𝗦𝗲𝗰𝘂𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗖𝘂𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗿 𝗦𝘂𝗰𝗰𝗲𝘀𝘀
Updated: Aug 12
Plying strands of rope together makes it stronger. Combining clear communication and proper expectations with quality products and services can help you retain customers who are willing to grow with you and refer prospects.
Why Engagement is Critical
Client retention is crucial for building revenue, especially in SaaS companies, since the cost of customer acquisition typically exceeds ongoing COGS and other expenses.
The longer customers remain, the higher your margins as you focus on ongoing client operations. On the other hand, ignoring or failing to resolve a small issue can lead to a big problem and result in the loss of time, resources, or even clients.
Finally, positive relationships lead to upsell opportunities within customers and through their referrals, which can increase revenue even further.
How to Approach Client Success
To make engagement collaborative across teams, apply these values:
Solutions Approach* – Focus on discovering and implementing the best options for the client, the company, and the employees. Discourage assigning blame and punishment.
Balance – Address any crisis quickly. At the same time, build proactive systems (e.g. checklists, sentiment outreach, and metrics) which will help prevent future issues.
Learning – Spend some time digging into what happened in major situations and determine ways to improve (e.g. product changes or new processes, software, or skills).
Ways to Address Client Success
To gauge satisfaction and uncover potential issues, consider:
Regular Cadence – Establish recurring times (e.g. monthly or quarterly) to reach out through surveys or talk live about quality, sentiment, and ways to improve.
Probing Questions – Seek to learn more by asking, “What is one thing that can be better?” or "What are your plans for next year?"
Different Approaches – Ask the client to assign number values and then compare them over time to gauge sentiment.
Two Types of Stakeholders – Contact both direct users and decision-makers since either group can determine your destiny.
How to avoid problems and, if necessary, improve resolution:
Create checklists and processes for onboarding, review with clients.
In onboarding, clarify the deliverables and how to measure success. Explain how they can address and escalate concerns if needed. Ideally, also communicate through an agreement or SOW what you will not be offering, so there is no confusion.
Set recurring meetings to discuss progress.
If a problem comes up, let the client know what to expect for next steps and when you will get back to them.
Many problems emanate from a lack of communication or some misunderstanding. Other problems start small, but then quickly deepen with frustration if a customer does not know the progress towards resolution.
In onboarding, explain how customers can escalate any issues (e.g. through the product, contacting support, or reaching out to the team). Set meetings at least quarterly to ask what is going well, what could be better, and their major business challenges and concerns.
Pose open-ended questions (e.g. “How can we help you grow?”) and pay attention to tone and body language.
If a problem arises, respond immediately. Acknowledge receipt, their aggravation, and when you will respond. End every conversation with next steps and timing until resolution.
Adapt a partner mindset and talk with clients how can you help them continue growing or performing well. Help them identify future opportunities and potential risks.
Clients really appreciate specific ways to save money,
increase efficiency, and grow revenues.
If you face a challenge, dig into the real issues. For example, one customer may be upset they need to pull a report and maybe you can pull that report from your side, to immediately assuage their anger. Question the deeper impact of the problem to better empathize.
In general, think in terms of three sets of metrics:
Industry Standards – What do businesses in your vertical need to know in order to gauge financial success?
Company Objectives – How do you know that you are supporting and expanding the impact of your vision and values?
Sentiment Scores – Individually, will your customers recommend you to other companies, and aggregately, are they averaging at or above your desired scores?
Overall, metrics may look at quality, efficiency, velocity, cost, retention, upsells and referrals. To start, worry less about your numbers and more about establishing a baseline that can continuously trend in the right direction.
To strengthen your bonds productively, it is important to understand the strands of expectations, communication, problem-solving, and measurement.
Photo by Shubhendu Mohanty who can be found here
* Solutions Approach post can be found here
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