Learn how customer success teams can increase customer retention by having the right strategy to develop successful customers. We’ve compiled a variety of resources to help you get there.
- How to retain customers
- Strategies for customer retention
- Customer retention tactics
- Customer retention really starts with onboarding
- Create a memorable customer onboarding process
How to retain customers
Creating successful customers starts with the post-sale experience and is a critical part of the customer journey. Modern B2B organizations must take ownership of the outcomes generated by their customers with their Customer Success team. This function is people intensive and responsible for generating renewals, and often account growth through cross-selling and upselling. Some are responsible for generating customer advocacy as well.
The challenge for CS organizations is the level of labor-intensity which makes it difficult to scale. Whether the task is onboarding new customers, determining the health of a customer account, or discerning which accounts to target for an upsell campaign, a Customer Success Manager (CSM) is usually involved and is the limiting resource.
Nick Mehta, CEO of Gainsight, says, “instead of only focusing on internal metrics (e.g., churn, retention, and NPS), the most sophisticated companies are looking from the outside in, starting with the customer’s experience and desired outcomes and working backward.
In other words, you are not the protagonist of your customer’s journey. It’s a natural tendency to think of ourselves as the hero, but in Customer Success, we’re an advisor, a guide, and (maybe) a friend.”
Tools like Gainsight help orchestrate that customer journey across complex organizations with multiple teams and multiple touchpoints to make sure the customer achieves their desired outcomes and has great experiences with every interaction. Healthy customer-sustained communities are almost always linchpins of those successful outcomes and great experiences. CSMs and the community can also be complementary, working together to drive value and experience for customers.
Improve user adoption and retention
Creating successful customers starts with education. A customer community is a perfect place to share resources that will set new customers up for success. You can make this process more engaging and interactive by creating timely, gamified community campaigns. This way, sharing best practices, news, and product education feels like less of a chore to customers, and more like fun.
It also empowers your customers to help themselves – as they learn more about your solution, the less likely they are to rely on your support team to help them troubleshoot or perform a particular function.
Launch new customers effectively and scalably
The best CS organizations are fastidious about launching new customers well. Generating measurable value early in the relationship has a massively positive effect on retention, growth, and advocacy. Tools like Gainsight are used to track an individual customer’s progress through their onboarding and training process. Ones that are stalled can be prioritized for intervention by a CSM or onboarding specialist.
Technology can also be used to automate all or part of the onboarding process, helping your team to onboard several customers at one time without compromising experience.
Uncover account growth opportunities
Uncover your happiest users, and introduce them to products or services they may not be aware of through educational campaigns, so that no potential revenue goes undiscovered. This will help your CS team take the guesswork out of which accounts are ready for an upsell conversation. Plus, establishing meaningful relationships with your most successful advocates will make broaching the topic of account expansion a more natural part of their journey.
This is an excerpt from our customer-powered enterprise playbook. Download the chapter on Customer Success to learn more. This playbook also contains actionable worksheets that you can use right away.
Strategies for customer retention
Favoring the prospect journey over the post-sale customer journey is a huge missed revenue opportunity for businesses who underinvest in their customer retention strategies. Research has found that:
- The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5 to 20%. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%. (Marketing Metrics)
- 80% of a company’s future profits comes from 20% of its existing customer base. (Gartner)
- A 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25% to 95%. (Bain & Company)
However, priorities around customer engagement and retention have been shifting: 63% of C-suite leaders at global companies believe that the customer experience is a “very important” investment priority, with 42% having boosted spending in this category in the last three years, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit.
Most companies have a few disparate programs (read: email blasts and NPS survey sends twice a year) in place to engage customers post-onboarding. However, it’s hard to find sophisticated programs that make long-term customer success, retention, and advocacy a predictable outcome.
Creating customer relationships that last is the foundation for retaining customers long term—not just as customers, but also as advocates. Our framework— the Discover, Nurture, Mobilize framework (DNM) method:
In this blog post, we will walk you through this three-part framework, the best method for turning passive customers into power users—and then into vocal advocates.
Customer retention tactics
The Discover, Nurture, Mobilize framework (DNM) provides the foundation for your team to improve retention by building long-lasting and valuable customer relationships. In the first stage, Discover, the key goal is to understand what will motivate customers to engage in your programs.
Learn the best tactics for getting to know your customers by reading our blog, which includes 4 inspiring examples.
Customer retention really starts with onboarding
When onboarding new customers, it’s essential to provide them with the support they need to succeed. If they don’t fully understand how your product or solution can add value, it’s likely they won’t stick around. In the Nurture stage, your objective is to educate your customers with helpful resources and give them opportunities to engage with your team and your community, so you can guide them to success.
Not sure of the best way to nurture your customers? We’ve highlighted 6 powerful tactics (with examples) in our blog.
Create a memorable customer onboarding process
Having the right onboarding process in place can mean all the difference between a churned customer and a customer advocate. For Uberflip, creators of a cloud-based content experience platform that empowers B2B marketers to create personalized content experiences at scale—they knew that creating an exceptional onboarding program was key.
Uberflip wanted their new customers to quickly get value from the platform. They knew that the faster they could get customers consuming their onboarding resources and launching their Uberflip instance, the more likely those customers would be to see rapid results. And, this early success could start them on the path towards turning into a long-term advocate for the Uberflip brand.
“We have an amazing onboarding team,” says Alana Merdzan, Customer Marketing Specialist at Uberflip. “But we knew we had opportunities to further improve the process by leveraging great content and our customer advocacy program. We felt this approach would help customers quickly get up-to-speed with our platform and feel closer to our brand in the long run.”
Click here to see how Uberflip is able to achieve an 80% completion rate onboarding activities via a fun and interactive experience.
Once you’ve established an onboarding program that provides an easy, educational, and fun experience for customers, it’s time to move into the final stage of the DNM framework; Mobilize.
If you’ve spent the time to get to know your customers, and nurtured them by adding value, then you’re ready to reap all the rewards of a highly engaged community. Learn how by reading 5 ways to mobilize your advocates to boost your customer success function.