I have the opportunity to interview, for our customer success podcast, some of the best in customer success and SaaS industry. A key takeaway from each interview is that customer success is most effective when engrained into a company's culture.
Here are some ways you can ensure that it is in your company’s:
Who the Customer Success Team Reports To
In our Nordic Customer Success Benchmark report we asked Customer Success professionals who they report to, and we found that majority of participants said they report “directly to the CEO.” The second most common answer was “is a part of sales” - meaning the CS team reports to the Sales Director first.
While the customer success team does have certain overlapping responsibilities with sales (up-sale opportunities, contract renewals are areas where sales and customer success must involve one another), having the customer success team report to the director of sales may start to confuse the goals of the CS team.
Having the customer success team report to the CEO ensures that the goals of the team are always in the interest of the existing customer. It helps ensure the priority is making sure that they are getting value out of the product and creating a long term relationship - not just up-selling them.
The CEO can make decisions based on the CS team’s insights and use that to affect change throughout the company in the interest of customers.
Make Customer Success a Salary Component of EVERYONE
In my interview with Steve Lucas, the CEO of Marketo, he talked about how he has made at least one component of customer success a part of everyone in the company’s salary model. He does this so that it is a responsibility of everyone and to ensure that the decisions made always have the experience and success of the customer in mind.
The result is every department in the company working together to ensure the customer is successful. The CS team becomes the customer voice and facilitator for other teams to know what customers need to be successful.
Make It Easy for the Customer Success Team to Work With Other Departments
Members of the Customer Success team are creating relationships with the customers and talking to them much more than any other department. They have the clearest insight into what customers need, want and what they would benefit most from.
In order to leverage this critical information the customer success team needs to be able to easily communicate and work with other teams in the company:
Make it so that it is expected, and easy for these teams to work together on a regular basis.
These are just a few ways that can help facilitate a culture of customer success. And for more wisdom and insight from leaders in customer success, tune into our podcast: The Customer Success Channel.