NOTE: Updated Feb 2018
In thinking about what was wrong with customer success, I started with a simple premise: software should be easy to use and deliver the outcomes customers buy it for ‘out of the box’, without other interventions. When I started talking about this, some said it was idealistic and it was not possible. Everyone has customer support and increasingly, customer success teams: it’s accepted wisdom; best practice.
I don’t agree. I certainly don’t claim that product based customer success is easy but without lofty ambition, we all too often inflict bad software and unmet objectives on buyers the world over. As George Bernard Shaw once said “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” I’ll stick to being unreasonable.
I sketched out the broad brush of CS2.0 in the following statements:
- Product is the primary vehicle for delivering customer success. The need for a large CS team could indicate significant product shortfalls.
- Product-led customer success guides and supports the customer in making the organisational changes they need (process and people) to best exploit your product.
- Product/market fit is achieved when you have successful customers, not just buyers
- A single view of the customer is a must have.
- The CS metrics that really matters track the number, scale and speed of customers achieving their goals.
- CS is built around a view of ideal customers common across the company.
- Customer success is a quota carrying, revenue generating contributor to growth.
Not part of the core charter but in my list, I noted “If the CEO doesn’t get customer success; the customer won’t!” I also added “It doesn’t matter what you call it; what matters is what you do.”
The seven elements of the charter will guide my blogging activity.
Do you think others should be added? I tried to keep it to its essence but readily admit, I might have missed something critical.