Customer success is more than a trendy term used by SaaS companies. In fact, a solid customer success strategy can help any business reduce churn and increase recurring revenue. 

But, how do companies create success strategies that improve the customer experience, increase production adoption, and improve internal communications?

We reached out to 19 customer success experts to see which strategies they have used to help customers realize value in their product or service, and improve retention.

What Is a Customer Success Strategy?

A customer success strategy is a plan of action that helps your business ensure all customers are successful and happy. In some businesses, this is handled by a single department. In others, the customer success strategy links each member of the organization.

Regardless, a customer success strategy stems from a deliberate partnership with customers throughout their entire journey with your business. It helps them get more value from your product or service and drives the customer experience forward toward desired goals. 

A solid customer success strategy is necessary to improve both retention and renewals, as well as upselling and cross-selling. One thing all customer success strategy examples have in common is that they foster proactive relationships with customers.

13 Proven Customer Success Strategies

The following strategies help your business forge successful relationships with customers, and in the process, reduce churn and boost retention.

1. Be selective

What it means: Don’t try to target everyone. Look for customers that aren’t just ready to use your product or services, but customers who have the highest likelihood of success. 

Why it matters: Knowing what kind of customer typically experiences success with your product or services will help you tailor messaging and speak directly to their needs. This will ensure your product is being marketed properly and you are attracting the right-fit audience.

2. Offer in-app onboarding

Your customers likely want to start using your product or services right away, which means that you can improve both their experience and chance of success by helping them get set up and engaged as soon as possible. This will increase the level of perceived value, and likelihood of them coming back to engage again. 

3. Enhance support 

As customers start to use your product or service, questions will inevitably arise. Your support team needs to be readily available to field questions, and help customers get “unstuck”. Support can be proactive (eg: chatbots), reactive (eg: email tickets) or self-service (eg: knowledge base articles). Companies should strive to offer a mix of all three support types to ensure customers are getting their questions answered promptly. 

Roughly 67% of customer churn can be avoided if customer support teams are able to resolve an issue or fulfill a customer need during the first interaction. Customer success is all about creating a great experience and helping customers see value as soon as possible. Oftentimes, your customers will need some level of support along the way. 

4. Expand education

By adding a robust knowledge base or product training course, your business will enable both current and prospective customers to see the value in a product or service, and empower them to start using it. 

5. Monitor user engagement

The customer journey doesn’t stop with the signing of a contract or purchase of a product. Companies need to monitor user engagement metrics on a daily, weekly and/or monthly basis. Keep track of help tickets, the number of logins, onboarding steps completed and other activities to ensure customers are engaging with your product or service. Afterall, a customer who isn’t engaged with a product, is not going to see value from it.

6. Personalize the experience

Personalization is the bedrock of any customer success strategy. Customers today are choosing brands that they feel are listening to them, understand them, and pay attention to their specific needs and goals.

According to an Accenture survey, “91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember, and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations”.

The first step in personalizing the experience is to understand the customer’s goals. What is it they need to achieve in order to realize value? Every customer interaction, whether that is during the onboarding or upsell phase, should be centered around the customer’s desired end goal. 

7. Communicate clearly

Businesses sometimes use too much jargon when communicating with customers. You can aid customer success by communicating clearly, and making sure language is accessible and easy to understand.

8. Follow up

Follow up and check in with all your customers. This is a proactive way to show that you care, and are truly behind their success. Offer to address unresolved issues, build relationships, and even collect testimonials from happy customers.

9. Act on feedback  

The insights you gain from follow-ups are only as valuable as the actions you take from it. Closing the loop on customer feedback has many benefits. It allows your product team to understand user needs, align those with feature releases, and ultimately prioritize the product roadmap. As customers start to see this feedback incorporated into the service or product experience, they will feel heard, valued and experience a greater sense of loyalty to the brand.

10. Analyze churn rates

Customer churn is one of the most important metrics, especially for businesses with a subscription-based recurring revenue model. It symbolizes the value of the product or service that you are offering to customers. If retention rates are high, or increasing, your customers are not achieving success. As a result, you need to monitor churn rates on a month-to-month basis.

If a customer does churn, reach out to them to understand why. While this is reactive insight, it will be critical to improving the customer experience, and reducing churn rates in the future. 

11. Review your losses

When you’re looking at customer churn, consider the companies you have lost. Look for common denominators. Perhaps your tool doesn’t have the particular features needed in a certain sector. This could highlight potential product improvements, or opportunities to re-position marketing messaging towards those industries or cohorts where you have the highest retention levels. 

12. Create a referral program

What it means: Current successful customers can be your biggest lever for landing new customers. Consider creating a program that rewards customers for advocating your product or service. For example, many SaaS companies will offer a free month of their product for new customer referrals.

