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A customer success strategy is all about helping customers achieve their goals. It’s built on the idea that, when your customers win, you win too. 

The idea of customer success rose to prominence in the Software-as-a-Service world, where customer retention and renewals are the bread and butter of profitability. It has since expanded to include other industries, from retail to healthcare. 

Basically: if you have customers, you should think about implementing a customer success strategy. 

Unlike customer experience and customer service, customer success focuses on the key goals your customer wants to achieve with you. Your job is to make those goals happen using your products or services, as quickly as possible, to their maximum effect. 

So let’s break down some customer success strategies you can use to make that happen.

Skip ahead:

But first… What is customer success?

Customer success is a method businesses use to help customers achieve their aims when using their products and services. Customer success works to optimize engagement for customers, increasing their chances of success with your products and improving retention rates.

Customer success is tailored to your organization and your products or services. What customer success looks for you will depend on what your customers’ objectives are and the specific features of what you’re offering.

When it comes to online courses, for example, increasing customer success includes improving completion rates for your courses, tweaking the learning experience to help with knowledge retention and supporting customers with any challenges they face in accessing and engaging with the course content.

In short, customer success is about helping your customers to hit the key goals they set for themselves when they first started using your product or services. If you can do that, you can increase revenue for your company and boost brand loyalty.

The Ultimate Guide to Customer Success: presented by Thinkific Plus: Download Now

What’s the difference between Customer Success, Customer Experience and Customer Service?

Customer success is often confused with Customer Experience and Customer Service – but how do they all relate to each other and what’s the difference? Here’s what you need to know.

  1. Customer Success vs Customer Experience

At its simplest, the difference between customer experience and customer success is the customer journey people have with your brand compared to their journey with your products and services. 

Customer experience is centered on customers’ interactions with your brand from their very first interaction. It’s all about the small details that create a positive experience for customers from the start of their journey. 

From their navigation through your website to their communication with your customer service team, customer experience is the sum of all the tiny interactions someone has with your brand. By making every interaction a positive one, you increase the likelihood that someone will purchase from you down the line.

Customer success kicks in after a customer has made a purchase. It is the journey your customer takes while using your products and services and ultimately their ability to achieve their original objectives. Customer success aims to provide your customers with everything they need to reach their goals when using your products and services – and increase the chances of them buying from you again and recommending you to others.

Customer success is about making your customers’ interactions with your products and services smooth, straightforward and tailored to their needs. This is where features like one-to-one calls and video tutorials are really important.

  1. Customer Success vs Customer Support

Customer success and customer support are also different, though the two concepts are closely linked. Customer success is proactive, focusing on the long-term experience customers have with your products and services. On the flip side, customer service is reactive, responding to problems as they come up.

At its most basic, Customer service is all about helping your customers with any problems, challenges or questions they have. It’s about reacting to the needs of your customers in order to support them in their use of your products and services.

Customer success is about making it as easy as possible for your customers to use your products and services to their best effect – with customer success, you’re aiming to make your customers’ lives so easy they rarely need customer service and when they do, it’s a positive and enjoyable experience that connects them with exactly who or what they need to help them.

Think about customer success like the big picture for your business. It involves setting up strategies to help your customers achieve their business goals – including creating a comprehensive and responsive customer service strategy.

Why customer success is important for your business

You might be asking why you need to worry about customer success and what difference it will make for you. One key thing to keep in mind is that if your business has a subscription-based business model, customer success is critical to the long-term health of your business.

If your customers are succeeding in their objectives, they are also more likely to keep using your products or services and recommending them to other people. If they’re not having success, you run the risk of losing customers and struggling to attract new ones.

When it comes to subscription-based businesses, this is especially important because better customer retention means more revenue for you. Your customers will continue paying month-on-month and may purchase add-ons and additional products too.

That being said, customer success is important for every business. After all, no organization ever complained about repeat sales! Customer success strategies can be hugely beneficial for your business, helping to drive up Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) while delivering a better experience for your customers.

Implementing a customer success strategy

Customer Success means helping your customers get what they need from their purchase. It’s about making sure customers are happy with the value they get from you. A customer success strategy outlines the actions you’ll take to keep customers moving toward their goals throughout their relationship with you. 

It can include elements like onboarding, proactive engagement, education and training, success metrics, retention and churn management, customer feedback and communication, team and technology, and continuous improvement. 

