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Has Customer Success’ Focus Changed?

Has Customer Success' Focus Changed?
Photo by Ross Findon

The Toronto Customer Success Executive Breakfast is a forum whereby local industry leaders get together over breakfast to discuss the still young and rapidly evolving field of Customer Success.

Organized by DesiredPath, senior executives in the field of Customer Success are invited to share their knowledge and expertise amongst their peer group in an intimate and highly interactive setting.

The breakfast is an opportunity for these leaders in Customer Success to convene, exchange ideas and further define industry best practices.

With current circumstances practically changing on a daily basis, the Toronto Customer Success Executive group unanimously agreed that an extra virtual “breakfast” session was essential.

Getting together to gather insights from what others are doing and share ideas for ways to handle the evolving situation was the main objective.

The group was asked: Has Customer Success’ focus changed with the shift in market conditions? If so, how?

Read the insights that emerged from the conversation to learn how you can apply these within your organizations.

Customer Success Leaning in on Commercial Skills:

The line between commercial and product know-how responsibilities is completely blurred. Customer Success Managers (CSMs) are finding themselves with the added responsibility of reacting to customer inquiries to mitigate shifts in spend. In many organizations, CSMs are not experienced in sales tactics so training is being provided to help them have these conversations and understand how to negotiate. CSMs are being taught to not just answer questions being asked of them - and to wait before giving an answer - but in getting behind why the ask is being made so creative solutions can be constructed.

Reactive vs Proactive Customer Retention Strategies:

The bulk of Customer Success organizations are currently operating much more reactively than proactively, predominantly due to dealing with a higher volume of customer, commercial requests. More conservative accounts will not be comfortable for a while so some customer centric companies have created Covid19 internal teams to track metrics with the aim of having better visibility into at-risk accounts.

Proactively, organizations are rethinking what an at-risk customer is and what does value mean to them today. Vendors serving industries which have accelerated business since the pandemic are operating more proactively and talking about the value of the software and how to use it.

Onboarding, Implementations & Subject Matter Expertise:

Customer Success management is also looking at how to improve and expedite onboarding and implementations to get customers live and seeing value quicker. They are leaning in to technology to engage with employees and trying to keep the customer supplied with ample educational content (being offered for free now) and recommendations to ensure onboarding goes well and ongoing adoption is secure.

Are these actions consistent with your organization’s behaviour and how they are handling the crisis? Weigh in and share your insights!

If you are an experienced leader responsible for your company’s Customer Success strategy and are interested in joining the group, please contact me at

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