What Did Customer Success Practice in 2017?


Customer Success Operations

Happy New Year!


As we look forward to 2018, I reflect back on the three most frequent areas of Customer Success build out that I observed companies focusing on last year. 


Customer Journey Mapping


More companies are journey mapping.


In previous years this was the work of the avant-garde, early adopters.


It was still a relatively niche, or nice-to-have practice and was not generally on the execution plans of most companies. 


I now see more businesses viewing it as a fundamental operating procedure and including it within their enterprise.


As companies continue to mature in the realm of Customer Success I expect more to incorporate journey mapping as an essential practice similar to any other business critical function.


Segmentation


Companies are increasing looking to segmentation as a means to driving operational efficiency


Segmentation is not a new concept. 


Marketers have been doing it for years but within Customer Success it is still a fairly nascent practice. 


Most companies I have observed tend to implement a rudimentary, three group, segmentation model à la small and medium businesses, mid-market companies and large enterprises.


More “advanced” models look at customer revenue and employee count using the size of the company or its spend as the proxy for driving adoption effort and expansion opportunity. 


I still do not see much in the way of progressive segmentation whereby the adoption needs of the customer base are used to determine the groupings of similar customer types and the corresponding resources and skills to service those needs.


As businesses look to truly operate in the most effective, customer centric manner, segmentation models will need to align holistically to the customer journey.


Customer Health and Data


It seems like we have been talking about customer health and data since the dawn of Customer Success yet surprisingly companies are still not very mature when it comes to measuring and monitoring customer health


I typically hear the lack of usage data or the company’s CRM as the main reasons why the practice of customer health monitoring and follow up cannot be implemented.


To be sure, those make a difference but there is no excuse for not setting up a health score and tracking customers even in the very unlikely circumstance that they do not exist. 


Organizations can start simply by tracking a few key parameters such as renewal dates, number of inquiries coming into support, NPS or Customer Satisfaction survey results and even anecdotal red-yellow-green scores assigned subjectively by Customer Success Managers based on their interactions with their accounts.


For companies, not in the practice of monitoring and following up on customer health, this simple start can already pay dividends.


In observing customer behaviour, the organization is preparing itself for more advanced health tracking practices later on when the data or systems are ready.


Like exercising new muscles, small starts on the road to changing behaviour pay dividends in the long run.


Those were the three key operating practices that I most commonly observed companies implementing as they were maturing their practice of Customer Success.


What were the hottest topics discussed - usually leading indicators of where the profession is heading in terms of execution next?


Next week I will look at customer centricity, customer management via customer success plans and revenue ownership as the most popular trending topics the profession is trying to wrap its head around.

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