It’s an ongoing effort, too. Early on, customer success can help you engage potential clients and pitch your product or service. Once they buy, you can focus on getting them up to speed so they see the immediate value of what you offer. And over their time with you, you’ll build a deeper relationship that results in renewals, increased sales, and perhaps even referrals! 

Customer success comes to life when your entire organization is on board with your strategy – which means it’ll likely need buy-in and commitment from a wide range of departments. That could include everyone from marketing and sales to finance and product development. 

Finally, a customer success strategy is a living, breathing initiative. It’s a good idea to revisit it now and then based on feedback you receive from within your organization and from your customers at large. 

Why do you need a customer success strategy?

Ultimately, customer success strategies serve two organizational goals: increasing revenue gained through customer retention, and reducing costs associated with customer churn and acquisition. Both are critical to the health of your business. 

Let’s dig into the key benefits a little deeper. 

  • Higher retention: When customers succeed in their goals thanks to the products or services you offer, they have good reason to keep using you in the future.
  • Greater revenue: As Gerard Recio, Director of Customer Success – Commercial at Hootsuite puts it, “a 5% increase in retention can grow profit by 75%. That translates to hundreds of millions of dollars in considerable revenue over a 3-5-year time frame.” 
  • Opportunity: Factor in the revenue potential you gain from cross-sells and upsells the longer a customer stays with you, as they grow their own business.
  • Saving on acquisition: Retaining a customer costs five times less than acquiring a new one – meaning you get greater ROI the longer you keep those customers around. 
  • Reducing customer churn: Customer success can make the difference between losing a customer (and then needing to acquire a new one to take their place) and winning back their business.
  • Competitive advantage: In a world of high customer expectations and ever-crowded marketplaces, customer success strategies can help you stand out from other players in your industry.

It’s important to remember that what sets successful companies apart from their competitors isn’t just the quality of their products and services, it’s the experience they provide to their customers.

Customer success is essential for growing your business and retaining customers – but few businesses fully understand what customer success is, why it matters and the best customer success strategies that they should use to improve.

The Ultimate Guide to Customer Success: presented by Thinkific Plus: Download Now

Customer success strategy frameworks

Typically, a customer success strategy maps to your customer journey. At every stage, you define what actions, touchpoints, feelings, and solutions you want them to experience. 

If you’re just beginning, don’t worry! Consider starting your customer success strategy with the Awareness → Education → Acquisition → Onboarding → Support → Value realization → Loyalty → Expansion framework from Hubspot and Precision Marketing Group: 

  1. Awareness: First impressions matter! This is your chance to nurture prospective customers and qualify whether you’re a good fit for each other.
  2. Education: Establish your credibility and trustworthiness by giving potential customers a place to learn more about their pain points and opportunities.
  3. Acquisition: Make sure your customers get the best experience with your product or service by setting mutual expectations and defining mutual goals.
  4. Onboarding: Show customers how to get the most value out of your offering, and reduce ramp-up time to success as much as possible, straight off the bat.
  5. Support: Remove roadblocks quickly and efficiently when customers (inevitably) get stuck or have questions about your product or service.
  6. Value realization: Solidify that “aha!” moment when customers realize they can’t live without you – and keep it going throughout their time with you.
  7. Loyalty: Deepen your relationship as customers become advocates and evangelists who are ready and willing to tout the benefits of your brand to others.
  8. Expansion: Help customers hit their growing goals (and increase their lifetime value) with cross-sells, upsells, increases in sales volume, etc.

In the end, your framework should help you fill in the blanks: “Our customer success strategy helps our company accomplish _____  by helping our customer achieve ______ while creating an experience that is _______.”

Customer success strategy ideas you can use

When it comes to customer success, no two companies are alike. That means the specific strategies you choose for your organization will depend on your industry, the folks you serve, and the things you sell. 

No two customers are alike, either. Which are most likely to convert? Which are most likely to stay around for the long haul? Which are most likely to upgrade with you? Which are most likely to sing your praises to anyone who’ll listen? Those are the ones you’ll want to segment and target with the customer success strategies you choose. 

In a one-size-doesn’t-fit-all world, here are 11 ideas you can start with (and make your own!)

