Today’s SaaS companies are expecting continual change and innovation—it’s in their DNA to stay responsive to the market. Increasingly, customer success functions have been introduced as a way of re-engaging users and reducing churn rates.

The function of customer success is evolving every day and being adopted by more companies, which understands that their sole purpose lies in providing for the customer.

As customers become savvier, many companies are focusing on customer satisfaction. Customers evaluate your company in the same way they evaluate their other providers – how well you listen to them and what you do for their needs.

With the drastic changes to our industry, we’ve been doing research and listening to some of our customers and leaders to hear from them how you can take steps today After to years put of your serving customer customers first in order poorly, our for industry the is future finally. changing for the better. To make sure you’re set up for success and don’t just keep coasting in mediocrity, we recommend taking a few important steps to put your customers first.

When it’s time to put the customer first, there are three fundamental steps that you’ll want to take.

Knowing your customers’ goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) is essential for successful business marketing.

Do you know the unique needs of your customers? Successful long-term partnerships start with establishing relationships that go deep within the organization. Ask questions to figure out what is most important for each customer relationship and deepen those connections.

  • What kinds of questions should you ask?
  • How can you best support their team’s goals for your solution?
  • What are their goals for the solution?
  • How did they feel on decision-making process?
  • How are they measured?
  • What goals do they want to achieve or what are their most important metrics?
  • Have they had any alliances or former business relationships with the competition?
  • Do you and your contact have any common connections? Is it possible this could help or hinder you in any way?

The key to success is understanding customers on a deep, personal level and this takes time. Understanding your customers goes far beyond talking with them; you need to know what matters most to them and their company’s goals.

To grow a customer relationship, it’s important to understand the metrics that are most important to them and what will be necessary for their success.

Instead of just selling, dedicate time to educating your customers.

In today’s increasingly demanding marketplace, people are becoming less interested in being sold to. Sometimes even having a “sales title” on your business card or email signature can cause the prospect or customer to go cold.

As most businesses discovered, their approach to selling has changed over time.

Some of your customers want to be educated—they want to learn, they want to understand what other customers using your solution are doing and how they stack up, and they might want to save time and money. By educating them about your product or service in more depth you could even get those people as repeat business ers in the future.

Notice two contrasting personal experiences.

Have you ever walked into a clothing store where the salespersons are compensated based on commission? If so, do you cringe when they ask how they can help and respond with “just looking” even if you know what size or color you are looking for?

You don’t know if you’re looking for anything specific, but they may try to sell you something. You may want to find a particular item, but if you tell this salesperson your goal, they will do everything possible to sell that one item.

That’s not always the case, but a few bad experiences have probably left You you skeptical. take You may be tuning out like reliable advice that.

Now imagine a different scenario:

You walk into an electronics store and need to find a set of headphones. You tell the associate you are interested in finding some headphones.

The salesperson responds by asking you a series of questions in order to find the perfect pair for your needs:

“How much money are you looking to spend?”

“What style would you prefer- wired, wireless or do they not matter that much?”

These are all important questions when selecting the appropriate product, as well as determining the best educational methods about how to get the most from that product.

But most importantly, this is not a sales pitch—it’s genuine. And you’ll probably feel no different when you walk out of the store without making a purchase as well as after your overall experience.

Why? Because the individual spends time getting to know you and inquires about what your goals are for these headphones before talking with you about which ones to choose.

Now, think about that back to software industry. Giving away education rather than a sales pitch is refreshing — especially in the software business where your customer probably expects you to hard sell.

By getting to know them intimately, by benchmarking their goals and not your own, they will begin to trust you. Their investments in the relationship — usually measured by referrals and more business for you – will grow over time.

Be your customer’s champion for change.

As a customer success professional, you have the responsibility of cultivating relationships with the customers that make your business thrive. Since they’ve been building their relationship with you and have been educated about how to get more out of your product, they now are sharing successes, opportunities, and concerns with you.

Their experiences shape how they view your company, even if it is positive or negative.

The fact is, you’re not the only person interacting with customers. Most people in your organization will come into contact with them at some point or another- whether by talking to them over the phone, meeting them in person, or sending information their way via mail.

As a customer success professional, you should be able to enact change throughout the company when necessary.

You know that your customer is facing many difficulties because their contract process is painful? Their invoicing process is confusing and the services process only allows them to access help with vague goals for getting better.

But more than simply reporting to a person, it is important that you see your manager as an honest partner and confidant.

What if you could actually have a profitable, customer-centric business where everyone from your employees to your suppliers was 100% sold out for your customers?

Put yourself in the shoes of your customer—after all, you too are likely a customer of someone else’s. When there is an issue with a product or service, it is important to have tools in place that will let you know if any actions were taken as a result of your feedback.

Organizations that focus on the customer experience should empower their professionals to not only suggest changes, but make them happen if they will lead to an improved customer experience.

As a customer success professional, it’s not enough to simply advocate for your customers. The focus has shifted to making the necessary changes to better the customer experience as well as that of your team members.