Customer retention Guide

Customer success tools | Top 10, best practices, and selection criteria

Published , Updated 9 mn
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thais

What makes a good customer success tool?

We have relied on the excellent article of insided to build this article, and in particular on their definition of customer satisfaction according to the different phases of growth of the company.

(Insided)

The solutions we have selected are aimed at more mature companies, who are looking for real solutions to leverage levers such asupselling, building communities of users and customers, maintaining an impeccable online reputation, and building a brand in a broader sense.

For lighter customer support solutions we recommend the following articles

Optimize the onboarding of new customers

Onboarding of new customers is usually done through video calls or help center articles, often hosted on the ticketing software and possibly some popups or emails sent by a tool like Intercom or Zendesk. It is not uncommon for there to be conflicts between the messages designed by the marketing, customer support, and/or product teams. CSM’s tools unify all of this, and provide a streamlined, thoughtful, and efficient onboarding experience.

Drive deeper adoption of the software

Often, product managers have strong adoption goals for a few months after a feature is released, and then the goal is not picked up by the teams. Support staff are left to answer increasingly complex questions about features they don’t understand, which prevents users from getting the full value of the tool.

To remedy this, the most experienced ones set up training programs, “academies” or e-learning modules, which struggle to find an audience.

CSM’s tools enable the creation of true customer journeys based on each customer’s objectives and usage, and the homogenization of all communications around each key feature. It’s also a big upsell lever once it’s all a little more organized.

Identify at-risk clients

It is very often the CRM software that gathers the customer knowledge and that allows to set up some reports supposed to help identify the customers at risk. But the CRM is above all a sales tool, the promises that have been made for closer are rarely indicated in the customer file, which is also very rarely updated when a ticket is opened or when a customer gives feedback.

The role of CSM software is to interface with the CRM so that the CRM continues to serve its function as sales software (including renewals, upsells, etc.) during. The CSM software sources usage data, satisfaction data, etc. to identify opportunities or risks of churn, which are then transmitted (or not) to the CRM. It allows operations teams to keep a tool of their own and track accounts receivable, take notes, and find opportunities for growth.

Better communicate with your customers

The problem with customer communications very often comes from the explosion of tools and teams that communicate directly with customers. In a classic SaaS with 200+ employees, there is often software that manages NPS on its own, ticketing software that manages CSAT, CRM that manages renewal, Stripe that handles card renewal or dunning topics, a marketing automation tool that sends a whole bunch of sequences for a whole bunch of reasons.

Often, the most advanced teams build a report that aggregates the information from all these tools. However, this is a rather inefficient technique that must be operated continuously.

CSM tools offer a wide range of functionalities to obtain more qualitative customer feedback and to centralize it in one tool, under a customer account card.

Integrate with your tools

(Insided)

The customer success tool must access, aggregate, and make intelligible very heterogeneous sets of data: CRM customer file, product interactions, marketing interactions, interactions with customer support, job changes and recruitments at customers, etc.

The CSM tool must be able to assemble all this data and make it easily usable. Integrations with your usual tools are fundamental to ensure this objective.

#1 Gainsight

CSM’s all-in-one software, very good at identifying risky accounts and customer communication

Gainsight provides a central dashboard that acts as a command center for customer success and serves companies like Box, WeWork and Dell Boomi. From the main Gainsight page, customer success teams can track user trends via CSAT, sentiment ratings and NPS, or focus on specific customer segments.

The dashboard highlights annual recurring revenue (ARR) and upcoming user account renewals. This is very helpful in supporting your income goals. You also have access to success plans to track your progress towards your goals.

Gainsight offers a drag and drop onboarding editor that allows you to automate customer journeys. The tool provides particularly useful content for, such as game guides for client success. If you organize customer calls via Calendly, you can automatically update your database thanks to this Calendly + Gainsight integration.

Gainsight offers three premium plans, one of which offers a free trial version. Rates are available upon request.

#2 ChurnZero

Another leader in CSM tools with a focus on churn detection

ChurnZero is a cloud-based customer success software that helps you manage churn risk. It is designed to help you identify your most at-risk customers and retain them.

ChurnZero uses data science to identify at-risk customers based on their behavior, past and present, across multiple online platforms. It then uses machine learning to predict which customers are likely to leave. The software also allows you to set up automated messages to encourage engagement with these customers and use a predictive model to contact these customers before they leave.

Beyond customer information (customer accounts, customer journeys, health scores), ChurnZero offers custom dashboards, workflow automation, real-time alerts, reporting and analytics, REST API access, customer surveys and third-party integrations/add-ons, etc.

The software offers many integrations, such as Salesforce, Hubspot, Netsuite, Close.io, Zoho CRM, Chargebee, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Pipedrive, Copper, Freshsales and many other tools. ChurnZero also offers a REST API if you want to integrate your data into an unlisted system.

ChurnZero does not offer a free trial or free version, and pricing is available upon request.

#3 Zendesk

Ticketing software giant goes further and further into the life of the customer and becomes a real alternative

Zendesk is one of the leaders in cloud-based customer success software. It offers simple management of customer support interactions, including a support ticket system.

Ticket forms allow you to create different types of support requests and to meet specific customer needs. You can even add custom fields to your forms. The integration of Zendesk and Calendly or its free alternatives also makes it easy to schedule support appointments.