  1. Start a product or service education program

How can your customers find success with your product or service if they don’t know how to use it? Customer education aims to teach people more about your offerings on three main fronts:

  • Presale: Help potential customers realize they need what you offer. This is your chance to entrench yourself as a credible and trustworthy teacher to people who are learning about you for the first time. People who engage with your customer education materials at the beginning of their journey may make better leads for conversion down the funnel.
  • Adoption: Teach new customers how to get up and running fast, so they see value fast, too. This might mean guiding them through the most-loved features, or providing personalized support and recommendations based on their individual needs. At the same time, you’re also building a beautiful relationship with them!
  • Ongoing: Show existing customers how to go deeper into your product or service, with advanced knowledge that unlocks even more potential. Keep them up-to-date with any new features or product changes, too!

Customer education can take many forms, including blog articles, how-to videos, knowledge bases, and (our favorite) online courses. 

Online courses in particular are highly scalable. You can answer those big questions and guide customers through their goals on a many-to-one basis, without draining your time or resources. We also love them because they’re engaging, with different lesson types, quizzes, and communities – and engaged learners stick around! 

  1. Guide customers through your onboarding process

Guided onboarding focuses on the get-up-and-running portion of your customer’s journey.

Your goal with guided onboarding is to arm customers with the information they need to feel confident in two ways:

  • They know how to get started
  • They realize value immediately

The sooner you can get customers up to speed, the less likely that dreaded buyer’s remorse will kick in. That’s why it’s impotent to put your best foot forward and answer the most commonly asked questions. Be as proactive as possible with the resources and training they’ll need. 

Guided onboarding is more involved than handing over an Ikea manual and saying “get to work” – hence the word, “guided.” Some examples include:

  • Online learning resources, such as articles and knowledge bases (We use this approach ourselves, on the Thinkific Blog).
  • One-on-one sessions where you show them the features that will help customers the most.
  • Regularly scheduled webinars where customers walk through the basics with larger groups.
  • Online courses and academies where customers can self-serve their learning, targeted to areas that interest them the most and meet their specific goals.

Want to see guided onboarding in action? Look no further than Later, a social media management platform that combines scheduling with marketing and analytics. Before discovering Thinkific, they ran webinars to onboard new customers, but found it to be a huge drain on time and resources. After launching the course to more than 13,000 students (and counting!) they saw a 320% increase in retention, a 467% increase in adoption of features, and a 368% increase in purchasing paid plans. 

Hootsuite uses guided product onboarding, too! Hootsuite’s online Academy has played an important role in customer success, turning customers into brand advocates. Since replacing in-person training and webinars with Thinkific Plus, Hootsuite has trained more than 450,000 students and certified 72,000 people on their platform.

  1. Communicate often (and communicate well)

When it comes to customer success, it’s all about ABC – Always Be Communicating. From first “hello!” to latest update, you should have a plan to keep in touch on the regular. That could mean sharing helpful tips or checking in for potential issues before they emerge. 

Successful relationships of any kind hinge on good communication between all parties. In business, it can help you build deeper connections with customers, keep them engaged, and remind them of your value. 

Communication can involve anything from automated emails to personalized one-on-one calls from a customer success representative. There’s a lot you could include in a communication plan, but no matter what approaches you choose, we recommend considering:

  • A welcome message that offers clear instructions and next steps to help new customers get started
  • Follow-ups at regular intervals to check in on how customers are doing and ask if they have any questions or needs
  • Targeted touchpoints that trigger at certain time intervals or when customers show certain behaviors (for example, if they haven’t logged into their account in the past week, or if usage drops below a threshold)
  • Marketing messages to promote added features, options, tips, and recommendations that customers might find helpful
  1. Ask customers for feedback

While your customers are learning from you, you can learn from your customers! And there’s a lot to learn when you ask them for feedback directly (for example, sending out satisfaction surveys) or collect feedback indirectly (tracking usage and customer behavior). 

  • Happy customers can tell you which features make the biggest difference in their day-to-day lives, so you can focus your efforts on the features and components that drive the most value for them. The more they love, the more likely they’ll be to stick around.
  • Believe it or not, unhappy customers are just as valuable. They can help you identify gaps in service that you didn’t see yourself. The more you know about your could-be-betters, the better you’ll be able to serve the next customer. (And by reaching out for feedback and implementing their suggestions, you might win those unhappy customers over!)
  • There are even lessons in the ones who got away – potential customers who never converted in the first place. If you know what changed their mind, or swayed them away from you, you can learn how to prevent others from leaving.

What customers say is one thing… but what they do is another! Trends in customer behaviors can tell you if there are places in their journey where they engage enthusiastically or lose interest. Tracking these metrics can also help you determine if changes are effective. 

