Customer success: Picking the right software and platform for you

Take your customer success team to the next level with our top software and platform picks.

Rory Sadler
March 26, 2024
March 26, 2024
Take your customer success team to the next level with our top software and platform picks.
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Pick the best customer success software for your company, considering factors like integrations, top features, and successful implementation.

It's easier than ever for customers to jump from one service to another. Once their subscription ends, if a customer doesn't see a tangible benefit, they'll move to a competitor. That's even true for product-based businesses – 55% of customers say they've returned a product because they didn't understand how to use it.

Customer success (CS) was developed in the software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry to counteract customer churn. Rather than waiting for a customer's questions and complaints (i.e., customer service), CS proactively ensures users see tangible benefits from day 1. 

Customer success software and platforms emerged as a game-changer in onboarding and ongoing brand loyalty. These platforms allow companies to engage with customers, offering guidance, resources, and support tailored to their specific needs. It flips the traditional reactive customer service model into a value-driven partnership.

Learn what customer success platforms are, how they integrate with your existing systems, and examples of how the best customer success software works in practice below.

Customer success platform features

Customer success systems come in all shapes and sizes. Some systems focus entirely on customer education, believing that, by upskilling your user base, you drive engagement and long-term loyalty. Other platforms, however, create forums and user communities, promoting cooperation between users to solve problems and improve the software. 

Despite their versatility and diversity, customer success management software does have a few common features. These include:

  1. Customer Education Hubs: Provides educational resources such as tutorials, webinars, and how-to guides, ensuring customers fully understand and utilise the product or service.
  2. Automated Customer Health Scoring: Uses advanced algorithms to assess customer engagement, satisfaction, and potential churn risk, enabling timely interventions.
  3. Personalised Communication Tools: Enables targeted messaging and campaigns based on individual customer profiles, enhancing relevance and engagement.
  4. In-Depth Analytics and Reporting: Offers detailed insights into customer behaviour, product usage trends, and satisfaction levels, aiding in strategic decision-making.
  5. Proactive Support Capabilities: Empowers teams to address issues before they escalate with features like automated alerts and predictive support.
  6. Integration with CRM and Other Systems: Ensures a unified view of customer data by syncing with CRM, marketing, and sales tools for comprehensive management.
  7. Customisable Onboarding Flows: Allows the creation of tailored onboarding experiences to suit different customer segments, improving initial engagement and long-term retention.
  8. Feedback and Survey Mechanisms: Facilitates continuous collection and analysis of customer feedback, which is crucial for product development and service enhancements.

Software vs. platform comparisons

What's the difference between customer success software vs. platforms? These terms are often used interchangeably. However, distinguishing between the two is essential for understanding their respective roles and benefits. 

Customer Success Software primarily focuses on specific functionalities or tasks. For example, it could track customer interactions, manage tickets, or send automated emails. Such software relies heavily on integrations, as each piece of software in the customer success "ecosystem" must work together to provide a comprehensive experience. 

Examples include:

  1. ClientSuccess: Manages customer lifecycle, including onboarding, retention, and renewal.
  2. GainSight: Comprehensive customer success management with health scoring, journey orchestration, and feedback tools.
  3. Gong: Utilises AI to analyse customer interactions and offers insights for sales and customer success teams.
  4. Calendly: Streamlines scheduling for customer meetings and interactions, enhancing the overall customer experience.
  5. Loom: Offers video messaging tools to enhance communication in customer onboarding and support.

Customer Success Platforms, on the other hand, provide a more holistic approach. The most popular example is digital sales rooms (DSRs). As an all-encompassing solution, DSRs track customers, educate through content, facilitate constant communication, and even guide customers through onboarding and beyond with mutual action plans. 

With such varied features, these platforms are flexible, catering to every customer's need and specific pain points. Moreover, DSRs and other platforms can still integrate with customer success software like customer relationship managers (CRMs) to help populate the virtual environment and personalise the customer experience. 

Examples include:

  1. Trumpet: A digital sales room platform providing real-time tracking, content hub creation, real-time communication, and mutual action plans. Share trackable action plans, interactive demos, educational content, best practices and more, all in one centralised space.

Trumpet is perfect for customer success. Seamlessly manage inquiries and discussions with in-app chat functionality. Engage customers effortlessly via live chat, email, and on-page annotations. Prioritise and address each customer's unique needs and preferences with ease.

