By Paul Chilensky
We define customer success as ensuring each of our customers is achieving their defined outcomes, trust our solution to help combat email phishing, and view their assigned customer success manager (CSM) as a security training and awareness program expert. Our customer success team goes beyond the product and must consider how to design and implement a successful program utilizing our technology. We have our global customer success organization broken into three core functions: retention, renewals, and add-ons.
To really measure success you need to utilize a combination of metrics with an ultimate focus on ensuring customers trust our product’s effectiveness. We measure customer satisfaction and engagement as a set of leading metrics and overall retention rate of our customers as a defining measure of how we serve our customers.
Consider bringing in an outside consultant that has a customer success background, understands best practices, and has a proven record of building successful organizations. Customer success is still relatively new to many companies, and leveraging someone to help define the vision and strategy, as well as determining the right CS executive to run the organization is critical to success and will accelerate implementation.
Establish a clear customer success strategy that is tailor-made for your organization and its requirements. Personally, I recommend teams start by building a customer journey map that includes a detailed buyer’s journey outline and addresses all touch points. From there, it’s important to examine the workflows that are required for each stage and associated with each customer base segment. To determine which customer success platform will fit your needs, it’s critical to develop a set of requirements unique to your organization. Once established, reach out to various vendors to gauge their capabilities and discover how each platform can help you drive automation in new ways across your organization.
Involve your team early in the process. They should be helping develop the customer journey maps, design workflows, and outline requirements for your tool. Don’t try to get maximum value at the beginning because it will become overwhelming to your CSMs. Your first phase should include rolling out minor features to show immediate success and then develop phases for the rest of your implementation.
One of our biggest challenges is ensuring that we are engaging each customer on a regular basis while driving high levels of product adoption. We have invested in both people and technology to expand our outreach programs into defined playbooks, nurturing programs, and success metrics to ensure each customer is achieving its desired outcomes with our products.
Be authentic with your people and flexible with difficult decisions.
Outliers: The Story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell.
Director of Global Customer Success
Wombat Security, a division of Proofpoint