Are you a memberships site looking to understand and retain your members? Then adding customer success to your process to open up conversations directly with your customers and help build a relationship, gain feedback on your product, and increase customer loyalty. Read on to find out how to increase customer success through calls.
What is Customer Success?
Customer success is a movement by companies to develop more loyalty in their customers by developing a more personal relationship with existing customers that buy their products. This includes looking at retention, churn, and refund rates, and keeping a pulse on the customer experience over time.
Customer success is a rising trend, especially for online products like membership sites. Online products are unique in that you don’t ever have face-to-face communications with your customers. Depending on your sales process, it could be completely hands-off.
We just have a contact form where we potentially get emails from people and chit-chat, but a lot of people just directly buy our product so we really have no idea to some extent. – Travis Lima, PMPro
Making a call and having an actual conversation with the people buying the product will help increase understanding of customer motivations and experience, and can help customers to activate the product, use it fully, and give valuable feedback. It’s an opportunity to express your company value and show and teach customers about your product.
Customer success is not necessarily the same as marketing, in the sense of trying to get more people signing up, but there is some overlap. A similar process could occur; a call with an existing customer could then trigger a funnel that will give them reason to remain as a product purchaser.
It’s helping this customer to succeed with your product, because if they’re succeeding with their product, with your product, then they are more likely to stay with you, develop a relationship and that’s obviously good for the long run of everybody. – Travis Lima, PMPro.
Customer Success Tools
Before jumping into calls, there needs to be a process to coordinate communications and log data about the relationships. There are a number of tools that can be used, many of which have free basic memberships. That means there are zero onboarding costs to begin a customer success process.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms allow you to manage customer conversations and the different steps on their customer journey, for example:
- When they joined
- What communication they’ve had
- Who has spoken to them
- Follow up actions
- Customer reviews
There’s a lot of interesting and fun things that you can do depending on who the customer is and where they’re at in their journey with you. But based on the caller and the type of call I just had, I will definitely add some notes to the CRM and specifically under their user profile. So that in the future, if I have to do a follow-up call or if someone else needs to get some information, they can see that.
Why You Should Consider a CRM?
CRM platforms include automation and trigger events that happen based on how you tag someone. These can trigger them into part of a funnel or an automation series. Funnels are important because this allows you to automatically follow up with people over a certain period of time for some sort of objective or outcome.
Say you have a product and you take a call with a non-member or a potential customer, then you can actually put them through a very specific funnel that will give them more information periodically and possibly even a discount code at the end, trying to convert them to purchase. Existing customers could move into a funnel for up-selling a premium product or service.
There are many different CRM platforms you can use. PMPro uses Groundhogg, a free WordPress plugin that can trigger events within your WordPress admin. They have upgrade options to get more features that you might need when you’re going to use it in a very robust way.
To book and schedule calls, look at a calendar booking tool such as Calendly. Within these tools, set up your calendar and your meeting times. In Calendly, these are called events and you can put a timeframe, which days you want to take calls, and time options. For example, allocating 20-minute slots from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM one day a week.
These platforms generate a link to send to customers, they click on this link to book a time within a selected block. Most platforms will even work out the time zones.
These tools sync with work and personal calendars, and If you have the premium version of Calendly, then you can also sync multiple calendars and prevent double booking.
Plan for Customer Success Calls
Once tools are in place, planning is the next step to successful calls.
Use your booking calendar to set a time limit for your calls. This may be 15 or 20 minutes, enough time to answer questions. For virtual calls, you can choose face to face with video or audio. It may be that you leave this up to the customer to decide what they are comfortable with. Some people are more comfortable doing audio only and some people like to see interaction and actually see the person. Screen sharing may also be useful if there is a particular area of the site being discussed, you can clearly understand or troubleshoot in real time.
Have a set of questions to ask the customer prepared in advance, but allow the conversation to flow naturally if they have points to make. Some questions could include:
- How are they liking the product?
- What made them come join this product?
- Are they aware of new features that are coming out?
- What kind of gaps can we fill?
Be prepared for the types of questions that customers may ask. After a number of calls, frequently asked questions will begin to arise. These may include:
- How does this work?
- Looking for feature options
- Troubleshooting issues
- Membership costs
Common Issues With Calls and the Solutions
There can be no shows, where a call is booked and the customer does not attend. People’s schedules change, sometimes there is a notification. This can be inconvenient, when you’ve booked your time to do the call, time which could have been utilized somewhere else.
To reduce no-shows, create email reminders. These can be personal or calendar booking platforms can be automated to send reminders. With Calendly this is available with the premium version.
The Challenge With Video Calls
For an international company, language barriers could occur when speaking with global customers. In these situations, it may be that the conversation is best over email so translations can be made and meanings clarified.
Internet issues can also interrupt calls. Again, it may be best to continue the conversation over email to clarify questions.
To save time back and forth on email, summarize your understanding of the conversation and answer those points, with language such as:
From what I understood. You meant this was that right. If so, here is the answer.
Following successful calls, this could be the level of customer service expected by the customer. A support system and ticketing may not be enough anymore having had the personal touch. Managing this can include a follow-up email with clarity on customer support steps moving forward.
Why Should a Membership Site Start Doing Pre-Sales or Onboarding Calls?
Online businesses have limited face-to-face interaction with customers, therefore there is less of a relationship. Calls give the opportunity to meet customers and really understand their needs.
“When you actually look at the analytics of it or talk to the customers using your products, you could put out a course about a new topic, but if you had spoken to people and gotten more insight into what courses they were really looking for, You would have built a better course, a more appropriate and fitting course for them in the long run.” Kim Coleman, PMPro
These days, it’s quick and easy to purchase an online product without necessarily dealing with a person. It’s also really easy to ask for a refund or cancel your membership without dealing with a person either. Without customer interaction, it leaves the question: what actually happened there?
A 20-minute phone call is a lot faster than an email which has multiple questions about a product, where you need to reply and address each one. If people are reaching out with lots of questions and they don’t really have a deep understanding, 20 minutes on a phone call can explain a lot in a much faster way than trying to craft multiple email responses.
Calls are surprisingly energizing for your team and leadership. The current set-up of remote work is isolated and it can be hard, but talking to customers can provide social contact.
Getting to Know Your Customers
Learning about the product from these fresh perspective customers. As a founder or team member, it is very easy to glaze over certain details which might be important. When speaking to customers, you may learn something about the product which would never have been noticed from within the company.
There are a number of other considerations about when and how to integrate sales calls into a memberships site:
- At the very beginning, a call could build value for a brand, create a positive customer experience, and encourage referrals
- In order to gain insight into metrics such as a high refund rate or a high rate of churn
- How your sales funnel works currently and whether there is a need for more personal interaction
- A higher price product may indicate greater need for customer interaction to give value and encourage retention.
If I was going to start one tomorrow, I would probably start taking calls right off the bat. And the reason would probably be to try and gain that word of mouth from people. Because especially in the very beginning, I mean, it’s such a competitive space. Developing courses and membership sites are becoming more and more popular and you know, way, in the beginning, you might just have one member or one or two, but those members can possibly stem to their network – Travis Lima, PMPro
Customer success calls can begin immediately with no investment other than time, so there is no harm in trying it. Experiment making calls, different lengths, at different times in the customer journey and see what suits. To begin, simply email somebody or reply to their contact form and offer a call to answer their questions in real-time.