5 CUSTOMER SUCCESS TRENDS IN A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD
By Emilia D’Anzica and Paul Reeves
Last year the global pandemic shut down most of the brick and mortar world–but that didn’t stop cloud revenue. According to a recent piece published by Intricately, Cloud business growth rates and access to capital are at all-time highs, with the average Cloud 100 company growing 80% YoY and $186 billion going into private cloud companies in 2020 alone. Turmoil and fear paved the way for a brand new vision for business leaders from all industries. The pandemic confirmed that customer experience (CX) has the ability to be a driving force behind accelerated churn or business growth.
Here are five key trends we are experiencing in customer success as a result of heightened focus on maintaining and expanding customer relationships as we move past the worst of Covid-19.
1. Customer Success Professionals are in high demand
According to the latest LinkedIn Jobs Report, Customer Success Managers are for yet another year a top job companies are trying to fill. It’s a candidate’s market right now. Companies cannot find talent fast enough to meet the growing demand. It is not a secret in the world of business that customer success (CS) is a fresh and new approach to building profitable relationships with customers. It is safe to say that today customer success is no longer optional but a required component of a serious GTM strategy.
2. Automation will become more intelligent
Personalization has been a hot topic for a very long time. Yet it has rarely been so vital and prescient. In the previous year, more businesses started to use automation as part of their customer success function. This year is the time to take another look at personalizing automated processes. Luckily, customer success software continues to improve and offers customer communication that pulls meaningful data for customers without having to be in a meeting. Platforms like Gainsight offer Journey Orchestrator, which leverages the power of automation to make your job easier as you communicate with customers at scale.
Gainsight enables customer success teams to launch automated emails based on customer attributes such as health score, product usage, survey results, and lifecycle stage. Through automation, you can scale customer touches and engage with a growing list of customers often and effectively. Typically, the Gainsight Admin or someone in an Operations role will manage your Journey Orchestrator automated outreaches, including email template design, scheduling, and so on. According to Kelly Hall, Vice President of Customer Success at Malwarebytes, Customer Success Managers on her team are now able to continuously touch their customers through this low-touch model.
3. The Demand for the Human Element Will Grow Immensely
As automation becomes even more prevalent, the need for humans to act as intelligent, and empathetic glue between stakeholders is also rising. While Forrester predicts the chatbot market will continue to grow, most of us can relate to the many failures Emily shared in her hilarious summary of chatbot failures.
Ironically, as automation makes the job of the CSM easier, it will also free up these resources to have many more high-value interactions. Several applications and professional services companies have really taken off as a result of the demand for human guidance. Moreover, people are willing to pay for customer service because they realize they need an application but not necessarily have the time to take training to get up and running quickly.
More companies will also start offering ways for customers and employees to engage in social settings in person. We are human beings and relationships matter. Nothing can replace a face-to-face, in-person interaction.
4. UX and CX will become even more important
As McKinsey explained in its report, Customer Success 2.0, The New Growth Engine, User Experience (UX) used to be seen as a major obstacle during the journey of a customer. A non-intuitive UX which in turn leads to a poor CX makes it much easier for customers to abandon your product and take their business to someone else. There is a trend in customer success that is leveraging customer interactions with your product to make improvements to the UX and CX. Ensure both your product teams and customer success teams are leveraging the data to both improve the customer experience and to help the customer.
5. Investment in Customer Success will Increase
According to Forrester’s US 2020 Customer Experience Index report, 27% of brands and nine industries achieved significantly higher scores during the pandemic. They state that CX differentiation is the key to post-pandemic success. We agree. And to achieve this success, businesses will continue to expand their investment in Customer Success as a top-line function.
It’s interesting to note that back in 2016, Forrester’s research showed that 72% of businesses believed that investing in CX was a top priority. The investment in CS software, automation, calls to action, enablement, reporting, sequencing, call intelligence, and more will greatly increase because there will be an increased demand for more meaningful customer engagements, more specialized customer success professionals.
The bottom line
The numbers don’t lie. The growth of jobs and tech investment to ensure customers realize value will only continue in 2021 and beyond. Even as the problems the pandemic brought begin to recede, many of the changes in how businesses work will remain and grow. People and technology will be in high demand to compete more effectively while reducing cost and risk. Customer Trends are important to pay attention to because your customer actions contribute to your company’s growth or downsizing.