Mental Wellness: Key to Small Business Growth

mental wellness

Running a small business means you have a lot on your plate. You’re likely focused on finances, marketing, and outcomes. But there’s a critical part that you might be overlooking: the mental wellness of your employees.

Why does this matter?

A 2022 survey found that 92% of workers had mental health issues affecting their job. That same survey also queried people about the biggest problem, and the overwhelming answer —78% —was burnout.

So message is clear — if employees are not mentally well, it affects their performance and the overall company’s success. Good mental health means more engaged and productive employees. Ignoring it, however, can lead to bigger productivity problems.

Continue reading to find out more.

Why It’s Important to Address Mental Health in the Workplace

Emotional distress in the workplace isn’t just an individual’s concern; it’s a broader issue that affects the entire organization. When employees experience emotional distress, their ability to perform tasks efficiently, collaborate with colleagues, and contribute positively to the work environment diminishes.

This can lead to mistakes, missed deadlines, and strained team dynamics.

Furthermore, unchecked emotional distress can escalate, resulting in increased absenteeism and higher turnover rates. This not only disrupts the workflow but also incurs additional costs in terms of recruitment and training.

It also matters to the employees. In a recent survey, 8 out of 10 workers told the American Psychological Association that they consider employer support for mental health important when looking at job opportunities.

So in essence, addressing mental health is not just about supporting individual well-being but also about ensuring the overall health and productivity of the business.

The Tangible ROI of Mental Wellness Initiatives

Investing in mental wellness initiatives in the workplace offers clear, measurable returns that can significantly benefit a business. Here are three tangible ways these initiatives provide a return on investment:

  • Lower turnover rates. Employees who feel mentally supported are more likely to stay with a company. When employees leave, businesses face costs in recruiting, hiring, and training new staff.
  • Higher productivity. A mentally healthy employee is often a more productive one. When employees are free from excessive stress or emotional distress, they can focus better, make fewer mistakes, and complete tasks more efficiently. This means projects get done faster and to a higher standard, directly benefiting the company’s bottom line.
  • Reduced absenteeism. Mental health issues are a leading cause of missed workdays. Providing support and resources for mental wellness can help reduce the number of days employees take off due to mental health concerns.

The Intangible ROI of Mental Wellness Initiatives

While the tangible benefits of mental wellness initiatives are clear, there are also several intangible returns that, though harder to measure, are equally crucial for a business’s success. Here are three key intangible benefits:

  • Positive company culture. When a company prioritizes mental wellness, it fosters an environment of support and understanding. Employees feel valued and cared for, leading to a more positive, collaborative, and motivated workplace. This kind of culture attracts top talent and encourages existing employees to give their best.
  • Enhanced brand reputation. As mentioned earlier, companies that prioritize employee well-being stand out. Customers, partners, and potential hires often prefer to associate with businesses that have a reputation for caring about their employees. This can lead to increased customer loyalty, better partnership opportunities, and attracting high-quality recruits.
  • Boosted innovation and creativity. Employees who are mentally well are more likely to think outside the box. As a result, they’ll suggest innovative solutions, and contribute creatively to projects. A mentally supportive environment allows employees to share ideas without fear, driving innovation and setting the company apart from competitors.

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Real-World Success Stories

These are the true stories from businesses that have seen positive results by prioritizing employee mental health.

Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson introduced the Healthy Mind program, which educates employees and their families about mental health. The company regularly checks on employees’ mental health and assesses workplace risks, leading to action plans if needed.

Both management and workers get training on spotting issues and how to handle them, covering topics like stress, bouncing back from challenges, and balancing work and life. There are also support programs for urgent situations. According to the company, the program immediately affected their retention rate in a positive way.

American Airlines

American Airlines, a leading airline service provider, has set up a thorough mental health support program for its employees. This not only helps workers get the support they need but also keeps costs in check for the company.

They review the program monthly and have improved how clinicians report results. This has boosted employee involvement at work, which is essential for pilots and flight attendants, two professions known for their solitude and burnout risk.

Actionable Steps for Small Business Owners

Taking care of your employees’ mental well-being doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. Here are some straightforward steps you can take to make a positive impact:

  • Introduce Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). Consider implementing EAPs, which offer counseling and support services for employees facing personal or work-related challenges. These programs can provide your team with the tools and resources they need to cope, leading to a healthier work environment.
  • Promote mindfulness training. Mindfulness practices, like meditation and deep breathing exercises, can help reduce stress and improve focus. Offer workshops or bring in experts to teach your employees these techniques. Even dedicating a quiet space in the office for short breaks can make a difference.
  • Implement flexible work arrangements. Recognize that everyone has different needs and circumstances. Studies show that when employees have little control over their work schedules and tasks, they are more likely to experience depression, as well as stress, burnout, and tiredness.
  • Encourage regular breaks. Encourage your team to take short breaks throughout the day. Stepping away from the desk, even for just a few minutes, can help refresh the mind and reduce mental fatigue.
  • Open lines of communication. Make sure your employees know they can come to you with their concerns. Regular check-ins or feedback sessions can create an environment where employees feel heard and supported.
  • Offer good health insurance. Providing quality health insurance helps employees address their mental health needs. Make sure to negotiate a competitive insurance package that allows them access to professionals and treatments without the stress of high costs. In turn, a mentally fit workforce may reduce your liability and thereby decrease your premiums.

