Improve your Customer Success as a Solopreneur

Hey folks, back with another solopreneur blog and update post.

The end of last week was busy, and wanted to quickly summarize it to give you more of a sense of what I’ve been up to.

Running an immigration law firm and related immigration tech company means I spend a lot of my days, especially last week, doing:

  • emails/calls with our clients – aka Canadian companies – to make sure we’re helping them as needed, and more recently, helping them use our new tech and ensuring it’s working as intended
  • calls and meetings with our team. This includes the Visto team which is more related to tech, product design, and sales/marketing topics, and on the firm side, it’s more focused on file management, determining strategies on how to help clients more/better, etc.
  • admin stuff. Until you start running a company, and especially once you start employing people, you don’t appreciate the little things that someone has to do. Especially for Visto, a lot of these things fall on me. Bookkeeping, bank stuff, paying/sending invoices, research, etc.
  • creating content. I schedule this for the end of the day as a “cool-down” from work before dinner

And lastly, exercise. I’m training for the Ottawa Marathon in late May and we’re getting closer to the big day. The training is getting tough, but so far, so good…

My favourite parts of the week are probably my calls with the Visto team, specially when we talk about strategy and what to build/improve on next. And as we continue to grow, my plan is to slowly start outsourcing the rest so I can focus on that even more.

One of the calls from this week had to do with customer success, because it’s not something we have a lot of experience with.

You can think of customer success as everything post-sale – making sure companies get through on-boarding smoothly, get to know how to use the different features of your app, and don’t get stuck on key tasks that can slow down processes and outcomes.

And as you can imagine, Alex (my CTO) and I have little experience in customer success (“CS” for short – aren’t I tech savvy?), especially tech-centric CS.

So what did we do?

Easy – Alex reached out to a mutual friend who works in customer success at a big tech company in Toronto, and we spoke to her on a video call.

Yes you can (and should) research stuff, watch videos, etc., but I find there’s no better way to get unstuck in a situation like this than to get on a call with someone who has been living and breathing the topic for years. Not only can they give you amazing advice and perspective, they can also point you to the best books/resources/videos/etc. to expedite your learning even more.

And if you’re interested in what we learned about CS from her, here are my 3 key takeaways from the talk:

1) Move more time-consuming tasks up in the process

Now that we’ve had a bunch of business users on our webapp, we’ve realized that there are a few tasks that take longer than others.

Not necessarily because they’re harder, but because they might have to ask someone else in the company for info, a document, etc.

What she suggested was, even though these tasks technically don’t need to be done before any of the others, to mention it earlier in the process – for example before on-boarding through an email – so that a single task like that doesn’t slow everything else down.

For example, if you ask a company to do task A, B and C at the same time because it doesn’t matter what order they’re done in, but task B usually takes longer, mention task B earlier anyway.

This seems obvious in hindsight, but something we never considered building into our tech flow because we all think our tech is perfect and that everyone will complete all tasks quickly!

2) Create a shareable checklist for you and your clients

Even though there’s a list of to-do items in the app, doesn’t mean it’s easy for users to keep tabs on what is/isn’t done or who has to do it.

She suggested creating a summarized checklist of the key tasks that need to be done, and by whom, to share with clients in something like a Google Sheet where you can make it even more clear what’s outstanding, who needs to be bugged to do it, etc.

3) Set cadences/checkins on a regular basis

At her company, their customer success people book bi-weekly checkin calls for the first 3 months with new users and then monthly or as-needed after.

This is to make sure the company is doing what they need to do, comfortable and confident using the tech, and sharing feedback or suggestions so we can continually improve the product/service.

Like a lot of business advice, this wasn’t anything earth-shattering.

In fact, it is overly simple which is great because that means it’s easier/quicker to implement, and also because business shouldn’t be too complicated anyway.

We’re going to work on putting these in place for our users next week, and as always I’ll report back.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this weeks solopreneur blog and tips, and if you want my updates right to your inbox, make sure to sign up for my daily email here.

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