  1. Build your dream customer success team

Who actually delivers on your customer success strategy? More and more companies are turning to Customer Success teams to make the magic happen. 

In fact, Thinkific is one of them! The Thinkific Plus Customer Success Team is built of incredibly smart and experienced people dedicated to helping customers hit their goals. They work with our customers through three main phases:

  • Implementation and launch: Dedicated Launch Specialists walk customers through platform migration, implementation, and launch for their online academy. They assess their goals and match them with the best strategies to bring them to life.
  • Growth and strategy: Customer Success Managers are dedicated resources who serve as trusted strategic advisors and coaches to support and accelerate client growth as they achieve their timelines and milestones.
  • Ongoing priority support: Technical support reps are masters at handling urgent questions or troubleshooting issues that pop up along the way.

As for the team you build, that’ll depend on the size of your business, the resources at your disposal, and the needs of your specific customers. It might include roles such as customer success reps, onboarding or implementation reps, training reps, upsell or cross-sell reps, and account managers.

  1. Offer top-tier customer support

Nope, customer support isn’t the same thing as customer success – though support is an important part before, during, and after purchase! 

While customer success is all about being proactive with customer issues (hopefully solving them before they become issues at all), customer support is the reactive part of the equation when issues inevitably arise. 

More than call centers and IT specialists (though they’re important!) customer support includes a wide variety of helpful resources, including:

  • Knowledge bases and self-serve portals where customers can search for their problem and find relevant content to help them solve it.
  • Chatbots that can answer questions, guide customers through solutions to basic or common issues, and escalate tricky cases to a knowledgeable human agent.
  • Online learning that teaches customers the specifics about their favorite features and how to use them to their greatest advantage.

In most cases, customers prefer solving problems themselves. For you, that means that you should provide them with the right support content when and where they’re looking for it. But when they do need to contact a live agent (and let’s face it, some people simply prefer reaching out to another human), it’s important to solve as many issues as you can on the first call.

  1. Encourage customer loyalty

Happy customers are customers who consistently hit their goals. And customers who hit their goals are customers who stick around. In other words, they’re loyal. 

Loyal customers tend to buy more products from brands they like, spend more per purchase, refer other likely customers, share their positive experiences via reviews and testimonials… and even forgive you when hiccups happen. 

Building loyalty can be as simple as sending a heartfelt “thank you.” Depending on your business, it could also include:

  • Loyalty programs that reward customers with upgrades or discounts when they’ve reached certain tiers of tenure or spending
  • Point programs that motivate customers to engage with your product or service on a regular basis or in new ways
  • Communities that allow customers to make meaningful connections with each other, turning your brand into a place where they find belonging.
  • Transparency and honesty in how you communicate with and treat your customers.
  1. Expand and extend new offerings

Renewals are great – they keep the revenue coming in at the same level, month after month (or quarter after quarter, or year after year). And high renewal rates signal that customers are indeed finding some success with your product or service. After all, if they weren’t, they’d jump ship to a competitor! 

But what if you have more to offer, that would help your customers achieve higher goals? Or achieve their existing goals more effectively? That’s where expansion offers come in. 

Typically, you can think of expansion offers in two categories:

  • Upsells: Offering customers a higher-end version of the product or service they currently use. (For example, supersizing a regular order of fries.)
  • Cross-sells: Offering customers a different – but complementary – product or service that can help. (For example, adding a dipping sauce on the side.)

Expansion offers can help customers discover how to make success easier with your product or service. By the time you encourage them to upgrade or make additional purchases, however, they should a) already see value in your offering, and b) have a genuine need for what you offer. So keep an eye out for those green flags in your metrics, communications, and feedback that signal opportunities for expansion! 

  1. Keep tabs on customer churn

Much of customer success focuses on the people who stick around – but what about the customers who leave? Your customer churn rate can tell you a great deal about what didn’t go as planned… and why. 

Customer churn rate describes the number of customers who left your company within a certain period. For example, if you started the month with 100 customers, and ended the month with 90, your churn rate is 10%. (It can get more complicated than that, but this serves well enough as an overview.) 