mental-wellness-of-your-employees

How to Implement Mental Wellness Programs

Implementing mental wellness programs in your business is a lengthy process. Here’s a straightforward guide to get you started:

1. Assess how everyone feels and what they need. Instead of introducing programs right away, take stock of the current mental health landscape in your organization. Conduct anonymous surveys or hold focus group discussions to understand the specific needs and concerns of your employees.

2. Set goals. Determine what’s the aim of your mental wellness program. Whether it’s increasing retention, improving productivity, or enhancing overall employee well-being, make sure you know exactly what the collective is moving towards.

3. Collaborate with experts. Consider partnering with mental health professionals or organizations. They can provide valuable insights, resources, and training to ensure your program is effective and tailored to your business’s needs.

4. Design the program. Based on your assessment and objectives, design a program that addresses the specific needs of your employees. This could include workshops, counseling sessions, mindfulness training, or any combination of these and other initiatives.

5. Communicate with employees. Once you’ve designed the program, communicate its details and benefits to your employees. Ensure they understand the resources available to them and how to access them.

6. Leverage technology. Technology can make it easier for you to set up and track mental wellness efforts in your business. With the right software, you can monitor progress, schedule wellness activities, and even provide online counseling. This doesn’t just reduce paperwork but also encourages your team to use these resources. With this tech approach, you’ll have a smoother and more impactful mental wellness plan that’s good for both your team and your business.

7. Monitor and adjust. After implementing the program, regularly monitor its effectiveness. Gather feedback from employees, track participation rates, and measure against your set objectives. Use this data to make necessary adjustments and improvements.

Conclusion

Mental wellness is essential for both employees and the small businesses they work for. When employees feel supported, they work better, and the business grows. As times change, leaders must prioritize their team’s mental health and prevent burnout from occurring. A happy team leads to a successful business.

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Top Agile Project Management Tools

agile

Do you think the Agile methodology has been doomed to ashes? Well, if so then you are completely mistaken. The significance of agile methodology hasn’t been reduced till date. You see the Agile wave began in the year 2001 with the objective to conduct seamless bespoke software development projects. Over time the methodology seems to have evolved to a great extent across the globe. In fact, Agile seems to have gained popularity among numerous project managers. Some of the leading companies using the Agile methodology include Amazon, Cisco, Google, Lego, Netflix, Microsoft, Spotify and a lot more!

The term agile means to move swiftly and respond to any changes made seamlessly. Earlier, there were other alternatives such as the waterfall methodology but since it took ample of time, software development companies simply started looking for better options. Some of the leading Agile methodologies include Scrum, Crystal, Extreme programming, Lean development and so more! And you know what makes them a cut above, it’s their uniqueness and specific approach.

Some of the core aspects that make an agile methodology a cut above is its intense flexibility, adjustable and can be easily adapted according to different project needs. Whether the project size is small or large, agile works wonder for any and every software development project need. In addition, there are some other advantages of considering the agile methodology such as:

  • Productive and efficient teams
  • Flexibility and agility
  • Predictable cost and time-frame
  • Enhanced quality and transparency
  • Faster turnaround times
  • Seamless business engagement
  • Easy to manage agile
  • Well-optimized development process
  • Customized team structures
  • Reliability
  • Eliminate the scope of the rework
  • Early and predictable deliveries
  • Focus on the need of end users
  • Increased and efficient collaboration

Still not convinced? If you try taking a closer look at the agile methodology, you will find that here even the end users are successfully involved in the decision-making process. Earlier, customers were only involved in the planning phase and they were excluded from the execution. As a result, this had a pretty negative impact on flexibility and adaptability.

Fortunately, that’s not the case anymore! Today the customer is involved and kept in the loop throughout the procedure for relevant feedback and ensures that the final product is developed right in accordance with the given requirements. In the end, your customers are bound to come back to you for other projects as well.

And of course, one shouldn’t forget the core agile principles such as early and constant delivery, embracing changes from time to time, frequent delivery, better communication, stable work environments and a lot more.

I can simply go on and on when it comes to agile methodology. However, the following post is about the top agile project management tools to take into account. So without any further delay, let’s get acquainted with the top project management tools.

