Jul 24, 2018 | Sales Best Practices
3 Ways to Increase Customer Engagement, Reduce Churn and Keep Customers Happy
This post is the second piece in our Revenue Efficiency for Every Member of the Revenue Organization series. In this post, we detail how CSMs can efficiently and effectively keep up with accounts, ways to increase customer engagement and reduce churn without increasing resources or bandwidth. Enjoy!
What’s the finish line for a salesperson? There’s a certain logic to considering the close of a deal as the end of the sales process — but that framework misses what’s at the center of a business’ long-term success: customers.
A customer who’s pleased and happy with a company’s product or service will not only talk it up to colleagues and connections (that’s free lead generation for you!) but will also renew their contract, reducing churn. And, well, you probably know what a customer who’s unhappy does — badmouth your company, complain frequently, tie up support resources and, ultimately, not renew a contract, meaning one less account for your business. Not good!
Assuming your product or service is stellar, keeping customers happy involves a human touch. But with customer success managers responsible for a near-overwhelming number of accounts, having processes in place is essential for keeping in touch with the right communications at the right time. Calendar reminders won’t cut it under those circumstances, and elaborately hand-crafted emails for each customer simply aren’t an option.
Here are three efficient ways to increase customer engagement, ensure that customers are pleased with your company as a whole (beyond the product and service), and that churn is avoided.
Keep Onboarding Smooth
After the contract is signed, what’s next for the new customer?
For companies, it’s important to manage expectations — for instance, if a salesperson promised implementation within a week, that needs to be delivered. If the implementation time hasn’t been discussed, it needs to be shortly after the close of the deal. Whether it’s a week or three months, customers should know what to expect and who to contact with questions or concerns.
For customers, onboarding is a significant milestone in the relationship, so it’s essential for the transition from an account executive to the customer success manager to be seamless. Outreach’s Customer Engagement Platform helps, since it keeps all that interactions that took place during the sales journey in one place, even as the prospect transitions to a customer. No need, therefore, for CSMs to reach out to find out who to contact or to identify the customer’s biggest priorities — those notes and details are all readily available through Outreach’s platform.
Smart automation helps provide customers with a smooth onboarding process as well. Templated emails included in a “new customer” sequence can help give new customers the attention and information they require. This will make them feel valued, welcomed, and engaged.
Provide Outreach & Education
Once customers have been onboarded, that doesn’t mean you should stop reaching out. Instead, set up automated nurture and education sequences as well. You can provide tips on how to use your product, success stories from other customers, and a heads-up about easily missed functionality in educational emails.
As part of your nurture sequences, you can also ask for feedback. No need to overdo it; you wouldn’t want to be a pain. But an occasional check-in can be hugely beneficial, whether the customer is pleased or struggling. If the customer is running into problems with your company’s product or service, a check-in note gives you the opportunity to remedy the situation (before frustrations mount, and the customer turns to another vendor). And if the customer is in love with your company’s offerings, you can request a testimonial, feature the customer in a case study, invite the customer to a conference, or just bask in the positive feedback.
You can also have sequences in place that launch if product usage dips below a certain threshold, which can be a potential sign of churn. Reaching out at this pivotal moment can be the difference between losing a client, and having them sign on the dotted line again. It’s this type of triggered automation and outreach that can free up CSMs for when accounts require special attention.
Don't Let Renewals Sneak up on You
This is a no-brainer, but it’s important to be aware of when a customer’s contract ends. With the amount of accounts most CSMs have, it’s easily for a renewal to creep up on you. Don’t wait until a few days beforehand to address it. By then, it could be too late. Ideally, you’ve been running nurture and education programs to keep customers engaged. In the months leading up to a contract end-date, check-ins are beneficial. This is your opportunity to get a sense of the customer’s feelings toward your company, sell new features and functionality, and do everything you can to keep the customer on board.
Again, automation is your best friend here — you can enroll a customer in a pre-contract sequence on the very same day the contract is initially signed, so that there’s no way for the customer to slip through the cracks as you deal with new accounts coming onboard.
Keeping track of accounts (and keeping those businesses on track) isn’t easy — and it gets harder for your CS team the more deals sales wins. With Outreach’s tools, it’s not just SDRs and AEs that benefit—customer success managers can also use Outreach to drive retention through effective and personalized onboarding, engaging nurture programs, and perfectly timed campaigns to reduce churn.
Looking for more ideas to improve revenue efficiency, keep customers happy, and keep churn far, far away? Our newest guide shares even more ideas for how to put customer satisfaction at the center of your revenue-building strategies.