There are few things worse than churn for your product or service, especially when you’re not entirely sure why customers are leaving.
You could be offering poor customer support experiences, or maybe you’re prioritizing product usage over proper onboarding. The list of possibilities is lengthy. In fact, 96% of your troubled customers may never complain or leave feedback for why they left.
But identifying and resolving your customers’ pain points is crucial for reducing churn rate. It’s the first big step for turning your customers into champions. Adding Customer Success Software to your tech mix is one of the best ways to tackle your churn problem, improve customer satisfaction, and create a customer-centric business culture.
What Is Customer Success Software?
Customer Success Software is a category of B2B business software that companies use to monitor, manage, and optimize their customer journeys. It includes features such as product usage analytics, customer health scores, onboarding tools, customer feedback and surveys, and support management.
Also referred to as Customer Success Platform (CSP) Software, these tools provide businesses with actionable insights to address customer needs before they become an issue, improve customer satisfaction, and ultimately reduce churn.
Adding CSP Software in a company’s tech stack is crucial for several reasons:
- It helps businesses understand their customers’ behaviors and needs better, which aids in personalizing the customer experience. This encourages loyalty and improves customer retention.
- By providing visibility into product usage, CSP Software helps businesses identify opportunities for upselling and cross-selling, increasing revenue potential. This is also referred to as expansion.
- It allows companies to automate various aspects of customer management, freeing up time and resources for CS teams.
How Does Customer Success Software Help Businesses?
It Reduces Churn
Let’s say your biggest customer’s product usage has dropped significantly for several weeks, if not months. This could be flagged as a churn risk by CSP Software.
Once this customer is identified, your CS team will be able to facilitate communication and support, addressing issues before they escalate to churn.
Related: Get access to our Churn Report Blueprint
It Improves Customer Satisfaction
With CSP Software, your team will be able to track customer behavior and feedback to give your business a deeper understanding of customer needs and pain points. This empowers your CS team to be proactive and supportive, leading to more satisfied customers.
You’ll also be able to automate and standardize your onboarding processes, which is critical in the early days when new customers join. In a survey by Retently, 23% of respondents said that poor onboarding was the leading cause of why they churned.
With CSP Software, you’ll be able to get your customers up to speed with the core functions of your product without missing a beat.
It Improves Your Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV)
Your business is at its best when your customers are growing with your product. Over time, CSP Software will help you identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities with these successful customers, which can improve your CLTV. This is the cherry on top of reduced churn rates.
It Encourages Referral Revenue
By improving satisfaction and building long-lasting relationships with your customers, they’ll be more likely to recommend your product or service to their networks.
Referrals are goldmines in B2B, where vying for a prospect’s attention is so difficult in today’s crowded SaaS market.
A Nielsen study found that 84% of consumers take action based on personal recommendations, and word-of-mouth impressions result in five times as many sales as a paid media impression. Businesses that have well-executed word-of-mouth strategies have seen their businesses grow exponentially.
Whether customers are posting about your product on LinkedIn or name-dropping you at their next networking event, happy customers will become your champions.
It Increases Employee Productivity
Everything we covered above ultimately leads to more productive and successful CS teams. Let’s break it down.
- CSP Software automates routine tasks such as onboarding, communication, and support management, freeing up time for Customer Success teams to focus on more strategic initiatives.
- It provides a centralized platform for tracking and managing customer data, saving time on data collection and analysis.
- By identifying issues early, CSP Software reduces the time and resources spent on handling escalated customer problems.
9 Essential Features of Customer Success Software
1. Customer Data Management
There’s tons of customer data housed in separate tools within your business, so how do you begin to make sense of it?
CSP Software serves as a unified platform that collects data from your CRM systems, product usage data, support tickets, and customer feedback. This centralization of data creates a complete view of each customer, making data easy to access and use.
After gathering data, CSP Software organizes that data into manageable segments based on customer behavior, product usage, satisfaction scores, and other categories.
