by Matthew Best, Senior Consultant

After recently moving into consulting, having spent the last decade and a bit building and running Customer Success teams/organisations, it’s been fascinating to see the different ways CS is seen in businesses and the market in general. Where does it sit in-between sales and support/service? Is it at the heart of your business, or should it be? What is the difference between sales and CS? Are your customers as confused as you sometimes are?


There is a lot of opportunity in customer success teams to grow your business, and in the next few blogs I’ll be talking through the importance of customer success teams to a business and how to uncover their real value.


What do CSMs do?

Talking with a SaaS client just last month, the exec leadership team was unsure as to what a CSM does and more importantly, what value they bring to the business. This in my experience is often because a CSM’s role spans multiple capability areas and because assumptions are made about the other departments scope of responsibilities.


The danger is that if your exec is unclear, others in your business and worse still, your customers, may not understand either. This can lead to a lack of clarity over roles and responsibilities across the business and confusion for you and your client.


So how do we resolve this?

  • Don’t make assumptions about roles. Customer Success and Sales are intrinsically linked which can lead to confusion. Get clear on what each department should be doing and where their acutely different capabilities bring the most value to your business.
  • A clearly articulated Customer Journey will help define how the customer moves through the entire experience of working with your organisation and, more importantly, who is holding their hand at what stage in the process. This will help everyone get an appreciation and awareness of the process, responsibilities/ and ultimately who is accountable for the customer relationship at a given time. A RACI matrix is a great way to map this out.
  • Empower your Customer Success team. Once you’re clear on what your Customer Success team should be doing, enable them and release them to do it. Famously at Amazon, over a decade ago, the Customer Service team was allowed to offer various discounts and refunds to customers without having to seek approval. If you want your Customer Success team to operate independently and keep your customers happy, define clear guiderails and allow them to use their skills, experience and judgement to serve your customers; this will keep both customer and CSM happy!


How will this bring value to your business? Getting clear on your Customer Success team’s responsibilities and allowing them to operate effectively will help them feel empowered to help and serve your customers. As we all know, happy customers buy more! Supported by the right tools, frameworks and guiderails, your Customer Success team will be positioned to help your customers, and therefore your business, grow.


Next Time – we’ll dive deeper into the potential overlap between sales/account management and Customer Success and how you can structure your organisation in the most efficient way.


To discuss how we can help with your customer success, please get in touch by emailing or call us on +44 (0) 207 653 3740.

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