13. Use software to improve customer management

Customer success programs have a lot of moving pieces, from onboarding and educating new users to collecting customer feedback, monitoring at-risk users, validating the product roadmap, and identifying opportunities for expansion revenue. High performing customer success teams rely on different software to streamline operations and ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

Parlor is an all-in-one user relationship platform used by customer success teams at some of the largest brands to monitor customers across critical lifecycle stages. Customer success managers are able to spot user risk factors before churn occurs, capture and centralize feedback from all major support channels, use that feedback to validate the product roadmap, and surface opportunities for expansion revenue. 

19 Experts Share Their Top Customer Success Strategies

Find out which customer success strategies have worked for companies such as Donorbox, Onfleet, DashThis and SPOTIO. 


Paige Arnof-Fenn

Mavens & Moguls | Founder & CEO

To keep your customers engaged and connected you must leverage multiple channels. The key is to create outreach campaigns not just via e-mails and newsletters, but through various social media platforms too. Make sure that it reaches the right customers, and encourages them to reply, and spread the word.

Omnichannel creates a seamless experience for customers regardless of channel or device. Consumers now engage with a company in a brick and mortar store, online or mobile app, by catalog, or via social media. Every piece of the consumer’s experience should be consistent and complementary. People use multiple devices during a single transaction process.

Make sure that you are able to listen and respond to these interactions. E-commerce retailers should preserve items in a shopping cart across devices so if you add an item to your mobile shopping cart, it should still be in your shopping cart when you access the site on your desktop too for example. If you recently bought a pair of pants they can recommend a great shirt or sweater to go with it.


Trey Gibson

SPOTIO | CEO

During implementation we ask them how their company plans on measuring success using our product, what are the specific metrics they are going to be tracking and looking to go up or down. From there we put them in a mutual action plan and reference them during future conversations. If we're moving toward their goals Great! let's keep the progress going if not we can work with them to identify why and do corrective action.


Chris Martin

FlexMR | CMO

A core feature of our customer success strategy has been a robust support and education service layer included with all contracts. This means all our clients recieve access to 12 hours of support from a dedicated Help Desk team, a comprehensive Knowledge Base and - most importantly - self-serve training courses. These courses cover both academic topics and the practical training required to make the most of our software. Courses are delivered via email, over 1 - 4 weeks depending on the topic and include a mix of written, video, creative and interactive tasks.

We have found that improving access to education has had a hugely positive impact on client satisfaction, product usage and revenue retention.


Petra Odak

One key thing for all SaaS businesses is the “aha” moment, when the customers realize the value of your product and continue using it. For us, that’s when the customer sends their first proposal and gets it signed. When a new customer signs up, we send them targeted emails to push them towards this point as early as possible. If they sign up but don’t use this main feature of the app, their chances of upgrading to a paid plan or continuing to pay decrease significantly.


Tommy Landry

Return On Now | President

We provide active reports on all activities as well as periodic overall checkins on how well the strategies we recommend are going. Typically, if we do well, our services will result in both immediate and longer term benefits to the clients, with leading and lagging indicators clearly spelled out so they understand the process of building a successful conversion strategy aligned with various means of driving traffic to the domain.


Andrew Soderberg

Monsido, Inc. | Director, Global Customer Success

We work with our customers to identify their goals for success in relation to our web governance and accessibility tools. We then help them set action plans with target dates for them to reach those goals.

We follow-up with them on a regular basis to review their progress and celebrate their completion, or to provide assistance or additional training if they are not meeting their goals.

By investing time and gaining understanding of our customers' goals and helping them with plans to reach those goals we build customer trust, loyalty, and secure our service's value from the customer's perspective which strengthens retention.


Ryan Dunagan

Ziflow | VP of Growth

We've recently launched a product adoption tool to ensure our prospects and customers are experiencing our product in a more guided manner. Once the user experiences a handful of key interactions, user adoption and overall engagement through the customer lifecycle significantly increases.


Arnaldo Casadiego

Callbell SAS | Growth and Marketing at Callbell

At Callbell, we realized that one of the biggest problems in service marketing is after-sales support. From that moment we decided to provide a very customer-oriented support, we developed weekly webinars on our tool for all audiences and weekly trainings for our clients. In this way we manage to improve retention and relationship with our buyers and in turn allow our clients to have all the value of our product for their businesses.


Barb Easter

Dryrun | Director; Client Success

We have a two-tiered client base so all success strategies and offerings are vetted through the two-tiered perspective to make sure that both of our segments see desired outcomes and value when they're together in the platform.

We reverse-engineer this process as well; our practice is to create and manage customer success initiatives as though they are gifts that we give to direct-touch clients for them to deliver to their end-clients. Steering our customer onboarding so as to create delight and insight in platform for the end-client helps clarify messaging and success goals.


Brett Casey

HealthMarkets | Executive Sales Leader

The most effective customer retention is all about whether or not my team or I follows the process of implementing a strong follow-up process. We do a 30, 60, 90 day call to each customer after they purchase a product to make sure everything is going well. The first follow-up they get from us in a hand-written Thank You card. If we were merely aggressive in contacting our clients up to the point of purchase only, there would be some major persistence issues on the team.


