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Crucial Customer Success Platform Factors You Should NEVER Skip

Customer Success Platforms come in all shapes and sizes. How can you identify crucial features over bells and whistles?
Patrick Icasas
August 3, 2021
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What do you need in a Customer Success Platform? 

Imagine a business where every piece of operations was held in a different building (for this case, let’s also pretend that remote work doesn’t exist). At Widgets Limited, you need to go to one building to place an order, another to process the order, a third to pick up the item, and a fourth to prepare it for shipping. Every building has its own way of doing things, and inevitably, details get lost along the way. The owner of Widgets Limited is upset because he’s losing money, both from renting all of these buildings and from the costly mistakes his workers are making. 

(In his workers’ defense, they’re up against a lot.)

The same challenges can exist when you don’t have an effective Customer Success Platform, or CSP. Choosing a Customer Success Platform can prove challenging if you’re doing it from scratch. There are many different CSPs available on the market, each offering slightly different capabilities and emphasizing different features. While there are commonalities between tools, you’ll find that some CSPs are more effective at solving actual customer needs than others. Unfortunately, despite your best efforts at uncovering these problems early on, it can be difficult to weed out ineffective platforms during the review process. 

Your Customer Success team needs a purpose-built tool that’s designed for adoption, retention, and expansion. The platform you use should directly address your customers’ unique needs and pain points. Here are the things to look for to weed out the great from the...not so great. 

The ideal CSP will offer the following: 

Workflow Efficiency 

What does it look like right now when your Customer Success Managers are working with customers? Is the documentation all in one place, or do they have to log in and switch between multiple applications because you’re working with half measures

Every time you have to go to a new platform to input information, you increase the risk of erroneous data and you waste precious time. Without a Customer Success platform, your CSMs will be frantically managing customers through multiple applications. Worse yet, they can’t control or have ownership over the platforms they’re using. 

Get a CSP that allows you to work with all of your data from a centralized location. The less time you have to spend outside of it, the better. If there are tools you don’t want to leave behind, keep in consideration the integrations available in the CSPs you’re reviewing. 

Automation of Repetitive Actions 

Remember that episode of The Simpsons where Homer uses a drinking bird toy to press one button over and over again? There’s nothing worse than being bogged down with repetitive tasks that feel like a computer, or a bobbing bird, could do them. A good CSP will leave that kind of work to automations. 

CS leaders should be striving to free up their team so that they can spend more time on strategic conversations and opportunities for growth with current customers. Some repetitive actions are necessary to keep work going. However, they are time-consuming for your team. Ideally, you would find a platform that automates actions such as:

  • Updating Salesforce fields via notes
  • Logging calls 
  • Logging meetings
  • Assigning tasks at key times 
  • Sending targeted outreach emails

Data access 

Thinking back to our friends at Widgets Limited, you can see the trouble that comes from limited data access. If your Customer Success team is oscillating between platforms instead of working in a centralized tool, this means your customer data is siloed in systems that may not speak to each other. Between the first building and the last one at Widgets Limited, you can lose key pieces of data. 

A single set of organized data in a CSP allows your team to view, query, and generate cohesive reports with ease. You’ll also cut down on repetitive data entry and errors. Plus, with more data in the same place, you are empowering your CS team to make connections in pieces they may have missed before. 

Decisioning 

When you have a book with tons of customers, it can be hard to know where to focus. It’s even harder when your CS team is moving between tools. Your time and attention may be focused on customers who scream the loudest, but do you know with certainty that these are the customers that should be receiving the most of your resources? Perhaps more time should be dedicated elsewhere. 

The only way to know for sure is by having a Customer Success Platform that can help you find the signal in the noise. A great tool should be able to help you identify risks and upsell opportunities with features like scoring and automated alerts. 

Proactive vs. Reactive Motions 

The unfortunate folks at Widgets Limited didn’t have the benefit of knowing where to focus. Everyone was working with a different system, and data and insights were hard to come by. It’s the same sad scenario you get when you operate without a Customer Success Platform. 

Both CSLs and CSMs get caught in a cycle of reactive behaviors and firefighting when they aren’t given early indicators of risk that can help drive more proactive motions. Without strong data or workflows consolidated in a CSP, Customer Success leaders can also have difficulty forecasting headcount or workload balancing. 

Don’t get yourself in a never-ending race to fight churn when a customer has already decided to leave. Instead, you should be focused on early lifecycle adoption, and stopping those churn risks before they pass the point of no return. A strong CSP enables lifecycle management and helps you be mindful of the milestones your customers are passing without any manual work on your end. You should also be able to identify negative feedback quickly and adjust accordingly.

Cross-Functional Visibility 

CS teams are often pulled in multiple directions. Every team in the org needs something from them, but when they’re drowning while trying to keep afloat customers and internal asks simultaneously, it takes time away from the more valuable tasks of driving adoption and retention for your book of customers. Help your CS team manage the load by using a CSP that helps manage all requests and allows others internally to see tasks on the horizon. 

We hope this list of considerations provides helpful guidance for evaluating a Customer Success Platform that’s right for you. The last thing you want to do is leave this choice up to chance.

If you’re looking for a platform that can help you focus on the right tasks at the right time, streamline data, and prioritize customers when they need you the most, maybe it’s time to request a demo.

Better relationships. Less churn.

What’s not to love? Try Catalyst today.
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