Customer Success is essential to ensuring the satisfaction and advocacy of those who rely on your products and services. In the healthcare industry, it’s a particularly unique challenge to ensure your partners are achieving their goals amidst the plethora of standards providers and clinicians are also required to meet. I wanted to share several best practices I’ve adopted as Director of Customer Success at NeuroFlow and expert CSM Trainer that enable my team to approach each milestone of the customer journey with a keen focus on the customer experience.
1. Focus on “People-Centric” Instead of Perfect
It doesn’t matter how innovative or helpful your technology is; if your product doesn’t resonate with users in a way that builds trust (think people, process, tools), your customers won’t be successful using it, and churn will be inevitable. To infuse the “people factor” into NeuroFlow’s products, we’ve established a feedback loop for the Voice of the Customer into the product development workflow so that key features of our products are backed by not just data, but humans.
As a high-growth tech company, it’s extremely important to be open-minded and flexible in your genuine listening so you can truly hear your customers’ needs, work to understand their goals, and iterate upon your product accordingly.
2. Set Internal Standards for Success
Customer success in healthcare must begin as a priority of leadership. When leaders help define and align around customer success goals, each of their teams can hone their focus on achieving them.
Before you begin to evaluate tools and resources to integrate customer success into the daily workflows of your teams, you need to determine the problems you’re aiming to solve. Start with tangible, measurable markers for the progress you want to achieve. These metrics will serve as the basis for your conversations with leadership when you want to invest in customer success software or develop and hire for a new role on your team.
Break down your big goals and set a customer-success oriented KPI that your team can work to achieve each week. Naturally, your team will inevitably need to pivot to accommodate situations that arise, but starting each week knowing the areas of the business you want to impact will allow everyone to work better, together.
3. Equip Your Customer Success Team to Meet Industry Standards
From highly technical insider jargon to HIPAA-compliance, the healthcare industry has unique challenges for customer success teams. As a leader, it’s important to ensure that team members undergo continuous training to ensure that they’re equipped to communicate complex information in colloquial terms so that customers feel confident in your products and services.
Get super comfortable with discussing liability, risk mitigation, and clinical burden when implementing technology within a healthcare setting. Marinate in the mindset of your customers and be prepared with appropriate documentation and certifications whenever possible. This practice in particular allows you to move past the lethargy and blockers for access to the people and departments that you will most likely need.
To develop a shared vocabulary, create a centralized folder or location for documents, hold regular training sessions to communicate updates, and offer professional development courses that strengthen and support your team’s understanding of HIPAA and healthcare policies so they can more effectively communicate them to your customers. Utilizing the correct terminology to refer to populations is equally as important to reiterate industry expertise.
4. Tailor Your Communications to the People You’re Serving
Each and every communication you generate should be value-based. Before saying, drafting, or publishing customer-facing content, ask yourself, “Why should my audience care about this?” If you don’t have a quick and simple answer, you may want to tweak your content or realign your goal to better suit your customers’ needs.
This best practice goes for manager and employee communications as well. Instead of surfacing the dreaded “check-in” conversations, customer success managers can better serve their teams by talking specifics.
Delve into the “why” behind a certain request and extract patterns and takeaways to bring to internal teams through customer interactions. Utilize SMART (Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely) goals and base conversations off of value (WIIFM: What’s in it for me?). These practices pave the way for actionable items and plans and increase satisfaction for both employees and customers.
5. Gain Inspiration from Industry Insiders and Publications
Adapting your team’s practices to evolve with the ever-changing landscape of the healthcare industry is a constant but critical priority. By becoming a student of customer success, I’m able to proactively prepare my team for the new and now ahead of time.
I’m lucky to be in a community full of open-minded people who are both thirsty for knowledge and eager to share what they’ve learned. Groom your Linkedin feed, download podcasts, and subscribe to customer success blogs so that you’re instantly updated with the latest content from customer-centric gurus in and beyond the healthcare industry. Customer success leaders have a plethora of free resources right at their fingertips. It’s just a matter of making it a priority each week (versus “not having time”) so you can absorb and apply their insights to your own professional development pursuits.
6. Flex Your People Skills In and Beyond the Office
Turnover in customer-facing roles is high, so in the same way you stress the concept of “going above and beyond” for customers to your team, it’s your duty as a customer success manager to do the same for the employees you oversee on a daily basis.
As a yoga teacher trainer beyond the hours of nine to five, I thrive on building a community around common interests. My weekly experience teaching others the philosophy and practice of yoga translates to my work as a customer success manager because both roles require me to show the people I serve that they are seen, heard, supported, and appreciated. One example of this is in the structure for which I give and receive feedback. We use the keep/stop/start approach to give a framework for what can be a complex situation. I’m especially a fan of the “keep” portion which allows CSMs to celebrate small wins along the path to holistic improvement.
I don’t believe in small talk. I believe in real talk. It’s easy to comment on the weather, but to take the time to ask your employee, “What’s the most challenging part of working with me?” in the spirit of radical candor sets up the expectation that growth isn’t limited in any form. This approach turns an impromptu conversation into a relationship-building opportunity. That’s what we’re here for, after all. Customer success is all about being sure that people get what they need. When you extend that philosophy to your team, you’re connected, present, and ultimately unstoppable.