Best Agile Project Management Tools to Take into Account  3
#1 Proofhub  3
#2 Click Up    5
#3 Forecast  6
#4 Trello  6
#5 JIRA   7
Conclusions  7

 

Best Agile Project Management Tools to Take into Account

#1 Proofhub

One of the best Agile Project Management tools to take into consideration is Proofhub. This one is basically a small, feature-rich agile project management software highly recommended by some of the leading organizations across the globe. Here each team member can effortlessly share ideas, compile documents, begin conducting open discussions and end up creating a successful project.

The software is mentioned in this list which means it has something more appealing in comparison to others. You see here you may find all the necessary tools and features. In addition, you can use different project management techniques such as the critical path method (CPM), getting things done (GTD) and so forth.

Check out ProofHub’s Kanban boards and Gantt charts. When you try using Kanban boards, defining all the workflow stages becomes pretty easy. Also, you will be able to see how these tasks move across different stages. All this is done in the form of cards. Whereas with Gantt Charts what happens is, you can seamlessly visualize the timeline of the project. By doing so you will get to know will the project be completed within the expected time frame or not.

Whether it’s scheduling different tasks or marking out milestones, all these can be taken care of using Gantt Charts.

So when you are using Proofhub what exactly can be done?

  • Different tasks can be created and divided into smaller and manageable chunk tasks
  • You can select one or more tasks
  • Set up relevant start and end dates
  • Setting up the recurring tasks
  • Attaching files and adding relevant comments
  • Adding labels to prioritize tasks
  • Organizing different tasks becomes quite easy

As mentioned earlier, Agile methodology highly focuses on team management and feedback. Well, Proofhub definitely emerges as the perfect agile management tool featuring a high-end built-in chat interface and online proofing tool. So getting in touch with all the members of your team to discuss relevant ideas, and report work status is a pretty easy thing to do. Here you may find real-time feedback and suggestions. For any additional proof, simply open a design or a document file within Proofhub and share.

Overall, do you know why Proofhub is on this list of the top agile project management tools? Because it offers more meaning to your existing project and of course better outcomes.

agile

#2 Click Up

The next interesting Agile project management tool to take into account is Click up. It’s one of the most effortless and leading project management tools that offer you a quick view of how many tasks are accomplished and how many of them are in progress and in case of any dependencies, etc. In other words, if you are using click up as your Agile project management tool, several bottlenecks can be taken care of.

Some of the key features of the following tool include:

  • Epics – Setting up best milestones with sprint planning
  • Story points – Understanding how to enhance your Agile project with Click App
  • Sprints – Making the most of Sprints ClickApp to manage relevant dates, status, tasks and automation
  • ClickUp Dashboards – Making use of all the agile metrics such as Burnup Chart, Velocity Chart, and Cumulative Flow Diagrams.
  • ClickUp Docs – Document your engineering wiki, product backlog and sprint backlog, etc. All these can be shared seamlessly.
  • Templates – Ample of time can be saved when you use readymade templates
  • ClickUp Custom Task Statuses -Agile workflow can be customized
  • Time Tracking – You are in control of how much time is spent on a particular project.
  • Integrations – Adding your favorite tools has never been so easy. Some of the best examples are Slack, Gitlab, and Google Drive.
  • Compatibility – Easily compatible with Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, and Linux

#3 Forecast

Another interesting and one of the leading agile project management tools to take into account is Forecast. Well, this tool in particular turns out to be best for approximately all the agile teams available around the globe. Forecast ensures nothing less than optimal project deliveries. Not to mention, here the work process is pretty much adopted and this surely results in saving ample of project managers’ time as well as visibility is also maintained.

It may quite interest you to know that the agile project management tool uses Artificial intelligence to assist in making relevant estimates. As a result, one can plan for a more accurate view of your sprint capacity and monitor the progress simultaneously. Everything feels in its place. As a result, you can observe a severe reduction in the amount of rework and enhanced efficiency while planning the sprint, tracking progress and velocity easily.

In addition, here different ranges of tools can be well integrated such as Azure DevOps, GitHub, and GitLab, as well as two-way sync with Jira, another interesting agile project management tool to consider.

It may also interest you to know that Forecast is used across 40+ countries and you can see this by using the 14-day trial for yourself.

#4 Trello

Another intimidating name to take into account when looking for the best agile project management tools is Trello. Trello might seem simple but it is one of the leading agile Kanban tools to take into account. If you want a seamless entry into the world of agile tools, then you should definitely begin considering Trello. Not to mention that this one is pretty easy to learn and can be available for free. It’s more kind of a freemium tool. Trello’s task management and team collaboration is pretty known and acknowledged across the globe.

Some of the core benefits offered by Trello include:

  • Color coding of cards
  • Vast capability to customize each card
  • Excellent communication and collaboration tracking

So what’s the issue here? Well, you may not find any kind of native support here. Also, Trello is not recommended for large and overly complicated projects and board management needs some major improvements.

