12 Customer Success Best Practices for Reducing Churn (+Best Tools)

12 Customer Success Best Practices for Reducing Churn (+Best Tools) cover

What is customer success? Why does it matter? What are some of the customer success best practices?

These are the key questions that the article explores.

We also look at the best tools that teams can leverage to drive customer success.

Let’s get right to it!


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What is customer success?

Customer success is a strategy used to ensure that customers achieve their goals using the product.

In contrast to customer support, customer service, or account management, it involves much more than troubleshooting, dealing with customer complaints, or driving sales.

Customer success is a much more holistic approach. It involves anticipating customer needs and proactively recommending solutions that will enable them to maximize the software potential in their unique circumstances.

Doing so helps SaaS businesses foster long-term mutually beneficial relationships with their customers, essential for product and business success.

Why is customer success important for SaaS companies?

Due to the subscription-based model, effective customer success is essential for SaaS businesses to thrive.

Here’s why.

Improves customer retention and lifetime value

By helping users achieve their objectives, customer success teams can dramatically improve customer satisfaction with the product.

This translates into higher customer retention. If they’re happy with the product and the value it offers, they have no reason to look for alternative solutions.

Improved customer retention rates matter for SaaS businesses because they’re directly linked to higher customer lifetime value. The longer customers stay with the company, the more revenue they bring during the business relationship.

Overall, it’s safe to say that a good customer success strategy increases business profitability.

Builds a strong competitive advantage

Outstanding customer success doesn’t only improve customer retention but also helps with customer acquisition.

That’s because it can help companies differentiate their products from competitors. Good customer success practices are very difficult to copy, unlike features.

This is particularly important in highly saturated markets.

Drives customer advocacy and referrals

Another way in which CS drives customer acquisition (and reduces its costs) is by promoting customer advocacy.

Think about it:

When customers are satisfied with the product, they’re more likely to recommend the product to their colleagues or friends. And word-of-mouth referrals are by far the most effective marketing strategy. That’s how Slack managed to get 8k users within 24 hours of launching!

12 customer success best practices to minimize customer churn

Now that I’ve convinced you why it’s worth developing your customer success operations, let’s have a look at some top tips on how to do it!

1. Foster a customer-centric culture in your SaaS company

A customer-centric culture is the foundation of a successful customer success strategy.

What are the characteristics of customer-centric organizations?

  • Customer empathy – to understand their pain points, needs, and wants
  • Personalization – to offer a solution that suits their unique circumstances
  • Proactivity – to address issues before they escalate
  • Cross-functional collaboration – to ensure a consistent approach to delivering customer value
  • Staff empowerment – so that team members can make independent decisions and show their initiative to improve customer satisfaction
  • Leadership commitment – so that the customer is at the heart of every decision

2. Collect detailed customer data to personalize experiences

To offer personalized user experiences, you need to know your customers and their needs.

The easiest way to collect data about your customers is through welcome surveys. These are often a part of the sign-up flow and include questions about the customers’ use cases and their role in the company.

A good welcome survey should include only essential questions to segment customers effectively. Irrelevant questions add friction and can put off customers.

At least, that’s what is commonly believed.

According to Elena Verna, Head of Growth & Data at Dropbox, longer surveys don’t necessarily reduce user activation in the B2B context anyway:

I’ve implemented onboarding profiling across just about every client and company I’ve ever worked with. And none of them resulted in a drop in activation metrics: From what I’ve seen, adding a 3-screen/9-question onboarding flow has no more than a 10% profiling completion drop-off rate and no impact on the number of users reaching the habit loop phase of activation.

Elena adds that skipping important profiling questions is counterproductive as it doesn’t allow you to build a complete picture of customer needs.

…there is only one thing worse than having lackluster growth: Growing and not knowing who your customer is.

Customer success best practices: welcome survey
Customer success best practices: welcome survey.

3. Create a comprehensive onboarding process to ensure customers succeed

An onboarding process that provides relevant guides is essential for customer success.

The word relevant has different meanings at different stages of the user journey.

