Customer Success as a Core Operating Philosophy

By October 4, 2016Blog

We recently talked on our blog about why Customer Success needs a seat at the leadership table. In that post, we recapped a networking event we attended with Lincoln Murphy as the speaker and we recalled him noting that “if customer success isn’t the operating philosophy of the company and its leadership, you’re going to have problems orchestrating, operationalizing, and instrumenting successful customers.”

This struck a chord with us. At UserIQ, customer success is our business. Not only are we dedicated to ensuring our own customers are successful, but helping our customers make their customers successful is the heart of what we do.

What does it mean for each department in your business to have customer success as its core operating philosophy?

Sales

The best way for your sales team to ensure customer success is to encourage them to move away from selling to bad-fit customers. If the customers you’re bringing in don’t have the potential to be successful with your product/service or company, you’re setting them (and yourself) up for failure.

This helps your sales team become laser-focused on the company’s ideal customer so they’re spending less time forcing a close on resistant leads, and ensures customer success teams can do their best work with customers who are invested in their own success with your product.

”If we want to build a business that’s free from churn and designed to move customers along an Ascension Path, we must acquire customers that have Success Potential.” – Lincoln Murphy

Marketing

This is a perfect time to point out that marketing should be aligned on customer success goals in the same way it is (or should be) with sales. In fact, you need all three playing on the same team to keep your processes running smoothly—customer success can help sales and marketing better understand their best-fit customers so they can hone their efforts on more targeted leads.

The place where marketing can ensure customers (not just leads) are taken care of is in content development. This could mean creating a customer newsletter, building best practices guides, planning a product webinar or helping secure advocates.

Product and Development

Product Managers are highly interested in making sure the people their product is intended for are actually using it, but that doesn’t always directly translate into success. Focusing on customer success (or good customer experience) as a primary objective can help engineers and product managers truly understand what’s working and what isn’t in order to help both customers and PMs achieve their goals.

Customer success teams are typically in constant communication with product teams as they relay feedback directly from customers. As long as these two teams are working congruently toward the same goal, things will run smoothly.

Customer Success

It seems like a redundancy to say that your CS team should have customer success as a key operating philosophy, but it bears repeating. Sometimes, customer success teams can get caught up in fighting fires and forget for whom they’re fighting those fires. Develop a hierarchy of support and success so your team can focus less on firefighting and more on being proactive.

Leadership

As we mentioned in our previous blog, if customer success is truly important to your company, it’s critical that the voice of the customer is heard at the highest levels. Making sure a CS representative is strategically integrated into your leadership team is the best way to make this happen. Establish customer success as a revenue-driven function with specific KPIs and have each team member be held accountable for a portion of the overall goal.

At the end of the day, companies that are truly invested in their own success will have the success of their customers top of mind. They will have scalable, repeatable processes in place across every department to ensure customer success is acting as a means of igniting revenue growth beyond what one department could accomplish alone.

How do the various departments in your company ensure customer success is a core operating philosophy across the business? Join the conversation on the Customer Growth Community on LinkedIn.