The Ultimate guide to top tools in Customer Success
*Mary, as a customer success manager of her firm, was very happy with a tool she was using for measuring the important KPIs for the past several months. However, recently she realized that there are some missing links in the tool and it wasn’t providing her with the accurate information about the customers’ account health.
Consequently, she and her team decided to check for alternatives for the tool. This time she had to be extremely careful when deciding which tool to opt for. However, there wasn’t enough info on the internet as to how the tools compare with each other.
This is the reason why we decided to come up with a ‘guide’ which would be a one-stop-shop for all your queries regarding the top alternatives for a customer success tool.
Why is customer Success tech so important?
With the exponential hike in CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) Customer CHURN and poor MRR Retention, the majority of Saas businesses are struggling. Despite knowing that 75-80% of the Lifetime Value (LTV) is locked in future recurring revenue, SaaS businesses are still unsure who will Renew, Buy-more, or is at At-Risk until it’s too LATE. This is where Customer Success tools can come in handy.
A Customer Success Manager (CSM) would need a customer success tool/product to carry out the CS process efficiently.
A customer success tool is software that is usually designed with in-built tools to provide a holistic view of your customers and their account health. These tools provide insights into various metrics that enable your CS team to identify which customers need more assistance, or where there may be potential pain points.
Switching a CS platform is torturous since you lose instrumentation, integrations, engagement, and data history.
The success platform that you’ll choose today, will be the backbone for ensuring retention and driving MRR growth for the next 3-5 years at the very least. Hence using pricing as the only criteria when you’re planning to protect and grow a multi-million dollar portfolio isn’t appropriate.
While considering which tools for customer success to adopt, please keep the following points in mind.
- * Seamless Integration of the third-party software and CRMs
- * Data points availability from across a customer’s journey from onboarding to renewal.
- * Analytics for Customer Engagement
- * Real-time Insights
- * Encouraging CSM to take actions & capture touchpoints
Now, let us look at an overview of the top tools essential for a Customer Success Manager.
Overview of Customer Success Platforms
- Gainsight – This is one of the top-line customer success tools for large-scale enterprises. All of the important metrics can be measured via Gainsight. BUT can have a long 6-9 months implementation cycle, heavy, loaded, requires an implementation partner
- CustomerSuccessBox – AI-powered actionable customer success toolwhich identifies the past patterns in the vital metrics and predicts & recommends the future renewal and upsell opportunities. Customer SuccessBox tracks product adoption to understand customer onboarding, product adoption and usage analysis, and calculating customer health score. It enables success managers to deliver a consistent customer onboarding experience, improve retention, drive upsell and improve monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and lifetime value (LTV) for SaaS businesses.
- Totango – Large enterprises that have a large customer base and a big customer success (CS) team to handle them, are the target firms for Totango. BUT has a weak workflow and playbooks. Limited to single heath score and no product adoption tracking outside of health. Teams also find it complex to navigate.
- SmartKarrot – SmartKarrot is one of the customer success platforms enabled with an account intelligence system that impedes churn & drives revenue expansion. But is a new platform and is still maturing
- Custify – Custify’s USP is a modern and user-friendly interface. Option to customize with add-ons is another feature of the tool. But very basic, not built to handle advanced use cases, limited to no account intelligence.
- ProfitWell – It is a subscription analytics platform.
- Churnzero –The thing that sets this apart is that it provides a command center that enables your customer success team to know exactly what they need to focus on. BUT is best suited for low ARPU SaaS products
- PlanHat – is efficient at providing all the features of a customer success tool. Very limited use of data-driven for health and alert calculation.
- ClientSuccess – ClientSuccess is one of the older customer success tools BUT does not track product telemetry and has no data intelligence for account health and churn signals
- FreshSuccess – Fresh Success is a Customer Success Platform that helps SaaS businesses reduce churn, increase adoption, and maximize customer lifetime value BUT has recently got sold from Natero to Freshworks.
This was just an introduction to the top-tier tools of customer success. Let us, now, look at the tools in detail.
