3 Misconceptions about Customer Success

Customer success is gaining legitimacy across both SaaS and non-SaaS organizations. But in many cases, business leaders are looking at customer success strategies as a silver bullet that requires only a one-off commitment. Short-term efforts may satisfy customer needs initially, but aren’t going to unleash the real power of customer success and set you apart from your competition.

Here are three of the top misconceptions about customer success that we hear most often:

Customer success belongs exclusively to one department

You’re right to think that someone must own customer success, but it’s still a hotly debated topic where customer success is housed and to whom they should report: through sales or marketing, independently to the CEO, up to a Chief Customer or Experience Officer. Most SaaS businesses define customer success roles specifically to manage the relationship with new and current users. But, whichever route you choose, your CS specialists will quickly find themselves overwhelmed putting out fires rather than proactively maximizing success if the rest of your organization doesn’t follow the lead and work toward customer growth as a shared objective. In fact, every department must be involved in the customer success process. For instance, marketing and sales should focus their efforts on attracting and selling to best-fit customers, and product teams need to work in tandem with CS teams to develop features that users really want.

Customer success is the same as customer support or account management

Well, that’s not entirely incorrect. CS teams do have fundamental roles to play in supporting users and upselling and cross-selling products. However, traditional support functions are reactive in nature with their primary focus being to fix issues after they arise but not to prevent them. On the contrary, customer success specialists work proactively to devise a plan for a customer’s success, anticipate problems and, if they occur, make sure they never do again in the future. Additionally, the CS approach to sales consists in logically recommending upgrades and adjacent solutions based on a deep understanding of customer needs — rather selling products without considering user context.

Customer success teams only need NPS and customer satisfaction surveys

It’s true that gathering information with NPS and other customer satisfaction surveys is helpful to assess what users think of your products. But your customer success team may soon find themselves blindsided if that’s the sole source of customer feedback at their disposal or the only measure of a customer’s success. Surveys are valuable to answer specific questions though often lack the depth you need to identify actionable insights. Not to mention that survey-only tools typically only allow you to measure what different segments decided to say about your product, but don’t monitor how they actually behave and interact with each touchpoint and feature or show trends and correlations over time.

Find out more about what customer success is, how to develop a customer success strategy, and more.

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