By tracking the customers who drop out from your product or service, you can start to answer deeper questions, including:

  • Which customers are most likely to leave? By paying attention to different segments of your customer base that trickle out, you can better hone your leads or position your offering earlier on in your conversion funnel.
  • At what stage are customers most likely to leave? You may see common trends emerge when customers hit certain milestones in their journey with you. Knowing what those milestones are can help you focus on improving the experience at key stages.
  • At what age are customers most likely to leave? If you see a drop-off happen over and over again after a certain amount of time, it could be a sign that customers aren’t feeling supported, or aren’t seeing value quickly enough.
  1. Launch referral, affiliate, and partner programs

Successful customers may find your product or service is more than remarkable; it’s also remark-able. In other words, it’s worth talking about within their own networks. Word-of-mouth marketing is a double-win: it helps build your customer’s brand (as they recommend helpful products and services like yours) and your own brand (as you reach audiences that align with your best customers). 

Great relationships with your customers are great in and of themselves, but they can broaden the potential market and revenue for both parties! That’s why referral, affiliate and partner programs make our list of great customer success strategies.

  • Referral programs leverage existing trusted relationships with people who have used your product or service. That can include existing customers or people and businesses you work with.
  • Affiliate programs target well-followed influencers and thought leaders in your sphere who can help you spread the word. These people may not have deeply personal relationships with their audience, but they have the power to reach more potential customers than you would on your own.
  • Partner programs can include sponsoring, co-creating, or co-branding with another organization or person. For example, if you tackle pain point A, you may partner with someone who tackles related pain point B and present a united solution on both fronts!

Generally, partner programs involve some form of compensation, whether it’s a discount offered to customers who bring in good leads, or revenue sharing with a partner on a combo online course you offer.

  1. Reward customers and partners with certificates 

While rewards like points and discounts can play an important part in customer loyalty programs, there’s something about a certificate that motivates above and beyond! 

Certificates are official, verifiable, and secure proof of course completion. By offering your customers certificates when completing a course created by your business or organization, you help them send a message about why they rock. It helps them build trust and credibility as a professional among their audience, showcase their accomplishments, and give them something tangible they can strive for (and celebrate)! 

Certificates can act as an outcome in your customer’s journey. They can entice your customers to enroll in a course in the first place, and find success upon achievement. 

They can also act as a milestone, if you’re offering multi-tiered or continuing learning. The more certificates your customers earn, the more they send a message about the depth of understanding and range of practice. 

At Thinkific, we make certificates a breeze:

  • Issue certificates with automated details like student name, completion, and expiry dates
  • Create beautiful certificates that reflect your brand, logo, or custom fields
  • Access certification history, edit, and reissue certificates within one platform

Graduates can easily share their certificates directly to LinkedIn – and you can certify your partners as well!

5 strategies to improve customer success

If you’re starting out with customer success strategies for your business, there are a few key things to remember. These strategies are relevant whether you’re a solopreneur or have a whole team dedicated to customer success.

Here are 5 strategies to improve customer success that you can implement immediately.

  1. Focus on onboarding 

Customer success starts the second someone converts into a customer. The first step to improving customer success is improving your customer onboarding process – enter customer education. Set your customers up for success by introducing them to your product in a clear, concise way that covers all the essentials they need to know to use your product. This includes making sure they understand how to use the key features and have access to the help and support they need.

The best and easiest way to improve the customer onboarding process is to create an online course. An online course lets you put all the information in one place – and after the initial set-up it requires minimal input from you or your team. A customer onboarding course can boost customer engagement, increase the adoption of features and improve retention rates.

Alternatively, if you’re a small business and solopreneurs can personalize their onboarding process to each individual customer by creating a tailor-made introduction to your products or services that’s specific to their objectives.

Some other methods you can use for customer onboarding include:

  • Video tutorials
  • Webinars
  • Automated emails
  • One-to-one video calls
  • User guides

Onboarding is an essential step to set your customers on the right path and help them get comfortable using your products or services for their needs. Get your onboarding right and you’re on track to improve customer success long-term. 

  1. Keep up communication 

Of course, onboarding isn’t the only step for better customer success. It’s important to keep up communication with your customers throughout their journey with your products or services. 

That means setting up a routine of regular check-ins to see how they’re faring and where they need assistance. Beyond the regular “hey, how’s everything going?”, add value for your customer by providing product tips, hints and even short training videos to help them utilize all your product features.

If your business has a dedicated customer success team or you have a relatively small customer base, your communication strategy could include one-to-one calls to offer personalized support to your customers. If that seems like a stretch, setting up an automated email campaign with different embedded video tutorials is also a good alternative.

