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The Now and Future of Customer Success: A Success Plan for Customer Success

Customer Centric DesiredPath Intelligent Framework™
Customer Centric DesiredPath Intelligent Framework™

The Customer Success Association held its quarterly Customer SuccessCon event this past week in Seattle.

Close to a hundred Customer Success professionals were in attendance to discuss “The Now and Future of Customer Success”.

The agenda featured two plenary sessions with additional break out sessions consisting of case study and best practices reviews.

Mikael Blaisdell, Executive Director of The Customer Success Association, opened the conference with “The State of the Profession” sharing the survey results of the association’s research in the direction of the industry.

I had the pleasure of speaking on the future of Customer Success sharing my thoughts on “A Success Plan for Customer Success”.

What follows is a summary of that presentation.

The key challenges we, as professionals in this industry, face are broad and plentiful.

In my 20+ years of experience in addressing these hurdles within the organizations that I lead, as well as at the clients I work with, I have found that the single biggest factor of success for customer success is utilizing a customer centric business model.

A company can employ all the correct best practices but if these practices are not cohesively aligned to driving the primary purpose of customer outcomes (i.e. what the customer was looking to achieve when they purchased the product), customer adoption, retention and expansion will not happen in a repeatable and disciplined manner that scales.

I shared the three key tenants of customer centricity, the necessary foundational elements required in a success plan for Customer Success.

That is, Customer Thinking, Business Alignment and Objectives Alignment.

Customer Thinking

A company needs to understand why the customer bought the product, what the customer is trying to accomplish with it, what business value they are looking to gain from it, and what motivates the customer to execute.

When this is understood, a company can truly operationalize their focus around serving those needs.

Mapping out the customer journey, that is the path that a company’s most successful customers have taken to be successful with the product, is a very effective means of understanding the customer base and how to drive success repeatedly.

Business Alignment

Once a company understands the success path for its customers, it can align the business accordingly to support customers through that journey.

The role responsibilities, the standard set of plays (i.e. process) and tools required to measure and monitor customer data and health become apparent when engineered to meet the needs of customers and ensure that they are successful.

Objectives Alignment

Finally, once the business model to drive repeatable success with customers is in place, the last coordinating element is to ensure the company’s employees are aligned accordingly.

Delivering a great and consistent customer experience is a cross functional responsibility that everyone in the company contributes to and needs to be aligned with.

Ensure that the bonuses of all employees are tied to customer metrics such as Net Promoter Score, Customer Satisfaction, Net Customer Retention Rate, Net Dollar Renewal Rate and align compensation to the corresponding account coverage model.

Why make the change towards a customer centric business model?

The benefits of a journey framework are numerous and compelling.

A repeatable, measurable and scalable framework allows companies to grow and protect revenue by efficiently driving adoption through a standardized approach that makes it effective at proactively identifying churn risk and expansion opportunities.

A company is truly poised for propelling continued growth when that framework drives customer success, experience and revenue consistently.

Do you have a success story with your organization’s customer centric model?  Drop me a line if so at  I would love to hear about it!

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