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How to Maximize Customer Success During Their First 90 Days Blog Feature
Lee Stouch

By: Lee Stouch on July 10th, 2018

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How to Maximize Customer Success During Their First 90 Days

Marketing | Offline Marketing | Online Marketing | Direct Mail

There may by great emphasis on earning new customers, but the success of your company depends on more than new sales – It also depends on keeping your customers happy. Especially in the world of SaaS and subscription platforms, your customer success is indicative of your own success. Your customers’ experience in their first few months are essential to your long-term results.

Your sales and marketing teams could be landing scores of customers each and every day, but buyer’s remorse is your worst enemy. Those same new customers could leave in a heartbeat if your product (seemingly) doesn’t deliver. That’s why ensuring customer success is so important.

What does that mean exactly? A customer succeeds only when they’ve accomplished the business objectives they sought to achieve with your product. If they don’t feel they’ve reaped the impactful benefits you’ve touted, you’ll inevitably lose them to different solutions. And a high customer churn rate can be devastating to your bottom line and own long-term success.

The more you can do to maximize your customer success in their first 90 days, the happier they will be, the longer they will stay and the more sustainable your company’s growth will be. Here’s how you can help your customers be successful.

Prioritize Your Onboarding Process

Your onboarding process is the first experience your customers have with your team and your platform. They’ve agreed to purchase your product, and they’re likely excited to get started. Now is the time to “wow” them. Depending on your product, the typical onboarding process involves creating an account, adding users and most importantly, walking customers through key product tutorials.

According to The Standish Group – an independent international IT research advisory firm – companies "rarely" or "never" use 64% of the features of the typical enterprise software system. Only 20% of an application’s features are “often” or “always” used. Before you can blame the users, you have to look at who trains the users to take advantage of the system: you do.

Providing clear and comprehensive tutorials and connecting your customers with other product users gives them a better chance to learn how they can make the most of your software. However, the most important element of onboarding is ensuring that each individual customer knows how to use your product for their specific needs.

If a customer struggles to find a feature they want to use or understand the most efficient way to accomplish their objective, they’ll become frustrated by your product – And it may not be your product’s fault! That’s why it’s critical to provide the right information at the right time.

Maintain Availability for Product Support

The onboarding process is far from the only time customers will ask questions about your system. From learning more about a feature and discovering new benefits to solving immediate problems and developing best practices, your customers are critically-dependent on your support system.

The importance of offering the right information at the right time can’t be overstated. That’s why, even outside of onboarding, resources such as demos, guided tours, explainer videos and labels should all be readily available to your product users.

Your customer interaction is equally essential. If someone reaches out for help with a problem, your responsiveness will be key. The sooner a support specialist contacts a customer, and the sooner they solve their issue, the better your customer will feel. You don’t want to let a question that has a 30-second answer be the seed that grows into a lost customer.

Many software companies use real-time chat to help maintain customer support. Third-party apps such as Drift, HubSpot Messenger and Slack are commonly used in conversational marketing and support. When you (or your chat bots) use customer’s first names and personalize their conversations, you communicate your willingness to help them personally. This goes a long way toward nurturing relationships, which can protect against the risk of customer churn.

Lastly, a comprehensive and effective FAQ page can help your customers solve common issues on their own. They will often find answers as quickly as any other method of support, and it will free your staff to address the more complex issues that need solving.

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Periodic Check-Ins

Be sure to check in with your customers periodically throughout their first 90 days. Not all customers will reach out if they are experiencing a problem. Rather than letting them think they chose the wrong product, early check-ins can help you proactively steer the ship in the right direction before it ever gets too far off course.  

Consider running an email campaign to check up on your customers on a periodic basis. You can run an automated campaign based on the typical timing of when after onboarding customers tend contact your support team. Rather than waiting for them to reach out – if they reach out at all – a week before many new customers call, automatically send an email asking if they need help or have questions. That proactive approach and strategic timing can be a turning point in what might have been the start of a fracturing relationship.

Direct mail is another great resource you can leverage to check in with your customers and keep your brand top of mind. You could use it to thank your new customers for their business and offer helpful tips, and you could promote upcoming offers and opportunities to upgrade. You might even provide a guide or case study that teaches customers how other users have made the most of your product.

Dig in to the “Why”

No matter your company, feedback is gold. Especially if your customers are having problems, you need to dig into the reasons why they are struggling. Why might they not be using certain features? Do they not know how to find them or use them? Do they think there’s a better way to accomplish a task? Do they even know a feature exists? Ask for feedback on what your customers expected and why that didn’t align with the reality of your product.

Use this information with your product team to determine how you might be able to adapt to common reasons for common issues. You have to remember that most issues are not truly user error. The onus is on you and your support and product teams to make changes that better meet the needs of your customer. The more effectively and efficiently you can gather feedback and implement changes, the more you can maintain customer success and minimize your churn rate. Ultimately, you’ll have much better prospects of sustaining your long-term growth.

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