Should You Make Room for a Customer Success Operations Role?

By February 19, 2021Blog

OK, we all know how important it is to let data guide customer success priorities and decision-making.

But how often does that actually happen?

With 71% of customer success professionals managing more than 15 accounts, there isn’t much time left in the day for data capture, analytics and reporting — you know, the fundamentals of metrics-driven customer success.

That’s where a customer success operations (CS Ops) role can help. Creating a dedicated position to handle every crucial data management task will give you — and other important stakeholders like product teams — in-depth insights to create the best customer experience possible.

Here’s what you need to know about CS Ops.

Operations finally lands in customer success

Operations roles are nothing new. Sales and marketing teams, for instance, often carve out a space for an operations position. 

So, what do CS Ops professionals actually do? They manage all the forecasting, reporting and analytics tasks that should inform everything from customer success strategies to product development.

At any given moment, a CS Ops role is responsible for:

  • Monitoring product usage and adoption rates.
  • Tracking health scores, customer sentiment metrics and other key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Generating reports on the state of the customer experience to guide decision-making.
  • Determining which activities impact adoption, churn and renewal most.
  • Forecasting revenue, customer behavior, product adoption and product performance trends.
  • Scheduling routine touch points with customers.

Without a CS Ops position, you run the risk of flying blind. Your customer success managers have a ton of insight into their accounts. But that information needs to be paired with hard data and analytics to fully understand your users. 

CS Ops reporting and forecasting also gives customer success leaders the fuel needed to impact cross-team collaboration. 

Say you go to your product team with a suggestion of how to improve your SaaS platform. The product team will be a lot more receptive to those recommendations if they’re backed up by indisputable data and evidence, rather than your CSMs’ intuition and observations alone.

Adam Waid

SalesLoft Customer Success VP Adam Waid

Dive into the data pool with CS Ops

We’re not the only ones who are bullish about CS Ops’ future. During a recent UserIQ webinar, SalesLoft Vice President of Global Customer Success Adam Waid urged teams to establish a CS Ops role in 2021

With many customer success teams running a relatively small operation — 45% have fewer than 10 team members — you might be hesitant to risk losing productivity in one area for the sake of data, reporting and analytics. But Waid explained that this role is so important, you have to make it a priority, even if it means assigning that work to an existing customer success manager. 

“It may be painful because you might be stretched thin right now, but having someone to run reports, run data and create capacity modeling will help you in the long run,” Waid said.

The good news is that even though a lot of customer success teams rely on a handful of employees right now, industry trends are pointing upward. In 2018 alone, 80% of teams added new staff to their ranks. It shouldn’t take too long to replace any team member who moves into a CS Ops role.

So, if you want to reshape your customer success team into a data-driven dynamo — and you do, of course — then consider a CS Ops position. 

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