of the overall state of customer relationship health.

read more

Eight Strategies for Keeping in Touch with Customers

Healthy customer relationships require an ongoing dialogue through digital media, self-help, communities and direct interaction with Support and Customer Success team members. This article introduces eight customer interaction best practices to engage and retain your customers.

read more

Six Steps to Effective Customer Success Planning

Planning for customer success starts with establishing how your customers define success with your products. By understanding what your customers expect it is possible to align resources to help customers achieve their desired outcomes. Six steps to effective Customer Success planning practices to engage and retain your customers.

read more

Beyond NPS: Eight Metrics for Support and Success

Beyond NPS: Eight Metrics for Support and Success

BLOG

Beyond NPS: Eight Metrics for Support and Success

High customer satisfaction and Net Promoter Scores as the desired outcome of Support and Customer Success interactions, while positive, is not enough because it does not connect service delivery excellence with tangible business outcomes.

Why NPS is Not Enough for Support and Success

Support and Success must be focused on the attainment of tangible business objectives. For the customer, this implies that Support or Success interactions must help the customer apply a product successfully. For the business, providing these services must contribute to retaining relationships with hopes of expanding their value. This is why organizations must look beyond NPS (Net Promoter Score) when measuring the impact of Support and Success on lifetime customer value.

Attainment of high Net Promoter Scores, while positive, is not enough to indicate that “promoters” will correlate to the positive outcomes the business expects. The measure of Support and Success must be tangible and focused on “end game” results such as:

  • Can the customer use the product?
  • Can customers achieve tangible business outcomes by using the product?
  • Did support or success services help the customer attain their goals?
  • How will the customers’ ability to achieve their desired outcomes influence their ongoing relationship?

Beyond NPS: The Right Metrics for Support and Success

What is the primary reason for offering Support and Success services?  In most cases these organizations are aligned to help customers adopt and apply products successfully. The rationale is if customer can use and apply products successfully, you will increase the likelihood that you can retain and expand these relationships.  A single, simple measure such as NPS cannot provide sufficient insight to indicate that Support and Success efforts are resulting in tangible business benefit.

Consider the following eight metrics for determining the impact of your post sales services.

Metric

Description

1. Onboard

The percent on that new customers have received formal onboarding guidance.

2. Adoption

The rate that customers have met adoption milestones.

3. Success

The percent of customer that have reached established performance goals or milestones on defined journey map.

4. Availability

The rate that customers business operations have not be interrupted due to downtime or outages.

5. Engagement Quality

The percent of all customer engagements that result in positive outcomes.

6. Retention

The percent of active customers that have committed to renew an existing relationship.

7. Health

The relative health of a customer relationship based on the composite rates of adoption, success, retention, and recurring revenue rates.

8. Net Recurring Revenue

The net growth or contraction of the total recurring revenue relationship value. Learn the formula for calculating Recurring Revenue Rate.

 

How effectively are you managing and maximizing these Support and Success metrics?

I’m here to help you get the answers you need.

Reach out anytime to get answers and insights about the best ways to engage and retain your customers. Use the chat button at bottom right, send an e-mail, or click on my calendar to schedule a time to talk.

New, high-return revenue streams are waiting to be unlocked.
Here’s the key.

Exclusive ServiceXRG Whitepaper:

Using Services to Retain & Grow Recurring Revenue

Download the ServiceXRG whitepaper: Using Services to Retain and Grow Recurring Revenue

Related Articles

Eight Strategies for Keeping in Touch with Customers

Healthy customer relationships require an ongoing dialogue through digital media, self-help, communities and direct interaction with Support and Customer Success team members. This article introduces eight customer interaction best practices to engage and retain your customers.

read more

Six Steps to Effective Customer Success Planning

Planning for customer success starts with establishing how your customers define success with your products. By understanding what your customers expect it is possible to align resources to help customers achieve their desired outcomes. Six steps to effective Customer Success planning practices to engage and retain your customers.

