SaaS Tattler Issue 62

October 28, 2015 Matthew McLaren

Issue 62 - Customer Success Articles that are Certified Classics

What makes something a classic? Is it time, credibility or originality? I believe it’s not only a mixture of all three but also an ability to stay relevant. In this issue of the SaaS Tattler, we have searched the web, far and wide, to identify some Customer Success articles that are certified classics. These aren’t the only classics, you can view the full list here.

We are proud to introduce the first and only destination for Customer Success best practices - Customer Success Classics. A curated hub of the best Customer Success content of all time.

Customer Success in NOT Customer Support

I couldn’t think of any other way to start this issue of the SaaS Tattler than by going back to basics - The difference between Customer Success and Customer Support. In this classic, Mark Pecoraro goes into detail about the beginning concepts of Customer Success such as the role of the Customer Success Manager (CSM) and what purposes Customer Support should play in your organization.

The downfall of not separating Customer Success & Customer Service …

For many organizations, when the need arises for a higher-touch, dedicated resource version of the services they provide, they allocate a resource and call this person a “Customer Success Manager”, or CSM.   In the past, this person used to be called a Technical Account Manager, or TAM.  While higher-touch, relationship based versions of a “basic” services model have many advantages for the more strategic, high paying customers, there is danger in calling this person a CSM.  When a support or implementation person is given a CSM title, they are way too often stuck in a tactical, break-fix mode of work.  This makes it very difficult, if not impossible, for organizations to escape the gravity of day-to-day services work in order to be more proactive with their customer base.  Additionally, premium support or dedicated service individuals (or a portion thereof) is often a paid-for service.  Given that a CSM is considered a proactive value-added resource and NOT a paid-for resource,  changing models is yet another reason why simply changing a title from TAM to CSM doesn’t work.

Customer Success: The Definitive Guide

After having worked with over 300 SaaS companies, Lincoln Murphy’s Definitive Guide to Customer Success was a no-brainer. A definitive guide that acknowledges there is no one-size-fits all way to make your customers successful. In this classic, Lincoln Murphy identifies the key elements of a complete customer lifecycle process.

17 Key Elements of Customer Success

  1. Customer Development

  2. Customer Acquisition

  3. Sales Process Engagement

  4. Metering / Billing / Payment Process

  5. Customer and User On-boarding

  6. Initial Engagement

  7. Post-Acquisition Follow-up

  8. Functional Support

  9. Technical Support

  10. Customer Feedback Loop

  11. Ongoing Engagement

  12. Customer Advocacy

  13. Customer Intelligence

  14. Customer Expansion

  15. Customer Renewal

  16. Customer Retention

  17. Post-Churn Follow-up

  18. Bonus: Customer Success Transgenesis

  19. Bonus: Customer Success At Your Expense Hurts Everyone

  20. Bonus: Let’s Improve your SaaS Customer Success

Leading Growth Experts Discuss Why Customer Success Is Crucial for Growth

How does Customer Success impact Growth for SaaS companies? Growth and Customer Success are often seen as very separate functions, when in reality are both interrelated practices that would fail without the other. In this classic, Brandon Pindulic explored this topic further by sharing the answers he received after approaching a few growth experts with the same opening question.

While Customer Success doesn’t directly impact acquisition like inbound marketing or paid marketing does, it’s the key behind making acquisition efforts actually work. In addition, successful customers are the driving force behind the greatest kind of marketing of all time: word-of-mouth referrals. And if they change jobs, they’re much more likely to recommend your product to their new team. If a potential customer is onboarded successfully, they’re also much more likely to continue after the free trial, upgrade their plan, and stick with you during bugs and other hiccups. It’s such an essential piece of growing a SaaS business that every successful SaaS company must engage in some form of Customer Success initiative in order to scale and sustain growth.

The Customer Engagement Model

Proactive customer engagement is a tenet of Customer Success. Have you ever asked yourself, “How do I best go about structuring that proactive engagement so that I can scale a team and provide a consistently great customer experience?” Simply put, with a good Customer Engagement Model. In this classic, Nello Franco  goes into detail about the key concepts of a good Customer Engagement Model.

Irrespective of whether your company provides high personal touch Customer Success or whether your Customer Success model is more self-service, your proactive engagement with customers should be governed by an Engagement Model. A good Engagement Model helps you understand: A) what the engagement “moments” are for customers throughout their lifecycle; B) who in your organization is responsible for interaction with customers at those moments; and C) what the objective or expected outcome is for each of those moments.

I’ve illustrated what that model looks like conceptually in the image below:

EngagementModels_20140126.001

Interesting Reads

Customer data is distributed over many of your systems: CRM, Support Desk, Billing, Email, Contacts, Marketing, Project Management, and in your product’s database. Finding the information you need is a nightmare – time-consuming and error-prone. Amity Power Search brings all that data together into one universal search engine.

Measuring your business results can get really confusing. These three metrics, Bookings vs Revenues vs Billings, are extremely related to each other but mean totally different things.

Have you ever found yourself saying, “I need more Customer Success Managers! But I can’t convince my CFO I need more headcount”. Don’t worry, Catherine Blackmore will teach you How to Build Your Hiring Model in Customer Success.

Every week I issue this roundup of relevant articles from the customer success industry so we can learn from each other and share best practices. If you like what you read here, please consider forwarding to others. New reader? Subscribe.

Find an interesting article you would like featured in the next SaaS Tattler?
Feel free to submit them on this page.

About the Author

Matthew McLaren

Matthew McLaren works as a Digital Marketing Manager at Amity. His passion for creative design has motivated him to explore the many uses of technology.

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