In Customer Success, Is Bragging Such a Bad Thing?

May 12, 2017 Paul Philp

In Customer Success, Is Bragging Such a Bad Thing? ​Do you ever feel like you’re doing SUCH a great job, but it goes a bit unnoticed? Customer Success can be lonely, you often hear from your customers when they’re having issues, but when life is good, they seem to forget you’re even there. Well, here’s some good news, humblebragging is actually a good thing for your customer, and can be a driver of success.

Fundamentally, it isn’t about you at all. When demonstrating the value you are creating for your customer, make sure that the entire goal is to move them forward, towards even greater success. Your customer hired you to get an outcome that they’re not currently getting, and Customer Success should drive the customer to get these outcomes using your product. So yes, humblebragging is good, as long as it’s to incite action in order to drive more value.


Humblebragging 101:

  1. Operationalize your value proposition

  2. Define actionable insights

  3. Demonstrate value


Operationalize Your Value Proposition

  1. What outcomes are you producing for your customer? This should be figured out with your whole team, and your sales team in particular. Prospects become customers because of a promise, that of getting particular outcomes which they need and will pay you to deliver.

  2. Know your drivers of outcomes, i.e. what are you supposed to do to drive the outcomes your customer was promised? A few things drive outcomes: actions to be taken on the customer side, actions to be taken on your side (implementation), and outputs (direct results of the work your customer did, such as email templates, workflows, etc.).

  3. Define KPIs for your drivers of outcomes: how will you measure the efficiency of all you’re putting in place to drive outcomes?


Define Actionable Insights

This is the part where you pick exactly how to get your customer excited about the work they’re doing with you.

First things first, to define what insights are, let’s define what insights are not. An insight isn’t just a piece of information, it isn’t a report, and it isn’t a dashboard. Remember the whole point of humblebragging? You want to incite action, and this happens because the bits of info you show off are actually actionable. Find out where there is an opportunity for the customer to take action, and focus on prompting them to do it. In other words, you’re looking for an opportunity to improve.

Insights can look like:

  • Goal line report, is the customer on/off track?
  • Sudden change in trend
  • Benchmarks against industry standards or peer group
  • Context and perspective around patterns
  • ​ROI, the outcomes they’re producing using your solution


Demonstrating The Value

This is the best part, where you actually get to show off. You want to be telling your customer a story, but you want to keep it short and get the point across. Make sure to tell your customer how they are doing, what they are doing, and what they should be doing next.

There are different ways to tell this story:

  • Coaching for high-touch customers. You can provide those insights more informally, through conversations and check-ins. The output of this type of coaching tends to be the creation of a business plan: what’s happening now, and what should we do to get what we’re looking for next.

  • Quarterly Business Reviews (or Executive Business Reviews). This is the pivotal point in the relationship where you get to look back, analyze, and re-focus. With your customer, identify what new results you want to achieve, and articulate a plan to get you there.

  • Send value update emails. These can be triggered by preset rules: the first day of each month, every Monday, whenever a particular KPI is off-trend, or when there’s a spike in performance.


The good, the bad, and the ugly...

Trust is the foundation of Customer Success. When things aren’t going well, make sure you also bring these results to your customer’s attention. The whole point, as always, is to drive action. If your customer isn’t doing well, reporting is the first step of course-correcting. The truth is, your customer will find out, and if they do before you’ve told them, you’ll lose their trust as well as an opportunity to demonstrate your value as an advisor.

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About the Author

Paul Philp

Paul Philp is a leading innovator in SaaS and Customer Success. As Founder and CEO of Amity, Paul has spoken with Customer Success professionals from over 1,000 SaaS providers. Paul has a lifelong passion for helping business put customers first.

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