  1. Create a customer success feedback loop

Setting up feedback loops for your customers is also a really good idea to improve customer success. Creating a customer success feedback loop is a great way to gather information from your customers on what you could do to support them better.

Your customer feedback may be positive – but without a specific focus on customer success it’s hard to see what can be improved. For example, surveying their customers, an e-commerce company may hear something like this:

“Your platform is great, I created my first product! But I don’t have any orders yet…”

Technically, these are satisfied customers. But since they’re not yet achieving their objective with the product (to sell products to customers), they are not successful customers. As we charge recurring subscription fees to use our software, these types of ‘unsuccessful customers’ are the ones that are most likely to cancel their subscriptions.

A feedback loop based on customer success involves digging deeper into the “but…” portion of the feedback to find out exactly what’s going wrong and where our customers’ pain points are. If you can set up comprehensive feedback loops to monitor customer success, you can hear straight from your customers what they need help with.

  1. Monitor key metrics

When you’re trying to improve customer success, you need to get a clear picture of what’s happening in your business. This means monitoring key customer success metrics to see where your customers are doing well and where they’re struggling.

Some helpful customer success metrics include:

  • Customer retention rate: The percentage of customers who are still customers after a given period e.g. 1 month, 6 months or 12 months.
  • Customer Lifetime Value: How much revenue is generated from an average customer over their entire relationship with your business.
  • Repeat purchase rate: The percentage of customers who make another purchase or reorder.
  • Customer health score: A scoring system combining how much time users are spending in the product, how many of the product’s key features are being used and the number of renewals.

The best metrics for your business will depend on your business model and your specific products or services. 

By monitoring key customer success metrics, you can find trends in your customers’ journeys and where the sticking points are. This gives you an opportunity to adjust your products or services to help improve customer success and make it easier for customers to achieve their goals.

With Thinkific, you can see exactly which module your students are getting “stuck” in, and how many people have completed your course. If all your customers are getting stuck on a specific module, that’s a clear sign they need extra support or that your content needs adjusting. At this point, your customer success feedback loop can tell you what’s wrong.

  1. Make customer success a company-wide priority

Regardless of the size of your organization, it’s important to position customer success as a top priority for your business. By setting customer success as your primary goal as a business, you can build your goals and targets around giving your customers the best possible experience of your products and services.

This mindset shift can make a huge difference to your business, helping you put customer success above everything else. This is especially beneficial if you have a subscription-based business model, like an online course academy or community membership space, as better customer success means more revenue for your business.

As a business, it’s helpful to take your time to educate your employees on what customer success means, why it’s valuable to your organization and what they can do to improve customer success outcomes in their specific role.

The Ultimate Guide to Customer Success: presented by Thinkific Plus: Download Now

Customer Success Examples

  1. Later Media

Top Instagram marketing platform Later transformed customer success in their organization by focusing on their customer onboarding process. Faced with an increasing number of users, Later set about updating their customer onboarding process to increase the effectiveness of their product training and improve user engagement with key features.

The Later team created an online onboarding course using Thinkific Plus and tested it against their original onboarding process of onboarding webinars, emails and in-app messages.

After just 3 months of running the onboarding course, Later found a 320% increase in customer retention, 467% increase in the adoption of features and a 368% increase in purchasing paid plans. What’s more, the customers who took the course were more engaged overall.

Thanks to the flexibility of the format, they can also update their onboarding course over time and the hands-off method means the team has time to focus on other customer success strategies.

Learn More: Read the full Later case study here.

  1. EchoSec Systems

Data discovery and security specialists EchoSec Systems launched a new online customer education program to improve EchoSec users’ adoption of their products and improve customer expertise with outstanding results.

The customer success team at EchoSec found their original onboarding methods weren’t providing customers with the education they needed to utilize their full range of product features and capabilities. They transitioned from using materials like quickstart guides and video tutorials to a fully online course using Thinkific Plus.

By repurposing their existing training content, EchoSec was able to set up their online training course quickly and easily. The program improved the learning outcomes for new customers and improved product utilization by existing users too. Customers can learn how to use EchoSec’s complex tools in a straightforward, in-depth way that requires minimal input from the team.

Learn More: Read the full EchoSec case study here.

  1. MyTutor

Starting with an online handbook for customer education, online tuition business MyTutor quickly realized they needed a better way to educate tutors. That’s when they set up their online course using Thinkific Plus.

By uploading their existing education content to Thinkific, MyTutor was able to dramatically improve their training courses to benefit both tutors and pupils. The extra features also meant it was quick and easy to change course content, query feedback from parents and teachers and track tutor progress.

