What is Customer Success? What it Means & Why it Matters

Customer success explained

Many companies are feeling the increasing pressure of customer expectations (particularly on value) rising year on year. Now, leaders everywhere are looking to the emerging function of Customer Success as an essential focus. One that is said to drive long-term company growth. An exciting idea -especially considering Forbes reports that 73% of companies with above-average customer experiences perform better financially than their counterparts. But, if you’re like many others who just want to know what Customer success is, why it matters and what it means for you – read on to discover the answers in the article below. 

Read on to discover answers to questions like:

What is Customer Success?

Customer Success is a long-term business strategy. It aims to ensure steady growth opportunities with existing customers by providing a positive customer experience.

This customer-centric approach helps to boost customer satisfaction, happiness and retention. Creating prime opportunities for upselling and cross-selling increases your overall customer loyalty (and revenue).

Many companies achieve this by realising customer value expectations. Then react accordingly by providing product adoption and reliable communication.

However, it’s no longer safe to assume that the entire company is solely responsible for managing Customer Success. Instead, businesses must dedicate a person or a team to focus on it.

Customer Success teams or Managers (CSM) take a proactive, data-led approach to help customers use a product more effectively. They prepare for customer challenges, questions or queries and proactively provide solutions and answers.

How does it work?

Customer Success works by mapping your customers’ buyer journey from start to finish. The approach aims to assess their experience at various levels of the customer lifecycle, using the insights to provide proactive support.

As a result, you can’t create an effective and reliable Customer Success strategy with brainstorming sessions, meetings, spreadsheets or just extra hours.

Instead, you must dedicate a team and a Customer Success manager to follow the customer journey and communicate insights to the sales team.

Also read: What It Takes To Be A Great Customer Success Manager: A Guide

Why do businesses need Customer Success?

Many companies are moving away from selling large, one-time deals in favour of subscription models. With this model, products must prove their value before every contract renewal. Yet, the success of the subscription renewal depends entirely on customers continually seeing value in the product.

Unfortunately, there’s always going to be another competitor, usually with a similar version of the product that your customers could choose instead.

“Every day we’re saying, ‘How can we keep the customer happy? How can we get ahead in innovation by doing this?’… because if we don’t, somebody else will.” 

– Bill Gates, Microsoft

With the rise of virtual selling, the competition is increasing more than ever. Customer Success can now be the defining factor in your growth and differentiation from other companies. However, it looks like everyone already knows it. 

According to a North Highland study, 87% of leaders now say customer experience is their primary “growth engine”. Hence why it’s crucial to get started with Customer Success sooner rather than later. 

If that isn’t enough reason to start implementing a customer success program, read on to discover why businesses need customer success below: 

To Reduce Customer Churn

Customers who view their relationship with your brand as a friendship are more likely to see you as reliable, authentic, and know what they need most. 

As such, companies that can maintain reasonable customer retention rates by using customer success will likely see customers spend a whopping 67% more than those new to you and your value. 

In turn, this helps to produce recurring revenue. A portion of the income you expect to continue, making business activities predictable and stable- something businesses always need.

Also read: The Secret To Improving Customer Retention: Customer Success Teams

To Increase Revenue

Not only does customer success keep revenue in your business, but it also helps generate more at a lower cost. That’s because the opportunities to upsell and cross-sell are usually within the product with subscription renewals

Ultimately, Customer Success is one area where companies can’t afford to be late adopters. Not only does an effective customer success program help to set your business apart from your competitors. But it also halts customer churn – providing you with a stable base of happy, successful, outspoken advocates.

Also read:

Customer Success Vs. Customer Service, Customer Experience & Account Management: What’s the difference?

With so many different customer functions, it’s easy to confuse two (or more) separate initiatives with customer success. Read on to discover the difference between customer success vs customer service, customer experience and account management below:

Customer Service Vs. Customer Success

The key difference between Customer Service (also known as customer support) and Customer Success is that the former is about being reactive. Whereas customer success depends on being reactive. As a result, Customer Service is for dealing with customers’ problems when customers raise them. 

Overall, customer service focuses on fulfilling specific customers’ requests by fielding customer questions, issues, and requests over the phone, email, live chat, and social media. 

A shocking 69% of customers stop doing business with a company due to one bad experience. Hence, why you still need to exceed expectations with excellent customer service to ensure customers remain loyal, recommend you to others and be long-term trusted advocates.  

Customer success, on the other hand, is the process of working in partnership with customers to help them get more value out of their purchase and share their feedback with you. In summary, it helps to drive the customer experience forward and ensure a stable path into the future.

Customer Experience Vs. Customer Success

Customer Experience is a focus on specific interactions. It revolves around how easy and satisfying it is for customers to use your product. Customer Success looks at the customer journey as a whole. Still, it puts Customer Experience into context, helping teams understand their customers’ overall needs and business goals.

Account Management Vs. Customer Success

Account Management refers to the long-term strategy of delivering significant value over time to your “key accounts”. In other words, a systematic approach to managing, retaining and growing your organisation’s most valuable customers. Primarily by focusing on maximising mutual value by achieving mutually beneficial goals.

Much like customer service, account management focuses on case-by-case interactions and is reactive. However, it differs from Customer Success in the sense that the purpose of the account management mindset is on the money coming in rather than meeting customer needs.

Final Word: Gain the Skills to Improve Customer Retention

Many Customer Success Managers must oversee problem resolution, adoption and satisfaction. But by doing so, they lose the ”bigger picture” of the overall customer experience, risking churn that could collapse expansion opportunities. 

Instead, to skyrocket loyalty and revenue, CSMs must prioritise high-level strategic goals and align them with their key stakeholders and accounts. 

Customer Success (CSM) training supports managers in developing the application skills needed to effectively engage, manage and retain customers  – while maximising repeat business. 

Customer Success Training Booklet
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