How many times have we lost our interest in a service or a product after spending just a few minutes?
Let’s imagine – I visit a top-ranked, much-talked-about website with several social media ads running. I click here and there, making a handful of efforts to make sense of the product but eventually leaving!
I am a Lost Customer.
This must not be the first time and might often happen to us. But the question here is, why did I lose interest?
There could be a number of reasons why we lose a potential lead, but more important is to realize that our customer journey somehow crashed somewhere along the way. Or else, why would your well-created product be left for a competitor’s product?
Customers are the driving force of any business, and without them, you and your brand are going nowhere. Once you finish building a product, it is no longer a secret that your product needs extraordinary sales and marketing efforts to make it a brand. But in the current chaotic online and eCommerce situation, where customers have endless options, sales and marketing strategies alone aren’t enough to sustain growth.
This blog will discuss how Social Champ mapped its customer journey. A journey from providing essential customer support to a stable, effective, and worthy customer success strategy.
So, let’s start.
What Is a Customer Journey?
When you think of your customers, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?
If it is, ‘how to retain my customers?‘, the situation is alarming.
The question should be, ‘can I name their intentions, requirements, and pain points?‘ and above all, ‘do you know why customers choose you instead of your competitors?‘
If you are worried about customer retention, then a few changes in your strategies can make it work.
Mapping a customer journey is important for a long-term business strategy. It is best to know what a customer experiences at every stage when they are using your product or service to fulfill their requirements. In today’s time, on average, a customer has 10 different means to communicate with you, and that needs to be acknowledged every time without fail.
All this sounds like sunshine and rainbows in theory, but the question remains; “How can you make sure that all customers are happy, going smoothly, and are satisfied?”
The answer is simple: Outline your customer’s journey within your platform by visualizing what they are experiencing at every step in real-time. This will help you understand the customer’s thought process and pain points.
Through this, you will be able to connect with your customers better, and in return, your business will achieve more credibility.
Social Champ’s Journey From Customer Support to Customer Success
Social Champ started as a team of 2 in September 2016 with high ambitions. Limited features and a simple user experience was the main idea, to begin with. The team grew to 3 people, and we got our first customer onboard in February 2017. Yay!
This is where the actual customer journey began. With a limited team comes limited resources and less knowledge of how a customer will perceive our platform. As discussed above, mapping all customer touchpoints is crucial. A buyer’s persona should be created around it – but did we know this then? No!
Thus our customer facilitation started, and so did our adventures.
Customer Support On The Go
Social Champ closed this year with a total of 71 customers on board which was a great start. The pioneer customers were easily facilitated. Most customers were either new to the concept or were experienced with a social media management tool and were looking for a fresh experience. Customer support was not a hassle at all with a maximum of 5-8 interactions a day.
The connections were tighter and more on a one-to-one basis over emails and social media platforms. A simple suggestion would come flying from a customer and be implemented immediately. If possible, feature requests would get integrated in a few hours and go live.
Emails were the key communication tool.
Social Champ stuck by one rule from day one: ‘customers are precious and our utmost priority.’
The customer journey at Social Champ was then precisely mapped as a buyer connects with the team and gets a quick demo of the Social Champ’s platform on the run.
Next, if they have any suggestions, they will be acknowledged on priority within a 24 hours response time. Once a customer subscribes, the expectation was for them to do well unless anyone would reach out over an email with an identified blocker. If the issue seems urgent to handle, then a quick call was the last resort.
At this stage, Social Champ’s customer support was not well-defined but was a check on all significant boxes. Here a question arises;
What is Customer Support?
‘Customer support is a service a business provides to its customers where they can be listened to, answered, and looked after. A team of one or more who knows the product best would cater to customers, facilitate them and resolve their queries by connecting their respective engineering or development departments.
Quality customer support is quick, timely, and empathetic by keeping the customers first’.
Social Champ was doing all of the above except having a defined team and a process, which made the customer support crumble.