read more

Essential Customer Success Activities

Essential Customer Success Activities

BLOG

Essential Customer Success Activities

Customer Success—and the recurring revenue it generates—results from a series of intentional, interrelated activities performed throughout the customer relationship lifecycle. As shown in this graphic, effective customer success activities comprise a continuum:

 

Essential Customer Success Activities

Effective Customer Success activities fall into 6 distinct categories.  All are essential, yet recent ServiceXRG research revealed that half of companies surveyed are doing only half the job:

Customer Success Activities Commonly Used

Source: ServiceXRG 2020

Customer Success Activities Defined

Onboarding Activities

Onboarding activities aim to remove barriers that may inhibit successful product use. Onboarding can encompass activities to welcome and introduce customers to the resources necessary to use new products, as well as verification that customers can access and use products.

Onboarding activities can include:

  • Initial welcome
  • Kick-off-meeting
  • Goals and objectives inventory

Success Planning Activities

Success planning helps customers realize the full potential of products. These activities can increase understanding customer business objectives, introducing customers to product capabilities, and aligning services to help yield tangible business results.

Success Planning activities can include:

  • Goal setting
  • Account planning
  • Journey mapping
  • Business reviews

Activities to Drive Adoption

Adoption activities occur throughout the product ownership lifecycle. They are designed to advance Customer Success by encouraging the full and successful use of product features and capabilities by all targeted users.

Adoption activities can include:

  • Coaching
  • Training
  • Best practices
  • Templates

Health Monitoring Activities

By monitoring the customer ownership experience, your team gains insights about the extent to which customers are using products successfully. Early-warning signs of low adoption or low success rates trigger corrective actions.

Health monitoring activities can include:

  • Usage tracking
  • Sentiment analysis
  • Risk assessment
  • Intervention

Customer Retention Activities

Customer retention activities facilitate the contract-renewal actions that are necessary to assure sustained customer relationships and continuation of recurring revenues.

Customer retention activities can include:

  • Renewal notification
  • Budget planning
  • Follow-up
  • Win-loss analysis

Up-sell and Cross-Sell Activities

These expansion activities focus on the growth of customer relationship value by offering additional capabilities or capacity. This is where Customer Success activities pay off in additional, and ideally recurring, revenue.

 

Up-sell and cross-sell activities can include:

  • Account reviews
  • ROI analysis
  • Goal setting
  • Opportunity alignment

Make a plan to optimize Customer Success activities

ServiceXRG provides coaching and guidance to help companies optimize their Customer Success strategies, create action plans, and apply best practices.

Let’s make a plan to optimize your Customer Success Activities.

Contact ServiceXRG via the chat button at bottom right or e-mail now; or click on my calendar to set up an initial assessment of your Customer Success planning needs.

 

Exclusive ServiceXRG whitepaper: "Ensuring a Successful Journey to Customer Success"

Recent Posts

Take These Proven Actions to Scale Support Delivery

The future success of Customer Support relies on the ability of Support to scale to meet growing demand and fulfill an expanded, success-focused mission. Learn about proven initiatives for scaling Support delivery capabilities.

Five Ways to Automate Service Delivery

Automation plays an increasingly important role in support case deflection and management activities. Leverage these 5 service automation strategies to free up your skilled support staff for higher value activities:

Recurring Revenue Rate

The amount of recurring revenue a company receives may increase, stay the same, or decline for a given period. Recurring Revenue Rate indicates the percent change in the amount of recurring revenue at the end of a specified period compared to the recurring revenue at the beginning of the same period. Measuring recurring revenue rate is essential to help identify the factors that lead to revenue retention and attrition and provides an indicator of the overall state of customer relationship health.

Ten Strategies to Build Customer Proficiency

Higher levels of customer proficiency lead to faster product adoption and less need for support assistance. Leverage these 10 strategies will help customers develop essential product skills.

Ready to commit to a Customer Success strategy? Learn the 5 critical milestones.

Exclusive ServiceXRG White Paper:

Ensuring a Successful Journey to Customer Success

Download the ServiceXRG whitepaper, "Ensuring a Successful Journey to Customer Success"

Pin It on Pinterest