Finally, the true value of CSP Software comes from being able to analyze this customer data to find trends and patterns so your CS team can take action. Examples range from predicting churn likeliness to identifying upsell and cross-sell opportunities. Think of this software as an expert co-pilot for your CS team.
2. Customer Health Monitoring and Alerts
The importance of activating and familiarizing new customers in your product cannot be understated. When customers feel confused, lost, and without support, their likelihood of churning goes up.
Fortunately, CSP Software continuously monitors customer health, calculates health scores, and triggers alerts based on predefined criteria. These alerts allow businesses to proactively address potential issues before customers lose hope.
Example: A SaaS company monitors its product usage among its clients. It receives an alert when a client’s usage drops significantly. The CS team quickly reaches out to the client, learns they’re struggling with a new feature, and provides the necessary support.
3. Onboarding and Adoption Tools
CSP Software will give your team access to tools that streamline and automate the onboarding process, ensuring customers can quickly and easily start using your product with confidence.
Example: A new customer signs up for a paid plan. Your CSP Software automatically sends an onboarding checklist and access to training materials, such as videos and templates. The customer can also schedule a call with your CS team to answer any questions they may have.
4. Task and Workflow Automation
Many routine tasks, such as customer communication, ticket management, data collection, and reporting can be automated with CSP Software. This reduces manual effort and potential human errors, freeing up more time for your CS team to focus on strategic initiatives and big swings.
Example: A financial services company automates their client reporting processes using CSP Software. This saves their team several hours per week, which they can now devote to relationship-building with their clients. They’re one step closer to building champions for their business.
5. Customer Communication and Engagement
Your team will be able to provide more personalized and consistent communication with customers at scale using CSP Software.
Regular check-ins, updates, and responsive support will lead to increased customer satisfaction and engagement. CSP Software also provides a platform for tracking all customer interactions, ensuring nothing falls through the cracks. This is music to the ears of CSMs everywhere.
Example: A health and wellness app uses CSP Software to track user activity and send personalized messages to users based on their progress. Regular check-ins, tips, and content that celebrates health milestones make users feel supported and appreciated. They may even give the app a shout out on social media.
6. Analytics and Reporting
With so much customer data flowing through your business every day, you need a solution that not only organizes it, but analyzes it as well. This is where CSP Software thrives.
You’ll get access to robust analytics capabilities to measure and track all your Customer Success metrics. CSP Software can generate customizable reports, providing insights into customer satisfaction, retention, and revenue. All of this allows your business to make data-driven decisions with full confidence.
Example: A digital marketing agency uses CSP Software to track and report on their clients’ campaign performance. This helps the agency to identify which strategies are working and adjust those that are not, improving client satisfaction and retention.
7. Renewals and Upsell Management (Expansion)
CSP Software monitors customer usage and satisfaction data to identify potential upselling or cross-selling opportunities. It can also automate much of the renewal process for your CSMs and Account Executives, ensuring timely contract renewals and minimizing revenue leakage. This gives added peace of mind for your CS leaders, revenue team, and CEO.
Example: A cloud storage provider receives triggered alerts when customers approach their storage limit. An automated message is then sent that offers an upsell opportunity to increase their storage capacity. This provider will also be able to track the success of this campaign and test its messaging along the way, such as offering a limited-time deal to apply to the upsell.
8. Customer Feedback and Surveys
Collecting, analyzing, and acting on customer feedback is one of the core features of CSP Software. With this tool, your team will be able to seamlessly run surveys to gather customer thoughts and sentiment, and then use this data to improve your product or customer experience.
This is also a great way to build the foundation of a customer feedback loop in your organization. Imagine being able to automate how you distribute customer insights through several teams, such as product, sales, and marketing.
9. Robust Integrations and Data Syncs
You’ll want a CSP Software that plays well with all your data sources, such as your CRM, marketing automation, and support ticket systems.