Liz Hawkins Tahawi

Onfleet.com | Director of Marketing

For starters, we go with the basics: pay attention to customer performance data as it will inform you far ahead of the story, be it good or challenging, so you can work to be proactive and meet news with intention.

And: we listen to customers including all actors and also proactively check-in. I think a smart strategy might also be not to tie yourself to "QBRs" as these dictate a certain quarterly cadence and as a habit, become perfunctory and expected.

It might be better to book "EBRs" - executive business reviews - periodically. This allows your team to connect with customers in a formal, proactive way, but tied to your schedule and/or their needs.


Al Tepper

TepFu | Founder

We have focussed on how our Lazy Marketing Academy members feel from the start and work tirelessly to ensure they know they are loved beyond revenue. They know it’s not about the money for us. They rarely leave. It’s all about the feels.


Raviraj Hegde

Donorbox | CMO

At Donorbox, we don't have typical SaaS economics, our customer pays us a small commission for the amount they raise.

1. NRR - we value net revenue retention to measure our customer success. If a customer sticks with us and grows with us, then its a positive NRR. We track NRR across all the customers and customer segments.

2. Product feature usage analytics - If we release a new feature or product line, we track the product usage on a quarterly basis to see if we are getting enough usage to identify the loopholes and improve.

3. In app notification: We recently integrated our entire system with in app notification system. Sending personalized in app notification based on the user behavior is a way to go in 2021. We started sending personalized in app notification and its working as a charm to drive product usage and showing them the value of our product. (Sometimes we include specific videos to engage with our customer base).


Josh Ho

We have a required on-boarding package where the customer pays an additional fee. The fee helps them understand the value and makes the commitment to utilize our customer success team's expertise.

The job of the customer success team is to project manage, advise on best practices, and drive goal oriented behaviors to get the customer to launch their referral program.

By driving the customer towards this goal, the customer can then start to see the value of the product.


Élodie Mouillet

DashThis | Product Manager

At DashThis, we consider that reducing time-to-value in the product itself is the way to go. Our customers come to us for a software, and so we try to improve the experience and get them to the value they're looking for as fast as we can by guiding them in the product.

One thing we've done to reduce the time-to-value is improving our in-app onboarding path.

DashThis is a digital marketing reporting tool allowing to easily aggregate marketing data and create dashboards with the most important KPIs.

So when landing in your first dashboard in DashThis, we've inserted a widget inviting the user to create his first KPI. This widget guides him through the app in order to create the most relevant KPI.

Without this widget, users used to get a bit lost, ending up never creating any KPI, and leaving their trial session after a couple of minutes, missing the whole point of DashThis!

Since the implementation of this widget, we've seen significant increase in the engagement of our new users. They realize the potential of the tool way more quickly, and appreciate the fact that they were able to get there in a very short time!


Lisa Haubenstock

Truckstop.com | VP of Customer Success

Even after a customer has taken action to realize their first value out of our product, we monitor their usage behavior throughout the customer lifecycle to be able to quickly respond when we see trends that indicate something might be going awry, such as customer support tickets, no logins or decreased usage in the past 30 days, or negative NPS score, and use those as opportunities to identify what the customer might need to course correct.


Andy Crestodina

Orbit Media Studios | Co-founder and CMO

Call them all. Our process (we do web design) involves a final step that a lot of companies skip: we call each client, two months after launch, to ask how we did. What could we have done better? Did we meet your expectations? How could we have been more helpful?

The insights for customer service are excellent (no surprise) but if you do it right, there's a hidden marketing benefit (big surprise!) because these calls lead to testimonials. If a customer gushes with love after working with you, one quick request and you can turn those words into a testimonial.


Jason Grills

https://www.proprofschat.com/ | Customer Support Manager

Communication is an important aspect of customer success - true. And so is having professional conversations with them. But in our attempt to sound professional we fail to realize that there is a lot that our customers won't understand. They won't understand the technicalities of the product or the calibre it may hold for their business by simply speaking to them in terms of features.

We surely need to simplify how we speak to our customers, in fact be more friendly and welcoming to them. That helps us reinstate their trust in our brand and encourage them to be more open with us in the future conversations. This is one of the ways where your business can truly achieve customer success and improve retention.


Sugandh Sharma

https://qualaroo.com | Growth Marketing Specialist

Proactive in Ensuring Customer Satisfaction

Being proactive in business always pays off, especially when it comes to customer feedback. Companies often start collecting feedback from customers when they see a downfall in specific metrics.

Instead of waiting for such warnings, companies should proactively engage and ask customers about their opinions and experience. Make customers part of your product team and not mere end-users who come to you with support tickets.

Ask customers with surveys on how they use your products to explore its new applications, how you can improve their overall experience, and make them feel their voice matters. It helps strategy teams to discover fresh and unanticipated insights coming straight from customers. All in all, make customers active participants in your solution and not just problems using real-time customer feedback with surveys.