Gainsight has been around here for a while, and now it has become one of the top customer success tools in the CS league. The product ecosystem is robust, efficient, and offers and user-friendly experience.
The company’s Customer Cloud offers a unique set of solutions focused on customer success, product experience, revenue optimization, customer experience, and customer data, that together empower businesses to put the customer at the focus point of everything they do.
- – Prices available on request.
* Unique features
- – Customer-centric analysis and product engagement platform
- – Revenue Operations, Customer Revenue Optimization, and Experience Management
- – Scorecards to measure account health.
- – Native mobile capability
- – Scalability and data security
|Pro’s and Con’s (customer reviews)||Source: g2.com/gainsight|
|Gainsight also inadvertently surfaces any shortcomings and/or bad data your organization has, so it’s a great way to leverage that to drive change, or it’s sophisticated enough with its rule engine and data designer to overcome those issues!||From an Admin perspective, managing multiple relationships is a bit time-consuming.|
|The flexibility of the data model and the rules engine allows you to connect to any data source and drive insights into your customer data.||Sponsor tracking doesn’t work half the time.|
|A proactive & collaborative platform that enables you to track customer health with automaticity while keeping meaningful records of all of the interactions that build that health score.||It is an extensive and complex platform and is difficult to explain existing configurations to brand new admins. Would prefer a formal guide through all the features explaining Gainsight in and out.|
|Dynamic health scoring, scalability, proper tracking of KPIs via reports are some of its great features.||There are a few administrative challenges. Despite a trove of online resources, there are still many nuances that can often require clarity or additional assistance.|
|It is very development-heavy. Require Gainsight Admin|
|Requires a long onboarding process to finally get to the first value|
CustomerSucccessBox is an AI-powered customer success software that offers built-in and actionable platform B2B SaaS businesses for helping their customers achieve their business goals. The USP of this tool is that the AI learns from the past renewals and the actions that lead to renewals and it recommends the next-best-action that drives retention
- – Starts at $499/month. Largely depends on the # of customers and the plan chosen.
* Unique features
- – AI-powered actionable software for Onboarding, retention, upsell, and expansion
- – 360 degree Multidimensional, real-time account health taking data from Support, Finance, Product adoption, and Relationship to generate accurate health scores and risk alerts.
- – Playbooks and Journey for automated customer success workflows for customers through their life cycle. Facilitates human intervention as and when required.
- – Has advanced Onboarding playbooks that monitor product adoption and move the customer automatically in the onboarding journey. Helps you deliver outcomes and early value that your product promised.
- – You can create, manage and assign tasks for proactive intervention.
- – Monitors every account and every move done by customers to find anything that could suggest a future churn and points you right where attention is needed for proactive intervention and save the account before it’s too late.
- – Help you determine which account is ready for upselling and create auto tasks for your CSM to nudge the account at the right time.
- – Can define a custom risk score for the account, and add tags indicating common risk or confidence context curated by you or the team for quick at-a-glance view.
- – The AI in the platform analyses historic CSM actions, customer’s product adoption, and engagement behaviours to learn (& recommend) what leads to renewal/churn/upsell.
- – Integration with Billing, Support, NPS, CRM, communication, and Product telemetry
|Pro’s and Con’s (customer reviews)||Source: g2.com/customersuccessbox|
|The only AI-powered customer success software in the market which analyses past data and provides proactive recommendations to the CSM.
Different Attributes at tips to ease the work.
All Account info at one page to get important insight for a particular Account.
|You can do automation in the CS box as per customer communication & interaction to manage accounts efficiently.
Can easily sync Gmail & calendar with it, to get effective interaction with customers. The call recording facility helps you to save your timing for writing the logs.
Can check up on the health of all accounts to set priority to interact with customers.
|At present, the tool cannot embed video. Right now you are just able to add links to the videos.|
|It wonderfully provides all the necessary details about all accounts, the number of features the accounts are using, their logins, and a lot more other 360-degree valuable information that helps you to manage the accounts amazingly.||A knowledge bank can be on the product roadmap for account/company information available for CSM.|
|You can set up automation workflows for your team. This helps to automate trigger-based customer communication so that we are always in touch with customers.
