We are truly in the midst of an unprecedented situation with the coronavirus outbreak that has affected our lives, businesses and our workplaces. It has put entire industries on a pause mode, while whole cities are under lockdowns, with travel bans, canceled events, making work-from-home the new norm for global organizations.
And, with companies experiencing higher levels of uncertainty within several areas of the business, I recon one of the key challenges is how to effectively communicate with customers and partners, engaging them, and keeping them informed; all of which translates to customer success.
So, why is it paramount to focus on customer success in times of disruption? Well, first of all, businesses should need no reason to focus on customer success, and secondly because amidst this global crisis, acquiring new customers is expected to be a huge challenge and businesses really must focus efforts on customer satisfaction and retention.
As someone who handles customer queries and challenges on a daily basis, I believe this to be an extremely crucial period for customer success teams. Not only do they need to adapt and adopt quickly, but also change strategies to face customers who have been hugely impacted by the disruption, especially from the POV of the SaaS industry, which has been affected randomly.
So, in terms of SaaS products or businesses that cater to industries like manufacturing, hospitality, F&B tourism etc. seem to have had a huge hit, while businesses that cater to digital enablement (remote working, collaboration, virtual tools etc.) maybe will see a rise in demand. Being a cloud-based SaaS Learning Management System, UpsideLMS has seen an influx of queries and trials for the platform, yet again, due to the uncertainty of the market, prospects are still wary of making ‘any’ investment that does not directly translate to increased revenue.
Even in this scenario, some clients would have increased their user base and might need more support and licenses, while few clients might have taken a huge hit and would need to scale down or even cancel subscription. So, the challenges vary from customer to customer, and I am glad that our team has been truly exceptional throughout this process.
Customer Success Best Practices
One thing I have observed during this time is the power of behavioral skills, like showing Empathy to customers and really listening to their challenges. It’s truly a miracle how training customer success teams with soft skills can help them pacify panicking customers, at the same time addressing their challenges effectively and setting reasonable expectations to help them carve their own strategy.
Empowering customer success teams with the necessary skillsets like, digital skills, communication skills and behavioral skills will go a long way in ensuring customer success, not only in times of disruption but also during normal customer interactions.
Customer Success Strategies
Below are a few customer success strategies you can adopt to ensure a smooth transition-
Focus more on the customers, and less on the uncertainty
Deep dive into customers’ business model
Analyze and categorize customers to serve them better
Adopt business continuity strategy for at risk customers
Leverage business growth plan for booming customers
I discuss this and more in our latest TTalks video ‘Ensuring Customer Success during Disruptive Times’, along with our host Pranjalee Lahri.