By | Rajiv Jayaraman | Founder-CEO, KNOLSKAPE ; Author: Clearing the Digital BLUR, TEDx speaker, Chief People Officer, Talent Transformation
Customer success management is an emerging function within organizations. The goal of this role is to help customers grow and be profitable by deriving the best value from your products and solutions, thereby driving your own profitability and growth.
In many organizations, Customer Success Management teams are assigned the goal of reducing customer churn. As a result, these teams get into a reactive mode, often stepping in to save customer relationships that are at stake. The real value of the function, however, is realized when these teams use an integrated approach to add value at important stages of the customer life cycle in a proactive fashion.
The customer success team is expected to demonstrate high levels of agility, responsiveness and ownership. Going beyond the operational elements of the role, the following are the 7 crucial success factors for the customer success function.
1. Clear understanding of the ideal customer profile
The organization needs to have a clear idea of who the ideal customer is, what their needs are, what their expectations are and ultimately, what does success mean to them? Without this, the customer success team and the organization are flying blind.
2. Right Selling
It is very important for the sales function of the organization to understand the product or solution well enough and be convinced that the offering is going to make the customer successful. If on the other hand, if the sales team takes any and every deal that comes their way, the organization is setting its customers and itself for failure. Organizations the deliver great customer success are also the ones that say no to customers when value cannot be delivered.
3. Deep Product Understanding
Knowing how the product or solution can be leveraged for better results and communicating that effectively to the customers is the crux of the customer success function.
4. Senior leadership involvement
Senior leaders in the organization need to have a clear view of how customers are getting acquired, on-boarded, grown and retained. It is important for them to understand the factors that trigger customer churn.
5. Enlisting support of all teams
The fundamental premise for customer success is that it is everyone’s job. Everyone including senior leadership, sales, marketing, professional services, technology, product management, support plays a role in the customer success process. The customer success team then needs to be empowered to orchestrate success by collaboratively working with diverse teams.
6. Organizing the team
Internally, customer success teams must be organized to best serve customers seamlessly. This can be done based on various dimensions: geography, product-groups, complexity, value of the customer etc. Ideally, the structure of the customer success team should mirror that of the sales team.
7. Understanding Customer Lifetime value
The organization needs to have a common understanding of the lifetime value of the customer. This is one of the most crucial metrics for the customer success team to look at to optimize their level of support and service.