Customer Success Operations Is The Key To Smooth Scaling
According to Gainsight and LinkedIn, the Customer Success (CS) domain grew 736% in just the last few years (2019). Customer Success is growing explosively, not just in size but also in scope. As CS roles and responsibilities continue to evolve and expand, CS teams need a support system of their own that steers the entire CS organization towards a measurable and scalable path to customer value realization. Enter Customer Success Operations.
CS Operations is responsible for improving the efficiency and scalability of your CS organization. While your Customer Success Managers (CSMs) are busy helping customers achieve their desired outcomes, your CS Operations team ensures that your CSMs have the strategy, technology and processes they need to succeed. The right CS Operations team will handle all strategic process decisions and provide tactical support so your CSMs can focus on delivering maximum customer value and accelerating Net Revenue Retention (NRR). Without a skilled and savvy CS Operations team, you risk impeding the growth of your Customer Success organization and your entire business at large.
Here are the top 5 strategic actions you can take to build a high-performance team that accelerates the efficiency and scalability of your CS Organization.
1. Build Your Team Using The 3 Pillars of Customer Success Operations
A strong Customer Success Operations organization is built on 3 fundamental pillars; strategy, technology and data. The right team will operationalize CS strategy by leveraging accurate and real-time customer data and support it with a designated CS technology to drive successful adoption, retention and expansion at scale. We recommend hiring a CS Operations leader with extensive knowledge of Customer Success best practices, mastery of the CS technological ecosystem and a deep understanding of how to use data to accelerate your operations and demonstrate your team’s value to the business.
2. Align Your Customer-Facing Teams Around Customer Outcomes & Value
To ensure the continuous and successful delivery of customer value, your cross-functional teams must be aligned on the desired outcomes your customers hope to achieve. Bring all cross-functional teams together to review internal knowledge about the customer, collectively define what customer value looks like and collaborate on a shared success plan using each team’s perspective and experience.
We recommend aligning teams by assigning specific responsibilities based on the following considerations:
- What is Sales responsible for during the customer handoff to CS?
- Who is going to be involved in every major milestone of the customer journey?
3. Build Repeatable Processes
To build a high-performance team and scale it successfully, you need to create repeatable processes that your team can deploy consistently and empower them to make informed decisions on their own. As a company grows and processes evolve, points of friction and bottlenecks invariably appear in a business’ workflows. Task your CS Operations team with evaluating these workflows, identifying redundancies and streamlining all CS initiatives for optimal efficiency and scalability.
4. Segment Your Customer Base
The next step to scaling your CS Operations is segmenting your customer base, analyzing their various needs and allocating resources accordingly. We recommend evolving to a 3-tiered coverage model where your highest potential customers at tier 1 are covered with your highest CSM skill offerings, and implementing automation for tiers 2 and 3. This will allow you to distribute work more effectively among your CSMs without overwhelming them and build out adoption, retention and expansion strategies across the segmentation of your customers at scale.
5. Use Agile Development Methodologies
In order to drive continuous improvement and innovation, you need to operationalize all elements of your CS Operations using Agile development methodologies. The implementation of the right Agile framework will allow you to pivot quickly in response to new data and iterate your strategy and technology in response to new insights. We suggest applying your selected Agile framework to smaller projects first, such as how you conduct meetings, to get some quick wins and ensure successful Agile adoption.
Maximize The Value of Your Customer Success Operations
CS organizations are facing a daily stream of changing customer needs, imperfect data and market developments. If you build a high-performance team, you’re ensuring that your organization can meet these challenges head-on and guarantee sustainable and scalable growth.
Are you ready to supercharge your Customer Success Operations? Read our latest interview with Stephen Keogh, CS Technology Consultant at Valuize, about scaling Customer Success with the right team, technology and processes.