Since the software provides real-time health, it gives visibility to your entire portfolio.
Totango aims its business at large enterprises that have a big customer success team and a large base of customers to manage.
- – Enterprise Edition- 30-day free trial
- – Prices available on request
* Unique features
- – Customer 360 and Health Score
- – Customer data Hub and Integrations
- – Automated Lifecycle Management and Engaging playbooks to drive customer growth.
- – Data Security
- – Extremely user-friendly interface
|Pro’s and Con’s (customer reviews)||Source: g2.com/totango|
|The tool is easy to understand and knows where things are located for both admins and users alike.||Lack of integrations with other software. The only communication tool offered is emails, there are no integrations with other communications services to connect with the clients.|
|Segments are easy to use and it’s great that they are present throughout the product. The ability to group and segment the information allows the user to look at their businesses in different manners.||Sometimes it gets slow and has some bugs. Sometimes you can implement logic quite easily, other times you need to do crazy workarounds to get something exactly the way you want it.|
|Reports are super easy to run and campaigns make it very easy to automate parts of the customer success process.||The reporting in totango is atrocious. You have to create a task every time you create a successplay.
Product features are missing compared to similar platforms that are similarly priced.
|Tasks/success plays are automated and it gives you the rundown of what it needs you to do and stay at the top of your game every day.||Tasks/success plays aren’t created to fire when a previous one has been completed.
SmartKarrot is one of the actionable customer success platforms enabled with an account intelligence system that impedes churn & drives revenue expansion. It is suitable for fast-growing B2B SaaS companies.
The USP of this tool of customer success is the beautiful use of predictive insights to provide prescriptive guidance in the form of workable steps to its customers.
- – 14-day free trial
- – Prices available on request
* Unique features
- – 360° View
- – Predictive Insights
- – Configurable Health Score
- – Real-time Account Intelligence
- – Playbooks and Automation
- – Tasks and Touchpoints
- – Early warning system
|Pro’s and Con’s (customer reviews)||Source: g2.com/smartkarrot|
|SmartKarrot has many enterprise customer success management tools in one place, and quick interfaces to other tools like Freshdesk and Slack.||With the comprehensive nature of the platform comes the intrinsic complexity of using it.
It has a bit of a learning curve which elongates the implementation process.
|A deep multi-level functionality provides granular data on the enterprise customers and their customers.||The tool has a ton of features that can f be overwhelming.|
|It is very detailed and intuitive to use.
It provides deep insight into user behaviour. It tells the Customer Success team exactly at what point are the users dropping off.
|Segmentation showing guest users makes it difficult to get the actual users as this allows for duplicates.|
|The platform helps in capturing and tracking events, personalized communication with the targeted audience through multiple channels, and monitor customer health scores.||The integration is slightly elaborate and requires technical know-how to get going, hence, a slightly more intuitive UI is required.
Documentation is required to be more robust.
Custify offers a variety of attributes. You can see a full 360 view of your customers’ account health data, product usage, journey, etc. Custify’s USP is a modern and user-friendly interface. Option to customize with add-ons is another feature of the tool.
- – Starter- $199/month
- – Standard- $499/month
- – Enterprise- Available on request
* Unique features
- – Customer 360
- – Concierge onboarding
- – Tasks and Alerts
- – Seamless Integration with third-party tools
- – Identify upsell opportunities
- – Customer account health
|Pro’s and Con’s (customer reviews)||Source: g2.com/custify|
|Simple tasks can be done automatically, with no human intervention through playbooks.||The only thing that comes to mind is a dashboard, to have every report in one place.|
|You get alerts and reports in the morning and can focus on important high-touch issues. This saves so much time and you can see the clients’ interactions with your team, their usage of our product, and any other information.|
|The task and alerts features are particularly useful.|
|The customer health scores and automation features save a lot of precious time. You know which client needs your attention and regarding what issue.|
ProfitWell=Algorithms. It is a subscription analytics platform. They’ve 4 products (Metrics, Retain, Recognized and Price Intelligently) that use accurate algorithms to avoid churn and also to determine how to win the churned customer back!