Customer Support Is Not Enough!
2018: Social Champ was molding itself as a social media management tool where new features were adding up and the customers, but the core concept was the same.
The business was doing well and was technically growing, but the customer support faced a setback. Customers are the most vital component of a growing business.
Social Champ, the customers were increasing in number but also their expectations. Subscriptions rose 200% from 2017 to the end of 2018. Time management was becoming a challenge for the team.
Customer queries started to pile up, and more people began to question the presence of a customer advocate for them. The only means of communication, emails, were suffering the most; the response time increased from 24 hours to a 72 hours window and sometimes more. It was a year of struggles.
It was safe to say that the customer support was not enough!
The focus from customer acquisition shifted 180 degrees to customer retention.
The realization that catering to customers, resolving their issues on priority, a one-on-one connection, and an overall support methodology are not enough to keep customers at difficult times.
A New Beginning Towards Customer Success
2019 – 2022: Realization is not acknowledged by many, but those who do, win the race. With the major failure of customer support methodology, Social Champ took no time to bounce back, and this time with a well thought, strategized, and long-term customer success strategy.
What is Customer Success?
‘Customer Success is a vision that aligns not only with your customer’s needs but also with their journey as they grow.
This is a process where a designated team will look into customers and their journey with your product deep down at every stage. The focus is not only to make the customers feel heard, but they should feel nurtured, preferred, and essential. The customers’ growth becomes a preference equally as their issues become a priority. Unlike the customer support system, the customer success eye-on creates various channels to have a definite path for communications, help, assistance, community building, and much more.’
For Social Champ, this was a fresh start that changed everything. The company jumped to a spike of 450% growth in the subscription as per the end of the year 2021.
Are you ready to learn about the 6 channels we created for a successful customer journey?
Then here it goes:
Team BuildingThe initial team was composed of 3 people juggling multiple tasks, which grew bigger. Over the period of 2 years, the team grew 700%. The first learning was definitely to have ‘designated tasks,’ and we required a designated team for customer success; this was the first thing implemented.
Grand strategies are mere ideas if there are no right people to execute them.
So the hunt was for the best fit Customer Advocates.
What are the qualities of a good Customer Advocate?
- They need to be empathetic. Empathy is a trait not excelled by all.
- They should be patient and good listeners.
- Coolness and calm-mindedness is necessary trait.
- Responsiveness is IMPORTANT.
- A great sense of ownership of work is a plus.
It is important to have like-minded customer advocates in a team who work for the same business goals and can communicate well among themselves. Having a solid team is the first tick on this list, but one must avoid reneging false promises and unmatched timelines to the customers at any cost.
Once Social Champ got the dream advocates on the team, the flow started to build.
24/7 Live Chat
A growing business increases the number of customers who trust you, and for us, emails as a means of communication were not performing enough. The target was to get back to a 24 hours response time, achieved by introducing a proper Live Chat via Crisp in 2019. Our talented customer advocates handle this chat, not by robots, owls, or machines. This was a game-changer for Social Champ!
Just in the year 2021, almost 2000+ live chats were dealt with by the team.
Customers found us approachable just when they wanted to talk, know the platform better, had any questions, or required any further assistance by having the chat option everywhere within the platform. The response time improved, or if I say, it came around approximately 8-17 hours maximum. This change was fruitful, which was evident from how customers started trusting us. They had more platform knowledge than before, their issues were addressed timely, and eventually, the churn rate decreased.
Consistency is a need, but it shouldn’t make the process stagnant. So, to grow better, we made the Live Chat shoot from a measurable response time to a 24/7 available service. No customer at any time zone should be waiting for very long hours to get a response from our team except if they are hungry and having a meal.
The difference was evident and much appreciated by our beloved ChampFam as well. The communication between the team and the customers was flowing through two elaborate channels now, Emails and a human-based, Live Chat service.
A good customer journey is never constant as it keeps improving with the customers’ exposure and growth. With a brief wait for the stability of live chats – which is more important than moving on, Social Champ decided to step up the game!