#5 JIRA

The last but certainly not the least Agile project management tool to consider is JIRA. JIRA is more like a tracking-based tool which is highly recommended for testing different agile projects. Several activities such as bug tracking, issue tracking and project management to software and mobile development process can be well-taken care of with the help of this agile project management tool. One of the core aspects of JIRA is that the dashboard can be well customized. So what makes JIRA one of the best agile project management tools? Issue tracking, boards, Agile epics, bug tracking, custom fields and a lot more!

Conclusions

And we are almost done here! So these are some of the best agile project management tools to take into account. Let us know which one is your favorite. Also, you can let us know if you want to add any other interesting tools which you have already used before.

There are plenty of names available around such as DailyScrum, LeankitKanban, BinFire, Version One, Agilean, Asana, Active Collab and the list goes on. So the key is to try out and bifurcate the relevant ones depending on your needs and requirements.

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A Small Business Guide To Business Phone Systems

business phone systems

Communication is crucial in any organization, which is why any size or scale of business should invest in a practical business phone system. These systems become an integral part of your business operation where you realize your business will run smoothly, thanks to its many features. However, since a few business phone systems are available in the market today, choosing which one would fit your business needs can be confusing. 

The key is assessing your business first, how often you need to communicate internally and externally and what would lead to more cost savings. After all, these phone systems require money—installation fees, monthly subscriptions, or phone bills. If you want to get to know their features and compare the different business phone system choices available today, use this article as your brief guide. 

business phone systems

Types Of Business Phone Systems  

Business phone systems are always more effective than traditional ones, no matter your business size. You can choose a business phone system for several reasons. Which system is best for your business depends on your needs. Choosing different phones systems from various providers can help you decide which phone system is best. Hence, before selecting the right business phone system, consider your company’s future and how it will grow. Here are the different options to consider:

  • VoIP Phone System  

Systems like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) use the company’s existing internet connection rather than copper wires like landlines. Without hefty costs, you can benefit from expensive features that were only made available to larger companies in the past. VoIP phone systems today can allow you to enjoy advanced calling features like automated call attendants, CRM integration, queues, and more. You can access voicemails on your company smartphone too. 

The business’s phone system is accessible to remote workers via VoIP systems. VoIP is a sophisticated phone system with all the features you need for easy daily communications. Compared with landline systems, these systems are easy to install and configure. A small business looking for the components of a sophisticated phone system at an affordable price won’t be disappointed when using the VoIP phone system.   

You’ll need to decide how you want to have your VoIP system hosted if you choose a VoIP system. Unlike landline systems, with physical installations in the office, you can integrate VoIP systems with other software and systems if you plan to rent or subscribe to a VoIP provider. Businesses can indeed improve productivity with VoIP.

  • PBX Phone System  

Private Branch Exchange (PBX) is another business phone network. It allows users to communicate easily using internal telephone lines and to receive and make external calls. There are promising features for this phone system, too, like call forwarding, call queuing, automated attending, and so on. In addition, you can operate a PBX phone system through VoIP or digital landlines. The difference with the VoIP phone system is that this is an on-premise device not connected to any data network.

  • Multi-Line Phone System  

Another good telephone option for your business is a multi-line phone system. Multiple people can use the same phone line simultaneously if it has multiple lines. It also allows you to handle multiple calls simultaneously. You can use it to communicate both internally with colleagues or externally with partners and clients. In multi-line telephone systems, audio data goes through between two parties simultaneously.  

Similar to a traditional one-line phone, a multi-line system transmits audio packets over telephone wires. The only difference is that it will allow you to communicate on multiple lines. This system is also an ideal telephone system choice if your employees are all displaced from the office. Using this method, you can attach a second phone or phone line.  

Additionally, suppose you only need another line. In that case, you can use a line splitter to connect to another phone or device. Plugging the splitter into the phone jack and inserting the phone cable into one of the ports is all it takes to set up your system. Unlike the other two phone system technology, this is more conventional and similar to landlines.  

business phone systems

Features Of Business Phone Systems

Communication is vital in making your business successful, and each employee has a different communication style. To help you communicate effectively, you must make tools and phone systems available to make communication seamless for different parties. While the features of business phone systems may vary depending on the type, here are the most common features and functions: 

  • Basic Features  

You should expect the following essential features from any phone system you choose: caller ID, conference calling, extension dialing, call forwarding, and call transferring. Depending on the operator, some of these basic features can help improve your operations or remain useless. However, checking the essential elements when selecting the best telephone system is vital.  

  • Voicemail  

Since customers have different schedules, it might be challenging to contact them in real time. Hence, it’s essential to leave a voicemail instead. Regarding this call feature, there are now additional features for voicemails. For example, you can send messages via email or text message and even have them transcribed. Make sure these features are helpful for your type of business.  