Fortunately, a CS platform like Vitally syncs customer data from tools across your tech stack in a matter of minutes — all without tapping in engineering, operations, or IT for assistance. This ensures seamless data flow and synchronization every step of the way, giving you a more unified view of your customers.
Who Benefits From Customer Success Software?
Data-Driven Insights: Feel more confident in your decision-making with insights gained from unifying your customer data, such as analyzing customer health scores and product usage patterns.
Proactive Strategy: Manage your customer health more proactively, which helps identify potential customer issues through automated alerts.
Efficiency: You’ll be able to automate busywork and routine tasks, allowing your teams to focus on more strategic Customer Success initiatives.
Scalability: As your customer base grows, CSP Software provides a scalable solution for managing Customer Success without hiccups.
Performance Monitoring: Always be in the know by monitoring your team’s performance metrics to help improve efficiency and effectiveness.
Productivity: Automation of manual tasks such as reporting, data collection, and ticket management boosts team-wide productivity.
Customer Engagement: CSP Software provides the necessary tools for personalized and consistent communication with customers.
Risk Mitigation: Real-time alerts allow for swift intervention when a customer’s health score declines or product usage drops.
Growth Opportunities: Analytics tools help to identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities, enabling CSMs to expand customer relationships.
Process Standardization: By standardizing processes across your CS function, you’ll be able to create more consistent customer experiences at every touch point.
Integrations: Your CSP Software connects with other tools used by your team (CRM, helpdesk, etc.) to provide a seamless workflow.
Data Management: Consolidate and organize your customer data in a centralized platform and make it easy to access and analyze.
Reporting: Automated generation of customizable reports makes it easier to measure performance, identify trends, and inform your overall Customer Success strategy.
Customer Insights: Detailed customer data and health scores help account managers understand their customers better and tailor their approach.
Renewals and Expansion: Tools for managing renewals and identifying upsell/cross-sell opportunities help account managers grow their accounts and hit their quarterly goals.
Streamlined Communication: Facilitate regular, personalized customer interactions throughout your business and start building long-lasting relationships.
Revenue Growth: By reducing churn and identifying upsell/cross-sell opportunities, CSP Software plays a key role in revenue growth and meeting financial targets.
Data-Driven Decisions: High-level analytics and reports on Customer Success metrics support strategic decision-making at the executive level.
Customer-Centric Culture: Pull back the curtain on how satisfied your customers actually are with your product. This is a great way to encourage a more customer-centric culture across the business.
Risk Management: Real-time monitoring and alerts can help identify and address issues before they affect the bottom line.
How to Choose the Right Customer Success Software
Consider Your Budget
“How much is this going to cost? Is it in our budget?” are often some of the first questions you’ll be asked when assessing a new SaaS tool. Looking for a CSP Software solution is no different, so here are our recommendations:
- Assess the total cost of ownership of the software, including initial price, ongoing fees, and costs for implementation and training.
- Factor in additional expenses for integrations with other software or platforms.
- Consider the scalability of the solution — can it grow with your business without dramatically increasing costs?
Customer Success Software is an investment, and the right solution can offer a significant return by increasing customer retention, satisfaction, and contributing to revenue growth. Balance the cost against the potential return, and consider the scalability of the solution you choose as your business grows.
Evaluate Your Needs
Before you can choose the right CSP Software, you need to understand what you're looking for. What pain points are you trying to address and what specific features are essential for your business?
- Identify and prioritize the key features your business requires (e.g., customer health scoring, onboarding tools, integrations, reporting capabilities).
- Assess the need for customizability — can the software be tailored to fit your specific processes and workflows?
- Consider the size and complexity of your customer base and how this could impact your requirements.
For instance, you might require strong integration capabilities if you're using a specific CRM. If a CSP Software isn’t compatible with that CRM, this may immediately disqualify it from being considered. So, define your needs and prioritize them before you start looking at different solutions.
