Photo credit: BombBomb, LLC.

Keeping customer success alive: How to help your team stay motivated

Donna Kelly
Apr 30, 2018 · 4 min read

The spirit of customer success gets lost when Customer Success Managers (CSMs) focus on hitting goals and get caught in the web of mundane day-to-day activities. Whether these goals are based on number of solved tickets, outbounding calls, or save and upsell commission, they are getting repetitive and boring to your CSMs. The wave they were initially riding slows to a steady stream of monotony, which results in less dutiful vigor and more mindless box-checking.

Just like your team needs to be proactive in educating and assisting customers, as a leader, you need to be proactive in consistently pulling the energy of customer success back into your team’s lens. Instead of letting them check boxes, do things that will realign your team’s focus to ensure they’re thinking outside the box and taking real, valued action. Don’t let them forget the root purpose of their role — it’s not just about outbounding and training people all day!

So what can you do to keep the spirit of customer success alive in your environment? Here are some steps we took at BombBomb to reemphasize customer success to our team and the rest of the company.

Continuing group education

No matter how long you’ve been working in customer success, you’ll never know everything. There’s always room for continued education, and what better way to pump life into your team than embarking on learning something new together? We chose a customer success book to read for professional development and held book club meetings every other week for group discussions on the material. From this small activity, we saw big value; after understanding various perspectives of diverse SaaS executives, our enthusiasm and creative juices began flowing again when brainstorming ideas to help the business and the department.

Building our own health metric

For a long time, we used one simple metric to determine customer health: whether or not emails had been sent within 30, 60, and 90 day timeframes. The problem was that we were pretty far removed from what elements actually went into the makeup of our customers’ health. To fix this, we put in some serious work and built our very own health metric. It allowed us to take a step back and assess what, based on outcomes from customer account activities, really mattered when it came to people having success with our product. We now use this metric to motivate and guide us in many critical decisions we make regarding our business.

Reevaluating the responsibility of NPS

In case you didn’t know, we’re big fans of the NPS tool in our business. We believe in its power to fuel growth and product innovation. One of the best uses for NPS is product improvement, but CSMs can only go so far with manually fixing issues and bugs. After some exploration, we saw this as an opportunity to invite our Product department to co-own this number with us. This introduced a new way for our CSMs to collaborate with people who can have a direct effect on changing product functionality to fit the needs of our customers. In making this change, the satisfaction ratings of our CSMs and their performances are more accurate while Product can now reference customer opinions and quantitative data when making product changes.

Sharing customer success stories

It wouldn’t be called “customer success” if our customers weren’t successful, right? We knew we were making an impact on our customers based on our daily conversations with them, but it was hard to see because we never really talked about it with our teammates. We started sharing our customer success stories with one another through primary communication channels, which instilled pride and the “this is why we do what we do” mindset on the team. Hearing about how customers have expressed satisfaction or success with your business can serve as warm-fuzzy reassurance that your team IS making a difference.

Attending customer success events

Our team members learn a lot from one another every day, but there’s something to be said about networking with other customer success professionals to gain a more diverse perspective. We love connecting with the customer success community outside of our own walls, so we took it upon ourselves to attend various customer success events to do exactly that. We’ve attended the Pulse Conference, the SaaStr conference, local customer success meetups, and other gatherings where we’d be able to connect with like (and sometimes unalike!)-minded individuals.

Remember, the intention of customer success is not complicated. But helping the customer become as successful as possible should be more than a mindless chore. Everyone has good days and bad days, but when things get tedious or tough, don’t let your team (and your company!) forget their “why.”

What activities do you do with your customer success team to keep them motivated? Which ones have encouraged enthusiasm, and which ones didn’t work so well?

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