Totango Blog: Your Guide to Managing the Customer Journey

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Totango emerges as a veteran in new Forrester Report on Customer Success

With the growth of subscription revenue models in many industries, especially in the SaaS space, customer success is coming to the forefront of business conversations. Organizations realize that they must actively drive the success of their customers in order to decrease churn and increase revenue. At Totango this is something we’ve been helping companies with for the last four years, so we’re excited that Forrester has recently researched this topic and released their Market Overview: Customer Success Solutions. This report gives a great overview of the customer success market as well as what key ingredients are needed to implement a customer success strategy.

While we obviously want you to read the whole report, we also want to comment on many of the key topics that were brought up and add our own thoughts.

icons-15Actively Managing Customers Increases Revenue

“In parallel with the uptake of the subscription business model is the arrival of the ‘age of the customer’. Customers have become more demanding, staying loyal to companies only when they deliver value.”

One of the core beliefs at Totango is that companies must continually drive customer value throughout the customer journey in order to reduce churn, increase adoption and promote advocacy. Managing customer relationships is one thing, but driving customer value is far more effective. We help companies define the customer journey and then set up the right processes to be able to proactively drive their customers down this path leading to ongoing success. While we know for most organizations their #1 goal when implementing customer success is to reduce churn, we believe this process of driving consistent value throughout the journey can have even more benefit, increasing upsells and cross-sells as well as promoting advocacy which can lead to winning new customers. As stated in the report, customers will remain loyal when they are receiving value.

icons-12Customer Success Management Relies on a Customer’s “Health Score”

“The behavior of the health score at the company, subscription, and user level — its raw number, trends, and sudden changes — is at the heart of understanding and managing customer success.”

Understanding customer health is fundamental to any customer success strategy. Today most companies use data points such as NPS scores, support ticket history, billing/payment history, etc to determine health. This primarily gives a historical snapshot of what’s going on, without providing a true predictive assessment of where the customer is headed. To build an effective customer health score that you can trust requires ongoing monitoring of customer behavior, their actions, and their level of engagement with your company. Did your customer add new users and how is their onboarding progressing?  Was there a sudden drop in activity?  Has the executive team stopped using your reports and dashboards? Monitoring these types of actions also allows you to be proactive with your customer success program, keep driving value for your customers and build an engaged user base.

icons-11Customer Success Solutions Emerge As A Powerful New Category

The report says that though many of the vendors in the space are new, they all have similar capabilities — straightforward data collection, configurable reports, analytics, triggers, alerts, and playbooks.

But there are also fundamental differences in the approach each company takes to solve the problem. At Totango we believe that customer success is all about keeping your promise to customers.  Managing churn and renewals is necessary, but what Customer Success teams need to really manage is the customer journey — so you can focus your time and resources on delivering recurring value to customers at every point in the customer journey, engage with them in a more meaningful manner, and ultimately maximize the business impact you have on them. To do this we focus on identifying and monitoring leading indicators that help SaaS companies predict at-risk customers and proactively drive positive customer experiences. With this approach, you are able to put in place customer success programs that can scale intelligently as your organization and customer base grows.

You can get access to the full Forrester Market Overview: Customer Success Solutions report here.

Kaiser Mulla-Feroze

I'm the CMO at Totango. I love the challenge of bringing new products to market. Before Totango, I spent over 12 years at salesforce.com across products, marketing, and business development. I had the most fun there during the early days when we were establishing salesforce's product leadership position. I'm looking forward to doing the same at Totango.

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