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Customer Success as a Culture

By Jeff Breunsbach

Customer success is no longer just a department. It’s the basis of an organization’s operational execution and culture.

One year. That’s how long you have to master customer success, as it’s predicted to surpass price and product as the most significant factor for brand differentiation by 2020, according to Walker Research.

Clearly, the customer success world is revolutionizing faster than ever. While scrolling through the Business2Community’s customer success trends for 2018, one stuck out in particular: Making customer success the foundation of company culture. If customer success will soon become the #1 differentiator, companies need to prioritize it as such.

Customer success is no longer just a department. It’s the basis of an organization’s operational execution and culture. As more companies are using customer success to direct their core growth strategies, this needs to be viewed cross-functionally rather than as a single team. From CEO to CSM, customer success should be integrated into every level of an organization.

Not many CEOs would disagree with this, but how do we make this a reality? Here are some ideas:

Make customer success an executive-level matter

80% of the leading publicly-traded SaaS companies have a customer success leader at VP-level or above. Making customer success constantly visible to executives is the first step in moving your customer success efforts from department-wide to company-wide.

In fact, we see the best results when a Customer Success executive reports to the CEO and owns responsibility for all post-sale customer activities.

Additionally, a range customer experience metrics are reviewed in weekly executive team meetings. The CS executive holds accountability for those metrics.

Understand the interdisciplinary nature of customer success

There isn’t a single area of an organization that is devoid of customer success. From marketing to sales to product development, customer success is the driving purpose and outcome of every department. This is why every functional team needs to be aligned with his central goal.

B2B SaaS is the ultimate team sport, and driving customer outcomes takes a coordinated process from all departments – go to market through delivery.

View customer success as a journey

Customer success never truly ends. From presale interactions to every stage of the customer lifecycle, organizations need to be fully committed to improving customer experience and satisfaction. Once you address the most pressing issues impacting customer outcomes, new issues will surface.

Continuous refinement of the customer experience allows the business to be more resilient to market threats, improve internal weaknesses and take advantage of big opportunities.

We believe that an organization that embraces customer success as a central rallying cry is more likely to win in the long run.  However, it must be consistently embraced by owners and management, made a cross-functional responsibility and continually operationalized to maximize the benefits.

Credit to Renee Fraley, a Business Development Intern with Customer Imperative for helping to craft this blog post

Published November 6, 2018
About the Author

Jeff serves as the Director of Accounts, overseeing business operations and ensuring the delivery and quality of all client engagements with numerous B2B SaaS clients to drive revenue growth through customer success strategy and execution. See full bio ›

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