Busy customer success Teams in SaaS companies need some way of making their processes and practices consistent so they can help more customers without hiring more CSMs. You want your existing team to be able to coordinate successfully without having to constantly ask colleagues simple questions.
The answer is a customer success playbook. It’s one way to keep your customer success managers on track and effectively helping your customers because it allows you to create shared goals that give your CSMs a direction.
Useful documentation like a customer success playbook is essential for high-performing customer-facing teams. Having a centralized resource to accommodate your CSMs is vital if you want to achieve your customer success goals.
What is a Playbook?
A customer success playbook is a set of best practices and processes that guide your CSMs toward a favorable outcome in relation to customers. For growing SaaS companies, it’s highly likely that one CSM will be managing at least 100 customer accounts, and this feat requires a certain level of organization.
Customer success playbooks enable your customer success team to work together and understand what their true goals are. It allows you to define where you are headed and how you will get there, making assumptions explicit.
The ideal customer success playbook benefits both the business and the customer. You are aware of what the customer wants to achieve, and your CSMs are empowered to help them work towards their goals. Most customer success playbooks will have goals like reducing churn or increasing net revenue retention and include steps to help CSMs achieve them.
Here are the top elements that should be included in a customer success playbook:
- Metrics to help you track customer success
- Clear business goals to reach – eg reduce churn
- Customers who your team is intending to target and who is responsible for them
- Make explicit your customer’s goals and align them with the business
- A prioritization sequence to help your CSMs manage customers
- Best practices and processes for CSMs to follow when helping customers
The customer success playbook is intended to be a one-stop shop for CSMs to consult as they conduct their daily business.
Customer Success Playbook Importance and Benefits
Just what is the importance of customer success? In short, customer success helps customers activate with your product and promotes customer retention. As a SaaS business, you cannot simply assume that customers will engage with your software without a bit of extra help, and that’s where your customer success team comes in.
Without customer success, customers may log into your platform a few times, fail to realize any value, and churn to never looking back. Mitigating churn is a central concern for 100% of the customer success teams, which is an important goal for the entire business. Customer success proactively reaches out to customers who might need help and ensures they get the most out of the software.
Customer success can also be an important source of revenue, as they will often be responsible for cross-sells and upsells among your customer base. They will track when customers are reaching their usage limit for their subscription tier and then encourage them to upgrade when the time is right.
Without a customer success playbook, your team’s efficiency will be hampered. It may take time to figure out who should be helping customers, and CSMs may forget what their goals are. The customer success playbook is a constant reminder for CSMs regarding what customers need and how they should be helping them.
If your CSMs were each helping one account they would have all the time in the world to devote to that customer and they would be able to remember everything in their heads. As your team naturally expands the customer success playbook provides CSMs with guidelines for working with a large customer base and many team members.
Funnels customers towards success
For your SaaS business to be a success, you need to be able to help customers achieve their goals with your software. Your customer success playbook tells your CSMs how to accomplish this and more, enabling them to work as a cohesive team that is moving towards a shared vision.
Makes your CSMs accountable
Your customer success playbook provides a standard against which CSMs can be measured, and you can analyze whether they are making progress with your customers. Metrics and KPIs can be used within your playbook to track success which is an important part of accountability.
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Customer Success Playbook Implementation
There are several steps you can go through to implement a customer success playbook on your team.
- Meet with your customers to discover desired objectives and integrate them into your playbook.
- Identify key metrics that will measure success according to the standards of your customers.
- Develop a communication plan that will enable you to interact consistently with your customers, including assets such as phone scripts and email templates.
- Schedule time to train your customers in getting the most out of your software and automate as much as possible.
- Track your conversations with your customers and make them transparent for the team so your CSMs can learn from each other.
You might not think you need a customer success playbook but your team would tell you otherwise. Just like a sales playbook, a customer success playbook offers the accountability and consistency that may be missing from your team if you fail to document best practices and processes.
A playbook offers both a resource for customer success managers and a way of measuring progress against definitive goals. It’s a place for you to record how you want your CSMs to manage your customers and what success looks like for your team. It’s the only way you’ll be able to keep churn under control and ensure that customers adopt your software.