Customer success tools are the key ingredient to long-term business growth and profitability. In a subscription economy, the economic value of a customer is realized over time rather than upfront, at the initial sale. Therefore, a vendor’s success is defined by its customers’ success. As Lincoln Murphy, Customer Success Evangelist at Gainsight, said:
“It’s evident that customer success management is a necessary function for subscription-based companies, and especially important for B2B SaaS companies.”
Startups, especially SaaS startups are more and more realizing this necessity to focus on customer success. As a consequence, customer success is definitely a trend in the startup world – just take a look at the search for “customer care”: it has increased tenfold over the past 10 years.
As we say, “you can tell a good workman by his tools”, thus at Aircall, we’ve selected a few handful tools to help us create a top-notch customer experience, from product discovery to onboarding and after-sales services.
Mention – for brand monitoring and community management
As a young startup with limited resources, we need to be as creative as possible when it comes to brand monitoring. It’s the reason why we’re using Mention. Mention is a real-time media monitoring application. It allows you to listen to what is said about you on the web and social networks. If you want to go in depth on all the ways we’re using Mention, read the full article on their blog. Otherwise, here are our main takeaways:
Mention helps us monitor what is going on in the phone support and general customer support industry. Using alerts such as “customer support + phone”, we can stay ahead of the game and react quickly to any specific news, and get in touch with key influencers.
Prospection and lead generation
Mention allows us to prospect for new clients. By monitoring users’ problems and needs, we can locate where our target audience is, get to know them better and turn them into customers. Another great feature is to track customers looking competitor alternative such as:
The SaaS industry evolved very fast and we need to be always ahead of the game in order to provide the best of services to our customers. Competition monitoring enables us not to miss any announcement from our competition.
Brand monitoring and social listening
I won’t lecture you on how important brand monitoring is. You ought to keep an eye on your brand’s name and how it is perceived, gauge the sentiments surrounding your brand, and handle negative feedbacks or inquiries. Otherwise, you will risk some serious bad buzz on forums and social media. And how else would you identify corrective or proactive actions you need to take to align what’s being said with your target brand image?
On the other side of the spectrum, you can also identify your best advocates and turn them into brand ambassadors.
Close.io – follow up with your customers and prospects expecting new features
Although we use Close.io mostly for client acquisition, there is one very nice feature we use daily: tasks. Close.io lets you tag prospects and customers so we get reminded to update them when we release a feature they have requested (whether they have already converted to paying customers or not yet).
This feature is built as a very powerful to-do list, organizing tasks by date to make sure you never forget to deliver good news when you have them.
And what we especially love about close.io is the fact they integrate with our Aircall app: we can directly access prospect information from close.io to our Aircall app when we make outbound calls 🙂
Front – customer success tools to better manage pre-sale inquiries
Front is a shared inbox allowing teams to collaborate on emails, SMS & Twitter. At Aircall, we are mostly using Front for our pre-sales email address – our post-sales interaction are managed through intercom.
Any incoming visitor can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to Front, we can collaborate on the email we receive, decide on the best answer, assign it to a member of the team according to the topic, and make sure each and every inquiry is tackled and answered in time.
If we had to highlight the main benefit we derive from Front, I would say avoiding to answer twice to a request. Customers actually don’t bother so much receiving two answers, but it wouldn’t look very professional 🙂
Olark – for homepage visitors live conversion
Olark live chat has been a great help to convert homepage visitors to customers.
Indeed, incoming visitors usually need some reassurance before letting us deal with their phone number – in other words, their whole life – and a FAQ isn’t always enough.
We get questions about as country coverage, pricing, or phone number portability. And best of all, before answering, Olark gives us a quick overview of the last pages the enquirer visited, to be able to quickly understand his or her needs and fine-tune our answer.
We also particularly like to way they created a mindset of helping customers right away – we definitely follow the same philosophy and want to make phone support as easy as a live chat.
Slack – get live notifications for all customer events
We are far from being the only ones to use Slack, a.k.a the unicorn startup claiming over 500k daily users in less than 2 years. For the 3 months we have been using it, Slack has been a great tool to communicate within the team, especially as we are located in several countries and we travel a lot.
But more importantly, we have set up a feed-room to get live notifications on any event happening on the customer side, such as:
- customer registration or cancelation
- new number alert
- call quality reports
- stripe billing information
- CRM answers via intercom
Thus, we can quickly react to bugs – or trial hack – and reach out to our customers to solve their issues.
Intercom – maintain a direct communication line with your customers
Intercom is a great tool for customer welcoming, onboarding and nurturing.
It is particularly great for providing after-sales support: our customers can contact us directly inside their Aircall app – great UX right? We also send all our newsletters, feature releases, and other personal messages thanks to their in-app messaging feature.
Last but not least, Intercom shows you who is using your product and makes it easy to personally communicate with them through behavior-driven targeted email.
Aircall – for building trust and providing real-time support
Of course, the list wouldn’t be complete without including us 🙂
Actually, having a phone number in our home page does help us a lot for converting potential clients and building relationships with our customers.
Indeed, as we said above, we have to earn our potential customers’ trust – and what’s better than human interactions to do that? We wrote a full blog post about that topic if you wanna know more.
Last, phone related issues usually demand fast – if not real-time – answers. Sharing our phone number guarantees our customers that we will be available and ready to answer to all their questions, inquiries and issues, should they appear.
Just like Olark, Aircall makes it easy to receive inbound calls without requiring to have a full-time person dedicated to support (you can open your phone line when you are available and cascade calls across your teammates).
Feel free to share your own customer success tools and add them to the list in the comment section.
And if you want to give Aircall a try, it’s here: