In this edition of Startup Snacks, Thiago Nascimento, Raken’s Director of Customer Success, takes you through what it takes to reduce churn, improve the onboarding process, and build a high-quality customer success department in a startup.
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my name is Thiago I’m raking director customer success I’ve always worked in rows there were customer facing and account management customer support
client relations and customer success or in roles that I got to speak to customers directly through marketing what I really enjoy about working customer success is the fact that you get to listen to customers challenges
you get to really understand their use case with your application understand
what they like and what they don’t like about your product and create a relationship with customers and that’s something that I really enjoy doing
fifteen years ago software was sold a lot differently than what it is today
you as a customer would pay a large amount of money up front and as it was
really up to you to find value from a product today it’s with software as a
service companies it’s more of a relationship between the vendor and the
customer vendors want to make sure that customers have all the tools that they need that they have all the resources that they need in order to achieve the desired outcome and and really fulfill their their business needs utilizing that software so customer success is really all about fulfilling the promise that we made to customers when they initially purchased our product and
providing them with all the tools and resources needed to really find the most value expand on their usage explore on the product usage and and fulfilled that business need that they initially purchase having practical knowledge of the industry of the customer of the products used case and the product itself gives us folks in the front lines and customer success all the tools that we need in order to help customers through problems being able to help someone solve a problem it’s something that I really enjoy and I find gratifying the other part that I really enjoy about customer success is the fact that we’re key components of the customer feedback loop we we are in the front lines we receive feedback from customers on a daily basis all day long and we really understand their challenges and their needs and therefore we we end up working alongside product and where we become voice of customers so to me it’s it’s really awesome to be able to help customers through problems understand their issues and then work alongside product to come up with solutions to their problems your know once we receive a bunch of feedback on a particular issue and then work alongside product to come up with solution and a new feature new workflow or an improvement it’s it’s really great to be able to pick up the phone and tell a customer that we solved a problem that
they have there are different ways to measure the adoption of a service or product both in terms of license utilization how many of the key features are used or you know how frequent the user is using your product what’s really going to determine at the end of the day if the customer remains as a paid customer is that they are still achieving the desired outcome that they’re still finding a solution to the initial problem that they had when they first purchase your product this involves the marketing message the sales process customer success and the product itself so it’s really important that first we understand the customer we understand what the desired outcome is and then we can lead customers towards achieving that desired outcome.
Every touchpoint that we provide should be full of value should lead customers towards achieving that desired outcome so you know whatever we do every touchpoint every conversation should be based on the understanding of what the customer is trying to get out of the product and should provide all the tools that they need in order to achieve that
that desire customers from quitting than during the onboarding phase this is when the customers are the most excited about using a product this is when they realized they had a problem and they came to you for a solution you’re gonna have their ears you’re gonna have their attention you’re gonna have their commitment so this is this is a very critical period in the customer journey it’s it’s really important that that you put a lot of resources during this phase and that you you you lead customers and you train customers and you onboard customers successfully you know at the end of the onboarding phase they must know what the value is they must know how to achieve that value and it must be in a in a more effective way than what they used before it time to value must be quick and this tool must be more effective than what they use before and since you have their attention during the onboarding phase it’s really important that you you put all your resources upfront and that you that your lead customers towards getting the most out of your product once you do when one state they save time once they go home and they’re happy about having used your product during their work day then then you’re golden and you probably have a champion.
Speaking of which it’s really important that you replicate the initial champion during the sales process you might have had an initial champion who pushed the sales through their organization it’s really important that you replicate the success another reason for churn might be that your initial champion left the company so you got to put enough resources and attention into fostering additional champions so that you can have other supporting your your your software at the organization and absolutely say that customer success is for early-stage startups in fact I’d say that early-stage startups can’t afford not to have customer success and the number one reason is it’s a lot cheaper to get more revenue from an existing customer than it is from from a new customer and also all the feedback the knowledge and the understanding there you gonna get from your early customers especially as you’re a new new product as you might have an MVP or you’re still trying to find your product market fit you know kind of leveraging that knowledge and the understanding of your customers and learning the most you can about them in the early phases is going to provide invaluable insight and you develop your product down the line customer success folks are really unique in their characteristics and hiring for customer success is challenging in the fact that you’re looking for specific brave years you’re looking for someone who loves to take care of people that loves to interact with people but someone who’s also a self-starter
someone who who likes to get things done who understands the bigger picture and that that has a high level of emotional intelligence you know at times in customer success it might seem like you’re you’re in an island and you know you might not have all the answers or the answers that that may be an unhappy customer might want and it’s really up to a customer success manager to be able to manage and look past certain things and be able to help a customer so for me with the strong work ethic that understands the big picture that understands and and likes to interact with customers and and really wants to help people achieve their business need.