Expansion of success, how to build CX in the expansion phase
Understanding the customer’s life path should be one of the essential elements of any business. As you know from my previous articles, this path should cover the entire experience, from the first moment the customer learns about our product through post-sales support to the stage when our and the customer’s paths diverge. Many companies overlook the expansion phase when analysing and taking action at different stages of the customer path. This is when the Customer Success team can show its value and develop its full capabilities.
In today’s article, I will tell you how the CS team, through experience building, can create a unique expansion phase to drive customer engagement, increase loyalty and retention, and create opportunities for cross and up-sell activities for themselves.
Why you should
The expansion phase is critical in the customer path. It is the point at which the customer has already made a purchase, and the company has the opportunity to make a lasting impression. The customer success team has been working with the customer for some time and understands the customer’s needs and challenges. It should also understand the customer’s current goals, plans for the future, and where we can help with them. Ultimately, this is also the point in the customer lifecycle where customers are already familiar with your product, so we should provide them with added value by:
Increasing the ways they use your current product/service.
Provide them with a different version of your product/service.
Offering them a complementary product/service from your portfolio.
This phase is critical in creating brand loyalty, driving engagement and increasing customer lifetime value. A study by Forbes indicates an 80% increase in revenue for companies that improve the customer experience. In addition, brands that provide a better customer experience are likely to bring in more than five times more revenue than competitors with poorer customer experiences.
Another element we can take to the next level is customer loyalty. Understanding needs and showing how we can address them is one of the best ways to build loyalty and trust, which can make the customer become attached to your product and an ambassador for it within the company and with others. Customers who recommend your product are among the most valuable and effective sources of new customer acquisition. According to a HubSpot study, 60% of customers trust reviews from friends, family and other customers.
How to build experiences during the expansion phase
Now that you know why it’s worth it, how can customer success teams create an exceptional expansion phase? The key is to use several Customer experience techniques to develop a personalised and engaging experience. A lot will depend on your business, customers and organisation, so consider which elements will work for you as a team. Also, don’t be afraid to experiment! If an idea doesn’t work, gather lessons learned and implement improvements. I recommend that you build a shared repository of all the trials and conclusions so that you don’t have to repeat your work in the future. I have selected some of the best customer experience methods to implement in this phase.
According to a study, 49% of shoppers admitted that they made purchases on the impulse of a personalised shopping experience. You can use the knowledge you have about the customer from previous interactions. What interests him, and what he pays attention to? I must admit that data analytics and integrating communication systems, and channels will take personalisation to the next level.
Don’t wait — write. In CS work, waiting for something to happen is asking for trouble. All reactive actions will mostly leave a worse experience than proactively seeking solutions. Customers will always appreciate the contact, even if you come with a minor issue. Of course, be mindful not to waste time, but you should agree on good practices within your team. If you are starting, ask experienced colleagues for advice. Customer Success is an area where everyone is learning and growing constantly.
One of the best tools in any CSM’s arsenal. I could probably write a whole article about how to make a good and engaging QBR, but if you don’t know how to start, always refer to your success plan, whether you have met your goals or maybe they have changed. QBR is an opportunity to understand what value your company brings and, on the other hand, build a relationship with the customer. Let the customer talk; you are there to understand what you can do. Be bold and ask questions, but prepare accordingly, so you don’t ask the obvious.
Gathering feedback from customers is essential to understanding their needs and improving their experience. Send out regular surveys or forms, and schedule periodic meetings to discuss what’s working and which areas need improvement. You don’t have to do everything yourself; please be sure to engage your product team to help you in this feedback-gathering process.
Briefly about metrics
I’ve detailed metrics to use in several previous articles, but for the expansion phase, I would use:
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT): Measurement that determines how happy customers are with a company’s products, services, and capabilities
Customer Effort Score (CES): Metric that measures how easily customers use a product or service, troubleshoot a support issue or find the information they need. Customers rate their effort on a scale of 1–7 using the CES survey.
Net Promoter Score (NPS): Measures customer loyalty and the likelihood that customers will recommend a company to others. It is measured on a survey from 0–10.
Retention rate: This indicator measures the percentage of customers who continue to use a product or service during the expansion phase. A high retention rate indicates that customers find value in the product or service and are likelier to make additional purchases or renew their subscriptions.
Revenue growth rate: The revenue growth rate measures profits from the expansion phase. You can compare the rate value before and after implementing CX changes and see if they have benefited you. Approach it with caution. It is a so-called lagging metric, meaning you will see the impact with a lag, and it can be affected by many things unrelated to your changes, e.g. a marketing campaign will increase sales.
The Final Word
These are suggestions for how CX and CS teams can optimise the customer experience. You can start by understanding the customer and their needs, then consider how to surprise them positively. Even slight differences can make a colossal difference during a renewal or additional sale.
Here are some book suggestions and additional articles for those who want to dive deeper into the topic:
“The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty” by Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman, and Rick DeLisi. The book provides insights and best practices for creating low-cost customer experiences that increase customer loyalty and retention. It covers evaluating customer effort, proactive engagement and personalised contact.
HubSpot article “10 Easy Ways to Deliver Personalised Customer Service” — The report highlights the importance of personalised customer service in the modern business landscape. It gives tips on how to implement customised support in your team.
What are your best practices in customer retention? What works best for you, and what has been a misfire? Did anything on my list interest you, and will you try to implement it in your processes? Let me know in the comments!