Article

The Customer Success role: main activities and its importance within a company

By Douglas da Silva

Published March 6, 2021
Last updated March 16, 2021

Why should your company have a Customer Success position? Is this professional really important for the growth of your brand?

The fact is, the better the customers’ experience, the greater the chances of them being loyal and spreading the word about your business.

According to studies, most people who are pleased with a brand feel this way because of the service that they received and not necessarily because of the product.

As such, it is even possible to reinforce these numbers and the importance of a Customer Success professional with a tweet posted by Lincoln Murphy, one of the pioneers in Customer Success:

“You can focus on adoption, retention, expansion, or advocacy; or you can focus on the customers' Desired Outcome and get all of those things.”

What is Customer Success?

To begin the discussion about the Customer Success position, it is useful to first understand a little about what Customer Success is all about within a company.

This is a strategy created by SaaS (Software as a Service) companies in order to retain existing customers and, in doing so, to maintain revenue.

However, as its name suggests, Customer Success is not just about ensuring a business’s profits.

Customer Success should also be implemented so that consumers understand that the problem (pain) they have will only be solved if they continue to use the solution your company offers. Which, consequently, results in customer loyalty.

What does the Customer Success role entail?

However, it is essential for the brand to put in the work in order for the client to have this perception.

What traditionally happens is that companies direct their efforts to the marketing team (which makes the product or service attractive), and to the sales team (which concludes deals).

However, what should be done after the customer has already purchased the offered solution? This is when the Customer Success position becomes valuable.

The Customer Success (CS) professional is responsible for ensuring that customers are satisfied with what has been sold to them. This is why the CS professional’s role is similar to that of a consultant.

Thus, one of the main reasons for having the Customer Success position in a company is to prevent customers from breaking a contract with the brand and, thus, to bring them closer to the brand.

Main activities of those in the Customer Success position

Anyone holding the Customer Success position faces two important challenges: working to help the customer achieve success and ensuring their retention.

But to do so, it is essential for this professional to deeply understand the solution purchased by the consumer.

One reason for this is that it is up to the CS, after identifying a difficulty faced by the customer, to present the best way of resolving it.

This knowledge is one of the points that help to avoid contract cancellations, which often happen due to the incorrect or partial use of the acquired solution.

That said, took a look at the other responsibilities and activities performed by the Customer Success professional.

Facilitate integration

One of the first responsibilities of the Customer Success role is to contact the customer right after the sale and to make himself or herself fully available.

This is where a closer and more personalised relationship with the consumer is already beginning, as it is also up to this team to promote a relationship of empathy and trust.

In this phase, the customer will also be integrated with the purchased product or service.

Because of this, some companies also call the professionals responsible for this stage implanters, implementers or ISMs (Implementation Success Managers).

Make calls

Customer Success is an active department. Most contacts are from here to the customer. As such, one of the main duties is to make calls to check how the customers’ relationship with the solution is going and what can be done to help them enjoy it even more.

Promoting upselling and cross-selling

Contacts can also be a way to promote upselling and cross-selling, which consist of offering an "up" to the product or service already purchased, or a new solution related to the first purchase.

Saving customers

Preventing churn, the rate of cancellation, is one of the main objectives of Customer Success professionals. However, they also try to win back customers who have cancelled their contracts.

In this case, it is up to the CS to identify the reasons that led to the cancellation and to present solutions to resolve such issues, demonstrating to the customers that the company is still the most qualified to solve their problems and help them to grow.

Monitoring KPIs

This team is also responsible for monitoring and analysing various metrics, or KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

This data is an important tool for directing strategies, measuring the evolution of the services provided, identifying points that need to be improved, and so on.

In addition to the churn mentioned above, there are several other KPIs that can be used. The most common ones are:

    Expansion: identifies the increase in recurring monthly revenue;
    Activation: identifies the number of customers who actively use the solution;
    NPS (Net Promoter Score): this metric is used to measure the level of customer satisfaction;
    Health Score: helps identify customers who may cancel.

The difference between Customer Success and Support

You may imagine that a Customer Success department and a Support or CSD (Customer Service Department) are the same thing. However, they are not.

As mentioned previously, Customer Success works in such a way that what the company offers contributes to its growth. So much so that Lincoln Murphy defined the strategy as follows: “Customer Success is when customers achieve their desired outcome through their interactions with your company”.

Support is intended to solve technical problems, and the CSD ends up being more focused on receiving complaints, opening requests, forwarding information, and even registering compliments and suggestions.

The importance of the Customer Success position within a company

With all this information, has the importance of the Customer Success position in a company become clearer?

One of the goals of the professionals on this team is to retain customers. Here, it is worth remembering that 1 loyal customer is worth 10 times more than a new one. Furthermore, increasing the retention rate by 5% may represent a 75% increase in (Strikedeck) profits.

Ensuring Customer Success also intervenes in other points in the relationship between company and consumer.

Research from the Temkin Group showed that, in addition to helping to publicise the brand, promoting good experiences also influences areas such as reliability, the level of understanding if the company makes a mistake, and, especially, the likelihood of purchasing another product or service.

Check out some of the data presented in the survey:

    86% of customers would buy again;
    77% would recommend it to other people;
    79% would trust the brand more;
    62% would forgive failures.

However, to benefit from the Customer Success strategy, it is important to provide your team with the appropriate tools, such as solutions that integrate all information and contacts with the customer in one place.

Zendesk Support, for example, puts all of its customer service interactions in one place, thus facilitating and streamlining the role of the CS and the entire team.