At the activation stage, it’s all about introducing the key features and helping users experience the product value. Once users develop more confidence, secondary onboarding helps them discover more advanced functionality. Finally, further down the funnel, tertiary onboarding focuses on promoting customer advocacy and driving account expansion.

Relevant also means personalized for each user persona.

To create such personalized onboarding experiences, you first need to analyze the behavior of the most successful users in each group to identify the most optimal way to achieve their goals.

You then use these insights to design flows that push other customers onto the happy path and help them replicate it.

Customer success best practices: customer onboarding.

4. Determine success goals for all customer journey stages

For successfully onboarding users, you first need to determine what success means for each user persona at each stage of their user journey.

For example, if you have a project management tool like Asana or ClickUp, the project manager and team members will have different activation goals. For the manager, this could be setting up the project, adding tasks, and assigning them, while for team members it would be updating the status of tasks regularly.

To help you define success goals, use a detailed customer journey map outlining all the stages and touchpoints for each user persona.

5. Provide proactive support to assist users

As mentioned, proactivity is one of the key features of SaaS customer success.

In the context of customer support, this means providing users with self-serve resources so that they can resolve their issues independently without relying on the customer success team 24/7.

A resource center with product documentation, how-to guides, video tutorials, and relevant blog posts is a common way to deliver such on-demand support.

Such resources not only drive customer success but also reduce support costs, which is essential for PLG companies, where monetization often happens later in the customer journey, and most customers use the product without paying.

Customer Success Best Practices Resource center
Resource center in Userpilot.

6. Assign a dedicated customer success manager for enterprise clients

While self-service support may be enough for the majority of users, your enterprise customers may need more high-touch support from a dedicated customer success manager.

That’s because enterprises often need more complex needs and consequently – more complex solutions with greater customization. Implementing such solutions across large organizations would be challenging if they had to rely on self-support resources only.

And let’s be honest: enterprise clients are likely to have greater lifetime value, so it pays off to pamper them a bit.

7. Localize the customer experience

Unless your SaaS product has been designed with one specific market in mind, you’re likely to have customers from all over the world.

Actually, one of the main advantages of the SaaS model is that product distribution is not restricted by geographical boundaries – everybody can access it from wherever they live.

However, this comes with challenges.

One of them is that not all users may speak your language as their native tongue. This could potentially reduce their ability to realize the product value.

Fortunately, thanks to AI and NLP technologies, it’s easy to translate your product into other languages. For example, Userpilot’s localization feature allows you to translate your microcopy, resource center resources, and survey questions into multiple languages automatically.

Customer success best practices: localize content
Customer success best practices: localize content.

8. Implement a robust customer feedback system

To effectively assess customer needs and improve their user experience, a solid feedback system is a must.

Here are a few things to remember when implementing it:

  • Run customer satisfaction surveys (NPS, CSAT) every 3-4 months
  • Deliver the surveys via different mediums, for example, in-app and by email to maximize engagement
  • Trigger contextual surveys to measure the success of specific features
  • Include both closed- and open-ended questions to gather quantitative and qualitative feedback
  • Enable a feedback widget to allow users to submit passive feedback whenever they need to
  • Avoid leading and double-barrel questions as they will skew the results

As users submit their feedback, always acknowledge it and explain how you’re going to act on it. Closing the feedback loop is essential to build customer trust and loyalty.

Survey builder in Userpilot
Survey builder in Userpilot.

9. Develop different education resources to guide customers

Different users have different learning preferences or have different accessibility requirements and will need different resources.

For example, some users may have a preference for text-based materials, like blog posts and technical product documents, while others may respond better to videos, visuals, or interactive activities. Visually impaired users may only be able to access audio content.

Make sure that the educational resources you offer reflect this.

This doesn’t mean assessing each user’s learning style but offering a buffet with different options so that they can pick and choose what works best. To increase accessibility, consider enabling such features as immersive readers.

10. Automate your customer success efforts with the right platform

A comprehensive customer success strategy is made up of many elements. Coordinating them manually is a hard job and requires considerable resources.

Fortunately, with the right tools, you can easily automate most of the customer success processes. For example, you can set up your surveys so that they’re triggered automatically at regular time intervals or contextually – when an event occurs.

