Customer Success

6 Easy Ways to Create an Awesome Customer Success Plan

How to develop an actionable customer success plan for your client base. Let's get you started!

Introduction

Can you cook a new dish without a good recipe and proportions? Probably you can't until you are a terrific chef with great intuition. 

That’s exactly how your customer feels while making a new purchase every time. And they need a customer success team to assist them as they make a purchase and rely upon your product to solve their problems.

But before you assemble the customer success team and ask them about the results, you need a plan. You cannot expect to go haywire with all the strategies in the SaaS world with tons of strategies and plan to go with.

In this blog, we intend to solve that problem and provide you with an actionable plan that will help you to create and increase a successful customer base.

TL;DR

  • A customer success plan focuses on what problem your organization solves and how your customers can get the most out of it.
  • Your organization needs a CSM plan as it helps your business with upselling, decreasing churn, and reducing acquisition costs.
  • Identifying your customer's goals helps your business in creating a successful customer success plan in the first place while also eliminating chances of any misalignment between your organization and your customer's expectations.
  • Identifying "how," "when," and "where" your customer success team will be communicating with your existing or prospective customers can be a game-changer.
  • Don't try to make all the changes at once in your CSM plan; this might increase your churn rate while also making it difficult for you to measure success.
  • The 30-60-90 days plan is all about understanding your organization and its customers, building a plan to achieve your business's goals, and executing them.

What is a customer success plan?

Customer success is a function that helps your customers get the maximum value out of your product, while the customer success plan focuses on the "what" and "how" part of it.

The plan answers what value your product is going to add to customers’ lives and how will you do that.

A success plan is important not only for your customers but your organization as well. For example, your customer may expect your product to help them engage with their audience and build meaningful, long-lasting relationships with them. 

In contrast, your organization might aim to delight your customers and turn them into retainer ones, increasing your Time to First Value (TTFV).

Why do you need a customer success plan?

Need a clear picture of why your organization needs a customer success plan? Here it is:

Consistency

To make each of your efforts count, you need to work in the right direction, and a plan helps you with the same. A customer success plan ensures that you always have the end goal of your customer in your mind so that you never get inconsistent with your approach and execution strategy.

Elevating the unexpected

A customer success plan assures you of achieving your end goals, provided you execute the plan in the right direction. 

So, when an unexpected request comes from your customer you'll be able to calculate whether you have the capability to fulfill the request with your current plan or you need to make some changes.

Lower operational costs

A customer success plan also reduces your operational costs as it ensures that whenever you achieve a goal, you don't have to spend any extra cost or time thinking and planning the next steps as your CSM plan is prepared to proceed to the next steps.

How to create a customer success plan?

1. Determine customer’s end goal

To create a successful customer success plan, you need to identify your customers' goals, and what success looks like to them.

Because no one buys anything because they like it but to fulfill their objective. You'll not buy a recipe book unless you want to cook some good dishes. Just like this example, think about your customers’ goals.

Having an effective succession plan also helps your organization avoid any misalignment between your customer's expectations and the solutions your product provides.

2. Assemble a customer success team

If you want your customers to trust your brand, take your offers seriously and invest in them as well, you need to invest in a great customer success team.

Having a customer success team shows your target audience that you care about them, and you genuinely want to help them reach their goals.

While hiring a customer success manager, you can look into your customer service department as they are already dealing with customers regularly; adapting to a deeper version of the similar work will be much easier for them as compared to other ones.

3. Invest in the right tools

You have two options for executing your customer success plan. Either do everything manually or invest in tools.

With a manual success plan, you need to put extra effort as you will be doing everything the hard way, but your work becomes much easier with automated tools.

Automatic tools and software provide automatic alerts and customer success reports that make it easier to keep track of customers' status and progress. Some examples for the same are HubSpot, Amity, Totango, Gainsight, and ClientSuccess.

4. Map your processes to create goals

Creating a detailed outline of your customer's journey and identifying the gaps in your business is crucial for every customer success plan.

You need to have a clear understanding of your customer's journey and current status to achieve a goal with your company. Whether they are at the stage of signing up for a newsletter or about to make a purchase, you need to identify everything.

Ask these four questions to yourself before you create your customer success plan:

  1. What are some of the things within your organization that is working?
  2. Where are the connections super clear?
  3. How will you identify the customers who are not satisfied with your organization?
  4. What is the future iteration of the organization?

Along with the creation of a customer journey map, you also need to identify "how," "when," and "where" your customer success team will communicate with your existing or prospective customers. Because not reaching the right person at the right time and the right place will affect your customer success strategy.

5. Choose your metrics

Earlier, we've mentioned that a customer success plan is important not only for your customers but also for your organization, which means customer success is a mutually beneficial relationship. Hence, you need to choose metrics that measure both the customer's and company's success.

Some of the metrics that impact the financial status of any organization are NPS, free-to-paid conversions, customer lifetime value, retention rate, customer acquisition cost, expansion revenue, TTFV, CLV, net renewal rate, and so on.

By analyzing these metrics, you will get a clear picture of whether your success plan is working the way you want or not.

6. Analyze and make changes when required

Since you have a clear understanding of each step to create a success plan for your organization, you can now start creating one. But even after creating one, you need to be patient with your approach.

Remember your goal while making changes in your customer success plan. 

Keep this in mind — no one wants to get out of their comfort zone easily, even knowing they would benefit from doing so; the same goes for your customers. If you make a huge change in their journey, they might also quit using your product.

Apart from that, measuring success can also become difficult if you make a huge change at once. So make one change at a time to better understand what's working and what's not.

What is a 30-60-90 day customer success plan?

A 30-60-90 day customer plan is a strategic documentation that maps out a new employee's goals within the first 90 days of their new job.

Here's an overview for your better understanding:

  • First 30-days plan– Understand business and customers
  • Next 31-60 days plan– Create the plan
  • Last 61-90 days plan– Execute the plan

Before getting into each of the plans, make sure that you have identified some important points like:

  • What will be your top priority?
  • What will be your goal?
  • What actions do you need to achieve the desired goal?
  • What will be your measure of success?

Here's the complete breakdown of the 30-60-90 days plan:

30-days Plan

  • First, you need to understand the product and your organization's existing processes.
  • Second, Connect with the key customers and try to understand their views.
  • Third, Understand the recurring revenue model, dig deep into data and analyze 90-180 days of churn.

60-days Plan

  • First, Understand the product roadmap, monitor customer sentiment, and segment all the customers.
  • Second, Make a customer success strategy, create an onboarding framework, and map out the customer lifecycle journey.
  • Third, decide on customer engagement models and KPIs, set up account health parameters, create an expansion plan, and decide your targets.

90-days Plan

  • First, choose the customer success platform, and define your team.
  • Second, Get your budget approved and communicate your goals with your team.
  • Third, Execute the plan and monitor your results.

Ending words

The purpose of a CSM plan or customer success management plan is to help you by making your job easier and achieving your goals faster. Your organization may have different goals to achieve; so having a separate plan for each one of the goals helps you build focus and work strategically.

FAQ

The answers for the FAQ need to be around 50-60 words.

1. How do you succeed in customer success?

Here's the 4-step process to succeed in customer success:

  1. Create and implement a customer success program
  2. Educate your customers through blogs, podcasts, etc.
  3. Onboard your customers
  4. Promote customer loyalty

2. What is a good example of customer service?

Good customer service is the one that:

  • Responds quickly
  • Welcomes feedback
  • Shows empathy
  • Provides omnichannel support