Going reactive to proactive has been the mantra for customer success for all SaaS businesses. Taking your business from reactive to proactive in customer success is important for SaaS companies. It is because their subscription-based business model demands to keep customers happy over the long haul. But let’s take a step back and before we get into what it takes to go from reactive to proactive. Let’s first define what we mean by going proactive? How will you know as a business or as a customer success manager (CSM) that you are actually now proactive in your actions? So here are a few ways.
SaaS businesses who have gone from reactive to proactive have seen the difference in results. Changing the processes, guiding the CSMs, etc. are some of the steps taken in going from reactive to proactive. But some of your processes will remain reactive. You need to understand that first before actually taking the plunge.
Reactive basically means if your customer has a problem they can come to you for support but if the customer does not reach out to you, you fundamentally will never reach back to the customer. In this particular case, you are reacting to a request by the customer.
So what does it mean to be proactive? It basically means you don’t wait for your customers to reach out to you, instead you reach out to them. It can actually mean multiple things. You have to define what it means to be proactive. You can be proactive in one aspect of customer success while you can continue to be reactive in the rest of the areas.
For example, you might decide to onboard a customer proactively while you can continue to be mitigating risks in a very reactive way. Let’s take an example, say you are a customer success leader at a CRM company. Now as a CRM company you want to decide that all your customers get a great forecast for your sales revenues in a very proactive way. The other use case can be delivering a custom pipeline or delivering a better lead response time. All these can continue to be reactive use cases that you can still deliver.
Can the use case be enabled proactively?
So now how do we make sure that the particular use case that you want to enable proactively can actually be enabled proactively? Here are the steps in which you will ensure that this happens proactively.
Set out a signal
You will set out a signal or an alert. This would say whenever a forecast report is generated you want to make sure that it gets generated for certain standards. Make sure that a report actually gets generated whether that happens weekly, monthly, quarterly whatever the frequency of your CRM usage is by your end customers.
You set that up and you define that if that is not happening you will generate a trigger. And make sure that this triggers a process internally for your customer success managers. This process will deliver an outcome, it could be reaching out to your customers and checking with them what their context is suggesting to them. It may be training and educating them in the process of helping them set up the revenue forecast. All of this will then lead to the outcome which will help the customers get to a better revenue forecast report.
Some areas remain reactive
This is how you can take a particular use case and turn it around, making it from an originally reactive to now a proactive use case. You have to choose to be proactive in certain use cases. Whereas in certain other use cases or rather all the other use cases you choose to continue to be reactive.
There’s nothing wrong with being reactive. You will in a way always continue to be reactive somewhere. You will continue to serve your customer whenever they ask you for help. But there are certain core use cases where you know that the value that your product and technology deliver are the areas in which you want to continue to set up signals processes and make sure that you are fundamentally reactive in those places.
You must have a dashboard that shows customer health. If results are visible to your customers in real-time, it will keep them updated about where they stand and how much they want to improve. Hence they will keep using your product.
Make sure you’re keeping track of your customer’s behavior from time to time. Not just a month or two, but six months and beyond. Identifying customer trends is important. This will help you predict and proactive customer engagement. When you see indicators of failure, proactively reach out.
I hope this was helpful but are there other ways in which you have chosen to be proactive? How many places do you think that you are now proactively delivering value to your customers? Are these 50% or 10% of your use cases? Even 5% is a great start for being proactive.
Start delivering value proactively, don’t wait for them to reach out to you. Silence in customer success can be deafening. So you don’t want a customer engagement to go completely silent. Don’t wait for them to raise a ticket. Reach out to them.
P.S. – The main image has been taken from pexels.com