Customer Success is Now a Two-Way Street

Brian Merritt, VP Customer Success, Trustpilot
Brian Merritt, VP Customer Success, Trustpilot

Brian Merritt, VP Customer Success, Trustpilot

The high volume of ever-changing advancements in customer service has shifted the relationship between customers and vendors. In recent years, a myriad of new services such as Hubspot, Salesforce, and Totango helped improve customer success in the business environment, but with that came the disruption of traditional business practices. The mission is to create ever-improving experiences for everyone. With that, customer success has become a core pillar of every business, and the role transformed from being a “fixer” to a “listener” tasked with pushing companies to adapt across several departments (product, legal, sales, etc.).

Before these services hit the market, there were two approaches vendors took with their customers to build success. First, we’d play an account management role. This meant attending trade shows to hand out flyers and speak to potential customers about why the product is right for them. Ultimately, it was an archaic system. Second, and probably more common, was the hand-holding approach. It would require the customer success team to walk through every step of the business-building process with their customers to ensure all logistics are followed according to plan. It was very much an “A, B, C” process and very one-sided, with vendors being the primary driver of success.

As these models continued, the industry found there to be several issues with the results. The main problem was that vendors were being viewed as an entity that would guarantee success, thus placing expectations of unattainable results. With the rise of software services, these problems became obsolete, but new issues became apparent. Now with customer success tools, there are two obstacles to tackle. Companies must take advantage of new features being rolled out in services such as Salesforce and Hubspot, and they must be willing to adapt based on the analytics they’re receiving (and paying for).

Due to the high hurdles, customers must now view vendors as partners as opposed to service providers. Based on CS feedback, customers can cooperatively improve their products and business models to ensure higher rates of success. The relationship between vendors/service providers and customers has become a two-way street. For example, customer relationship management (CRM) tools keep track of customer interactions and sentiment. The reality is that a CRM service only provides insight into what businesses can improve. It’s then up to the company to welcome the feedback and adapt to what the data shows.

 These goals were achieved by working with us to engage in consumer feedback to improve their product and increase their own website’s traffic 

At Trustpilot, not only does our team use CRM data to account for what customers are saying, but we also use a supplementary customer success platform to amplify product data usage. To be effective in customer success, you need to know who your customers are, what they purchased, and what they’re doing with it. Customer success platforms are also a great tool to monitor your customers and ensure they’re listening to feedback and taking advantage of every feature they have at their disposal.

So how can your customer adapt using all of these analytics and services? This goes back to the development team building the product. Customer success teams extract the data from engagement tools, then go to the development team with feedback to work out the kinks. Customer success should be working on product development and management closer than ever. While there is no exact formula, the types of tools below can be blended to provide a powerful approach to the “listener” role:

• Customer relationship management software (Hubspot, Salesforce, Freshsales, etc.)—Extracts crucial feedback and analytics from customers to create a cyclical process of improving experiences between businesses and customers.

• Customer success platform

(Tatango, Customer.io, etc.)—High-level communication with customers to establish deeper connections and reassure them their voices are heard.

Take a look at one of our customer case studies - Best Bee Brothers (BBB). Following its removal from Amazon, BBB, a small family business who develops chemical-free bee traps, turned to a customer-centric approach to help enhance its website. BBB planned to increase sales, website traffic, consumer reviews, and improve customer relations along the way. These goals were achieved by working with us to engage in consumer feedback to improve their product and increase their own website’s traffic. The company saw increased website sales by 150%, a 25% rise in site conversion rates, and improved search engine optimization for maximum visibility. When customers look for carpenter bee traps on a search engine during busy bee season, BBB is on the first page all season long.

Not only has BBB seen sales benefit, but its patented product has been redesigned according to the feedback consumers shared in Trustpilot reviews, making its traps some of the best in the market. When the company decided to continue using our services, it had adopted our product and bought into what we had to offer. The truth is that our platform alone didn’t lead BBB to become as successful as it did. Through communication, using CRM insight, adapting to consumer feedback, and engaging with CS data, BBB was able to bounce back as a business and thrive from its site.

This is what customer success looks like. Your business’ success is contingent on the success of your customers. Many companies focus on revenue to define “customer success,” but for the actual CS team, product adoption rates are the most critical metric. Product adoption offers longer life cycles and a longer duration of revenue being streamed. By seeing your customer relationship turn into a partnership, you’re experiencing renewed business rather than a one-time activation. Not only does it show you that your partner listened to your guidance to reach success, but they worked hard to meet you there.

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