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:
- 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.
- Identify customer-focused success criteria and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
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