Ensuring your customers are all aboard ship and thriving is of particular importance to the field of customer success and retaining customers.

But for some first-timers, the options for nailing retention might be overwhelming. Where do you start? It might even be a bit nerve-wracking if you’ve never had to measure or strategize custom retention.

Luckily, for those scratching their heads, we went straight to the horses’ mouths and asked a few CS trailblazers on our Ones to Watch in 2022 list for their invaluable insights, and three actionable pieces of advice to aid the all-important quest of retention.

In this article, we're going to hear from:

The Ones to Watch in 2022
As we bid adieu to 2021, we’re looking forward to the customer success developments that 2022 brings. We’ve been beavering away this winter to present you with our report of the Ones to Watch in 2022, celebrating and interviewing the stellar talent in the customer success community.

For anyone tackling retention for the first time, what three actions would you recommend they prioritize?

Here's what the professionals have to say. 👇

Maranda Diezkowski, Chief Customer Officer at Swiftly, Inc.

Maranda Diezkowski represents customer success in the C-Suite as the CCO at Swiftly, and has over 20 years of experience both working in and building world-class operations. Her specialties are customer success, renewals management, implementations, customer support, tech support, contact centers, and sales.

For Maranda, the following sage bits of advice are worth prioritizing when it comes to honing your customer retention strategy:

“Understand past reasons for churn. Interview customers, look at data and dig deep. Did they not achieve their desired outcomes? How could that have been changed? Did the product not do everything they thought it would? Did the product not evolve in the direction they needed it to? Dig deep.
“Take those reasons and information, share it with marketing, sales, product, and create mutual improvement plans. On the same note, take that information and look at your current customer base. Based on what you learned, do you have any folks that are currently at risk? Also, use that information on your future customers. What needs to change in onboarding? Training? Adoption? Adapt accordingly.”

Paul Henderson, Director at Outcome Leaders

Paul Henderson is an author, speaker, and Director at Outcomes Leaders. He helps B2B companies tap into unrealized income through a customer outcome program.

According to Paul, “B2B companies buy technology to achieve a business outcome. They want to achieve higher performance. To maximize retention, vendors need to ensure customers achieve that higher performance.”

Paul’s three action points?

  1. Develop an engagement program that delivers higher performance. This will take time, but it’s the best way to succeed over time.
  2. As part of this program, adoption remains critical. Ensure the customer uses the full number of subscriptions or seats. If not, take action to fix the issue. Immediately… don’t wait for renewal.
  3. Identify the features in your products that correlate with renewal. If the customer uses those features, they’re more likely to renew. Get them using those features.

Shari Srebnick, Head of Customer Success (US) at Searchmetrics

Shari Srebnick is Head of Customer Success (US) at Searchmetrics, a global SEO and data solutions company. She’s a passionate, strategic, and motivated customer success evangelist, who finds fulfillment in enabling and empowering others to reach their goals.

Shari recognizes that while “there are several things you want to ensure you do to foster retention” if your customer success team is brand-new, or you yourself are new to the industry, “you want to be as focused as possible before expanding your processes and playbooks.”

Here are Shari’s three action points she recommends prioritizing:

  1. Pay attention to churn rate so you can detect in advance and take preventative measures against it
  2. Create a consistent customer experience to develop a mutually trusting relationship
  3. Develop solid feedback loops to help you understand the customers’ journey, needs, and issues

Brittany Yandura, Customer Success Manager at Fieldguide

Brittany Yandura is Customer Success Manager at Fieldguide, where her primary focus is creating and refining her program to onboard new customers. In addition, she also works closely with Fieldguide’s existing customers to increase adoption and focus on expansions and renewals.

We asked Brittany for three-pointers that a new CSM could use when planning out a new strategy centered around customer retention. Here’s what she had to say:

  1. Take time to understand your customer - Who are they and what is important to them? Why are they using your product? Mutual success plans make this a team effort and help you and your customer stay aligned on their priorities and how you can best help.
  2. Ask the hard questions - Don't shy away from what you really want to know or need to know to help your customer.  If you want to know if they plan on renewing, ask! The best path forward for you and the customer comes through honest conversation.
  3. Be a sponge - Learn all you can about how others are successful.  Read, attend webinars, observe those you aspire to be or who have great experiences to share. Do everything you can to help yourself become confident and excel in your role.

If you want to hear more from the brightest minds in customer success, then check out the rest of our Ones to Watch in 2022 report for more tidbits and actionable advice. 🌟

If you have more actionable tips on customer retention, or perhaps your specialty is team structures or health scores? If you want to say your part, write an article for us and find your content in front of 1,000s of your incredible customer success peers.✍️