Transform Your Customer Support Team To Grow Your Business

The Aha! Customer Success team enjoying time together at our onsite in Key Largo | Photo by Aha!

November 11, 2021

Transform Your Customer Support Team To Grow Your Business

by Melissa Hopkins

You call a company to get help, but ... right away you are put on hold. The music starts. Depending how long it takes for someone to pick up — or how many times you are passed around to different people — you might spend more time listening to bad songs than talking to a real person. What a waste of time. I think this is one reason customers tell us that they love our Customer Success team. We respond really fast and are true product experts.

No one likes to wait in a line. And people do not want to work with multi-level technical support groups.

Today we all expect faster and more personal service from the companies we buy from. A Customer Success team provides guidance and real product expertise at all phases of the customer journey — no hand-offs between teams. You can see why this model has been shown to build better customer relationships and improve retention.

Our own Customer Success team engages customers in a consultative way — providing strategic advice and product knowledge. We hire former product and project managers who can empathize with the challenges our customers face. We have been in their shoes — setting strategy, building products, and managing complex launches. We also deeply understand Aha! software and use it every day. Having this familiarity means we can go beyond traditional tech support.

This model was intentional — we wanted to serve customers in a totally different way. It seemed obvious to us because we like to be helped by product specialists too.

But I know that it might seem challenging to shift from a traditional customer support model. Maybe your organization still views customer support as a cost center. They may not realize the significant value that Customer Success teams can bring — from customer growth and revenue to product innovation. Our success provides some proof that it really works. And I can tell you that customers love what we do. We even track customer love as a business metric because so many people send our team notes of deep appreciation.

As I see it, here are the ways you need to think differently about support so you can build a team that customers love working with:

Lead with the why

Helping customers use your product is an obvious requirement. To make sure they get the most value, you need to go deeper. Consider the customer's goals and how your product solves them. Guide them towards the information they need today and what they need next — asking purposeful questions and probing for the real need behind every answer. Make sure you understand their "why" before you show them the "how."

Encourage creative problem-solving

Each challenge, conversation, and request from a customer is an opportunity for a tailored approach. What works for one customer may not work for another. Customer-facing teams know what customers care about more than anyone. Give the team space to team up with colleagues in product management and engineering to communicate what customers want and come up with creative solutions.

Build genuine relationships

Customer Success teams see customers as the real people they are — not "tickets" that need to be solved. Find ways to regularly interact with customers — via onboarding programs, check-in calls, and advanced training. When you listen with care and are truly invested in helping customers succeed, you can be confident that you are having a real impact.

Be transparent

Customers like to hear "yes" — but you cannot grant every wish for a new feature. It is just as important to say "no" when you cannot deliver what a customer has asked for. Transparency earns trust and respect — which feeds back into your ability to serve customers even better.

Customer Success supports growth — when you help people solve problems, they keep using your product. And when you help people achieve more than what they thought was possible, you create lasting relationships that are mutually beneficial.

Perhaps your customer support team is doing some of this already and are capable of even more. This is one more reason to rethink customer support, communicate the strategic importance of the role, and give the team credit for their contributions. The outcome is a more holistic approach to building customer relationships — better for customers, the team, and the business.

What else differentiates Customer Success from technical support or sales?

Our team is happy, productive, and hiring — join us!

Melissa Hopkins

Melissa Hopkins

Melissa loves using technology to help people solve their problems. She is the vice president of customer success at Aha! — the world’s #1 product development software. Melissa has more than 20 years of business and software experience. Previously, she managed teams at Citrix across consulting, education, supply chain operations, and IT.

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