Determining the best way to deliver value and happiness to customers takes time and patience. You want to give your customers the best experience possible, but what does that look like and how do you get there?

Great service must be repeatable. Of course, the foundation of happy customers is happy employees. But those employees need to be equipped with the right systems and processes to make their lives easier, so their time can be devoted to spending more quality time with customers.

Amy Downs, Chief Customer Success and Happiness Officer at Lifesize will explain how the company has focused heavily on putting the right people, processes and systems in place to operationalise customer success. To really give this topic the focus it deserves, this piece is the first in a two-part series. The second article will be available in February.

There are two programmes that helped us tremendously at Lifesize. First, we implemented Net Promoter. This is our primary voice of the customer programme. Once Net Promoter was up and running, we segmented our customer base and developed strategies to serve each segment because not all customers are created equal.

Net Promoter is an operational rhythm embedded within Lifesize’s culture. The purpose is to help us drive change in our business based on what matters most for our customers. Here’s how it works for us. We conduct relationship surveys twice annually and transactional surveys at critical points in the customer lifecycle (e.g. after product on-boarding or at the end of a support interaction).

We gather feedback from our customers to understand what is working and what is not working by conducting root cause analysis. We then share best practices, take corrective actions and close the loop with our customers so they know we are listening and driving our business based on their feedback.

Why and how should you segment a customer base?

Segmentation strategies are built on one particularly important idea: one size does not fit when serving customers.

Depending on your company size and portfolio, you might consider segmentation by size, industry or product line. At Lifesize, we currently segment based on our product lines — Enterprise, Premium and Core — by dividing customers according to account size and business needs. For each segment, we carefully determine how much attention — and what kind of attention — a customer needs in order to realise the full value of our solution.

The key is to be clear and specific about how to serve each segment and how success is measured.

Tailor the customer experience based on need and efficiency

Let’s take a look at Lifesize’s Enterprise segment as an example.

Customers in this segment are large organisations that often generate significant revenue for us. They require a very “high-touch” approach, which is why every Enterprise account is staffed with a customer success team to ensure that they are getting the most value from our solution. Right from the start, a customer success advocate engages with the sales team and prospective customer to define an implementation strategy and schedule best-suited for their needs. This process begins in the sales phase so that critical information like pain points, goals and success criteria shared during sales conversations is carried over to implementation. The customer success advocate then serves as the customer’s trusted advisor for as long as they are a customer and they manage the relationship alongside the sales and technical teams.

Our world-class customer support experience is an integral part of our long-term strategy of earning our customer’s business for life. While our core customers are smaller in size and revenue, there is tremendous potential for these companies to grow — and for our solution to grow with them. Industry-wide, however, this segment often sees the highest churn rate, so it’s our goal to lower the churn and keep those in this segment as lifelong customers. Our goal is to never lose a customer, regardless of size or value, all customers are important to us.

Metrics, metrics, metrics

Churn and retention are the most common metrics for measuring success, although companies often report on these metrics differently. Why the discrepancies? The truth is that the SaaS space is still relatively new to the capital markets. Not everyone is fully versed yet in how to effectively measure retention/churn.

That said, if you don’t measure, you can’t make meaningful improvements.

Make sure to establish metrics up front. Your customer success programme will (and should) evolve as your company grows, but it’s essential to think through how you will measure at the start. Be diligent and thoughtful, and don’t do it alone. Feedback from other companies with customer success programmes, your own sales and customer success team members and even customers themselves will help ensure that your customer success programme is set up for success.