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December 31, 2021

When it comes to customer success, non-SaaS businesses often have a harder time than their SaaS counterparts. Why? Because achieving and maintaining success is more complex for them. There are more moving parts, which means there’s more room for error. Here’s what you need to know about non-SaaS customer success and how to make it work for your business.

I should know. I used to work in customer success for a non-SaaS company. And while it was challenging at times, it was also incredibly rewarding. I learned a lot about what it takes to succeed in this role – and how important attention to detail can be. If you’re thinking of pursuing a career in customer success or if you’re already working in this field but struggling to achieve results, here are some things you need to know:

Non-SaaS Customer Success: Providing Value to Customers

Non-SaaS customer success is the practice of providing value to customers who have purchased a non-subscription product or service. This can be accomplished through various means, such as customer support, training, and education.

The goal of customer success in non-SaaS businesses is to ensure that customers can get the most out of their purchases and prevent them from churning.

Customer Success Meaning

Customer success is a new approach to managing customer relationships. It is commonly used by technology companies that develop products to solve their customers’ needs.

Customers need to be able to use these products and services. It can be summed up in a simple way: if customers are unable to use your product, it could lead to dissatisfaction and even loss of trust in your company. While some customers may complain, most will look for a replacement product at your competitors’ businesses.

Customer success is about customer relationship management and achieving mutually beneficial results. A customer success strategy can reduce dropout rates and increase your return on sales. This strategy ensures customers achieve the desired results with a product or service.

Customer success is key to brand loyalty and business growth. Customer success software is a powerful assistant key to managing the customer success process efficiently and systematically. Customer success is becoming a keyword in B2B. It is becoming a key factor in all areas of the business. It can distinguish between a stagnant company and one that experiences steady growth.

Every business that wants to succeed must be customer-centric. Tech companies that offer scaled, one-stop services are increasingly concerned about keeping customers happy and engaged with their products. The success of the customer, which is measured by the service’s quality, is what determines the satisfaction and happiness of customers. Companies need customer success software to ensure that they can effectively manage customer success.

What is the difference between Customer Service and customer success?

Customer Success can be described as a business that “actively approaches” customers. On the other hand, Customer Service is a response to customers’ requests.

Customers often send emails or calls to request support when they have problems. Customer service departments often handle these cases, which focus on each case and offer solutions immediately.

Customer Success, however, pointed out the problem and suggested a solution by gathering as much customer data as possible. Customer Success also outlines a strategy to help businesses understand their customers and their life cycle to improve. The Customer Success team must be focused on customers and understand how to make customers successful, not just their business success.

What is the difference between customer success and customer experience?

Customer Success, as mentioned above, provides companies with a better understanding of customer experience and how customers use products/services. The customer experience, on the other hand, focuses on how to make customers’ journeys more enjoyable.

What is the difference between Customer Success and Customer Support?

Customer support is reactionary, while customer success is proactive. Customer support is Transactional, while customer success has no end.

The quality of customer support is measured by the speed and accuracy of responses to issues, and the customer success of a business is impacted by retaining its customers.

Why Customer Success should be a priority for your company, even if you are not a SaaS company.

Customer experience will be the brand’s key differentiator by 2020. It will surpass product and price. Your future development will depend on your ability to care about your customers’ success. This is the core of Customer Success.

From Tim Sanders

Customer Success is originally a term rooted in the SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) world, and people with “Customer Success” in their job title haven’t been around for very long. When I mention Customer Success in my work title, the response I get from my family, friends, and acquaintances is often “Uhhm, so what do I do?”

It is difficult to answer this question concisely and easily. I have spent the last year trying to find a simple explanation that was both clear and understandable. This blog post summarizes my thoughts and reflections about what it means and why it is so important, even if you don’t work for a traditional SaaS organization like Norse, which I work for. Enjoy!

Customer Success: The Major Focus For Industries 

Customer success is integral to the success and growth of any software as a service (SaaS) business. From an individual to an entire team, having someone dedicated to ensuring your customers are successful with your product should be a priority.

Retaining customers is more reliable than acquiring new ones.

Retention is 5–20 times cheaper than acquisition and has a 60–70% success rate compared to 5–20% for acquiring new customers.

Customer success is tasked with taking the relationship further after the deal is closed. While marketing and sales will rely on the existing subscriber base for their purposes, the customer’s success team is responsible for continuing the relationship.

This involves supporting users to help them realize long-term value from the platform and, often, managing renewals.

Because of this, they are a significant driver of Net Recurring Revenue (NRR) — an often overlooked but crucial metric that directly contributes to a business’s ability to scale.

It’s not just about providing customer support after a customer has purchased something. More and more companies realize the benefits of having customer success teams involved in pre-sales and post-purchase follow-ups.

Customer Success deeply understands several areas, including product, sales, marketing, and customer service.

They know your subscribers.

Your existing customer base is your best resource for customer success and satisfaction. They are always happy to assist customers with troubleshooting, training, and support.

They utilize your subscriber data and analytics to understand better what works best for your recipients, what doesn’t, and what can be done better.

Customer Success teams provide companies with invaluable feedback that can improve marketing and sales initiatives. By understanding which tactics work and don’t, you can more effectively turn leads into paying customers.

Customer success is incredibly important to the success of software as a service (SaaS) company. You can better target and qualify potential customers by sharing insights from your CS team with your sales team.

They know your platform.

