How Make To B business Customers Succeed?

 Today I want to talk about the third link of the entire process of operation transformation: customer service, The problem to be solved by customer service is to help customers succeed. 

How Make To B business Customers Succeed?


How to help customers succeed? You can think about it from six aspects:


1. The definition of customer success.
2. Customer handover.
3. Novice start.
4. Customer growth period.
5. May lose customers to recover.
6. Customer lifetime value.


The classification of this thinking framework is not absolute, not unique, or standard. I emphasize again that the classification of this thinking framework is not absolute, not unique, and not a standard.


1. The definition of customer success:

Not only To B business, but any business that hopes to have a second transaction with customers, helping customers succeed is also something that should be done.


What does customer success mean?

Customer success refers to: in the process of cooperation between the two companies, the customer's needs are met, and Party B helps the customer solve the problem. This state is called customer success.


The customer's needs come from the gap between the customer's current situation and the ideal state.

For example, the current state of the customer is to make 10 million in 2019, and the ideal state is to make 15 million in 2020. Then the gap of 5 million in the middle is the customer's demand.

Through your products and services, you can help customers earn this 5 million more, so what you do at this time is to help customers succeed.

This 5 million is the criterion for customer success. Even if you help the customer earn 4 million, you will not be called customer success because you have not met the customer's expectations.


Who sets the customer success criteria?

It is made by you and the purchaser's decision-maker, not by either of you independently.

When you and the buyer's decision-maker share success criteria, be sure to manage expectations.

Otherwise, customers will feel that your products and services are not good, but the actual situation is not that your products and services are not good, but that there is a gap between customers' expectations of success and the effects of your products.

How to formulate success criteria, that is, how to determine the goals of both sides of the project?


There are three main things to do:

1. Discover and explore the problems that customers need to solve.

2. Refine the problems to be solved.

3. Work with the client to formulate the next improvement goals.

That's all about the definition and standards of customer success, and how to formulate standards.


2. Customer handover:


There are generally two situations in customer handover :

The first situation is that after the sales leads are obtained through the marketing department, the sales follow-up will conduct customer conversion. After the customer pays, the sales team will hand over the customer to the customer success department, and then the department leader will assign the customer to the customer success manager.


The second situation is that an account manager in the customer success department wants to resign, or a new colleague arrives in the department, and it is necessary to hand over some of the customers that the customer success department is serving to the new colleague.

In the above two cases, it is the transfer of customers to new colleagues.


How to handover? What materials need to be provided during handover? Which client should be handed over to the new colleague? How many customers does each customer success manager need to maintain?


To answer the above questions clearly, the first thing to do is to classify customers. According to my experience, there are four main ways to classify customers:

The first type is divided into new and old customers, divided into new customers and old customers.

As I mentioned above the two cases of customer handover.


The second type is divided by industry:

For example, if your company does a certain marketing type SAAS general software, the customers you serve may come from various industries such as catering, tourism, beauty salons, new retail, etc. Therefore, customer classification will be based on catering customers, travel customers, Hairdressing customers, new retail customers, etc.


The third type is based on customer importance. The classification criteria are based on customer unit price and lifetime value.

Generally divided into KA customers, ordinary customers, small and micro customers.

The fourth type is the free combination of the first three types.

For example, it can be divided into KA customers belonging to the tourism industry, new KA customers belonging to the tourism industry, old KA customers, and so on.


After the customers are classified, the leaders of the customer success department will know more clearly how to allocate customer resources to colleagues. And what information needs to be provided to colleagues when handing over clients to colleagues.


So, what information do I need to provide colleagues when handing over customers?


Think about the first type of customer classification.


If the transfer is a new customer, the information that needs to be provided to the new colleague at this time includes (but not limited to):


1. The contract.

2. The key person and user of the customer's decision-making. 

3. The current situation of the customer.

4. The problem that the customer needs to solve.

 5. The implementation plan;


If the handover is an old customer, the information that needs to be provided to the new colleague at this time includes (but not limited to):


1. The contract.

2. The key person and user of the customer's decision-making.

3. The current situation of the customer.

4. The problem that the customer needs to solve.

5. The implementation plan.

6. The plan progress.

7. Current usage.

After the customer is handed over, and the situation of the customer is clearly known, and the goal that the customer expects to be achieved, the next step is to provide services to the customer to help the customer succeed.


3. Novice start:


After the customer is handed over, it begins to enter the novice startup link.

From this link, it's the stage where the customer department truly displays the value.

The goal of the customer success team at this stage is to enable customers to start using the product or service as soon as possible and get value from it.


How to achieve this goal?


Different types of customers need to adopt different methods.

If you are serving small and micro customers, then what you need to do is:

1. Carry out system configuration to customers.

2. Send user manuals to customers.

3. Train customers.

4. Answer customer questions.

5. According to customer data feedback, step by step to promote customers' use of the core functions of the product; Basically the entire novice period service can be completed online.


If you are serving KA customers, then what you need to do is:

1. Open the project kick-off meeting:


The kick-off meeting needs to be completed:

 1. Determine the project goals of both parties.

2 clarify the project goals and cycle planning.

3. clarify the participants and division of labour of both parties.

4. invite the high-level views of both parties.


2. Configure and test the software and hardware system and prepare the project to go online:


3. Find a certain department or branch as a pilot for internal training

During internal training, the person in charge of the customer’s business is invited to participate to ensure the quality of the training. The best training method is to train the key persons of Party A to become lecturers, and then they will carry out the training.


4. After there is no problem with the pilot feedback, then a large-scale internal promotion will be carried out.


4. Customer growth period:


After the customer has passed the novice period (the novice start-up period is generally 3 months), it begins to enter the customer growth period.

