6 Questions Your Customer Success Team Must Be Able to Answer

By November 3, 2016Blog

Whether you’re building a new customer success program from scratch, ready to start scaling your efforts, or years into a strong plan, there are a few foundational questions your team should be able to answer to ensure you’re working toward the right goals.

If your customer success organization is to reach its full potential and set themselves on a path toward customer growth, it’s important that they are empowered to create scalable, repeatable processes, just as any other department. Answering these six questions will help you develop a solid foundation for your customer success program and allow you be more proactive in working toward customer growth.

  1. What is a successful customer to you?

Your entire organization should agree on what a successful customer looks like. Input from multiple different departments leaders will be invaluable in this step, as each department will have their own experiences with your customers. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Are customers actively engaged with your team?
  • Are customers low-maintenance and/or self-service?
  • Do customers share a common persona?
  • Do customers use the product in a certain way?
  • Are customers identifying as promoters in an NPS survey?
  • Do customers attend training sessions (either via webinar, in-person, or courses)?
  1. What are the goals of your customer success program?

Determine the expectations and goals of your team for the customer success program and establish key performance indicators (KPIs). Common KPIs for a customer success program include churn rate, renewal rate, and NPS rating. Note that these may (and should) change as your team matures and as you begin to discover your benchmarks.

  1. How often will your team evaluate success and develop plans for improvement?

Decide how often each year the team will evaluate the success of their efforts based on the KPIs you’ve created. Assign who will track KPIs over time and which team members will take part in evaluating and strategizing for future changes.

  1. What data will you need to manage the program?

Given your definition of a successful customer, the goals of your program, and the KPIs you will use to measure success, consider the types of customer data you will need to capture in order to effectively measure your program. If you’re not already capturing that data today, decide how you will capture it.

  1. What is your customer journey?

Defining the journey your customers should take from acquisition to advocacy can lead to some of the most valuable discussions with your team. Draw out what you know of your customers’ journey on a whiteboard first. The typical customer journey looks like this:
hourglassgraphic-2

Flesh out how your particular users move through each stage, what channels they’re using, and make note of potential trouble areas. Begin to document what you know about the types of events that prompt a customer to progress. Knowing this will reveal key points where your processes will be the most effective and useful to your customers.

  1. Which stages of the customer journey does Customer Success own?

Decide which stages of the customer journey is owned strictly by Customer Success. Ideally, CS owns the entire journey and receives support from tangential departments at each stage. But depending on your team size and goals, you may opt to split responsibilities between departments, which is critical to managing your goals and achieving optimal alignment.

We recommend revisiting these questions every six months or so to make sure your team is all on the same page and that your answers are accurate and updated. These questions will help you begin operationalizing your customer success program and help instill customer success as a core operating philosophy in your company. We’d also encourage you to meet with your leadership team to discuss these questions, especially if you’re answering these questions for the first time, but also each time you plan to update them.

To learn more about how to answer these questions for your organization and how to drive growth throughout the customer journey, download the whitepaper.