Automating such repetitive tasks may not have a direct impact on customers. However, it improves the overall quality of customer success by increasing consistency, reducing the risk of errors, and relieving the CS team so that they can deal with high-impact activities.

Survey automation in Userpilot
Survey automation in Userpilot.

11. Identify friction areas and remove them

While there are situations when a bit of friction may be beneficial, normally it slows down users, spoils user experience, and often leads to churn.

Fortunately, finding friction is easy with the right tools.

For example, funnel analysis in your analytics platform can help you identify the general area where users experience bottlenecks. Next, you can conduct a more detailed path, heatmap, and session recording analysis to find its root cause (session recordings are coming to Userpilot in Q2 2024).

Armed with such insight, you can tweak the user experience to remove the friction. For instance, a tooltip may be enough to give users a nudge in the right direction.

Funnel analysis
Funnel analysis in Userpilot.

12. A/B test your customer success strategies

Designing onboarding experiences, in-app messages or surveys sounds super easy when you read about it but it’s a bit more complex in practice. There are too many variables that can affect their effectiveness, and it’s difficult to predict what’s going to work and what’s not.

That’s why you need to run experiments and test them before launch.

A/B testing is probably one of the most common types of experiments. It involves launching two different versions of a message or flow at the same time and measuring their success.

It’s an effective method when you have to choose between two options, but not so when there are more. If that’s the case, a multivariate test may be more appropriate (both available in Userpilot).

Customer success best practices: A/B testing
Customer success best practices: A/B testing.

The best tools for customer success teams

Implementing the above practices is possible only if you have the right software.

Here’s my selection of top customer success tools.

Userpilot – the complete customer success software for SaaS businesses

Userpilot is a powerful product growth platform that does pretty much everything you need to deliver an outstanding customer success experience.

Let’s start with the onboarding features.

Userpilot allows teams to create personalized onboarding flows made up of individual in-app messages, interactive walkthroughs, and checklists. To facilitate customer education and provide on-demand support, there’s a resource center that supports various types of resources (text, images, videos, etc.).

All of this is easy to create thanks to the visual designer and AI writing assistant.

Onboarding UI patterns in Userpilot
Onboarding UI patterns in Userpilot.

The WYSIWYG editor and AI come in handy also when building in-app surveys.

Userpilot offers a template library that includes industry-standard surveys like NPS, CSAT, or CES.

After customizing your survey, you can set recurring delivery dates and target specific user segments for more granular insights. There’s also a dedicated NPS dashboard with all the key data.

Userpilot survey templates
Userpilot survey templates.

Finally, Userpilot analytics features are in a league of their own, at least when compared to other analytics tools. These include feature and event tracking, heatmaps, funnel analysis, path analysis, retention analysis, and trend analysis – enough to gain a complete understanding of user in-app behavior.

Zendesk – live chat customer success platform

Zendesk provides a live chat platform designed for customer success.

It facilitates real-time communication, enabling businesses to offer instant support and personalized assistance.

The platform integrates seamlessly with other tools. For example, you can embed it into the Userpilot resource center for more comprehensive customer support and service.

Customer success platforms: Zendesk
Customer success platforms: Zendesk.

Hotjar – for providing qualitative insights to customer success managers

Hotjar is a powerful analytics platform used for UI and UX optimization.

It’s best known for its heatmaps and session recordings, which enable the customer success team to analyze user interactions with the product in great detail.

Customer success platforms: Hotjar
Customer success platforms: Hotjar.

Planhat – for customer success management

Planhat is a customer success platform designed to help teams manage and improve their relationships with customers.

It offers a range of features like health scoring, lifecycle phase tracking, communication management, and renewal management, which enables SaaS teams to improve engagement, reduce churn, and drive account expansion.

Customer success platforms: Planhat
Customer success platforms: Planhat.


In SaaS, there’s no product and business success without customer success. To help your customers thrive, you need a comprehensive customer success strategy that engages them and supports their goals at every stage of the customer journey.

If you want to learn more about Userpilot and how it can help you implement our customer success best practices, book the demo!

Try Userpilot and Take Your Customer Success to the Next Level

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