Beyond support tickets, Zendesk offers many useful features to improve your customer service performance. The application features live chat, appointment management, social media integration and knowledge base management.

Zendesk offers a first plan at €19/month, and other premium plans ranging in price from €49/month to €215/month for enterprise plans. A free 30-day trial is available for all plans.

#4 Planhat

To build a unique customer repository and advanced ABM strategies

Planhat is an all-in-one customer success tool that allows users to easily manage customer relationships, track customer usage of their products, identify areas for improvement, and create personalized support services.

Planhat allows you to collect data from multiple sources: email, web analytics, social networks and CRM systems. From this data, you can easily create customized dashboards and analysis reports.

The software also provides detailed analysis reports that give you insight into customer behavior and preferences. Planhat offers many integrations, such as Aircall, Pendo, Segment, SatisMeter, Stitch, Pipedrive, Salesforce, Mailchimp, Hubspot and many others.

Planhat offers 3 premium plans whose rates are available upon request.

#5 Catalyst

One of CSM’s best tools for driving upsell and creating customer communication campaigns

Catalyst is a very powerful customer success software that allows you to offer personalized help to your customers and makes it quite easy to retain them.

With detailed analytics, Catalyst helps you capture leads, increase conversions and retain existing customers. You can also create rules based on the behavior of your customers. For example, send them a reminder email if they don’t open your emails. It allows you to automatically track your customers and identify customers who are no longer engaging with your brand.

Catalyst also offers a comprehensive prospect assessment. This is especially useful for categorizing your prospects into different categories, based on the likelihood of them becoming customers. Other features are available: personalized dashboards, customer health scores, customer journey mapping, email automation, customer segmentation, activity tracking, but also a wide range of integrations(Zendesk, Service Cloud, Snowflake, Segment, etc.).

Catalyst rates are available upon request.

#6 Pendo

A CSM tool that focuses on chatbot and in-app customer communications

Pendo is a customer success tool that offers interesting features to improve the customer experience of its users. It provides advanced analytics and guides that make it easier for users to get started with the application.

Pendo also allows you to create dashboards to track whether the strategy you are adopting is the right one to guide customer behavior. The software also provides access to data that tracks customer engagement.

You can also import CRM data from many tools, such as Salesforce. The integration of Calendly and Pendo makes it easy to schedule Zoom calls with users who need help.

Pendo offers a free plan, a first premium plan at €580/month and two premium plans for businesses.

#7 Hubspot

The support tool used with CRM and marketing automation tools becomes an advanced customer success tool

Hubspot is an all-in-one customer success solution that adapts to a wide range of needs.

Hubspot makes it easy to organize customer requests and issues. The team’s common inbox allows messages to be assigned to different members. Hubbspot also offers interesting customer feedback tools that give you an idea of the customer satisfaction score.

The beauty of Hubspot is that, as a marketing automation and CRM software, it offers very strong integrations if you want to use the entire Hubspot suite. For those who are hesitant to adopt a customer success solution, Hubspot can be an interesting solution: Hubspot Marketing Hub, Hubspot CRM, and Hubspot Support stand on their own, if the data is well centralized and fluid between all the tools.

Hubspot offers a premium “Professional” plan at €823/month and an “Enterprise” plan at €3,300/month.

#8 Profitwell

A very analytical tool for customer success at an almost scientific level

Profitwell is a customer success tool that is perfectly suited for those who want to have very precise data, especially in terms of identifying at-risk customers. It provides fairly rich financial metrics with graphs, which can make the interface unintuitive for less experienced users.

It offers interesting features, such as data import and export tools, reports and dashboards, and ensures data reliability and security.

Profitwell offers a free plan, a Retain plan, which is priced according to the revenue collected, and two premium plans, at $1000 and $1500/month.

#9 Intercom

The ultimate customer communication tool with many advanced segmentation features

Intercom is a live customer success chat software that offers many ways to connect with users. With live chat features, personalized chatbots, in-app banners, push notifications, it connects with users in multiple ways and ensures excellent customer communication.

You can integrate Intercom with other applications, like Slack. It allows you to integrate this tool into your team’s current workflow and manage messages where they work. You can also integrate it with Calendly, to instantly schedule customer calls, or Intercom Messenger.

Intercom offers a first premium plan from 69€/month and more expensive plans for companies, whose rates are available on request.

#10 Totango

A comprehensive tool to monitor the health of customer accounts

Totango is a customer success software that provides organizations with a suite of tools to manage customer engagement and measure the success of customer success initiatives. It allows you to easily track customer health scores and get key information on whether or not your features are being used. This is very useful for assessing customer engagement.

Totango also allows you to define custom health scores based on specific business metrics and usage patterns. This is especially useful for aligning customer health scores with business goals. A proactive alerts feature also allows for notifications when specific events occur, such as changes in usage patterns or customer engagement.

With reporting and analysis tools, Totango offers a full range of capabilities to assess customer health and identify actions to improve customer satisfaction. Totango integrates with many software: Salesforce, Hubspot, Pardot and many other tools.

Totango offers a free forever plan, a first premium plan at €233/month, and a Growth plan at €1029/month.