Customer Success seems to be the new buzzword in the SaaS world. And more and more companies are realizing the value and importance of the Customer Success team for the company’s growth, as well as having the values of customer success be a part of the company’s DNA and way of working.
But what exactly is customer success? How would you go about defining it? It’s a bit difficult because how each customer success team is structured will differ from company to company. And the roles that can fall under the customer success umbrella can be diverse as well; from Customer Success Marketer, Customer Success Analyst, and the classic Customer Success Manager.
It’s difficult to come up with a definition that’s a “one-size-fits-all,” so we’ve asked leaders in the industry how they define customer success. One aspect of customer success each mentions is that customer success is about ensuring customers are receiving the value they originally set out to get from your service when they first purchased.
Jonas Stanford, Director of Customer Success @ Unbounce
"I would say that customer success is a proactive function of helping your customers achieve their desired outcomes. I think it’s as simple as that. It’s important to say it’s proactive and it’s important to say it’s helping customers achieve their desired outcomes, which is more than just supporting them if they have a problem - it’s more of a macro approach as opposed to a micro approach as support."
Hélène Hagnéré, Customer Success Director @ Planday
To me, customer success is the art of truly caring about the one we are all working for. In a business you’ll be very passionate about your department - so if you work in sales you want the revenue, if you work for product it will be hopefully the innovation, and so and so.
But we could tend to forget that all that we are doing is for customers...So it’s basically to always care about them. It’s to not forget that without customers no business would be in business. And it’s to go the extra mile for my team everyday, with a smile.
And it’s also to set a rule of process and structure to ensure growth, scalability and confidence.
I couldn’t make a definition without mentioning process.
Ingmar Zahorsky, Director of Customer Success @ Chartmogul
For me, it is to enable a customer to realize their full potential as a user of a product or service. I feel a customer cares about attaining goals and how it makes them feel once they reach them. Being able to guide them in that journey, to close that gap between the potential of the customer and then what they actually are doing is what customer success is about.
Keri Keeling, Head of Global Customer Success Enablement & Capability @ Oracle
My definition of Customer Success is that CS is not necessarily the acts that we are performing today. It’s more about the end result for the client. When a customer consistently receives value and they are able to improve their businesses in whatever way….everyone has succeeded!
Patrick Cournoyer, Chief Operating Officer @ Peakon
I think that customer success truly is the ability to build a meaningful and long-term relationship that's really designed around the ultimate goals and the ultimate image or vision of success from the individual customer perspective. I think it's about simplifying and making the entire experience not only easy for the customer, but also being respected and trusted by the customer. Because if we capture that and we can create that, then we feel we're going to have a long-term relationship with that customer.
Sue Nabeth, Customer Success Consultant - Success Track Enterprise
For me, customer success is a corporate wide mindset and responsibility which adapts to ever evolving contexts, - both internal and external, to create added value and win-win growth for both clients and vendors alike.
And from our very own, Niklas Skog!
Niklas Skog, Chief Technical Officer & Co-Founder @ Planhat
To me customer success is the mutualistic relationship between a service provider and it's customers. In practice I mostly hear people talk about it as helping each individual customer get as much value as possible out of the service. I think that's a sound starting point, but it's also not uncommon with trade-offs between the success of a single customer and the success of the customer base as a whole. That's where customer success becomes really exciting and strategic in addition to the operational aspects.