- – Metrics-Free tier-$0/month
- – Retain- Varies/month
- – Recognized- Starts at $1000/month
- – Price Intelligently- starts at $15K per month
* Unique features
- – Completely white labeled
- – Robust testing framework
- – Enriched segmentation
- – Customer growth rate
|Pro’s and Con’s (customer reviews)||Source: g2.com/profitwell|
|Real-time ARR, LTV, MRR, ARPU (all top KPIs), and churn reporting are very helpful and make reporting key metrics to the executive team seamless.||The pure focus on MRR detracts from the ability to track cash flow, which means it doesn’t help so much with internal reporting.|
|Support is top-notch and the help with issues is outstanding. It is very easy to use and navigate between functions and the layout is clean and very professional.||It only provides a directional number rather than an exact number. There are nuances to some businesses that make it difficult for profitwell spit out the live ARR number.|
|Retain has some great features to help reduce delinquent churn. Apart from dunning emails, they have in-app notifications that help guide a user to update their payment method.||No PayPal billing support. Potentially having the ability to customize the homepage of the dashboard would help users track their KPIs more effectively.|
|Apart from the actual service, the value-based pricing is well thought out. Retain service only charges you for the results they drive over your baseline results. It becomes a no-brainer to switch over to them.||Some of the reports and views are counterintuitive. You can not export information by a period (it always seems to pull entire history).|
ChurnZero provides all the features that the other tools for customer success provide. The thing that sets this apart is that it provides a command center that enables your customer success team to know exactly what they need to focus on.
Automation of tasks and the ease of use make it trouble-free for the success team to realize perfect customer monitoring.
- – A quotation must be requested.
* Unique features
- – Custom Dashboard
- – Cohort reporting
- – Multiple Integrations
- – Live Exports
- – In-app communications
|Pro’s and Con’s (customer reviews)||Source: g2.com/churnzero|
|ChurnZero is very simple to use, user-friendly and helps automate many of the repetitive tasks a CSM does to support their clients.||Greater AI-drive health scoring.|
|It has all data we need to access front and center, and it also helps visualize your accounts as a whole and all of the upcoming tasks associated with them.||No “@mention” functionality. This has been a pain point for many users because they use different third-party software and without this function, it becomes a pain point when they increase the adoption within their companies.|
|ChurnZero drives easy and powerful automation. The tool ensures that you are working on the right things at the right moment, nothing falls through the cracks, and most importantly that our customers are successful as a result||It does not Salesforce events to the platform, only tasks. It also doesn’t have as robust reporting as some other platforms.|
|An area to take notes that is not tied with specific contacts. Simply open up a ChurnZero notepad so all of your notes, account-related and not, live in one place. Like a general place for lists not assigned to a particular account.|
PlanHat is efficient at providing all the features of a customer success tool. The features including, but not limited to, customer onboarding, account health scores, product engagement, etc. are common to most of the tools of customer success.
However, PlanHat has the reputation of being the easiest to use tool in the industry.
- – Start-up- $1,150/month
- – Professional- $1,750/month
- – Enterprise- Quote to be requested
* Unique features
- – Customer playbooks
- – Revenue Management
- – Monitoring and Health scores
- – NPS/customer surveys
- – Real-time Alerts
|Pro’s and Con’s (customer reviews)||Source: g2.com/planhat|
|PlanHat has all the features a Customer Success team needs to drive value for customers. The tools allow you to create actionable insights and enhance your customer experience.||Their help desk could be improved with more detailed and better-organized information to allow for more self-service help.|
|Many users have gone from using multiple Google Sheets and manual work to keep multiple trackers updated to everything being fully automated and centralized in just over a month.|
|There’s a real depth of features here that appeals both to stakeholders and success managers. You can get work done in Planhat as well as do top-level measurements of success||Would like more graphical representation in Planhat of account health.|
|Dynamic robust CRM that we are using for customer success principally. The interface is clean, easy to understand.||There are lots of errors lately – the people page is white and needs to be refreshed the whole time, cannot look for a user anymore, super annoying.|
ClientSuccess has all the necessary features which you’d look for in a customer success tool. Customer onboarding, profiles, product engagement, risk alerts, etc. are some of the basic features available.
