Creating and utilizing a robust customer success plan is a crucial part of any successful business, but putting one together can be a challenging puzzle.
However, with a well-designed customer success plan offering a 91% return on investment over three years, this is something you should certainly be putting stock into.
Read on to find out more about customer success plans and how you can put your own into action, with free templates included.
If you’d like to find out more about what customer success is, or how customer success differs from the customer experience, follow these links.
What is a customer success plan?
Happy, satisfied customers are the prized asset for your business, and a customer success plan helps to make these idyllic customers a reality.
An effective customer success plan is essentially a map of what success looks like for your customers, and how you can make this happen.
This can differ from business to business, but knowing what success looks like for your specific customers is the foundation for lasting progress and winning results.
Why is it important to create a customer success plan?
There are a host of reasons a business should employ a customer success plan, and it goes a lot deeper than just keeping your customers happy.
Here are some of the top reasons you should consider implementing a customer success plan.
Take the guesswork out of customer success
Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Any business can see some success with satisfied customers, but without logic and strategy behind it, these experiences will be few and far between. By identifying what success looks like for your customers, you know exactly what you’re aiming for and what you need to do to get there. Take the guesswork out and work with confidence.
Boost upsells and cross-sells
With a customer success plan, you create happy, satisfied customers. With happy, satisfied customers, you create the opportunity for upsells and cross-sells.
If customers are enjoying your products or services whilst also enjoying the customer experience, they are much more likely to be receptive to your other offerings. Whether it’s upselling customers to a more premium membership or cross-selling them other associated products, there is a great opportunity here for an increase in revenue.
Instead of searching in the wilderness for your next customer, find a happy, existing one and show them what else you have to offer.
Customer churn is the process of customers ceasing interaction with a product or service for a variety of reasons, one of which is a poor customer experience.
By creating a strong customer success plan, you can significantly reduce customer churn related to the customer experience, and keep them coming back time after time.
Increase NRR (Net Revenue Retention)
Net Revenue Retention, or NRR, is a way of measuring your company’s ability to retain revenue from your existing customers. As you might expect, this is closely tied to customer success and keeping hold of the customers you already have. With an effective, fruitful customer success plan, you can supercharge your NRR and minimize the urgency for investment in new customer acquisition.
Measure, track, and improve
One major benefit of having a comprehensive plan is the ability to monitor and improve it over time. As nice as it would be, it’s not always possible to get every aspect of a customer success plan right on the first try - there’s always room for improvement. By monitoring and tracking the efficacy of your customer success plan, you can identify areas for improvement or amendment to keep customer satisfaction rising.
7 steps to create a customer success plan
The verdict is in - a customer success plan is a good thing for any business. But where do you start?
Here are seven steps to help you create your customer success plan from the ground up.
Understand what success looks like for your customers
Before you can put measures in place to facilitate customer success, you need to know exactly what this looks like.
Guesswork isn’t going to cut it here, you need real, actionable insights. One way to obtain these insights is to conduct customer interviews, both with highly satisfied customers and those who have experienced less-than-optimal customer journeys.
Finding out what your customers love and loathe will provide the foundation for an effective customer success plan.
Create a customer journey map
The customer journey is made up of five main stages, each of which is crucial in the customer success experience.
These five stages are:
By mapping out each stage, you can create parameters that help to identify which stage each customer is currently in, as well as how you can keep them moving forward to the next one.
Decide your customer success metrics
Going hand in hand with the customer journey map are your customer success metrics.
- Average revenue per customer
- Churn rates
- New website registrations
- First response time
- Resolution rate
- Customer satisfaction score
By tracking these metrics regularly, you can ensure each stage is working as it should and identify any opportunities for improvement.
Map processes to ‘aha’ moments
An ‘aha’ moment is the creme de la creme for your business. A moment where your customer truly realizes the value of your product and how essential it is to their life or work.
With this in mind, the next step in the process is to map these ‘aha’ moments to each stage of the journey. Whether it’s during the initial onboarding, at the moment of renewal, or even during a technical support moment.
Fill your customer journey with ‘aha’ moments and watch as your satisfaction numbers skyrocket.
Collect and implement feedback
How can you expect to provide your customers with what they want if you aren’t listening to them? Simple answer - you can’t.
Designing effective ways for your customers to log feedback and for you to review it is crucial to providing a service that works for your audience. Not only will it help to eliminate recurring problems, but it will also show your customers that you care about what they have to say.
Collect and implement customer feedback to build solutions that are right for you and your customers.
Identify the right opportunities
Whilst there are many steps in the customer journey to take note of, not all of them are created equal.