  1. HubSpot: A versatile platform with strong customer success features, integrating CRM, marketing, and service hubs.
  2. Pipedrive: Primarily a sales CRM, it offers tools for customer success through its pipeline management and data analytics.
  3. Salesforce: A robust platform with extensive customer success functionalities integrated into its comprehensive CRM system.

Looking ahead, comprehensive customer success platforms reduce the complexity, cost, and inefficiencies of other alternatives. With a use case early in the sales cycle, they provide a continuous, unified customer experience, speeding up onboarding and facilitating long-term engagement. 

Integrating with existing systems

Discover trumpet's 45+ digital sales room integrations for customer success teams

Integrating customer success tools with existing systems is critical to a seamless transition from sales to onboarding and beyond. The best customer success software takes information from existing sources, like CRM systems, and personalises the onboarding experience. This feature prevents data silos and allows up-to-date information to populate your customer-facing tools. 

That's not just helpful to customers – CS teams can spend less time on manual data entry, reducing the potential for errors. Team members can, therefore, spend more time on strategic activities, like onboarding calls, creating content (including advanced content for experienced users), and collecting feedback.

Of course, integration between multiple systems presents numerous challenges. Compatibility issues, data security concerns, and the need for customisation can pose hurdles. However, these challenges can be mitigated with careful planning, choosing the right tools, and possibly leveraging integration platforms or APIs.

For example, trumpet works as part of a digital ecosystem. It integrates with CRM systems like HubSpot or Salesforce, communication platforms like Microsoft Team, Slack, or Zoom, and presentation tools such as Canva or Pitch. Our 35+ integrations cover every aspect of the sales cycle and the demands of customer success. 

The more tools you use, however, the fewer integrations will be possible. That's why most CS professionals prefer to use smaller tools alongside a centrepiece platform like a digital sales room. 

Social proof of digital sales rooms

Social proof is invaluable in selecting the right customer success software and platform. If recommendations from colleagues aren't available, user reviews and ratings are the next best thing. They provide real-world insights from users who have experienced the product firsthand. 

When considering a SaaS customer success solution, look beyond the marketing hype. Evaluate what users are actually saying and search out tangible benefits. Websites like G2 Crowd, Capterra, and TrustRadius provide a wealth of information on user satisfaction, usability, customer support quality, and overall impact.

But that's just a starting point. Once you've selected a handful of potential options, read their case studies and testimonials. The best customer success software and platforms will showcase statistics proving their worth. 

Take trumpet, for example. We receive an 86 average net promoter score (NPS) from our users' buyers and prospects. If you're not convinced, we have a collection of testimonials and customer stories praising our platform. We don't want you to take our word for it. 

Other research opportunities include online forums and social media platforms, e.g., LinkedIn groups or Reddit, that discuss common issues, success stories, and practical tips. These mediums lack the spin you'll find on most companies' websites. 

How customer success teams are winning with digital sales rooms

Do customer success platforms deliver on the hype? Yes! Without a dynamic, interactive, and educational customer success system, users will inevitably jump ship – or never sign up in the first place. Sixty-three per cent of customers factor a company's onboarding program into their purchasing decision.

 We know that's true because we've seen it in action.

eola, for instance, slashed their onboarding time by 78%, going from 2 weeks to just 3 days. They used trumpet's digital sales rooms as the ultimate customer success tool, filling them with educational materials and how-to videos. They also created specific DSRs for each buyer, so the information they received wasn't generic.

"Trumpet allows us to get our message out effectively and concisely, working perfectly with everything from automated outreach to account-based sales and customer onboarding."

‍– Will Koning, Chief Commercial Officer

See one of eola's rooms and explore how they achieved their monumental success. 

Otta, a tech-focused recruitment agency, made our DSRs the foundation of their client relationship during and after the sale.

"Pods have become our single source of truth when communicating with clients," explained Stephanie Guerin, the Sales Lead. "Following on from the sales team's success, we rolled it out across our Customer Success (CS) team."

The results? The customer success team's DSRs had as many as 62 unique views, and open rates are between 64% and 84%. Compared to their previous focus on discrete customer success software and lengthy email chains, it's a substantial improvement.

See Otta's room for Depop, one of their clients, to learn how they used vibrant designs and clear information to educate their customers.