As the swiss-army knife of customer-facing operations, a good customer success manager (CSM) can often be one of the busiest people in the organization.
Here are just a few of the things she has to deal with on a daily basis:
- Customer Support Calls
- Consulting Interactions
- Strategic Planning
That's quite a bit for any one employee to handle on her own. So, what’s a CSM (customer success manager) to do?
In a few words: find some help.
Leaning on your Community
What better place to look for help than a community of loyal customers who’ve already yoked themselves to your brand?
To successfully shift some of your burden onto your customers, you’ll need to create a very specific type of community—one in which a significant number of members are willing to devote themselves to seeing other customers succeed.
How do you do that?
A big part of creating such a community is organic. You’ll have to engage customers and build good relationships with them over time through your blogs, forums and other social channels.
But it takes more than just good relational vibes to build a community you can rely on. You’ll have to create an environment which rewards mutual support.
In other words, you need to give your community members a tangible reason to go out of their way to serve their fellow customers.
Let the Games Begin
When it comes to online community, gamification is one of the most potent mechanisms we have for driving specific individual behavior.
In the most basic sense of the term, to “gamify” something is to turn it into a game. This can be as silly and as gimmicky as getting your fans to look for digital pretzels. Or it can be as robust as the system Apple uses to handle its community support forums.
At this level, gamification involves a few key elements:
- Points – Users are awarded points for taking specific actions.
- Badges – Users are given public recognition for their achievement.
- Levels – In addition to public recognition, users are given access to new benefits as they climb the ladder.
How does this Fit into Customer Success?
I’ve written previously about how gamification can supercharge your online forum-based customer support. Just that one piece can save customer success professionals a great deal of stress by reducing time spent dealing with service tickets.
Let’s consider one more option: on-boarding.
What if the time you spent showing new customers the ropes could successfully be transferred to a small core of super-users?
Consider how Lyft used to onboard their new drivers. Up until July of last year, the ride-sharing company used a mentorship program to introduce new drivers into their ecosystem.
They could’ve used dedicated staff to do this, but by creating a core group of super-users to do it for them, they were able to shift some of their HR and customer service burden to the customers themselves.
Using a simple game and reward structure, you could incentivize your existing customers to act as ambassadors for new users. That’ll give you an easy way to engage customers while freeing up CS resources to be used elsewhere.
Gamification is not only fun; it works! It'll appeal to your existing customers and give them a reason to invest in one another’s success. More importantly, it’ll help free up your CS staff to deal more directly and meaningfully with customers on a deeper level.
Are you using gamification to improve customer success? Let me know how below.