During the growth period of the customer, if the customer has been active and not lost, it means that your product has become an indispensable part of the customer's daily operations. In this case, the company will greatly increase the possibility of secondary sales to customers.

1. At this stage, the customer success manager needs to be always ready to respond to and solve customer needs.

2. Customer success managers need to keep track of the progress of customer problem solving.

3. Account managers need to communicate with customers regularly at a certain frequency (evaluated according to factors such as the customer's level and current situation).

If you are serving small and micro customers, then what you need to do is:

1. Answer customer questions at any time through online methods.

2. Regular telephone follow-up status to help customers stable use and optimization.

3. From time to time, share customer success experience with customers.

If you are serving KA customers, then what you need to do is:

1. Exhaust the internal resources of the team, and all staff participate in the service (including customer success VP, sales VP, customer success manager, etc.

2. High-frequency face-to-face services on a weekly or even daily basis to help customers use and optimize products and services stably.

3. Conduct business review meetings monthly, quarterly, and annually to conduct business analysis and work planning for the next phase.

4. Keep the information of the internal team synchronized.

5. A monthly report is regularly sent to the person in charge of the other party’s project every month, including the use of the system (the number of users, what functions are used, etc.), the next use plan (in order to improve the effect and achieve the goal, the next month needs to be made Cooperation plan of both parties).

6. Communicate with the person in charge of the other party every month to understand the resolution of the problem and whether there are new problems to be solved.

7. Send successful cases in the industry to the customer’s business person in charge or business operator.


5. May lose customers to recover:


In the process of serving customers, customers will become inactive and start to churn. We know that retaining customers is a very important thing. So, how to save customers who may be lost? To restore lost customers, we first need to find the reason for the loss of customers.

I think there are several reasons for customer churn:

1. Insufficient product value.

2. Insufficient service value.

3. The guidance of the customer's use process is not clear.

4. When customers use the product, they need additional incentives to experience the complete production process, but the actual situation is that no additional incentives are imposed.

5. Unclear success criteria.

6. The customer decision-maker did not participate in the entire implementation process.

7. The product is complicated to use and over-relies on technical support.

8. Customer management changes.


After finding the cause of customer churn, you can then formulate solutions. Different causes of churn require different solutions.

1. If the product value is insufficient or the service value is insufficient, then the product value or service value must be polished first, and more MVP tests should be carried out.

2. If the guidance of the use process is not clear, then improve the guidance of the use process and conduct re-training.

3. If the customer needs additional incentives to experience the complete production process when using the product, but the actual situation is that no additional incentives are imposed, then perfect the customer's incentive system design.

4. If the customer's success criteria are not clear, then communicate with the other party's senior management again to re-establish the success criteria.

5. If the customer decision-maker did not participate in the entire process, then the senior executives of both parties should be introduced to arrange a meeting to guide the customer decision-maker to participate in the implementation process.

6. If it is a change of the customer’s management, further docking with the new management, in-depth communication, and reporting on the work situation.

Through the novice, growth period, and customer churn recovery period of the customer success department, the best results expected by the customer success department are as follows.


1. Customers have become more active, and product usage continues to rise.

2. Reached the success criteria established with the customer.

3. The customer relationship is well maintained.

The customer success department helps customers succeed. In addition to fulfilling the customer's contract, it also hopes to dig out more.


6. Customer lifetime value:


So, what value can be tapped in the customer life cycle?


Different business models and different charging models have different values ​​that can be tapped, but generally speaking, the values ​​that can be tapped are mainly as follows:


1. With more business data, the services provided to customers in the future will be more intelligent.

For example, when doing transactional SAAS software, after the transaction data generated by the software is sufficient, it will understand the C-end users better, and the services provided to customers in the future will be more intelligent, and it will also be a competitive advantage for its own business.

2. Provide derivative products or services in the future.

I heard that when their coverage of housing is enough, they will introduce e-commerce products and services for To C.

3. In the future, part of the profit can come from advertising;

For example, software like Graphite and Youdao Cloud, which are used by more customers, can also generate partial profits through advertising.

4. Purchase a more expensive version.

For example, the small program versions launched by some service providers that provide small programs may be divided into basic version, normal version, advanced version, super VIP version, etc. The price of each version is different, and the customer just started buying a low price. The price version, in the process of using, may realize the conversion of customers into buying more expensive versions.

5. Purchase other products or services to form cross-selling.

For example, an integrated service provider that provides software + hardware + services may first sell a piece of software to customers, and later the customer has the opportunity to sell hardware and services to customers during the process of using the software.

6. Value-added service charges.

For example, some SAAS software is free when customers use the basic version. If you need to use some unique functions in the software, you need to pay for it. This is the value-added service charge.

7. Get more performance commissions.

For example, a catering service provider provides the following e-commerce business agency operation services for catering companies:


(1) Full-channel e-commerce operations such as Taobao, social e-commerce, community e-commerce, 2B e-commerce platform, etc.


(2) Hema Fresh, Daily Fresh, Super Species and other new retail channels integrate online and offline operations.


(3) Planning, consulting, and plan formulation of retail e-commerce business development paths for catering companies.


(4) Content marketing and placement of retail e-commerce businesses of catering companies.


(5) User pool and community e-commerce operation.


(6) The delivery service is operated on an agency.


The charging method adopted for these agency operation services is: basic service fee + target performance commission.

8. Recommend

When the served customer is satisfied and helps the customer's business success, the customer will help recommend new customers to use the product or service.

9. Repurchase

When a customer purchases your company’s products or services for one year, and you help them succeed as a customer success manager, there is no doubt that the possibility of converting customers to repurchase your company’s business will greatly increase.


In the customer life cycle, the above 9 types of value that can be tapped are different for different businesses. You can map them one by one according to your business type.


Finally, I hope I could helping you understanding this Domain Business, and giving you some points to understand it.

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