How we select our customers to ensure customer success
Happy customers are a startup’s greatest asset and a significant source of referrals. The opposite is also true — if customers are disappointed during your early startup days, they can kill your business overnight. A good match moves you from customer selection to customer success. But how do you make sure you’re a good fit?
We select our customers carefully.
It may be tempting to say yes to everyone who comes along in your early days. We all know the thrill of watching sales numbers grow. Still, there’s something to be said for carefully selecting customers. If you do it well, there’s a greater chance they’ll become success stories and bring more business your way.
Have we actually said no to potential customers? Yes, we really have.
We have a screening process so we’re sure a customer is the right fit. It’s pretty rigorous, and we’re proud of it. It helps us determine whether we can achieve serious impact and support them. It also gives them confidence that we fully understand and can address their needs.
At GoodTime, this screening process results in us working with a small set of high-growth customers who get all our attention. When they succeed using our software, it’s our success.
How do we do it? Vetting and measuring.
We use a clear path to help us decide whether we want to work with a company. We also measure their vital stats before and after we implement our product, so we know exactly the impact we’ve had. (Anyone who isn’t doing this is missing a huge opportunity to create a narrative about how their product works on the ground.) In a company’s early days, this type of tracking can also point to potential areas for product improvement.
Here’s what the entire process looks like:
(You could also call this a business impact assessment. We won’t mind.) We host a 15 to 30-minute call to ask them about their business processes. Their answers tell us whether our software will truly address their problems, and clarify whether they have the right infrastructure to support the solutions we offer.
If we’re a good match, we’ll sign the paperwork to make things official.
At GoodTime, we run an efficiency study before each new customer begins using our software, and we run it again after the software has been implemented. That’s because we want our customers to know exactly what they got for their investment.
In the study, we measure everything from the time spent on each task, to more nuanced savings around workflow bottlenecks and potential errors. Time and money are fairly easy to measure. For example, we can track the time our users spend working in spreadsheets and calendars. (It’s usually a lot.) Our software can reduce that time by about 60-70%, for significant savings.
There are more complex measurements too, like how users’ brains interact with the software. Wait. What?! It sounds complicated, but it isn’t. Here’s an example of what we mean: Our software users do lots of repetitive work, and even one small mistake can be very costly. That means their jobs tend to be high stress. So we measure whether they can detect their own errors, because well designed software will help them catch their own mistakes. Amazing, right?
Our efficiency study also helps us dig even deeper into exactly where our customers’ greatest inefficiencies are hiding. It shows us where they need help, and where we can offer amazing value to their recruiting team. For us, this step is about being sure we can drive value at their company.
We send a usability expert to assess the tools our new customer uses on site, to be sure our team understands their entire system before we customize our software to their exact needs. In our world, there’s no such thing as a generic solution. Customization is everything.
Once their customized GoodTime system is set up and ready to go, there’s a 30-day pilot period during which they receive training, begin to implement the new software, receive support, and get comfortable with the system. They get full access to our customer success right from day one because we know how important it is to be there for them during the critical first month. It’s a major part of how we create customer success.
GoodTime’s training is thorough. We use two methods: teacher training (i.e., one teacher and a class of students), and individual training. We train everyone together, and then connect with each user to be certain they understand the whole system.
What’s more, we don’t think our customers should have to figure out how to train new hires on our software, so we teach them how to properly onboard people.
The entire training process takes two to five days for a small- to medium-sized enterprise. We keep the training period short and effective.
After our training is complete, we still check in. A transition to new software can feel daunting, even when customers have fantastic training. It’s just human nature to be a bit uneasy about change. Our post-training check ins happen via ‘office hours’, a time slot that’s set aside for each client in case anyone in the group has follow-up questions.
We also monitor the customer’s usage (with their permission, of course!) just to be sure they’re progressing smoothly. If we notice they’re taking a long time to ramp up, we’ll contact them and bring them up to speed. It’s important that they’re able to move ahead quickly and comfortably.
And finally, we keep in touch with our frontline users. GoodTime’s customer success line is monitored during regular business hours, and we keep an eye out for after-hour emergencies. As the Chief Product Officer, I still make myself available to answer our customers’ service needs directly on the channel when necessary. (Have a look at the screenshots below … that kind of feedback makes my week!)
After the 30-day pilot, we run another efficiency study so we can see exactly where our customers improved. We love seeing these results and so do our customers. It’s a relief to them to be able to see, in such clear terms, how their investment in GoodTime pays off.
A little bonus.
GoodTime works with a wide range of companies — from small- to large-scale enterprises — so we’re able to provide customers with some interesting benchmarking data. They can see how they’re doing compared to other clients their size (using anonymized data, of course). Customers can see where their processes are faster or slower than the norm, so they can think about next steps in improving their systems. It’s a bit of a bonus offering for our clients, and one that helps them learn where they stand in the industry.
And what happens when you select the right customers?
When you choose the right customers, you can serve them brilliantly, and you’ll end up with incredibly rewarding stories. Two recent customer success stories come to mind …
At 11:30 PM on a Thursday night, we got a ping on our customer channel. “Hey, sorry to ping you so late. I cannot edit my interview’s feedback form. Can you help?” At 11:32pm, I responded with “Hey, no problem. Let me take a look into it. What is the interview you are looking at? Let me repro that on my side.”
It’s not often that someone asks for help at 11:30 at night, but when they do, we know they’re working serious overtime and that it must be really important to them. Their dedication is amazing. They truly care about the candidate’s experience and they want to schedule the interview as soon as possible. Nothing should stand in the way of that dedication and enthusiasm. That’s why we’re there whenever they need us. And you can bet that customer was very relieved that help was available outside of regular hours. It was a solvable problem and we were happy to help.
We stay connected to frontline users so we can find out what matters to them and how to have the greatest impact on their work. We live for moments like the one below, which happened because we spent two months working out an issue with one of our early customers, so we were ready to go when someone needed advice:
That kind of feedback is massively rewarding. It gives the entire team a rush and drives us forward. We want every customer success interaction to end with this much excitement. Again, that’s why we pick our customers carefully, so we know we can deliver great service to every single one of them.
If you want to learn more about the amazing software from the dedicated team at GoodTime, join our free demo to learn more. It’s one hour of clear and succinct information about how we make your company more efficient if we’re the right match. And yes, there’s time for questions. It’s going to be an hour well spent.