Customer Success Culture or Customer Success Team
As the delivery of solutions and services grows increasingly reliant upon technology, Customer Success has become a key business function for companies across industries. Customer Success teams enhance the experience and value that customers feel they receive from a solution or service. This in turn makes each customer’s interactions successful and ensuring a higher level of customer retention.
The Customer Success business function leads the post-sale relationship, offering its clients a single, comprehensive support tier from purchase throughout their customer journey.
Customer Success does not focus on the sales process, is not Account Management, is not Customer Support. This function aims to establish a strong and trusted relationship between a company and its customers, highlighting the value or the solution or service, and minimizing client churn. This is critical as it is much more expensive to acquire new customers than to grow the relationship with existing clients.
A company’s Customer Success commitment generally translates into a personalized and customized proactive support offering. Most Customer Success Managers (CSM) are responsible for defining the partnership, touch-points, check-ins, and identifying additional streams of revenue along the customer journey.
Overall, Customer Success engages in multiple key points in the customer journey and sales life-cycle of any business.
Some of the top skills necessary to be successful within Customer Success are:
Interpersonal – As the primary point of contact, the CSM is a key representative of the company, understanding customer’s issues and clearly communicating solutions. A CSM will also be required to liaise with colleagues from other teams on a regular basis.
Problem Solving – Responsible for ensuring customers successful use and engagement with the product, a CSM must quickly identify and resolve problems. A CSM must be a product expert and will be required to take initiative and develop innovative solutions to customers’ problems.
Commercial Awareness – A good overall understanding of commercial functions will allow the CSM to easily identify opportunities to increase customer’s value to the business and provide feedback for product development.
Teamwork – Reaching out to peers and collaborating well with others are essential skills in Customer Success, where various functions work together regularly.
Drive – Motivation to succeed, deliver customer satisfaction, and driven by a passion to achieve and exceed targets; these are all necessary for a Customer Success Team. It is important to be able to prioritize the workload and manage tasks under pressure.
Many companies we speak with daily define customer success as a cultural phenomenon – one in which everyone in the organization plays a critical role. The issue is that there is a distinct difference between the cultural value of enabling the success of customers and the customer success function. When everyone is responsible then no one is accountable.
Take for example a Nascar team. The typical Nascar team is made up of over 50 people who all have the same purpose in life – to win. But the driver’s role on that journey is very different then the pit crew’s role in that journey. The only way the tire can get changed in 8 seconds is through relentless practice of the specific function. Teamwork of course is critical but the number one rule of team work is to do your job. If the driver had to get out of the car to change her tire because the pit crew couldn’t accomplish the function, then finishing the race would be a fantasy – nonetheless winning.
The same holds true with customer success. Understand the role the CSM team plays on the customer journey and the critical success factors that define the goal line and mapping the function to those KPIs is critical. It is not enough to say that everyone owns the customer. Though that might be true, it must also be true that specific individuals own a piece of that customer journey.
Great CSMs teams, with very low churn, inherently understand this and live it daily.