  • Call Routing  

A sales or service business must have this feature. The company may lose a potential sale if a customer goes to voicemail instead of speaking to a human. When an agent is busy answering an incoming call, calls can be routed to the available agents, reducing potential customer wait time. In addition, call routing ensures that all your customers will be spoken to, increasing customer satisfaction. Call routing software is a crucial tool for managing inbound calls efficiently. It allows businesses to distribute calls based on various criteria such as agent availability, skill level, and customer needs. This ensures that customers are directed to the most appropriate agent, improving the likelihood of positive interaction and a successful resolution. 

  • Integration  

One of the best features of advanced phone systems is customer relationship management (CRM) integration. You can integrate CRMs with business phone systems easily to increase efficiency. Making and receiving calls will no longer require employees to switch from your CRM to the phone system app. Integrating your phone solution with your CRM can help achieve seamless information flow. Therefore, you can access all your communications from the same place. This saves time and makes the call more productive, and your employees can tend to the callers easily.  

Conclusion

With today’s technological advancements, there are tools and features for whatever a business may be seeking. Whether your business goes with a PBX system, a multi-line landline, or hosted VoIP—you can’t go wrong. First, however, you must focus on customer communication. Next, assess the importance of communication in your company and decide which kind of phone system is most beneficial for your operations. By understanding the different types of phone systems and their features, you can now better choose and decide which one to go for. 

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The Great Impact of Company Culture

company culture

Yes, creating and maintaining a company culture is important for the success of a business. The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 reshaped office dynamics, forcing companies to adopt flexible or remote work routines that negatively impacted employee productivity due to differing cultures between workplace environments. In this article, uncover how developing and sustaining company culture will lead your organization towards greater efficiency.

The Importance of Company Culture

Company culture is an important factor in any organization and should be a top focus of Human Resources personnel. Company culture can impact employee engagement, which affects productivity. Understanding your company’s values will help you to better understand how the employees are feeling as well as what their work patterns might look like within that space. This understanding gives HR staff more insight on where they need to invest time for improvement or change efforts by aligning with those key factors moving forward.

Why Does Company Culture Matter Today?

Company culture is one of the most important factors in today’s workspace. Here are just a few reasons why:

Creating a trusting environment

A trusting environment is essential for an employer to keep good employees. The more trust there is, the better off both parties are in a remote working relationship. Employees should be able to work remotely without feeling like they’re being watched and monitored constantly. It is important that the employer has some trust in their workers to give them freedom on the work.

Taking care of Mental Health

Work-related stress has been a persistent problem in the workplace. This is because of factors like an increased workload, intense deadlines, and unrealistic expectations from bosses. However, companies should have effective cultures that are able to avoid this issue by making sure employees forget about their daily stresses. A way to do so is by organizing fun activities that will help them feel good and motivated. One such idea would be taking care of indoor plants via LED grow lights so it becomes both fulfilling but also peaceful when surrounded by all green leaves; this will help workers maintain stable mental health conditions – not just productivity levels.

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Having a sense of community

The more a company engages with their workers, the better they will be able to give them what they need. Whether that is fulfilling individual needs or fostering collective success, being transparent and interacting with one another greatly increases these chances. This not only creates fulfillment at work but also fosters community within it by uniting those involved in both micro-and macro-achievements as well as creatively solving problems together.

Keeping Talented Employees

Fostering a good work environment will help with employee retention. A great number of people are still trying to recover from the unfortunate times of the global pandemic and still don’t have clear plans for the future. If you are nice and professional with your workers you will increase the chances of keeping them. In case you don’t have enough time to invest in your workers, you can consider partnering with PEO services that manage the HR department. For example, if you are located in Canada, you can contact the Employer of Record Canada that will help you keep all the talented employees. This is important to do because any company’s activity that values money over people will only push your workers away. To show appreciation and value to their employees, truly decent companies try to recognize hard work and dedication. One way to do this is by investing in recognition awards, such as beautiful items with the company logo or engraved gifts, and presenting them to employees who achieve high goals.

Staying productive

For those with a strong work culture, morale is high and productivity follows this. In order to keep up with the demands of modern society, many companies have shifted from working in an office environment to remote-working through coworking spaces that they can visit as needed. COVID-19 negatively affected all businesses so they embraced nontraditional ways of working, like working from coworking spaces, cafes, home offices, etc. Coworking spaces in Nashville  especially allow a safe space for creativity and networking. You can get the motivation and flexibility you need in order to work on your projects without any distractions, as well as enjoy some much-needed outside time with like-minded people who have similar goals to yourself.

Final word 

Companies are always striving to increase productivity, but in recent times this has been difficult due to a shift of focus from the good work culture. Healthy company culture is more important than ever before and can lead your business down many different paths for success that would not have been possible without it. But if you implement these tactics now then I promise there won’t be another regret later on when companies start to struggle again.

