Personas in Customer Success

As a customer success manager you deal with a wide range of different people for any given account. You have product admins, users, decision makers, IT admins, etc. that are all associated with one account. Buy-in from each respective party is critical to successful adoption, retention, and expansion for an account, so how do you interact and engage with each stake-holder, and more importantly, how do you scale that engagement process?

What is a persona?

I believe that personas can be the answer to that question. In user-based design, personas are fictional characters created to represent the different types of users who will interact with your product (Wikipedia). The idea of personas in design got it’s start with Alan Cooper (link). Your product and marketing teams will most likely have personas created, and using personas in customer success can help you simplify your engagement while providing valuable context for engaging with stake-holders to drive adoption and expansion.

How to create a Customer Success Persona

When starting with personas, check with your product and marketing teams. Chances are that they are already using personas and you may have some overlap in the different types of customers that you contact. Chances are that you will have a few different personas that you need to think about. For example, the ID Admin- you could be selling a product that doesn’t target IT admins and IT admins are could not be active users of your product, however your customer success team may interact with IT admins when configuring integrations or when completing security audits. In this case you wouldn’t have a persona in product or marketing for the IT admin, so you will need to create this persona for your customer success team.

Experts on the subject have written extensively on the persona development, and I’ve included a few articles that I found helpful:

A Closer Look at Personas (Part 1) — Smashing Magazine

Personas — usability.gov

Creating Personas — UX Booth

In my next story I’ll talk more about how to use your customer success personas for contextual engagement.

Thanks for reading.