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LEARN Recap: Top Priorities for Customer Success Teams

What should customer success teams focus on and prioritize to succeed?

We talked to customer leaders on this topic and more during our virtual conference WorkRamp LEARN Spring. 

In their session, Go Under the Hood With Chief Customer Offiers, Christine Rimer, Chief Customer Officer, Guideline, and Dan Darcy, Chief Customer Officer, Qualified shared best practices, what to prioritize as you scale customer teams, and the importance of customer service enablement.

Top priorities to empower customers

The last six months have been challenging for most organizations, with the economy slowing and interest rates rising. Retaining customers has been difficult, which means customer support is more important than ever. 

As Gartner found, 58 percent of businesses plan to focus on creating value-driven service and support organizations to help ensure customer success and retention. 

One key to excellent customer support is providing a customer experience where your buyer feels confident every step of the way. Christine notes that as the market slowed in mid-2022, her team asked, “how can we deliver a world-class customer experience at scale while being operationally efficient?” 

The Guideline team focused on two things: 

  • Reducing customer contacts 
  • Improving processes with automation

At Qualified, Dan’s team’s approach is to “give a bear hug to customers” by doing whatever it takes to help them succeed—even if it means giving them access to features that weren’t included in their plans. 

The team also focused on educating customers on best practices and strategies learned from other customers to benefit everyone. 

Read more: 6 Ways to Reduce Customer Churn

Prioritizing customer service projects

Once you have some ideas for improving customer support, how do you decide what to do first? 

Christine shared that in July of 2022, Guideline kicked off a program that brought together the customer operations, R&D, product, engineering, design, and data teams. The goal was to create a confident customer experience while reducing the time required for customer service. 

Working together, the teams were able to:

  • Reduce customer contacts by optimizing customer education
  • Streamline internal processes through automation
  • Optimize internal education so that everyone was on the same page

Having all of the teams involved helps Guideline identify challenges and opportunities to address and get buy-in for the changes.

At Qualified, the team focused on increasing automation and self-service within the software. They used WorkRamp to build a customer education academy called Qualified University, a customer Black Belt certification program. They also created a community for customers to share feedback and get more insight into how Qualified works. 

The is on making things fun. “I even challenge my team, using the paradigm of TikTok where everyone’s learning in three-minute increments,” Dan shares. “How do we create content that’s more like TikTok? It’s part of challenging yourself to create bite-sized moments of entertaining content that also help the user understand how to get the task done.”

Read more: How to Improve Customer Education in 4 Steps

Serving top customers without breaking the bank

Often companies feel that no expense should be spared when servicing high-value accounts. However, it’s important to be efficient in this business environment, even with VIPs. 

How can you balance these priorities?

The first thing to consider is a key question: Is customer support a cost or revenue growth center?

It’s essential to build your customer support program to reduce churn and enhance revenue and then to measure those outcomes so you can show the value of customer support to leadership. 

Dan points out that the reason they do whatever it takes to help customers succeed is that those successful customers are going to grow, need more of Qualified’s services, and recommend the company to their peers. However, there’s no need to overspend—remind them of self-service features and the resources available to them.

While Qualified doesn’t cap the time a Success Architect spends with a client, they focus on “teaching them how to fish.”

Christine’s perspective is different because Guideline provides investment plans for small businesses, so larger customers are businesses with more than 50 employees. 

To provide excellent service, her team pays attention to who the decision-makers are and who influences those decision-makers as the company gets larger. They also consistently review the range of funds and features they offer and emphasize Net Promoter scores to ensure they’re delivering a high-quality experience.

Is there a point when the investment is too much, and the customer is no longer a good fit? Christine says partnering with the R&D team and revenue leadership helps keep the expected investment clear, based on various factors, not just employee size. 

“It’s less about ratcheting back, and it’s more thoughtfully adding, and then thinking about the packages we offer and where are we delivering value,” she says. “Then, we are making sure the cost to serve makes sense, so we’re always reaching that bar of a world-class customer experience.” 

Read more: Do More With Less and Scale Customer Success

Customer service enablement

We hear a lot about sales enablement, but what about customer service enablement? Our panelists weigh in on how they manage this at their organizations.

Christine notes that internal training for every department wasn’t optional at Guideline because they are heavily regulated. They not only need to develop engaging, useful training, but they also have to run all training through the legal and compliance teams. Knowledge management is crucial in her organization. 

At Qualified, they also have a culture of learning, especially since digital marketing is constantly changing, which impacts how pipelines are built. At the same time, the customers are always learning new things, which are incorporated by Qualified. Each department has weekly enablement calls, and the program has an interesting name. 

“We found out that Abraham Lincoln, in his first congressional address, said, ‘may every person receive at least a moderate education and thereby be enabled,'” Dan shares. “And it was like, OK, boom. We’re going to name the enablement program Abe, which stands for Always Be Enabled.” 

Customer service enablement is just as important as sales enablement because you want your team to be up-to-date with changes in regulations, business practices, product updates, and the new ideas your customers bring to the table. You can’t afford to overlook it! 

Watch on-demand replays from WorkRamp LEARN Spring 2023 for more actionable tips and expert insights.


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Anna Spooner

WorkRamp Contributor

Anna Spooner is a digital strategist and marketer with over 11 years of experience. She writes content for various industries, including SaaS, medical and personal insurance, healthcare, education, marketing, and business. She enjoys the process of putting words around a company’s vision and is an expert at making complex ideas approachable and encouraging an audience to take action. 

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