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5 Easy Steps to a Killer Customer Success Plan!

success plans

What is a customer success plan?

A customer success plan defines customer success and what it looks like, as well as how you can aid customers to achieve that success. By customer success plan, we refer to a roadmap that guides the operations of customer success teams. These customer success plans ensure the right resources are being delivered to the customers to ensure they receive the desired value from consuming your product.

What’s the difference between customer success and customer service?

We must stress out that customer success isn’t the same as customer service. You’ll even see the terms “customer success,” “customer service,” or “customer support” used interchangeably, but they aren’t the same thing.

Customer success encompasses a proactive approach to making your customers successful. This is sometimes also referred to as “customer happiness.” By customer service, we refer to a more reactive approach to ensuring customer satisfaction.  Customer service or customer support handles unanticipated issues or needs from customers. By being reactive, we mean the customer usually initiates customer service to interact with the service or support desk. Also, we can say that customer service is a tool to put out the fire, while customer success deals with the long-term experience that your customers have with your product.

 

Why should you create a customer success plan?

Customer success plans are essential, and you should have them for your business. Some benefits of customer success plans include increased trust and transparency with customers, alignment of customer objectives, reduce churn and increase recurring.

Here are the benefits created by outcome success plans:

Success plans reveal a precise alignment to customer objectives

Success plans enable everyone in the company, including the customer, to be able to view pertinent information on client goals and the overall progress of the company in attaining those goals. This allows a clear view of objectives, and from this central interface, work assignments can be given to the appropriate parties – be it the internal or customer team – ensuring that everyone is aligned to customer objectives and is doing their part to help the customer reach their goals. You should design a customer experience strategy to get started.

Success plans help to identify recyclable processes for reliable customer outcomes

When you work from a template of actions, it is a great way to produce consistency and achieve desired outcomes. Such a template of actions can be fine tuned as you set up and use success plans. Improvisations in company actions may sometimes lead to unexpected results, and you want systems that are proven to be effective and can increase success and overall stability.

success plans

Using success plans increase trust and transparency with customers

Success plans expose the progress of the company’s product to the customers. This not only demonstrates the value of the product but also increases the trust customers have in the company, as customers can better assess the company’s methodology to see whether it aligns with their values and beliefs. Such transparency will go a long way to instill confidence and trust in the company’s products and processes, and that will keep a steady customer base for the company and products.

Success plans allow for easier Executive Stakeholder assessment

Success plans, especially when digitally represented, allow those in stakeholder meetings to visually illustrate the degree of progress customer teams ate making with each passing day. Such visualizations would help executive decisions as it points out the areas of progress that need emphasis and aspects that need greater scrutiny and adjustments for greater outcomes.

Success plans help reduce churn

Every company needs to have a steady customer base to succeed. Having high churn rates is not profitable for any business. It creates a situation similar to a leaking bucket where customers leave the businesses even as you’re trying to engage new customers. This offsets the top line customer growth as the customer base is kept either constant or decreases steadily despite efforts by the company to gain new customers.

Success plans help decrease customer cancel flows, making growth much easier as it ensures customers are kept happy as they use company products. With sustained customer satisfaction, customers are less likely to churn, keeping the company on a steady growth path.

Success plans increase the likelihood of upsells and cross-sells

Success plans, by making customers happy and successfully impacting them positively, impact your business as it gives you more success increasing upsell and cross-sell opportunities. Upselling has to do with engaging customers to buy into more feature-rich and more expensive tiers. Cross-selling entails selling additional products to existing users. To be more successful with upselling and cross-selling, you need to make your customers happy and successful with your core product experience. That is the fundamental goal of your customer success plan. Once you’ve done that and achieved good results, you can include tactics in your customer success plan o move your customers towards premium tiers or additional products.

Using success plans increase recurring revenue

Happy customers mean greater revenue. Greater upsells and cross-sells mean greater revenue. Happy customers also increase company revenue by strengthening your brand and giving referrals. This spreads the words of your products without much of your effort, which will boost your customer acquisition trend, and you’d get more inbound inquiries. This goes to make the sales process much easier.

Applying success plans produces consistency of efforts in the customer lifecycle

Using a customer success roadmap ensures you always have the end goal of your customer in mind. This makes sure you don’t wander-off in your efforts towards meeting the customer’s expectations. Your efforts are, thus, kept consistent as you birth consistent results.