We introduced Calls. Initially, we saw customers struggling, and a written conversation might not serve the purpose. These calls helped the customer advocates understand the issues better, provide quick resolutions to the customer problems, and above all, the empathy finally could now be felt by the customers in real-time. Once the team held the pace and the onboarded customers felt facilitated, the next inning of calls kicked in – the Demo Calls.
We initially started the demo calls by offering them to all the new customers who reached us via emails, the contact us page, or the live chat. This way around 45+ demo calls were conducted in the year 2021. The team began to understand the customer’s perspectives, needs, points of view, and what they feel when they explore the platform at every step. Thus we refined our customer journey!
Next, we made the demo calls open for all and everyone – we made it a part of our website’s landing page as a highlighted click-through button and badged it within the platform.
As a result, our customer conversion rate grew by leaps and bounds. Now our advocates attend and facilitate many calls every day, whether a demo call or a customer seeking more insights – everyone is looked after.
Helpdesk and Video Tutorials
After implementing three real-time communication channels within a customer success journey, it was time to address the frequently asked questions. Staying in touch with customers was paying off but as it is said, work smarter kids, not harder!
We created a Help Desk. The idea was to turn our learnings from emails, calls, and live chats into questions and have online answers. We kept questions simple so anyone would search for them, and then we repurposed them as detailed guides, frequently asked questions, and video tutorials.
Currently, the helpdesk consists of 110+ guides of all sorts to help customers in a go.
Now for video tutorials, Social Champ gave its YouTube channel a fresh start with in-app tutorial videos. Tutorial videos were then embedded within the written guides to have the right flow for our customers and their understanding.
Next, the guides were then incorporated within the Social Champ’s platform for easy access and customer convenience – another tick on the list for a successful customer success strategy. Social Champ’s YouTube channel now consists of 100+ videos including platform tutorials, educational videos, social media marketing insights, and much more.
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A brand is by the community and for the community. So, building a community is essential when you are focused on growing as a business.
Everyone is online with their work or a passion they follow, and so everyone needs a social media management tool to make their lives easy. While Social Champ was picking up pace with customers one-on-one, it was wise to start a two-way conversation with people who excel in their communities. We wanted to find our target audience and our existing customers over social media, and to cater to our communication, we created a Facebook Community Group.
We started a public community group to connect with people over social media and cater to their queries regarding the growing digital world. We currently hold a strong online community of 900+ enthusiastic individuals, market influencers, bloggers, entrepreneurs, and social media managers.
Social media automation is yet not everyone’s cup of tea, so here our community played a vital role in awareness, teaching, and assisting people.
With all the significant channels set in a customer’s journey, we started with a feature requests roadmap driven directly by the customers. Yes! At Social Champ, the platform’s new developments and integrations have always been based on customer requests. Even at the most struggling stage of the product, customer feature requests were the company’s utmost priority to be implemented.
Keeping up with the legacy, we decided to start with an online communities forum where customers and to-be customers can add their desired features or upvote the features already present on the roadmap. Features with the highest upvotes – depicting the highest number of requests to be integrated, will be picked by our development team on priority.
With a Customer’s Roadmap, the chances of missing out on any feature request are reduced majorly. People have an opportunity to put their feature requests forward; meanwhile, the product can grow in the direction of how it is wanted to be seen by the people.
Customer Success Requires Consistency
Nothing can be achieved overnight and the customer journey is a time-consuming process. Starting with nurturing customers on board, then studying their experiences within your platform to map the Customer’s Journey. A customer’s journey has been the driving force for us to strategize our customer success process and all the elements that it requires.
It took Social Champ years of experience, certain setbacks when focused on customer support, and loads of hard work to bring a shift in customer experience. Today we have happy, satisfied, and well-connected customers who grow along with Social Champ.
Every element of customer success strategy requires consistency and evolution over time to stay fresh, relatable, and helpful to its customers.