In just 8 months, MyTutor has successfully trained 15,000 tutors and seen a 20% increase in the number of tutors passing lesson quality assurance checks – a framework designed by professional teachers. The online course has also reduced customer churn for MyTutor and improved retention rates, completely reshaping their business into a more successful and efficient model.

Learn more: Read the full MyTutor case study here.

What customer success strategies will you choose? 

Focusing on customer success means focusing on three Rs: retention, revenue and relationships. And no matter the business you run, you can build a strategy that fits both you and the people you serve. 

But the best news yet? You don’t need a full-fledged team of experts or a massive budget to make customer success a reality! You can see big results even by starting small, with clear goals and the right tools at your fingertips. 

Tools to manage Customer Success

If you’re looking to target customer success in your organization, you need to have the right tools for the job. Here are 4 tools and programs you can use to improve customer success – and make your life a lot easier.

  1. Thinkific Plus 

Thinkific Plus has easy-to-use features let you build scalable customer education programs in no time at all. Use it for every stage of your customer success journey, from onboarding to introducing new features and problem-solving.

By creating a dedicated customer education space on Thinkific, you can provide customers with all the information they need to reach their objectives. Thinkific Communities also gives you features for monitoring customer success in real-time, responding to queries and encouraging social learning.

  1. Zendesk

Another handy tool to use for customer success, Zendesk is software that’s designed to improve customer relationships by bringing all your customer interactions into one place. This tool lets you resolve customer issues quickly through live chat, social, email and more. 

Zendesk also makes it easy to automate customer interactions and collect analytics on key customer success metrics. It’s suitable for small businesses, startups and established businesses too.

  1. Livechat

Like the name suggests, LiveChat is customer success software that lets you chat live with customers on your website. With LiveChat, you can respond to customer queries immediately, giving your customers the support they need for better success with your products and services.

LiveChat is a great tool to help your customers feel closer to you – they don’t need to pick up the phone or send you an email, they can ask a question and get instant support. Add this to your customer success arsenal to improve the customer support experience.

  1. Gainsight

Dedicated to customer success, Gainsight is designed to put customer success at the center of everything you do. Their software features allow you to collect detailed customer data insights, analyze customer feedback, personalize your customer journey and more.

If you have a larger team, Gainsight is also really useful for collaboration across your customer success specialists and external partners. In short, it’s got what you need to improve retention rates and increase customer success across the board.

Key customer success leadership advice

Expanding your team? Here’s how you can make customer success a priority across your organization.

  1. Highlight the impact of customer success

If you’re trying to improve customer success in your organization, it’s important to highlight the impact that customer success can have. Customer success can have a huge influence on growth so it should be at the center of everything you do. Encourage your team to think about customer success holistically – everyone has their own role to play in improving customer success.

  1. Define what customer success involves

For the members of your team in charge of customer success, it’s important to define exactly what they are responsible for doing and where they fit in your organization. If you have a small team, this is especially critical to make sure that essential areas are covered and reduce overlap with other individuals or departments.

  1. Over-communicate between departments

Customer turnover is a company-wide problem and it’s not just down to the customer success team to deal with the consequences. As customer success is still a relatively new concept for many organizations, it’s important to encourage open, consistent communication between all departments – and/or individuals – including those responsible for sales, marketing and more.

  1. Practice active listening

At the heart of customer success is the ability to collect, analyze and act on customer feedback. That includes active listening when talking to customers – make sure you listen to and record what they are actually saying, not just what you think they are saying. 

Feedback should also be collected at every stage of the customer journey, from onboarding to cancellation questionnaires. If you can show you are truly listening to your customers, they’ll be encouraged to share more.

  1. Be open to experimentation

Customer success is tailored to your organization and your products or services – that means you’ll need to experiment with what customer success strategies work for you. Don’t be afraid to try new things and don’t worry too much if some strategies fail. Keep creating, experimenting and evaluating the outcomes to see what works best.

  1. Transform your business with better customer success

Customer success is essential for the health of your business, helping you encourage customers to keep using your products and make repeat purchases. To improve customer success in your organization, start from the very first interaction someone has with your products right through to the end of their relationship with you.

Looking to start improving Customer Success in your organization? 

Download our Ultimate Customer Success Guide to take the first steps.

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This article was originally published in Nov 2018, and was updated Feb 2023.

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