Customer Success

My favorite definition of Customer Success is very simple. Delivering value with a wonderful experience. If I were to imagine that I myself was in a Customer Success Manager role, I would see my function as making sure that post sale, our new customer stays our customer.

I would be regularly taking their pulse to see if they are deriving value from our product and if they need less or more of the product and features. Are they are underusing it or using it incorrectly. Did they maybe purchase more than they need? Are they never touching feature X, but there is more of a need for feature Y? Let’s fix that!

It’s not about making the next sale, but in a way it is about making the next sale, I believe the next sale is a byproduct of a good CSM relationship. My drive internally is not the next sale, my drive is to keep the customer where they are best served, which is with us! That naturally means that they would renew with us if I am doing my job well. This is a huge nuance for me. I don’t see myself as someone who fits well in a sales position. But if sales naturally flow from an incredible product that I believe in and a solid CSM relationship, then that is different. It’s my job to provide whatever makes my customer successful, and that might mean less, more or different offerings.

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

Winston Churchill

I think another way to put it is that as a CSM I want to see my customer succeed. My Customer’s success is more important than my own.

What is Customer Sucess?

There are a lot of definitions of Customer Success out there. Here are just a few.

Customer success is the process of anticipating customer challenges or questions and proactively providing solutions and answers to those issues prior to them arising. Customer success helps you boost customer happiness and retention, increasing your revenue and customer loyalty.

Customer Success is the business methodology of ensuring customers achieve their desired outcomes while using your product or service. Customer Success is relationship-focused client management, that aligns client and vendor goals for mutually beneficial outcomes. Effective Customer Success strategy typically results in decreased customer churn and increased upsell opportunities.

Customer Success is when your customer achieves their Desired Outcome through their interactions with your company.

One of my favorite definitions of CS is from this book because it really focuses on the kernel of CS for me.

Customer success in not about customer satisfaction. It is not about customer delight. It is about Delivering value with a wonderful experience.

The Customer Success Professional’s Handbook

Some Resources

The book The Customer Success Professional’s Handbook: How to Thrive in One of the World’s Fastest Growing Careers―While Driving Growth For Your Company is an excellent read.

Gainsight has some great webinars that cover their software but this is also an excellent way to see what the day to day particulars of the role are.

I found this article to be really interesting as well. I had some initial concerns about the role being much like a sales role in some aspects, which is something I have no interest in at all.

There are a lot of interesting videos on YouTube if you search for Customer Success Manager. Khan Academy has a few, but they feel a bit dated at this point.