Evaluate Your Demo
Alright, so you’ve found a few solutions you’re interested in, now it’s time for the demo call. A demo gives you a peek under the hood and is a great way to assess how well CSP software fits in your business. Here are some things you should look out for:
- Pay close attention to the user interface and functionality. Is the platform intuitive and user-friendly? Would your team be able to learn it quickly?
- Is there an interactive product tour or sandbox you can demo yourself and pass on to your team to test?
- Assess the software against your prioritized list of essential features and needs. For example, are you seeing any contrasting features from what was listed on the website versus what you’re seeing in the product?
- Don’t hesitate to ask the tough questions and see how your software rep addresses any doubts or concerns you may have. This could set the stage for the type of relationship and support you’d experience if choosing the solution.
You can validate how you felt during and after your demo call by reading real customer reviews.
Look for reviews from businesses similar to yours in terms of size and industry. Consider both positive and negative reviews, and pay attention to how the provider responds to feedback.
Online platforms like G2 or Capterra can be great resources for sifting through customer reviews, given their volume and filtering capabilities. They also feature video reviews if you’re looking to hear directly from the customer.
Lastly, are there any rewards or badges worth calling out that the software provider earned? For example, Vitally was rated best estimated ROI, highest user adoption, and most implementable solution. These could help give you an idea where a CSP provider fits within the industry as well as their reputation amongst customers.
CSP Success Stories
PartnerStack Harnesses Actionable Insights from Customer Data Using Vitally
PartnerStack is a Partner Relationship Management (PRM) platform that helps businesses build, manage, and grow their partner programs. The platform provides a suite of tools that allow businesses to track, manage, and optimize their partner relationships.
Working with an abundance of partners who all have unique flows of communication created a ton of noise for PartnerStack. They needed to centralize this communication, analyze it, and take action. This would allow PartnerStack to improve their customer communications and assist in contract renewals — that’s when they found Vitally.
Star Hofer, Former Chief Customer Officer at PartnerStack, called out a few specific reasons why Vitally has been a game-changer for their business:
- The dashboards provide a wealth of insights on all your customer data and are easy to find in the product — literally just one click away.
- PartnerStack’s CSMs are active every day in the product. It’s been a tool that is widely adopted throughout the team.
- CSM productivity has increased since adding Vitally to their tech stack, making their work more efficient.
Star and her team have had such a great experience with Vitally that she’s recommended the tool several times to other colleagues.
Take The Next Step With Customer Success Software
Whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise, the benefits of having a CSP Software on your side are clear.
By centralizing data, streamlining workflows, and delivering key insights about your customers, CSP Software can significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your Customer Success organization.
Being able to scale your CS strategy through the automation of routine tasks will give your team back hours per week to focus on initiatives that drive satisfaction and loyalty to your brand.
If you’re ready to tackle churn head on and improve your end-to-end customer experience, CSP Software may be the solution you’re looking for.
Still trying to figure out how CSP Software fits in your business? We put together a CSP Buyer’s Guide that’ll help you discover:
- Key questions to ask vendors throughout the buying process
- How to determine your readiness for Customer Success Platform
- What to evaluate in a Customer Success Platform
- How to choose the right Customer Success Platform for your organization
- Ways to get stakeholder buy-in on your platform selection
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What types of businesses benefit most from Customer Success Software?
B2B companies operating on a subscription or recurring revenue model, such as SaaS companies and subscription-based e-commerce businesses, benefit most from Customer Success Software. It’s also beneficial for growing businesses with complex products or services.
Can small businesses afford Customer Success Software?
Yes, many providers offer tiered pricing suitable for various budgets. The benefits of improved customer retention and efficiency often outweigh the costs, making it a valuable investment for small businesses.
What's the difference between CRM and Customer Success Software?
CRM software manages a company’s interactions with potential and current customers, focusing on sales processes. In contrast, CSP Software ensures customers achieve their desired outcomes with your product or service, driving satisfaction and retention. They serve different, but complementary purposes in the customer journey. (For more on this topic, download our Customer Success Leader’s Guide to CRMs, PLG CRMs, and CSPs.)