The Top 4 Challenges and Opportunities for Driving Customer Growth

April 5, 2021

We recently hosted FLOURISH, an exclusive executive roundtable series focusing on empowering customer growth. In these roundtables, we brought together top B2B Customer Success and Customer Experience leaders from around the world to explore challenges, exchange ideas and challenge preconceptions. Ultimately, we sought to answer the question: how can we empower customers to grow and find success independently?

In these fast-paced discussions, a few key priorities and challenges emerged for many executives: providing effective and accessible content to drive self-service, finding innovative solutions to minimize adoption times, operationalizing outcomes, and using data to deliver an increasingly sophisticated, personalized experience for all customers. Here are some exclusive insights into what our executives are prioritizing in the year ahead…

 

Convenient Content

One hot topic at our roundtables was how to provide convenient solutions to enable customers to self-serve, particularly within a post-COVID context where the need for digital-first support strategies has accelerated. Participants agreed that they are seeing increased appetite for content aimed at helping customers self-serve. 

“A big focus for us right now is that we have a lot of products and a ton of content for each of those products,” said one of the participants. “Customers seem to be overwhelmed and are finding it hard to navigate all the information, so we are focused on trying to make the content more findable.” 

Research shows that offering a high-quality customer experience, including self-service content, can lower the cost of serving customers by up to 33%. The customer-focused roundtable participants signalled that giving the user the convenience to search for their own answers unleashes their customer success teams to focus on high value activities that build loyalty, secure renewals, and promote expansion. 

Better yet, when customers have amazingly smooth experiences finding content that answers their questions, they amplify the reach of that content by sharing it with colleagues!

For a number of the executives present, a great self-service experience includes offering content solutions inside the product itself. “Up until now we have relied very much on our documentation to complement the product… now we turned our focus to having product-led success,” explained the SVP of Global Customer Experience for a top cybersecurity software company. We strive to provide users with all of the answers to their questions upfront and embedded into their product.”

Self-service is becoming the norm as customers increasingly expect effortless experiences served to them. Empowering your customers to self-serve effectively will reduce friction in a user’s workflow and improve their overall experience.

 

Time to Value

The executives agreed that customer success starts when customers realize the value of their product, and they realize value once the technology is implemented. One participant stated that their goal is to get users up and running independently within six months of signing. Speedy onboarding makes happy customers, and happy customers stick around. 

How do you decrease time to value? Know your customers. Are they enterprise or startup? Are they familiar with your domain or are they new to your space? Understand them, and then present them with the information they need to succeed quickly.

Product adoption also varies depending on each user and their comfort levels. “One thing I have observed is that different customers have different comfort levels. Know your customer and learn how equipped they are to use your product.” shared one Chief Customer Success Officer for a company driving $1 billion in recurring revenue. “We need to be super careful how we segment our customers. Enterprise vs. startups are so different in how they serve clients and how customers adopt your product.”

Providing the right resources to employ adoption strategies will ultimately enhance the customer journey. “We want to enable our customers to grow and make sure they are satisfied with the product while driving expansion. Enable, engage, and adopt the solution. Our customers should be adapting our product to use for their growth,” said a Vice President of Customer Success.

 

Operationalizing Outcomes

Another topic of discussion was the leaky pipeline of customer data from pre-sales to customer success teams. Many stated that they felt the customers’ business goals and desired outcomes get lost in the sales process. After the deal has been closed, customers are often handed off to onboarding without any details on who they are and their expected outcomes. Their onboarding experience then becomes yet another standardized process with little relevance to their personal needs. 

The executives advised trying to focus on helping clients achieve their desired goals, not yours.  “We should be focused on capturing outcomes in the pre-sales phase and make sure it is not lost in the onboarding process and that it gets translated over to the customer success journey,” suggested one VP of Customer Experience, who dealt with this challenge. 

One participant suggested developing a customer journey map as a reminder to keep a customer-centric perspective. This suggestion is supported by ample evidence of the cost-reducing impact mapping can have. According to a McKinsey study, companies that use tools like customer journey maps reduce their cost of service by 15-20%.

“We are building customer success plans that are personalized to their needs. We identify explicit pain points and work to produce outcomes that help solve those challenges at scale,” added one participant.

 

Deliver Personalization Through Data

Today customer data is a key tool in driving revenue, customer satisfaction, and a personalized experience. Getting to know your customers enables you to serve them better. By collecting insights into your customers’ behavior and learning what they’re searching for, you can better tailor your product experience to their needs. 80% of customers say they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences. 

While we have more customer data than ever before, many customer success teams still struggle to make sense of it all. In fact, only 47% of companies say they have a unified view of customer data. These ever-expanding data sources have the potential to be a major revenue driver for businesses to take advantage of.   

So how can we both gather and use this data to benefit our customers – this was the question asked by many of our participants. Most companies felt that they are lacking the right tools to gather insights on their customers’ behavior and translate that into a personalized product experience. A Director of Client Outcomes shared that personalization was a number-one priority for her team, with a focus on targeting content to the right persona, at the right time, with the right message.

One participant implemented a platform that gathers audience data through their journey around the content portal and delivers personalized content suggestions right to them. “We are seeing the next evolutionary phase of tracking our customers’ journey and using that data to help customers achieve their desired outcomes and enable customer growth.”

 

Conclusion

In a world where there are endless amounts of products and services, competition has soared and competing on price alone will only end in a race to the bottom. Users are looking to customer success teams to make their lives easier and smoother. Focusing on helping your customers grow on their own will ultimately help your business grow in return. The difficulty is in translating that strategy into real business operations. Easily accessible and convenient content, smooth implementation and adoption, operationalizing and actualizing outcomes, and a personalized customer journey were some of our participants key highlights on how they can make independent customer growth a reality.

If you would like to participate in one of our exclusive executive roundtables, contact us at marketing@zoominsoftware.com.

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