Future of CX

Customer success obsession — Disruption or disruptor

Helen Yu
.
Mar 17
.
5-6 mins

Table of contents

Automate your business at $5/day with Engati

REQUEST A DEMO
Disruption or disruptor

With the popularity of SAAS, customer success is now a more well-known industry buzz word. Most importantly, it is a must-have function in any technology company.

Furthermore, Forrester report stated that successful customer success leaders have contributed to compound average revenue growth of 17% as opposed to 3% laggards.

Let’s face it, CEOs, investors and customer success leaders, it is a lot more fun to be a disruptor than being pulled into disruption in the early stage of customer success revolution.

What is customer success?

At a recent conference that attracted many startup CEOs, I was surprised that the majority of leaders erroneously boil down customer success to mean “customer retention”. They associate it with a combination of functions such as account management, professional services, customer onboarding, and technical support. While customer success is all of these, it does not stop there.

In reality, customer success is the byproduct of the combined efforts of sales, marketing, product, and customer success. It encompasses professional service, account management, technical support, technical account management plus managed services, training, education, and certification.

Most can agree that every interaction with customers plays a critical role in driving customer satisfaction. What differentiates top-performing companies from mediocre performers is how well they integrate their customers’ feedback with their product roadmap prioritization, Go To Market (“GTM”) strategy, and operations. Their “re-earn customers’ business every day” attitude sets them apart from their competition.

Top performing companies track business impact to customers, establish the voice of the customer programs to understand how to improve customer experiences, gain visibility on how well customers have adopted their solution, and prioritize their product roadmap accordingly. And they set up processes to advance customers to higher levels of sophistication and maturity. Top performing companies have common metrics in place to drive cross-functional alignment among sales, marketing, product, and customer success teams.

Where does customer success belong?

There are two schools of thought on how customer success team should be organized and who should own customer retention. One is to bury it under the sales/GTM team; the other is to have them as a peer function of product and GTM.

Burying customer success and retention under Sales/GTM typically treats customer success as a function of revenue/cost, whereas customer success as a peer function of GTM and product allows customer success to play a more strategic role in driving customer adoption and better aligning customer feedback with product roadmap prioritization.

Companies with highly transactional businesses or in the very early stages can get by without separating customer success from sales but rapidly scaling and larger organizations are best served with customer retention residing with the customer success team. This is primarily due to the high touch interaction required to drive adoption success and deliver measurable value.

Hunting (sales) and farming (CS) are two distinct skillsets. Expecting a hunter to farm or a farmer to hunt will have negative impact on the customer experience and result in suboptimal retention. Hiring leaders with low egos will be critical, as organization structure is in flux at early growth stage and collaboration is a must regardless of where customer success team resides.

Multiple touch points produce a better pulse on your customers

Having gone through trials and errors at multiple companies, I have found that the following three processes can be implemented with minimal effort, and produce big, positive impact.

  • A post sales Customer Welcome Call to introduce the team to establish the swim lanes of the team members and escalation paths to the customer. This is the perfect time to validate your understanding of what “success” means to your customer and how it will be measured.
  • Quarterly Business Reviews with customers provides an opportunity to understand what other strategic initiatives the customer has and how you can set your customer up to achieve them. It allows you to validate upcoming milestones, adjust course and set greater goals with your customers. It allows you to focus on elevating their game through interaction with their executives.
  • Post engagement check ins allow you to validate that the delivered outcome is aligned with customer expectations and solicit feedback on where to improve and focus on what’s next. It establishes partnership and gives you an opportunity to understand if the customer is willing to be your reference.

The real secret of success

As companies reach beyond 300 customers, they start feeling overwhelmed and risk of losing the intimate relationship with their customers as they find it challenging to scale at the accelerated pace they’re used to. The teams end up spending more time on tactical renewal discussions rather than proactive outreach to understand what really matters to their customers.

To scale, companies should be obsessed with their customer’s lifetime value and have a dedicated customer success team focusing on driving customer adoption.

The real secret sauce of growth is to become obsessed with your customers. Inspired customer success leaders think of customer success as a strategic function and collaborate with cross-functional leaders to evolve execution strategy based on the only feedback that really matters – customer feedback.

This article originally appeared on her blog.

Get Started With Engati

Take care of your customers like never before with the powerful blend of automation and the human touch. Try Engati Live Chat for free today!

Helen Yu

Chief Customer Officer of Showpad and Founder & CEO of Tigon Advisory Corp- Helen Yu is a global customer-success executive who delivers board value by designing innovative approaches to drive growth, solving challenges for businesses.

Through a career spanning early-stage start-ups to Oracle and Adobe, her work has enabled  multibillion-dollar revenue growth and record profitability. She is a top Twitter influencer in AI, Blockchain, HR and was named to the “Top 10 Influencers in Digital Transformation” by IBM, “Top 10 CyberSecurity Influencer” and “Global Top 15 Thought Leader” by Thinkers360.

Close Icon
Request a Demo!

Get started on Engati with the help of a personalised demo.

Thanks for the information.
We will be shortly getting in touch with you.
Please enter a valid email address.
For any other query reach out to us on contact@engati.com
Close Icon
Congratulations! Your demo is recorded.

Select an option on how Engati can help you.

I am looking for a conversational AI engagement solution for the web and other channels.

I would like for a conversational AI engagement solution for WhatsApp as the primary channel

I am an e-commerce store with Shopify. I am looking for a conversational AI engagement solution for my business

I am looking to partner with Engati to build conversational AI solutions for other businesses

continue
Finish
Close Icon
You're a step away from building your Al chatbot

How many customers do you expect to engage in a month?

Less Than 2000

2000-5000

More than 5000

Finish
Close Icon
Thanks for the information.

We will be shortly getting in touch with you.

Close Icon

Contact Us

Please fill in your details and we will contact you shortly.

Thanks for the information.
We will be shortly getting in touch with you.
Oops! Looks like there is a problem.
Never mind, drop us a mail at contact@engati.com

<script type="application/ld+json">
{
 "@context": "https://schema.org",
 "@type": "FAQPage",
 "mainEntity": [{
   "@type": "Question",
   "name": "What is customer success?",
   "acceptedAnswer": {
     "@type": "Answer",
     "text": "At a recent conference that attracted many startup CEOs, I was surprised that the majority of leaders erroneously boil down customer success to mean “customer retention”. They associate it with a combination of functions such as account management, professional services, customer onboarding, and technical support. While customer success is all of these, it does not stop there."
   }
 },{
   "@type": "Question",
   "name": "Where does customer success belong?",
   "acceptedAnswer": {
     "@type": "Answer",
     "text": "There are two schools of thought on how customer success team should be organized and who should own customer retention. One is to bury it under the sales/GTM team; the other is to have them as a peer function of product and GTM."
   }
 },{
   "@type": "Question",
   "name": "What is the real secret of success?",
   "acceptedAnswer": {
     "@type": "Answer",
     "text": "As companies reach beyond 300 customers, they start feeling overwhelmed and risk of losing the intimate relationship with their customers as they find it challenging to scale at the accelerated pace they’re used to. The teams end up spending more time on tactical renewal discussions rather than proactive outreach to understand what really matters to their customers."
   }
 }]
}
</script>