- – Quotation to be submitted.
* Unique features
- – Customer success scores
- – CRM Syncing
- – Contact Management
- – Single Sign-on
|Pro’s and Con’s (customer reviews)||Source: g2.com/clientsuccess|
|It’s a very intuitive software and makes learning it very simple.||The reporting is not robust and more centralized (global settings & reports).|
|The pulse feature paired with the success score is helpful because they combine the CSM’s personal opinion of a customer’s health with the analytical assessment of the customer’s health.||The API is a bit weird as most objects support PUT but don’t support PATCH and the usage stuff is weirdly separated.|
|ClientSuccess is easy to learn and navigate because the UX is intuitive and easy on the eyes. It also allows for integrating with many different products and customizing them to your liking.||Not a lot of automation – cannot send an email in bulk to a list of contacts – you can send an NPS survey though.|
|Communications are automatically pulled in based on the contacts you have set on an account. You can do all you need to within the application instead of jumping into a CRM.||When you complete a playbook you lose access to the process in the playbook|
FreshSuccess (Earlier Natero)
Fresh Success is a Customer Success Platform that helps SaaS businesses reduce churn, increase adoption, and maximize customer lifetime value. It is an excellent data management tool for customer success.
Natero assists the account managers, success managers, and support to intervene before problems occur and ensure the users get the maximum value from their productivity.
- – Starter-$29/user/month
- – Pro- $49/user/month
- – Enterprise- Custom. Quotation to be submitted.
* Unique features
- – Critical SaaS metrics like MRR, churn, CLV, etc.
- – Data Import & Export
- – Analytics
- – External Integrations
- – Email Integration
|Pro’s and Con’s (customer reviews)||Source: Reviews for Natero|
|Natero offers a range of functions that include workflow management, customer data and health score, complete integrations, predictive analysis, control panels, and others, in a single unified platform, which is very educational and easy to use.||While the onboarding documentation was great, a more hands-on approach to getting users to adopt and use the platform would help you get up to speed earlier.|
|You can communicate directly with clients using the email functionality.||It’s a complex platform, it can be hard to find what you’re looking for if you don’t know where to look.|
|Customizability and flexibility in integrations, metrics, and dimensions make this a highly useful platform.||Some integrations could be more automated|
|Natero offers a predictive analytics service that automatically identifies customers who need attention.||There is not that much customization available and it takes multiple clicks to be able to view the information.|
Comparison of Customer Success Tools
The table given below is a comparison between some of the top tools for customer success, their features, pricing, the segment they cater to, and the ratings provided to them by their users.
Key takeaways, with respect to CustomerSuccessBox (CSB), from the above comparison of top success tools are as follows:
- This CS tool has been rated fairly well in all the four parameters.
- Free trial version is available which is not the case for most of its competitors.
- CSB scores higher in reviews than the majority of its competitors in customer information ratings. Basically the tool provides a holistic picture of a customer’s account health.
- The platform of CustomerSuccessBox in terms of API, workflow capabilities, etc is among the best in CS tools.
- Since the CSB tool is AI-powered, it throws up accurate numbers with regards to predicting churn, upsell opportunities, custom triggers, etc.
This information has been compiled from the reviews given on the platform ‘g2.com’ where you can compare the software for its attributes before you buy. Check out the platform and reviews here.
A customer success tool helps you win back your customers and while keeping the current ones satisfied and happy. Without a proper team that optimally utilizes the top CS tools, you’re going to lose your clients. Never underestimate the value that a CS tool can bring to the table and hence, should not be chosen recklessly.
This brief list was made to assist you in picking up the right tools for customer success which your business needs. Make your choice wisely!