Every stage of the customer lifecycle should have its typical customer success goals. Plans help to make sure you’re always taking steps in the right direction through the right resources at the right time. As you apply your success plans, your efforts are tailored and kept consistent, especially on processes that yield pleasant results for the company.

customer success plan

Making use of success plans helps mitigate unpleasant surprises

By using a plan, you can assuredly achieve your end-goals if you tread the right path. And when any unexpected requests come from your customer, you can more accurately measure in advance whether that is achievable or not. If it’s achievable, then you would know exactly what to tweak in your success plan to meet those expectations. This keeps you out of some unpleasant surprises that come as you make unplanned decisions. A success plan keeps your decisions and actions well calculated for success and mitigates any unpleasant surprise actions.

Success plans help to save execution time

The time spent repairing always out beats the time it would indeed have taken to prepare properly, which applies to businesses. The time spent to bail yourself and the company out of a crossroad is always more than when you would have taken to prepare for such situations. Planning takes out the guesswork from the equation and produces greater efficiency as you tackle firefighting issues. Planning covers any unprecedented situations and keeps you on the offensive for any possible outcome. That saves time in executing strategies when such situations do come up, as you know exactly what to do from your plan. Success plans, thus, help to save execution time.

Success plans create better outcomes with lower operational costs

Operation time and efforts reduce considerably through the use of a customer success plan. You don’t have to spend time and money figuring and guessing what you should do next when you reach a milestone. Your customer success team would always be prepared to move on to the next stage in the customer journey as they simply follow up on the established customer success plan. This greatly reduces operational costs while still maintaining efficient and productive outcomes.

Success Plan Prerequisites

customer satisfaction

Understand the Customer’s Motivation

Before you can develop a success plan, you must understand what drives the customer’s usage of your product. This goes beyond the features they are interested in and extends to the business value you provide. This assessment should also include any potential risks or barriers, key stakeholders, and any other relevant information concerning their desire to use your products.

Prepare discovery questions to discuss with the customer to collect any missing information

When necessary, you may need to physically engage the customers with questions when you need more specific information. This could be in the form of interviews, questionnaires, polls, etc., to collect any additional information useful for success planning and developing a good relationship with the customers.

Talk with the stakeholders

When it comes to the business objectives that the customer is pursuing, all stakeholders should agree, as well as on which products and services will help them reach that goal. It is good practice to keep the scope focused on 1-3 objectives. As you close out objectives, you can restart the process to define and add new ones to your list.

You can also use questionnaires to validate your existing knowledge of the customer’s business outcomes and pain points, as well as to learn about business outcomes you don’t know yet.

For each business objective, review with the customer:

  •         What is the objective’s priority relative to the others objectives?
  •         Which stakeholders will benefit from this objective?
  •         How should we prioritize efforts for your teams?
  •         Are there any quick wins?
  •         Key contributions & responsibilities of everyone involved
  •         Are there deadlines for individual steps or overall completion?

Understand success plans are living documents

Sharing progress with everyone involved as time goes on is important. You should keep the Sales team and the customer up to date on where the success plan objectives and tasks stand so that they can continue working on new tasks. They’d also be able to share the progress with anyone else they think should be aware.

Change in a customer’s business and strategies is normal, so the value that they need from you will change with that. To stay up to date, you should keep public your success plan so that the customers can always have a fresh understanding of their needs. You can email a report to the customer regularly (maybe once a month or some other frequency), citing the objectives and inviting them to reply if they’re out of date.

It’s also a good practice to set aside key times when you interact with a customer that would be good opportunities to review and refresh the success plan. This could be when discussing business goals feels appropriate, with the right stakeholders at the table. A good example of such a time would be at key hand-offs between teams, EBRs, or executive check-ins.

customer success plans

5 Simple Steps to Creating Your Customer Success Plan

When it comes to creating a success plan, here are some quick steps that can help guide the process to ensure for your company.

Step 1: Define Expectations

You must consciously aid your customers to express their expectations from your product right from the beginning. The customer onboarding phase is a great time to discover these expectations. You could also make use of strategic discussions to unravel their expectations of your product.

Next up, you must quickly demarcate which expectations are achievable and not as soon as possible. Concomitantly, you must synthesize your expectations from the customers, e.g., quick adoption, brand advocacy, etc.

This is a logical first step. You simply can’t plan if you don’t know what your end-goal and milestones are. You must establish why your customers have subscribed to your product. What are their motivations for choosing your product? What are their pain points? What do they aim to achieve? And what does success mean for them? You must know this from the start. Never assume that you know your customer’s expectations– that’s a rookie mistake! Don’t be afraid to let them (and other stakeholders) tell you. And when they aren’t so sure of their expectations, you can always define them together.

Having established what each customer expects from your product, you can begin to segment customers and create a user persona. With these subgroups in place, you would be able to create success plans best suited to meet the specificities of each group. This stems from the notion that not all customers are the same, and they’re likely to churn of you fail to meet their needs individually. Specifically tailored success plans would be best suited to achieve this result.

Once you have defined expectations/ goals and segmented your customers, you can prioritize and address each one of them, moving ion from expectations to actual action.

