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Best Practices for Setting Customer Success in your SaaS start-up

Not just the burgeoning opportunity, Indian SaaS stands apart from other industries in another aspect: a close-knit founders community with successful founders proactively trying to help the upcoming founders by guiding them, sharing their playbooks etc.

Samit (Co-founder of SalesPanda) posted in the SaaSBOOMi Founders Tribe whatsapp group on best practices to set-up customer success

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In the true spirit of SaaSBOOMi, Krish (ChargeBee co-founder) immediately responded and offered help. This led to a very insightful session by Arundhati on Customer Success for 100+ founders!

Heading Customer Success of a fast-growing SaaS company like Chargebee can be very demanding, and in spite of her hectic schedule, Arundhati was generous enough to spend her Sunday morning helping SaaS founders like me!

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Here are some of the key takeaways from the session

  1. Customer success shouldn’t be looked as a mere extension of Customer Support. Customer Support primarily needs a reactive mindset — responding to the technical issues and support tickets, which CS is playing a proactive consultant role (driving product adoption, doing QBR’s, understanding customer needs etc). So, one shouldn’t expect the support agents to set-up the success function as they are fundamentally different and needs a lot of unlearning!
  2. Another much-needed mindset change — Customer Success shouldn’t be seen as a cost-centre but as a revenue organization! Net Expansion revenue should become a critical part of your revenue strategy and CS plays a primary role in driving that!

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3. Irrespective of the size and stage of the company, the CS leader should prioritize data first, then processes and then people, in that order. Unless you gather data about your customers, you will not be able to know them deep enough to derive actionable insights. For example, do exit interview with every churn customer and categorize them as unavoidable churn (Not an ICP customer, going out of business etc) or avoidable churn (low product adoption) etc. Unless you have this data, you will not know what to optimize!

4. Spend time on your customer segmentation and it’s critical to build a scalable engagement model and to prevent some early churn!

5. Onboarding is another key process you need to optimize to prevent early churn. You can use Onboarding Turn Around Time and % of Customers Onboarding) as leading indicators to measure your onboarding

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6. Churn is a lagging indicator. Finalize and set-up leading indicators to identify high-risk customers upfront so that you have time to work on preventing churn!

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7. Invest in tools and automation, and especially focus on integration between our CRM/CS tool and HelpDesk Software as it’s critical to get 360 degree overview of your customer

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8. CSM role falls in between sales and services, and here are some of the traits you can look for while recruiting for a CSM

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I just highlighted some of the key insights, and here is the presentation

Hope you find this helpful. If you need specific help/advise w.r.t to customer success, reach out to Arundhati. Please go through the above recording first to avoid questions already answered and be gentle on her time!