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Why Customer Service Can’t Produce Saas Customer Success

Customer success isn’t the same as customer service. While the overarching goal of both is to create happy customers, the two are vastly different in how they carry out that objective. Both are necessary for software adoption and utilization, but one is not a substitute for the other.
February 7, 2023

Customer success isn’t the same as customer service. While the overarching goal of both is to create happy customers, the two are vastly different in how they carry out that objective. Both are necessary for software adoption and utilization, but one is not a substitute for the other. Let’s look at how these two facets of customer satisfaction differ.

Why Customer Service Can’t Produce Saas Customer Success

(Karolina Grabowska / pexels)

An almost real-world scenario

To illustrate the importance of both customer service and customer success, let’s examine a common sequence of events.

You purchase new company software from TechStore. You install it onto your office computers and begin trying to use it. The manual explains the features well enough, but you’re still unsure how to utilize specific features to meet company objectives.

After many days of tinkering with the software, consulting the manual, and gleaning no new ‘aha’ moments, you stop using it altogether. You definitely don’t give it a glowing review and feel defeated.

A customer service approach

Frustrated, you finally decide to contact TechStore’s customer service department. You tell them about your problem. They immediately get to work helping you troubleshoot issues and find solutions. Satisfied with their assistance, you implement their suggestions but you and your CS team run into more questions.

How did the experience with customer service go? It went well. They were friendly and helpful and made you feel confident during the interaction.

How was your experience with the product? Eh, still pretty dismal. You were never fully able to onboard the software and will likely abandon it.

This scenario showcases what customer service is and its limitations when it comes to software. Customer service waits for the customer to come to them with a problem. They react to and fix immediate needs as they arise. Additionally, they help educate consumers on how the product works. Their goal is to provide quality service and fast resolution times.

A customer success approach

Let’s take the same scenario and look at it through the lens of customer success. Using their tech-savvy customer success software, TechStore’s customer success team sees that your company recently purchased their product but haven’t used it in a while. They are also aware of some common pain points for a company like yours, so they send you an email with the most relevant training material.

They notice that you have opened the training material but still haven’t used the software after a few days, they reach out to you with a phone call to learn more about what you’re hoping to achieve with it. They discover that you need it to do a particular task that is not currently possible with the software. But in a few weeks, you receive an email letting you know about a new feature update. What do you know? The software now contains just what you need!

They call you after a few days or weeks to see how you are doing and ask your opinion on the new feature. You’re using it and couldn’t be happier. They tell you that if you like this, you’ll definitely like this other Feature that’s just a few dollars more. They explain all you’ll be able to achieve with the new Feature. You’re impressed, and sign up right away. You’re so pleased with the product and service that you leave a raving review and mention it to others with similar needs.

The benefits of a proactive approach

Customer success centers on promoting and improving client relationships. Customer success managers (CSMs) work to detect and remove system-wide issues for easier, across-the-board implementation.

They prevent problems to make it easier for the customer to master their program and achieve company goals. They encourage users to utilize different features, maximizing product value. As a result, customers become loyal users and buyers, signing up for expanded services.

The focus of customer success is on long-term client needs, not short-term issues concerning glitches or confusion. CSMs collaborate with other parts of their organization to produce a 360-degree view of the target customers. As a result of this holistic knowledge, the entire SaaS company benefits.

Measuring customer success relies on metrics such as Customer Lifetime Value (LTV), retention rates, and expansion rates. These numbers impact the company's success as a whole.

Customer success tools

Lucrative customer success requires its own specialists and tools. SaaS companies benefit from ways to easily segment customers according to their needs, map out their journeys, reach thousands in the most fitting ways (i.e., emails, one-on-one sessions, ongoing discussions), and much more. Excellent customer service is no substitute for customer success, and harnessing the power of customer success could mean the difference between your business’s boom or bust. Go from reactive customer service to proactive customer success. There are many customer success software services like Catalyst to help your CS team.





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