Identifying the correct stages and opportunities for you to include in your customer success plan is just as important as the plan itself. Without proper direction, you risk overloading your plan with interference which doesn’t provide results.
Identify the right opportunities and keep things running at maximum efficiency.
Choose the right tools
Designing a customer success plan is all well and good, but it isn’t worth the paper it’s written on if you can’t implement it effectively.
Identifying and utilizing the correct tools will help to make your theoretical plan a successful reality.
- Cobrowsing - with cobrowsing functionality, your customer success agents can initiate zero-download, one-click screen control calls with your users in your app. This software enables agents and customers to work simultaneously on technical issues, whilst providing full visibility for both parties when an ‘aha’ moment presents itself. It can also help make onboarding more engaging and effective.
- Session replays: Session replays software enables your customer success agents to auto-record user sessions and identify the exact actions your users are taking. This can help to gain an insight into user behavior, as well as providing the opportunity to spot pain points your customers are experiencing before they report it themselves. This can help you optimize your onboarding and other customer success mechanisms and workflows.
Customer success plan templates you can use
If you’re looking to implement a new customer success plan and aren’t sure where to start, we’ve put together two effective templates for you to use.
Review them both to find the one that works best for your business, and watch as your customer satisfaction scores start to increase.
B2B Customer Success Plan Template
1. Executive Summary:
- Overview of the customer's business and goals.
- Key stakeholders and their roles.
2. Objectives and Goals:
- Define the customer's short-term and long-term objectives.
- Align goals with the product/service provided.
3. Success Metrics:
- Identify key performance indicators (KPIs) for measuring success.
- Set benchmarks and targets for each metric.
4. Onboarding Plan:
- Outline the onboarding process.
- Define milestones and expected timelines.
- Assign responsibilities for both the customer and the company.
5. Training and Education:
- Detail training programs and resources available.
- Schedule regular training sessions.
- Provide documentation and knowledge base access.
6. Account Reviews:
- Establish a schedule for regular account reviews.
- Discuss performance metrics, challenges, and opportunities.
- Collaboratively adjust strategies if needed.
7. Customer Support and Communication:
- Provide contact information for customer support.
- Outline communication channels and response times.
- Establish a process for handling issues and escalations.
8. Expansion Opportunities:
- Identify areas for product/service expansion.
- Offer recommendations based on customer needs.
9. Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs):
- Schedule and plan QBRs to discuss overall progress.
- Align strategies with changing business needs.
- Solicit feedback and address concerns.
10. Renewal and Upsell Strategy:
- Detail the renewal process and timeline.
- Identify opportunities for upselling or cross-selling.
11. Customer Advocacy:
- Encourage and facilitate customer advocacy.
- Identify potential case studies or success stories.
12. Risk Mitigation:
- Identify potential risks to customer success.
- Develop strategies to mitigate risks proactively.
eCommerce Customer Success Plan Template
1. Business Overview:
- Overview of the eCommerce business.
- Identification of key products and services.
2. Customer Segmentation:
- Categorize customers based on behavior and preferences.
- Tailor strategies for different customer segments.
3. Customer Onboarding:
- Outline the onboarding process for new customers.
- Provide tutorials and resources for a smooth start.
4. Personalization and Recommendations:
- Discuss personalized shopping experiences.
- Implement recommendation engines for upselling.
5. Order Fulfillment and Shipping:
- Ensure smooth order processing and fulfillment.
- Communicate transparently about shipping timelines.
6. Customer Support Channels:
- List customer support channels (chat, email, phone).
- Specify response times and issue resolution processes.
7. Loyalty Programs:
- Outline any existing or proposed loyalty programs.
- Highlight benefits and rewards for loyal customers.
8. User Engagement and Retention:
- Plan strategies for ongoing user engagement.
- Identify opportunities for customer retention.
9. Feedback Mechanism:
- Establish methods for collecting customer feedback.
- Regularly review and act upon customer suggestions.
10. Marketing and Promotions:
- Coordinate marketing efforts with customer success.
- Promote exclusive offers and promotions.
11. Performance Analytics:
- Define key metrics for eCommerce success.
- Monitor website analytics, conversion rates, etc.
12. Crisis Management:
- Develop strategies for handling disruptions.
- Communicate transparently during crises.
Feel free to customize these templates based on the specific needs and nuances of your company and customers.
From discovering what success means for your customers to identifying ways to make this success a regular occurrence rather than a nice surprise, building a customer success plan is a crucial cog in the business machine.
Consider the seven steps we’ve provided above, as well as the two customizable templates, and get to work on building a happier, more lucrative customer base.