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3 Hacks CSMs Can Use To Dramatically Increase Customer Happiness

Written by Sarah E. Brown

Published on October 14, 2014


Customer happiness refers to the relationship between your product/company and your customer. Why is it so important to focus on driving customer happiness? Because customer happiness and success are highly correlated--if your happy customer never finds success, they will inevitably stop being happy and cancel their subscription. Given this relationship, it’s clear how important it is to prioritize improving customer happiness.

Here are three ways CSMs can dramatically drive customer happiness:

1. Assess customers at the beginning of your relationship.

Each customer brings varying levels of user experience and knowledge to their interaction with your company, which is why assessing customers at the beginning of the relationship is crucial. A customer fresh out of school, for example, will require a different training experience than someone who has been using a competitor’s product for many months and has recently switched over to yours. Most training processes fail because people are made to sit through a training that’s the wrong fit for them, causing them to lose interest. It simply isn’t prudent to educate a customer with more experience at the same level as someone who may need more fundamental support and education. Ways to assess customers include: in-depth phone interviews, pre-quizzes, and competency tests. By accurately assessing your customers right out of the gate, you’ll do a much better job of meeting their needs and helping them to be happy and successful.

2. Set regular goals to ensure your customers are effectively leveraging your SaaS.

It’s crucial to set regular, measurable goals to ensure your customer success and happiness. Customer education and success goals should be specific, tied to measurable metrics, and written in the present tense. Goals need mutual buy-in, and need to be set together by you and your customer. In the goal-setting process, you should bring some basic goal objectives to your customer to consider based on your experience helping similar customers. If your customer knows what s/he wants to achieve by next quarter through using your platform, for example, set  realistic weekly or bi-weekly goals together in order to get to that larger goal.

When used effectively, goals can ensure incremental progress leading to big achievement over time. In addition to being tied to metrics, goals should also be extremely transparent; anyone involved in the customer-CSM/CEM relationship should know about the goals and be kept abreast of progress in order to keep everyone accountable. If goals are met, find ways to reward your customers for their success through praise, badging, or other tangible outcomes. If goals aren’t met, they should be treated simply as data to refine the education processes moving forward. If this is the case, more education may be needed.

3. Establish a feedback protocol with customers.

When using SaaS products, people are often left hanging after the onboarding process has started, with no real dates tied to the next steps. Establish a feedback protocol with customers so it is always  clear what their next step looks like and what they can expect at each stage. If you’ve set goals for customers on a quarterly basis, for instance, check in with them on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to ensure they’re on target and make yourself available to help if they’re stuck. If they require additional attention, you can also trigger a sequence of learning courses for the customer, for example, in order to help them on a particular area with which they got stuck or in which their performance results are lacking. Close communication with your product teams is essential, especially if many customers are getting stuck in the same place.

Final thoughts

If your customer isn’t effectively using your product, that failure will lead to churn. As Lincoln Murphy asserts in this post, customer happiness and customer sucess are not the same thing. Assess your customer to anticipate what their unique needs will be. Help set goals for your customer’s success and work as hard as you can to improve their user experience and outcomes. Communicate regularly around goals and with other departments to ensure all bases are covered. These hacks, when executed properly, pave the most reliable path to long-term customer success and happiness.

This is just a short list of must-do steps to skyrocket your customer happiness. In the comments below, tell us what other steps you would have included in this list to build and maintain customer happiness.

Originally published Oct 14, 2014 8:09:00 PM, updated Mar 2, 2015