Your Customer Success Team is ideally placed to help you get the most out of your product. They understand the ins and outs of the platform and the know-how to get the most out of it. By working with your development team, they can make sure your product is as successful as possible.

The leading use of this information is to help paid members transition from new users to advanced members.

Customer Success Teams partner with Product and Engineering to optimize their platforms. By analyzing data and hearing feedback from customers, they can ensure that the user experience is optimal.

Your Customer Success team knows a lot about how your software is used. By working with Product and Engineering, they can help improve your software platform.

The Customer Success Team plays an important role in optimizing our solution, which makes our offering more attractive to our current customers and helps us acquire new customers.

If you have data that suggests a change to your offering would appeal to previous non-subscribers, reach out again to those contacts. This may be the nudge they need to sign up and become customers.

They know your company.

Customer Success teams play a vital role in ensuring that a SaaS company achieves its objectives. This is achieved by helping to drive renewal rates, support new customer growth, and aid other internal teams in developing the software platform. This, in turn, helps the business achieve its goals, such as MRR, NRR, and reduced churn. It also helps with the company’s scaling, making it more feasible for it to expand.

With cloud-based software, you can support your MRR and NRR, reducing churn and downtime.

Other departments may contribute, but customer success is in the best position to impact a SaaS business because they directly influence the largest source of revenue: existing customers. The customer team can leverage their customer base and platform knowledge to increase revenue through up-selling, cross-selling, and upgrading.

SaaS providers add value to their subscribers by leveraging their knowledge of the platform and the subscriber base to drive more revenue. This is done through up-sells, cross-sells, upgrades, and other means.

How To Implement Customer Success In A Non-SaaS Business

Two mottos are often the best and most efficient ways to implement something new:’start with starting’ and “fail fast, learn.” These guidelines will help you avoid ‘paralysis through analysis’ and encourage everyone to quickly ‘learn’ from their mistakes. 

Starting your customer success journey can be scary, but it’s worth it. Although the path won’t be easy, it will often take you down some unexpected paths. Just remember that the road to success is seldom a straight line.

Non-SaaS businesses have different needs than those that are born in the cloud. This can lead to additional complications. The need for thought leadership on CS best practices, which may or not be available within the company’s internal resources, or the urgency to get a CS practice up and running to meet market demand.

It is a great place to meet these needs, especially since the hardest part is usually setting up a foundation.

Most likely, you’ve heard Customer Success was born from the subscription economy and the new market needs of subscribers. This is 100% true. This means that CS is primarily referred to with some degree of connection to SaaS.

Just because customer service is specific to software as a service business doesn’t mean it isn’t relevant to other industries. I challenge anyone to think of an industry that doesn’t involve helping customers.

There are countless examples of companies using customer success, from automotive body shops to yoga and gym studios, retail shops, manufacturing, professional service firms, hardware stores, and more.

Non-SaaS companies are jumping on board the Customer Success train to meet consumer demand and meet their customers’ expectations. It will benefit not only your customers but also your business. CS can be used in both SaaS and ‘traditional” business models. It will improve customer loyalty, save money, grow revenue, and increase your customer acquisition strategy.

While you may not realize it, you are already doing many things that make up a customer success program. Perhaps you’re even closer to achieving your goals than you think. We can help guide you through the process of implementing customer success in a non-SaaS business.

Understand your company’s customer success maturity

To plan effectively where you want to go, you must first understand where you are. This is especially important when implementing something new, such as a Customer Success practice within a non-SaaS company.

We know that activity is not always a sign of progress. Having a benchmark to base your efforts on can help you ensure that you focus your energy and time in the right areas to progress in your maturation journey.

Executive buy-in can be achieved by understanding your current state. Executive leaders are still learning the full scope of Customer Success. A visual representation highlighting areas of strength or opportunity can help them gain further understanding.

Align your maturity progress with your activities

Once you clearly understand your CS Maturity, it is possible to create and implement a plan that will help you move forward. Those areas where you are particularly weak are a good place to start. However, regardless of where you start, ensure that you have a clear roadmap accessible to all parties.

To build a solid foundation, we recommend you identify your objectives and key outcomes. We also recommend leveraging strategies like pilots or Minimum Viable Product (MVP), which will help you efficiently and effectively. You should identify the most important metrics to you and ensure you can accurately measure them over time.

Your industry, business model, and data access will impact the metrics you measure. However, these lists of non-SaaS companies from Gainsight or Teamgate are a good place for you to start. Remember that metrics don’t change overnight. It may take months for you to notice changes in your leading indicators. Lagging indicators might take up to a year.

Find the right partners.

As we mentioned, it can be very difficult, especially for non-SaaS companies, to create a CS practice entirely from scratch. There are many resources available to help.

These could be internal resources from other departments within your company who are customer-facing, know your customers best (such as sales, marketing, or support), industry experts, and CS tools. Education and training are also available for your new and expanding CS team.

Begin by identifying the closest partners to your goals and priorities. Then, lean on them for the support you need.

Keep Going

There will be bumps in the road, but don’t lose heart. Remember Lincoln Murphy’s quote, “I wouldn’t be surprised if someday we’re not talking about Customer Success separately within a company, but as part of how you do business.”

Try, iterate, measure, repeat. Keep fighting!

Conclusion

The goal of non-SaaS customer success is to ensure that customers can get the most out of their purchases and prevent them from churning. If you’re looking to implement customer success in a non-SaaS company, remember that it’s important to align your maturity with your activities and never give up! By doing so, you’ll be well on your way to success for your business.

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