Over 150 professionals from or interested in customer success management were in attendance to learn about SaaS customer success best practices.
The focus this month was on how organizations can best optimize their Customer Success and Operations teams to drive success.
I was invited to speak on the panel titled Optimizing Your CS and Operations Team to answer questions around operational effectiveness.
I thought I would share some of the questions posed by the very engaged audience and my responses.
Why is it important that CS and Operations teams work together?
The experience the customer has with a vendor is the sum of all their interactions, either direct or indirect, with that company. If departments are siloed internally and not working together the customer experiences that disconnect. It is important that all teams work together to improve customer experience and deliver a seamless journey.
It is also important for operational effectivenessand scale to support the team with customer success tools and metrics that they can use to drive the customer retention rate and organic revenue growth.
For organizations where these roles don’t currently interact, what would you say are some key first steps?
The key first step is always to conduct customer journey mapping to outline what the path of your most successful customers are. This allows for the organization to understand how to drive repeatable customer success and improve customer experience which the Operations team can then codify into a customer success playbook and best practices.
CS Operations is a role that is gaining traction in the Canadian landscape; what gaps do you feel this role fills and do you feel that it can be achieved by a broader relationship with an Operations team?
It is crazy to me that organizations invest tons into sales enablement and operations to ensure that their sales organization is operating at its peak yet hardly any investment is made into the post-sales side of the business. If the company’s growth strategy frameworkis successful, the majority of the revenue growth will occur from the existing customer base.
Companies need to enable and arm Customer Success teams with the customer success best practices, tools and metrics that allow them to proactively manage customers effectively and repeatably in order to support the business growth strategies.
What would you say are the signs of CS and Operations teams that are working together effectively?
Customer management is seamless and the Customer Success and Operations teams are working together collaboratively to manage the customer along the customer journey to successful business outcomes.
What are the signs that these teams are not working effectively?
Their interactions with each other are transactional and Operations acts as a service center to Customer Success.
What is the biggest mistake or misconception you’ve seen in the ways CS and Operations work together (or don’t)?
The biggest mistake I see is when Customer Success and Operations leave the customer out of the equation. They get mired in their interactions and business processes to execute that they forget to think from the customer’s perspective and how collaboratively they can solve customer inquiries.
If you could go back and re-create your CS and Operations processes, what would you change or add?
I created a CS Operations function in the early 2000’s before I understood the power of customer-centric thinking and using the customer journey as the desire path to success. Now, any time I am working with clients I make sure that we have a solid customer journey map– that is from the customer’s perspective – in place before we start to define any customer success playbook, metrics or best practices.