Steps to Building The Ultimate Customer Success Team

by Chris Arringdale Customer Experience, Customer Success, Team Empowerment

Customers increasingly look to companies for support, information, and guidance on their products and services. It’s imperative that your company builds a resourceful and valuable customer success team to give your customers the experience they’re looking for. A company does not succeed unless your customer does. Engaged customers tend to buy more, spread more information about your company through word of mouth, and are generally more satisfied and loyal to your brand. 96% of marketers agree that customer engagement drives overall business performance. We’ve put together a step-by-step process to help kick off the ultimate customer success team that prioritizes customer satisfaction above all else.

Laying the Foundation

Customer success means proactively working with the client to make sure they’re prepared and satisfied from the start of your relationship until they reach their desired outcome. Making customer success your number one priority will trigger a number of positive outcomes, including an increase in the loyalty and commitment of your current customers.

So, where do you start? Whether you have a team of one or five, this step is for building out and creating those key processes for your team to use and for future team members to work off of. Once you’ve built them out, it’s important to figure out which ones are working, what you could improve on, or what you can completely scratch from your customer success process. You are responsible for ensuring your customer success team is up-to-date and their processes are too.

How can you start identifying which processes and strategies are good and which ones should be sent to the graveyard? Our experts put together a quick hit list that your team can start to do immediately:

  • Evaluate: Have your team take some time to evaluate, monitor, and keep track of their daily processes, strategy, and overall training.
  • Document: When you have your team document and evaluate their strategies, processes, and daily work, it will help you filter through what will get nixed, upgraded, and eventually delegated out amongst your success team.
  • Fill The Gaps: If you follow the first two tips, the gaps in your strategies will show up and you’ll want to take note. Finding and filling the gaps in your processes will help your current and future customer success teams succeed.

Growth Phase

Your growth phase is crucial to your process and overall customer success foundation. Ensuring you are hiring the RIGHT people to serve as your customer success representatives can make or break customer relationships and retention.

It doesn’t always take a village, but it does take tenacity, optimism, and a solid foundation. Get a closer look @kilterly’s latest tips to help you build a successful #customersuccess team: Click To Tweet

By putting a big emphasis on this, your team will be unstoppable. So, how do you know you’re hiring the right person to join the team? Look for these qualities and adjust them with your current team’s needs and personality. This helps with the merging and growth of teams and creates a more seamless transition.

Outstanding customer success teams should possess:

  • Tenacity: Quality managers and team members should have that “can do” attitude. They will have a thirst for learning and developing their skills to provide better value to their team and customers. How do you look for this? Ask them what their goals are and how they plan to achieve those.
  • Coachability: You want your team members to be excited to learn and able to accept criticism and feedback without any defense. They should also be able to collaborate with other team members to help the team achieve overall goals. This is crucial to helping your team grow and improve as individuals. Ask them about a time when they’ve had to adapt to a new process or new strategy and if they were successful. Dig deeper and see how the new process or strategy improved their work.
  • Optimism: While this may seem a little out of the ordinary, your team members need to have this quality to help their customers stay excited and happy to work with your company. Your employees can’t be discouraged by a bad employee/customer experience but look at it as a way to improve and learn from their mistakes. This also shows your customers that your team is truly dedicated to helping them achieve their goals and maintaining a good relationship.

Ask your team members about a time when they had a discouraged customer and how they helped turn the situation around. Pay attention to how your team reacts to difficult or stressful situations. The goal is to stay motivated and bounce back quickly, and foster that mentality even when the going gets tough.

  • Listening & Communication Skills: A great customer success employee will take the time to truly listen to your customers’ needs and evaluate the issues. They will efficiently and effectively resolve problems and ensure your customers are happy with the results. They should possess impeccable communication skills and be able to converse well with your customers to make sure both sides of the conversation understand one another, all while maintaining a calm approach.

Ask your team how they would resolve an issue with a frustrated customer who is experiencing issues or having trouble understanding your product. Evaluate how they focus on listening and communicating during meetings, customer calls, and amongst other teammates to solve the issue at hand.

Managing Your Team

With your customer base growing and your support team expanding, you will need to start implementing layers of management or grouping together teams. This will help create a better customer success experience for your customers and make a more structured program for your employees.

@Kilterly put together a step-by-step process to help you build the ultimate customer success team for a growing customer base. Take a look: Click To Tweet

Determine who your managers and leaders should be, based on their proficiency in the skills listed above and their capacity to encourage those traits in others. Depending on the size of your customer success team, you also need to determine how many leaders you will need in order to facilitate a productive team. Choose those who show a knack for leadership and structure and those who are interested in becoming leaders. During this time, you have a great opportunity to evaluate how customer success feeds into your business goals, and how leadership should coach their teams to achieve them.

Learning and Development

The customer is the focal point for your customer success team, but be careful not to downplay the importance of continuous learning and professional development. Most teams only receive training during their onboarding period that covers the basics. Have a structured plan that fosters growth in your employees and keeps them up to date on best practices.

Training is not a one and done opportunity. With increasing customer demands and evolving technology, your team will need to be able to keep up and stay motivated. Motivation is easily lost when a team gets stuck in a rut or too comfortable with a routine. So, how can you break that cycle and get your employees excited again?

  • Remind your team why their job is important. They’re the lifeblood of the company and their success makes a direct impact on the business and the bottom line.
  • Incorporate brainstorming sessions with your whole department or company to get them involved and engaged with the processes that define their own workloads and responsibilities.
  • Hold quarterly training sessions to help them understand their customers, relationships, and expectations better. Being proactive allows them to stay ahead of things and anticipate the changing needs of the customers and the broader market.

Focusing on development creates a better experience both internally and externally, and these small, yet impactful, opportunities will be felt throughout your entire organization. The benefits include happier customers, engaged employees, higher customer retention, and improved team culture.

Looking for more about customer success best practices as they apply to your business? Contact our experts today to learn how Kilterly can improve your customer relationships and contribute to your bottom line.

worker taking notes on different customer metrics

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