How YouScan builds strong, lasting customer relationships

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Alexey Orap

CEO, YouScan
March 7, 2019
How YouScan builds strong, lasting customer relationships

Finding customers is not an easy task, but one that’s far less challenging than keeping them. It’s important to build strong relationships and inspire trust in your customers, which will help them get the most value out of your services to achieve their business goals. Building these connections takes time and effort – but the work is definitely worth it, if your goal is long-term commitment. In this post, we will tell you how YouScan builds lasting relationships with our customers, and why these relationships are important.

    Our mission statement promises:
  • to focus on developing long-term customer relationships based on trust, instead of simply answering questions or troubleshooting;
  • to help leverage our products and services for the success of their business;
  • to always remember the ultimate goal of the Customer Success team – to retain and invest in existing customers so that, instead of leaving, they upgrade their plans and purchase additional features;
  • to remind every team member, regardless of their role in the company, that they are contributing to customer service and customer care.

I believe that everything done for the good of the customer is also good for the company.

Customer success VS customer support

First and foremost, it’s important to distinguish between Customer Success and Customer Support. Customer support services exist in nearly every company, and we also started out with just a support team. This team solved technical issues with core functions, addressed complaints and responded to feedback. Customer support is an essential part of any business. Obviously, if the customers can’t actually use the product, they can’t use it to solve any of their problems or achieve business objectives. But a customer’s satisfaction with fast response time to a bug report also won’t contribute to their overall success. And as it often happens in romantic relationships, one partner might say, “Something is missing,” and move on – not always to a better option.

Client retention for any business is better and cheaper than acquisition. We realized that retention has to do with being a leader in your industry, and to offer not only your products, but also your expertise to customers in order to help them reach their goals. This is how our Customer Success team was born.

Unlike a traditional customer support service, Customer Success managers’ duties aren’t limited to solving technical problems. CSM’s main goal is to help every YouScan user achieve their best results while working with our tools.

    We developed a strategy that helps us achieve this goal. The three pillars of our strategy are:
  • Education
  • Anticipation
  • Collaboration
Strategy of Customer Success

Education

As the love songs say, to know is to love. While we get to know our customers during their free demo, we help them understand the logic behind our tools, offer some first steps in setting up their dashboard, and present the biggest benefits of the products. We don’t break off communication after the initial training, and constantly offer webinars and consulting sessions, share educational materials in our Knowledge Base. It’s important that the customers to have a good understanding of how your software works, in order for them to get the most benefit and see opportunities for growth within your product ecosystem.

Education of Customer Success

The team from reputation management agency Sidorin Lab receive their YouScan certification

Since YouScan is an SaaS company, we use many productivity tools, as well as tools for tracking the ROI on our customer interactions. But since we started making an emphasis on education as well as sales, the number of touchpoints has increased, which we see as a quality indicator for customer service.

Working to anticipate a need

It’s better to prevent an illness than having to treat it. We try to work in such a way that our customers never have to file a support ticket. Our Customer Success managers are always keeping an eye to make sure the customers’ dashboards are set up correctly. Often, customers don’t even notice something might become an issue, but the Customer Success manager is already working to solve it. For example, a CS manager may have noticed that many posts are deleted manually; they reach out to the user and let them know about a way to automate the process to save time and effort.

As such, the CS manager isn’t simply there to troubleshoot issues – they also become a representative of your brand to the customer. Their task entails getting the most out of the software to meet the customer’s needs. No one can gauge the effectiveness of the service for a particular client better than their dedicated CS manager, who is familiar with the customer’s workflows and finds ways to streamline them within the tool. Because the CS manager has unique insight into their customer’s business goals and needs, they are able to tailor available features of the software to better meet those goals.

Working to anticipate a need

Collaboration

Another secret to successful lasting relationship is the collaboration between the company and the customer on product development. Thus, another goal of the Customer Success team is to make the product better. In order to do this, we have an open communication line to receive customer feedback. We measure loyalty with NPS, conduct in-depth interviews (QBR), review and analyze questions and concerns from customers. The tickets (questions, complaints, wishlist items) are tallied in the CRM. Based on this data, we can study use cases and business goals that are met using our product, and generate ideas for improvement of our product for new and existing users. As such, we’re able to reduce the number of passive clients and incentivize them to continue using our tools. We can use this process to turn customers into brand advocates who recommend our services to their friends and colleagues. This is one of our favorite moments in this process.

5 signs that your customer success strategy hit the bullseye

    Our clients are set up for success if within six to 12 months they
  1. Increase the number of active internal users (get more departments or branches involved in YouScan), or
  2. Enable integrations, or
  3. Upgrade their payment plan, or
  4. Buy additional features, or
  5. Renew their subscription.

However, don’t think that simply swapping Support for Success will magically make your clients happier or your product better – if only because it would be asking too much of your customer service team to do both. If you put someone in charge of both support and success, you risk losing both, since they will be drowning in everyday troubleshooting and unable to focus on proactively promoting customer success. Thankfully, we quickly learned this at YouScan, so we have a clear division of roles and responsibilities of our Support and Success teams, and the productivity benchmarks are different for each department.

How does CSM affect your bottom line?

The efforts of your CS teams help you retain your customers longer and reduce churn, but they also help increase your profits in virtue of upgrades, cross-selling and additional feature purchases by your existing clients, who’ve bought into your value offer. Successful customers also help promote your brand through word of mouth by recommending your services to others.

All this happened because we decided to rethink our customer acquisition and retention strategy at YouScan, as well as our business model as a whole. We use the OKR (Objective and Key Results) method to manage goals and results. One such goal is to “Improve Customer Retention,” for which the corresponding KPI is “Keep NRR better than X%” As a result, we now measure the effectiveness of customer retention by focusing on the financial NRR metric instead of the traditional “churn” approach, which includes calculations of revenue increase from your current customer base.

We would be remiss not to mention that, smart metrics with fancy abbreviations aside, we wouldn’t be where we are today without our team. For us, commitment to customers isn’t some kind of Stockholm syndrome, but a sincere feeling – one that is inspired in those who believe in their product, in their team, and the idea that a customer’s success contributes to the success of YouScan. This idea doesn’t appear out of thin air – but perhaps that’s better left for another conversation.

YouScan and Yandex Customer Success teams at the Digital Night party, organized by YouScan and our partners.

YouScan and Yandex Customer Success teams at the Digital Night party, organized by YouScan and our partners.