Are You Focused on Customer Service or Customer Success? Your Mindset Makes All the Difference

The Customer Experience is illustrated on a number of sticky notHere’s a quick quiz. What job position has 106,000 openings on LinkedIn, has been around about three years, and is focused on such areas as product adoption, onboarding, churn reduction, and customer advocacy?

If you guessed customer success manager, you’re right. Customer success is a new approach to customer service that is proactive instead of reactive. Customer success means anticipating the needs of the customer to drive adoption, reduce churn (customer attrition), increase upselling, and promote customer devotion. After all, if a customer doesn’t use your product successfully, how likely is it that they will remain a customer?

Let me give you an example.

My mother recently switched cable providers. She didn’t feel the one she had was easy enough to access, competent, or thorough. A technician arrived a couple of weeks ago and set up her new system. She was happy that she would now be able to easily access new networks, new TV shows, and movies.  She was a very excited new customer!

When I talked to her a week later, what do you think she said about her new cable provider? She said she HATED them! Why would she say a thing like this? Because she didn’t know how to use the new remote control.  She felt frustrated and let down.

In a reactive customer service approach, a customer service team might field a call from a customer having problems using a remote—but how many customers don’t call? The customer service representative does their best, after the fact and via the phone, to help the customer use the product successfully.

This approach can work with simple questions, but with more complicated operations—even as common as learning all of the functionality of a new remote—the results usually fall short.  Customers either give up and never fully use all of the product’s capabilities or they keep calling back in an effort to learn more. In the case of my mother, the cable company was spending a lot of money on follow-up home visits—in this case, expensive “truck rolls”—to do what should’ve been done at installation: teach the customer how to use the equipment in a way that they can retain the information.

How might this example be applicable to your products and services? What would be in it for you to create that team in your organization that proactively looks to increase customer advocacy and customer success?

Here are a few suggestions for getting started:

  • Analyze your current log of customer service calls. What are some common pain points customers keep calling about?
  • Collaborate with other departments to create a process that will increase customer success and product adoption. For example, a customer success rep, a graphic artist, and a technical writer design a laminated card customers can lay under the remote. Arrows on the card point to different parts of the remote and are accompanied by an explanation of what each part does.
  • Design online video tutorials that can be accessed by customers who want to learn at their own pace, by installers who need to learn how to teach customers the basics of the remote control, etc.

A proactive customer success mindset means anticipating customer needs before they occur. Support your customers throughout the life cycle of their experience with your products or services. Being there all through their journey will actually reduce the cost of serving customers, drive greater revenue, and increase customer satisfaction.

About the author:

Vicki Halsey

Dr.Vicki Halsey is VP of Applied Learning at The Ken Blanchard Companies and coauthor of Legendary Service: The Key Is to Care

3 thoughts on “Are You Focused on Customer Service or Customer Success? Your Mindset Makes All the Difference

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