On their Terms: Evolving Customer Success for Millennial B2B Tech Buyers
We’ve talked in past posts about how Millennials are stepping into B2B buying roles and overturning traditional ideas about how buyers want to interact with technology companies. But what about after the sale has closed? With customers – and particularly Millennials – assessing products and services on their overall experience with the company, the post-purchase experience has become as important as the product itself. So what are tech companies to do? The answer: invest in customer success.
A well-run customer success team uses data to measure and monitor satisfaction and usage metrics, and is empowered to use that information to connect with customers to help them achieve positive outcomes. Done right, this drives adoption and active use, retention and growth, and the holy grail of Millennial marketing – advocacy.
Adoption and active use
When it comes to promoting the adoption and active use of technology products, customer success’ job is to educate customers and help them realize value quickly. The best way to do that is to reach customers via the right channel and with the right level of information.
One of the best ways to communicate with Millennials is via video content. 71% of Millennial buyers are “likely” or “very likely” to engage with short videos, compared with just 54% of Baby Boomers. Short videos can be an incredibly effective means of communication not only to convey onboarding information, but also to promote features that will result in deeper and more active use.
But remember – Millennials are not a monolithic group. Make sure that you have content and information available for varying levels of technological know-how, and don’t make the mistake of assuming every younger user is going to breeze through onboarding roadblock-free.
Retention and growth
Millennials pose a unique challenge when it comes to retention and growth because they’re “digital natives” – they’ve grown up with technology and are used to figuring things out on their own. This do-it-yourself mentality can be a strength when it comes to experimenting with new technology, but it also means that without proactively reaching out to customers, you may not know how well (or poorly) things are going.
One critically important way to keep an ear to the ground is via social media. 85% of Millennials are part of a social networking site. But Millennials are not just using these sites for socializing. They also expect social channels to be a two-way door for communication with vendor partners. Customer success teams can streamline these interactions with a cohesive strategy across every touchpoint.
It’s equally important to make sure that when you do reach out to Millennials, you do it with purpose. Millennials want authentic relationships with companies. This authenticity can come in the form of personalized interactions – tailoring outreach and surfacing personalized resources to the particular customer. Authenticity can also be achieved by making sure that interactions are contextualized based on that customer’s history and relationship with the vendor. Millennials are not going to respond well to canned content, and your customer success team can make sure that never jeopardizes the relationship.
Advocacy brings customer success all together
One of the best outcomes and measures of a successful customer success team is advocacy. Millennials actively seek peer reviews – so having customers who are happy to advocate for your business will bolster your credibility. After free trials and demos – and it’s no surprise that firsthand experience rises to the top for a sales-avoidant cohort – peer referrals are one of Millennial tech buyers’ top three most trustworthy information sources.
There are two ways that advocacy from current customers can help your business. Satisfied users can become internal advocates within their company, helping to increase adoption rates. If you’ve provided the right content through the right channels for them to learn about and engage with your product, they will be able to take that knowledge and teach others within their company. Increased adoption and deeper usage means higher retention and opens the door for additional sales to that same customer.
Satisfied users can also become external advocates for your company, spreading the word to new customers and generating new leads. On average, referred customers have a 16% higher lifetime value than non-referred customers. Encourage dialogue between current and potential customers by engaging them on social media and sharing testimonials on your website.
So what have we learned? If your customer success team is reaching Millennials via the right channels and with the right information, you should see faster and broader adoption, deeper and more active use of features, and higher retention. And if your team has truly succeeded in delivering customer satisfaction, you’ll find your customers have become advocates – driving purchases of additional high value products and services, and bringing in new high-value customers.