The Art of Customer Success

Robin Richardson  /  Aug 17, 2016

Coming from a world of sales, account management and customer success, I have been fortunate to understand the value and differentiation of client facing roles, as well as the value they bring to a customer.  Most sales organizations build a team of account executives to identify and acquire new business.  Once the contract is signed, customer service representatives manage the client through the duration of their contract.  What most organizations lose sight of is how to proactively engage customers, ensure they are adopting the product/service and help them achieve their goals.  Many organizations recognize this gap, but it’s often too late.  

Albeit, all of these roles are critical in building a healthy business, Customer Success is increasingly playing a fundamental role in the prosperity of an organization. A recent report by Gartner asserts that 89% of respondents expect customer experience to be their primary basis for competitive differentiation by 2017. Customer Success can be the leading factor in customer satisfaction and renewal business.  They provide the face to the customer relationship and the glue that connects the company to the customer. They are seen as the trusted advisor/white label partner with a holistic view of their client organization.

It is the job of the Customer Success Manager to understand the key performance indicators most valuable to the customer. From that moment on, the main focus is to ensure they are on the right path to reach those success metrics. Questions such as, “What is the business problem you are trying to solve” and “How will you define success” are critical to set the stage.

Even though a Customer Success Manager is focused on adoption and satisfaction, they are also tasked with identifying champions within their client organization. Creating that “stickiness” and loyalty from the start will result in increased renewals, cross-sells and up-sells given the customer is solving identified business problems and achieving success.

At the end of the day, Customer Success managers must retain and grow revenue while achieving the highest level of customer satisfaction.  They need to anticipate the customer’s needs and provide solutions based on their business strategy to improve their overall success. It’s an exciting time for Customer Success, as the impact of this profession is gaining momentum.

​How is your organization measuring and nurturing Customer Success?



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