Step 2: Go from expectations to action

Create processes to meet goals. Expectations are the goals you would be directing your customer success plan towards. While expectations are the “what,” you need to lay out the “how.” You must establish clear, attainable steps that you would be following towards meeting those goals. This entails figuring out what processes to put in place to ensure you meet and even exceed the customers’ expectations.

This step moves you from a theoretical framework to a practical application of your plan. No matter how exciting expectations are, they’d never materialize without an actionable step by step guide to achieving them.

Step 3: Measuring the deliverables (based on the goals)

While customer goals and expectations can vary, they would always reflect improving the business. You should also note that each expectation has a metric that can be measured and followed up to see whether it is being attained or not. This would help you monitor customer health and identify red flags that may need to be addressed.small business coach

It is also important to note that for every expectation of the customer, there should be a specific individual responsible for that expectation. For example, if your customer expects optimal value from your product, then you should have someone assigned who’d measure whether the customer is getting the best value from your product. Such measurements could take the form of quarterly business reviews.

 

Having measurable and actionable objectives is important. If you have a company objective to maximizes customer value intruder to achieve negative churn in the business, for example, then a measurable and actionable way to achieve this could be to ensure that averagely 50% of customers who renew their commitment to the company over six months have an agreed upon and well-discussed success plan!

Step 4: Strategy and tactics

Having set every groundwork down, it’s time to draw up the success plan so that you can start measuring and tracking success and results. And you dint need to be overly complicated with this; a simple spreadsheet can get the job done.

Having established the detailed plan, you must consider the following:

  •         Define your timelines and stick to them
  •         Make sure responsibilities are assigned to the relevant individuals
  •         Be flexible enough, but always stick to the plan

Use metrics to measure the progress

To measure the progress of each point of the customer success plan, make use of measurable metrics. You should, therefore, have a predefined metric for each stage of the success plan to help you determine the efficacy of your processes.

robot customer satisfaction

Assign employees and schedules for each stage

To ensure the successful execution of the success plan, you should have a person responsible for execution at each stage of the success plan. They should ensure the goal of their respective stage is closely monitor and met satisfactorily. They should also measure the data for their respective stage and cross-reference with the predefined ideal metrics.

Schedules for stages of the success plan must also be followed to track the progress of tasks accurately. Any lag in executing a task on the success plan should be appropriately reported to the right quarters for corrective action to be taken.

You may need to go the route of using success plan templates to ensure you cover all aspects of planning and execution with the right steps.

Step 5: Next Steps

Having established a great plan, it’s time to implement it! The implementation process can/ should involve:

  •         Regular Business Reviews (quarterly or each semester)
  •         Regular check-in meetings
  •         Communication and feedback systems

You can also use customer success platforms and digital tools to keep you on track with your success plan.

A few mistakes to avoid when creating and implementing a success plan

It is entirely normal to ace challenges while executing a plan, which isn’t different from success plans. While you can’t always address all the challenges that come with developing an implementing a success plan, there are some key mistakes you can avoid to ensure your success plan follows a less hurdled development and implementation.

Not considering customer’s inputs into the success plan

No matter how thorough and fail-proof you think your success plan is, it would never really get the results you intend if you forgot or neglected the customers’ input into it. The first step to setting up a success plan is considering customer goals. You shouldn’t just assume their expectations. Consider customer reviews and expectations into your success plan if you intend it to succeed.

Don’t be too ambitious in your success plan

When creating a success plan, don’t over deliver. Ambitious goals may be hard to achieve and end up being a failure. Make sure your set goals are realistic and achievable. You should have achievable goals that aren’t so magnificent to set out lofty objectives you cannot attain.

Using vanity metrics to measure fruition of success plans

Measurement of the attainment of goals of your success plan is important. You must have metrics to measure your progress as you implement your customer success plan. But making use of vanity metrics to measure your efforts is just as bad as not measuring at all. Such metrics can be misguiding and can even give a false sense of achievement. So, be careful when picking out the metrics for measuring the achievement of the success plan.

Lack of improvisation

A plan exists as a set of guidelines to execute when all things are in order and place. But sometimes, when surprises occur, you need to improvise and re-prioritize your actions to get quick solutions to these impromptu situations. A plan is a guide, but there should always be room for improvement and quick improvisations.

customer celebration

To wrap things up

Success plans are important for the progress of the business, as it gives a picture of what success is, with a practical step-wise approach to achieving such success. These plans synthesize the expectations of the customers and executives of the business into an actionable and achievable set of actions towards business success. By steadily following up on your success plan, you can better identify how and when to engage with customers, mitigate chances of churn, and actively (and proactively) work towards achieving the goals and objectives of the business. This keeps your eyes on the prize at all times and sets you on the path to business success. Check out this article about becoming a successful business owner.small business coach