You've likely heard of the Golden Rule, but probably not in the context of business.
It definitely applies, though. Investing in customer success resources for your business and clients is a Golden Rule qualifier: Customer Success Teams work with your clients to make sure they're supported throughout their relationship with your company. That’s just the way you – and anyone leading a successful business – would want to be treated.
When you’re trying to decide how to manage a customer success program, you may think that running the program in-house is your only option. After all, how can you ensure your customers are successful unless you’re personally overseeing their efforts and guiding them toward success?
However, working with an outsourced customer success team can actually make a lot of sense.
As with any business effort, customer success requires strategic effort and guidance. An outsourced customer success team can bring their knowledge into play; using their robust experience, outsourced customer success professionals can help you find ways to improve your customer relationships and build loyalty to your product/brand.
What Is Outsourced Customer Success?
Customer success is the building of long-term loyalty and success for your customers. It’s especially relevant for B2B businesses that are seeking to retain and upsell clients over the life of their relationship.
Outsourced customer success means building a partnership with an external team to support the ongoing and long-term success of your customers. In a successful outsourced customer success relationship, the outsourcing portion should be seamless, and your clients shouldn’t see a difference between your two teams.
Bringing on outsourced customer success resources doesn’t mean that you place a low level of importance on customer success. To the contrary, you’re showing your commitment to dedicating resources specifically with a goal of enhancing and developing satisfying long-term relationships with your customers.
What Are the Benefits and Why Should You Consider Adding an Outsourced Customer Success Team?
Outsourcing customer success gives you all the benefits of creating a loyal, time-tested relationship with your customers, while at the same time minimizing the strain on your sales team's time and budget.
Everybody’s Business Is Nobody’s Business
Many companies take the approach that any and every team member can handle customer success.
While it’s true that your culture should promote customer success as a guiding principle, your team members may not have the specialized expertise required to handle customer success. Asking them to continually context switch and multi-task outside their wheelhouse affects their productivity and morale, and can lead to burnout.
Even in the best, most organized companies, responsibilities can bleed over and plates can become too full. By shifting the responsibility of customer success to a dedicated external team, you’ll have the opportunity to keep everyone focused on what they do best.
Working with an outsourced team means there’s less chance of that “responsibility sprawl” happening, because this team is outside your traditional office set-up, and is highly specialized and trained to secure a specific set of results for you.
These outsourced experts are able to focus their efforts on relationships and retention. And, when retention goes up and churn goes down, your company’s bottom line benefits; even a 5% increase in customer retention rate can generate heavy increases in revenue.
Value Is Driven Through Long-Term Relationships
Building long-term relationships is the key to creating value, particularly for SaaS/B2B companies.
Statistics show that it's generally anywhere between 5 to 30 times more expensive to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. And, at the same time, 70% to 90% of the lifetime value of a customer comes after the initial sale.
Gambling with that big of a chunk of your potential revenue sounds ridiculous, but many companies are willing to do just that by neglecting customer success measures or by lumping them in with their in-house customer service and support teams.
An outsourced customer success team, on the other hand, brings years of valuable industry experience to inform their efforts. They’ve already undergone the trial and error that’s necessary to building customer success processes, so they’re ready to put that knowledge to work as they help to build your programs.
With their guidance, you can save time and money implementing processes – and even more importantly, you’re not conducting trial-and-error experimentation on your own valuable clients. Your outsourced success experts can go straight to implementing their tried-and-tested techniques.
Focusing on Increasing Revenue
When you’re making a sale, you’re spending a lot to get that relationship started – spending that comes in the form of both time and money.
In order to realize long-term revenue from the client, you can’t have them sign up for a year then walk away, leaving you to start the process all over again with a new prospect. With that type of churn, you’ll be constantly working to break even and never have the chance to grow.
Instead, your outsourced customer success team can support you in making ongoing upsells, focusing on opportunities that arise organically through their close relationships and communications with clients.
Outsourced success teams are experts in helping businesses generate additional revenue by understanding their concerns and offering solutions that are mutually beneficial for the customer and for the company.
Upsells provide additional value with less overall effort and expense, and they’re easier to secure. Selling to a new prospect generally has a success rate of between 5% and 20%; the probability increases tremendously when you’re upselling an existing customer (landing in the 60% to 70% success range).
Another added benefit of outsourced customer success teams to your growth? An outsourced customer success team can provide you with the expertise you need at a fraction of the cost of full-time, in-house experts.
You’ll get the knowledge of a strategic and successful outsourced customer success staff at a lower cost (that you might not otherwise be able to afford) to bolster your revenue and your upsell/cross-sell efforts.
Less Resources Spent on Backend Processes
Keeping teams staffed can be a tremendous drain on your internal resources. When you’re responsible for hiring, retaining, and training employees, your work hours can seem to vanish into thin air.
By working with an outsourced customer success team, you can make your efforts more efficient in a couple of ways.
First, all the time and energy needed to recruit and manage a professional team doesn’t fall on you. You don’t have to be impacted by the talent pool in your local area or worry about the competitors that might be seeking to poach your team.
You can focus on your key areas of responsibility, and your outsourced customer success team will focus on theirs.
Secondly, your outsourced customer success team will assist you with developing strategies and processes that work for your business.
The best teams will have developed systems that make sense for your industry and will be able to increase your team’s efficiency. Those lessons will serve you well whether you’re trying to figure out the best way to automate customer touchpoints, or make a strategic decision about expansion into a new market or vertical.
What to Consider Before Investing in Outsourced Customer Success
While outsourcing customer success can provide your business with tremendous value, it’s also important to set some expectations for what you would like to achieve with this new program.
Defining your goals and expectations with your customer success team leaders can help you ensure a smooth integration between your outsourced customer success team and your other sales and marketing personnel.
What Level of Autonomy Are You Willing to Give Your Outsourced Customer Success Team?
If, for example, your outsourced customer success team is tasked with generating valuable upsells with clients, they need to be given some level of autonomy to make this happen.
You may want to discuss opportunities for them to offer incentives or launch renewals without passing the client to another person. Although your internal team will need awareness into the process, creating a frictionless experience for the customer is an important part of customer success.
What Milestones Do You Expect to See Your Outsourced Customer Success Team Achieve?
If you’re looking to reach specific milestones and goals, have those discussions with your outsourced team. They should be able to help you define the KPIs that matter to your customer success efforts, then work with you to build processes that are informed by data and metrics.
The Number 1 Consideration
In order to create fruitful, profitable, mutually-beneficial relationships with your customers, you need to see customer success not as an expense, but as a necessary and valuable investment. Bringing on an outsourced team could provide the talent, knowledge, and expertise needed to take your customer relationships and lifetime value from good to great.
What customer success techniques are you currently using, and how would you hope an outsourced customer success team could improve them? Feel free to share in the comments below:
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