Not up to the SaaS task, eh, customer service? Customer Success is.

August 31, 2015 Jodi Schechter

Not up to the SaaS task, eh, customer service? Customer Success is.

Gone are the days of cracking open the shrink-wrap on a box of software and installing it on your computer. The subscription-based economy of software-as-a-service (SaaS) has arrived—and with it, new challenges in ensuring user adoption and retention once those licenses have been purchased.

The old adage, “The selling begins after the contract is signed,” could not be more true than in the SaaS world where customer usage is the measure of success. The long standing customer service department as we know it is simply not up to the SaaS task. And while both customer service and customer success are vitally important for customer retention, SaaS companies know that active engagement and proactive intervention are key to user adoption and growth.

Here’s a quick comparison of Customer Service vs Customer Success


Customer Service Customer Success

Exists to solve problems and handle customer challenges as they arise
Uses a broad range of tactics to help customers realize maximum value from your SaaS offering
Typically “reactive” Almost always “proactive”
Generally focused on solving a single problem for a single user (technical or otherwise) Focused on onboarding and ongoing user adoption and satisfaction for all customers
Goal: Short-term fixes to alleviate customer frustration Goal: Achieve and maintain satisfying long term outcomes for all customers
Feedback is valuable but limited Feedback is broad and sheds light on the entire customer lifecycle
Focus is on the Problem Focus is on the Customer

Salesforce blog on this subject offers a broader comparison: Front-line (customer service) folks should focus on solving any issues that pop up in a timely and effective manner. Customer success, however, should be a proactive movement by account management and leadership.

The practice of customer success has emerged as a critical function to the growth and success of SaaS companies. It is customer success professionals—not traditional customer service reps—who continuously monitor customer engagement and satisfaction to mitigate churn. Sorry, customer service.


Not up to the #SaaS task, eh, customer service? #CustomerSuccess is.
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