For SaaS companies, product implementation is an important part of the customer journey and can have a positive or negative impact depending on how it’s completed. The first 90 days are critical to set up your clients for success. The milestones post implementation are also important.
Here are four important post implementation milestones that every Customer Success team should strive to achieve, with the goal of delivering customer success, business value and satisfaction.
4 Post Implementation Customer Success Milestones
1. Are Users Actively Using Your Product?
Your product is implemented, your customer team is trained on how to use your product, and they are off and running. But it certainly doesn’t stop there. Once you implement your product, the goal is to ensure that everyone is enabled on how to use it correctly, and to ensure you have 100% product adoption. Once implementation and training concludes, you need to make sure all of the users know how your product will help them, and how it fits into their daily roles.
How do you as a CMS understand whether your customer is actually using the platform or service? What if they aren’t using it at all? For Customer Success teams, one of the best investments they can make is in technology that gives them the ability to actually monitor what features the customer is using. The technology should answer a few important questions. How are core features working for them? What are the areas of the platform where they get hung up? What are they not using? What are the customer’s goals, and how does their usage (or lack of) correlate to their satisfaction with your product and your business? As a customer success manager, it’s important to have these answers are your fingertips.
Not only is usage visibility important, but so is understanding trends of what the usage patterns show over time. Based on the data of other customers, do you see trends or patterns that become signals of possible churn? Usage patterns and understanding how your customers are interacting with your product or service is valuable. And that all begins with understanding your customer’s goals, and managing towards a better outcome.
2. One Purchase Reason Completed
When your customer signed an agreement with your company, it’s likely they had a list of key objectives they wanted to achieve with the help of your product. This could include broad goals like saving their team time or money on simplifying processes, or it could be a focused goal like increasing their average contract value by $10k. Whatever their goals and objectives, it’s important that you and your team remain focused on helping your customer achieve those goals as fast as possible, and as painlessly as possible.
The goal is to accomplish one of your customer’s main goals of the purchase as soon as possible after implementation is complete. For example, the customer could have determined one of their goals to be having all Customer Success information in one, single place (consolidating the silo systems). Whatever their goals, as a CSM, it’s part of your responsibility to ensure your customer can show how they have already achieved one reason they purchased the product and service post implementation. The sooner they can do that, the more successful they will be with your company, and in their own organization.
After the implementation process is complete and you have really started to build up a solid relationship with your customer, it’s important to understand if your customer is willing to be a reference. Why is this so important? The question of a reference is so much more than asking them to jump on the phone with a potential new prospect. It indicates a certain level of satisfaction with you (the CSM), the implementation team, the sales team, and of course, the product and company itself. If they respond that they are willing, then great! That’s a solid indicator that they are satisfied and willing to share their experience. However, if they aren’t willing to be a reference or simply say “not yet” or “let’s get through XX”, then that could be a red flag. If a customer says they aren’t willing to be a reference after implementation, then as a CSM, it’s wise to focus more on that customer, help them see several wins, and ensure they are set up for success going forward.
This is also a prime example of the importance of building relationships “High and Wide” as our CEO, Dave Blake likes to say. If you have built relationships across the entire organization and your customer’s happiness doesn’t land solely on one individual, you and your customer will both be set up for greater success in the long run.
4. Willing to Be a Success Story
Once your product is fully implemented and your customers are using your platform, a great temperature gauge on the relationship is to ask whether or not they are willing to be a success story. Sometimes it’s helpful to explain what that could be, as often times the customer immediately starts to think about ROI or specific metrics that may not be available yet. Reassure them that this could be as simple as a quote about the sales or implementation process, a small paragraph, or a detailed success story that does include relevant metrics, such as time savings, cost savings, or specific KPIs. As a CSM, you can find out a lot about a customer satisfaction by determining their willingness to participate in a success story.
Trust is built when partnerships are established with transparency and an eagerness for customer success. To maximize the implementation process, it’s important for all parties need to foster a trusted work environment. Trust can be built as small (or big) milestones and wins happen with your customers, and they are willing to help you share their success.
For more information on how to develop strong relationships with customers, check out these recent ClientSuccess resources: