Customer Success is all about enabling software adoption and helping customers be successful in using your products. Or, as Lincoln Murphy, Customer Success Architect at Sixteen Ventures explains, customer success keeps them engaged, boosts their satisfaction, and reduces churn. Training plays an important role in customer success, however aren't always included in the CS discussion or workflow.
Here are five questions training managers can ask to find out how their training teams can fit into the CS workflow at your company.
5 Questions Training Managers Should Ask About Customer Success
1. What does customer success mean for your customers?
Many organizations simply dive in to customer success without defining what it means for their specific customers. Customer Success is about reducing the amount of customer churn you experience and ensuring your customers are getting the value they expect out of you and your products.
2. Is there a team dedicated to cross-functional Customer Success?
Centralizing the strategy around cross-functional Customer Success ensures that everyone, including training managers, have somewhere to go with questions and concerns. In some companies it's an entire team with individual success "managers" or it may be the success responsibilities are divided up among the leadership team within the organization. Training managers should know where and who to go to for information.
3. What type of customer enablement are you trying to achieve with training?
Training teams can affect customers in different ways, such as:
Assisting customers through the onboarding process with initial education programs?
Helping customers avoid future support issues with targeted training programs that walk them through the typical customer obstacles they have with your products?
Reaching out to happy customers to increase the ROI they could have with your products through cross- and up- selling training opportunities? (i.e. increasing product adoption rates)
A clear understanding of the customer enablement goal your training is targeting will help you in your planning and training development, and ensures you're supporting the customer success strategy appropriately.
4. What metrics/data should training track in support of customer success?
Understanding the type of metrics customer success is looking for will drive the type of metrics you'll want to measure in your training programs. It may also mean investing in some different tools or methods to get the right metrics, so finding out as early as possible will ensure you're ready when asked.
Alvin Lin, Marketing Automation Specialist on the Marketing Operations team at Cloudera, recommends a number of tools that help his team stay on track, like marketing automation, web analytics, and customer advocacy insight tools. Lin also recommends starting small when it comes to analytics, especially if you're not used to looking at metrics as part of your management activities.
Automated and/or centralized analytic tools give training managers a longer view of the metrics they are tracking, so they're able to plan and change course earlier than if they were using manual metrics. Not to discourage you however, if manual metrics are all you have access to, you simply may have a little more forecasting work ahead of you. Metrics are good for forecasting, so use whatever you have.
5. How do I create the necessary strategic partnerships the training team needs for customer success?
Since you're all working towards the common goal of customer success, it's important to work with the other teams in your organization. That way you're all pulling in the same direction, helping each other reach your individual team goals, as well as the overall organization customer success goals.
So, you could:
Hold regular meetings with the customer success team; if you don't have a specific team, then regular communication from whoever is directing customer success is a must.
Uncover what customers are talking about with customer support and what their top 5 questions are. E.g. product challenges or usage questions.
Get updates on quarterly sales campaigns or sales targets from the sales team.
Find out what campaigns marketing has planned in the future.
Discover the new customizations or uncommon product configurations that are being requested by customers. These configurations may become part of your company's regular offering if enough customers ask for it, so having training programs ready to go in support of this will help future customers, as well as existing ones.
Share summaries of departmental strategies on an internal knowledge sharing hub or intranet site.
Have customer success meetings with your direct leadership on a regular basis to ensure the training team is on target with overall customer success strategies.
Call for Comments:
Training can be an integral part of any customer success strategy, but only if training managers are ready to do a little extra work. Collaborating with other teams in their activities and using information shared by them will help training do their part for customer success. Does your organization have a dedicated customer success team or strategy? How has it been working for your training team? Share your experiences in the comments as we'd love to hear from you.