Most of the time, when we sign up for an app, we assume that the entire onboarding experience from the welcome email to notifications are automated and customer service only gets involved if there’s a problem.
But that’s not the case — at least not for well-designed apps and startups with great customer success programs.
From the moment you sign up with an app, there are live human beings tracking your progress from novice to expert user and doing everything they can to help you succeed and make sure you stick with the app.
These human beings are known as customer success managers.
What does customer success do?
The goal of a customer success manager is to get you to that “Ah-HA” moment where you realize that their app is exactly what you’ve been looking for and you can’t imagine running your life or your business without it.
How does client success management do it? By taking the time to get to know you and your goals.
Stefanie Jenkins, our Client Success Manager for Reply, gave us some insights as to how she’s taken Reply users from “What’s this?” to “Ah-HA!” and how you can do the same for your prospects and customers.
— Tell me a little about your background: what led you to become a Customer Success Manager for Reply?
— For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a job where I worked with customers; I’ve held positions in retail, hospitality, and sales.
Regardless of the industry, one of the biggest things I learned along the way was the importance of seeing things through the lens of the customer; I apply this filter to everything I do.
While I had never worked in the Saas sector before Reply, this position appealed to me because the goal for customers is always the same regardless of the industry — ensuring that our clients are successful is critical.
When I first came onboard with Reply, I was essentially a new user to the platform. While I was learning how to navigate the platform, it gave me an interesting perspective; I felt like I was learning alongside our new users which really helped me to use that customer centric filter.
— How do you define Customer Success?
— What is client success for me? I define customer success as not just the end goal, but rather the complete journey.
Naturally, if we can help a client increase sales or appointments, that’s a win.
But, if their journey (starting with a trial subscription) is seamless and pain-free — that’s even better!
— What do you think the ultimate Desired Outcome is for Reply users?
— The desired outcomes – the customer success goals – for our users vary so much because our clients are using Reply for so many different things.
For example, some clients are looking for high reply rates and appointments while others are not so concerned with reply rates but more so with driving traffic to their websites/blog posts; for those clients, having a high click rate is the goal.
When the Client Success team knows what their specific goals are, we can help create and tailor campaigns to help them achieve those goals and get their specific “client successes”.
— What are you doing to help them achieve that Desired Outcome?
— Like I mentioned, knowing what a client’s goals are is key to helping on their journey. One of the best parts of my job is the initial onboarding call with clients.
While this call usually incorporates a quick walk-through of the platform, it is also an opportunity for me to get some background information on the client and their business, find out what their goals are — from there, we are able to implement a strategy, discuss best practices, and help them to continue on their journey.
Whether it’s a phone call or a Skype call, this is one of the best parts of my job; building genuine relationships is so important.
Yes, we’ll talk about campaigns and account related stuff but we’ll also talk about our upcoming travel plans, new jobs, and why it’s so cold right now (I’m located in Toronto so I’ll fully admit to being a little bit jealous when I talk to a client in Barcelona)!
— What does the ideal customer journey look like at Reply?
— The ideal customer journey is seamless.
From the minute a customer signs up (whether it is a trial or paid subscription), they should be able to easily create a campaign. For this to happen, we need to ensure that we are providing the resources (whether it be video tutorials or chat support) to make that happen.
Once they create the campaign, they should be able to ‘set it and forget it’ — knowing that their campaigns are going to the right people at the right time while reducing the time they spend on their outbound process.
And, of course, seeing a return on that investment is the icing on the cake!
— How are you involved in the onboarding process?
— My journey with our clients begins the minute they subscribe to Reply.
Since my goal for our subscribers is to ensure they have successful campaigns, my involvement includes demos, campaign reviews, and monthly audits of campaign analytics.
I often provide best practices to our subscribers so they can get the most out of their campaigns.
— How does technology enable your Customer Success strategy?
— Technology allows me to be in touch with our clients, regardless of time or location.
We can easily hop on Skype and share screens to learn and identify potential hurdles that may arise.
Most importantly, I want my clients to know that I am their point of contact if they need anything; we can email, phone, hop on Skype — the fact that we have so many tools to communicate, whether it’s local or international, is great.
— What are the biggest things you do to prevent churn/customer loss?
— Monitoring campaign success is an important facet of my job — if a client is not achieving the results they want, they won’t see the value in our platform.
To help them achieve those results, I monitor how their campaigns are doing — reply rates, open rates, click rates and provide feedback so campaigns can be improved.
I check in with our clients on a regular basis to see how they are doing and if they need any help navigating our new features.
Since our Success, Support, and Development teams work so closely together, any feedback from our users (that can help improve their experience using the app) is passed along to the team.
I have passed feature requests to Support and our developers and updates have been added in less than 24 hours — it can be that quick!
— Tell me about a situation that almost lost you a customer, but you were able to save it.
— I had a client who, let’s say, wasn’t very “tech savvy” — prior to subscribing, they had received a demo and had multiple calls with myself after subscribing.
During these calls, we had built a great relationship.
I received an email where the client expressed that they wanted to cancel their account; since I had spoken to her many times, I sensed a bit of frustration in her tone (I know, it was an email but I like to think I’m good at picking up on these things — maybe I’m psychic).
Knowing that she was new to a platform such as Reply, I decided to investigate; I logged into her account trying to find out where her frustrations were coming from.
Sure enough, I found the cause of her frustration.
We were able to chat and correct the issue she was experiencing; it was a ‘win’ for both of us — she learned something new and we continue to have the great relationship that we created when she signed up a few months ago.
— What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a Customer Success Manager?
— The biggest thing I’ve learned as a Client Success Manager is that every user is different (goals, user experience), hence, every day is different.
Being able to adapt and see things as a customer is critical.
If I receive an email from a client who needs help with their campaign, I usually respond within a couple of minutes — I know what it’s like to be working on a project, run into a hurdle, and need to get over that hurdle to finish the project.