Customer Success Association
Executive Director: Mikael BlaisdellContact CSA

To see a list of all available question & answers, click on the categories below.

If you have a question that has not yet been answered, click here or use the Contact CSA button  in the upper right area of the page header, or the Contact Us link in the right side footer menu below. to send it in and we’ll get a response as soon as possible.

You may also be interested in The Questions of Customer Success resource in the Library.

Community

The Customer Success Association maintains a list of local meetings and groups on the CustomerSuccessLocal.com page of the CSA website.  We also publicize links to meetings, if the local group submits them, in the monthly Customer Success Calendar email blasts via The Customer Success Forum on LinkedIn.

Category: Community
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Employment

In addition to all of the standard approaches to publicizing an open Customer Success Manager position or for an executive CS leadership opening, the best place to advertise is in the Jobs section of The Customer Success Forum on LinkedIn — and best of all, it’s free.

To post the announcement, log into your LinkedIn account and go to the Forum.  Select the Jobs tab just beneath where it normally says “Start a Conversation with your Group” and “Enter a conversation title.”  You’ll see the labels in that area change once you click on Jobs to be:  “Share a Job” and “Share a job with your group.”  Go ahead and post a brief description of your opening, and add a link to the full description on your website.  (Note: The Forum rule against putting links in new discussion topics doesn’t apply in the Jobs section!)

The announcement normally stays up about 2 weeks — but if it disappears, then just enter it again.  Once you’ve filled the position, please remove the announcement.

Here’s the link for The Customer Success Forum on LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/1913401

And this link will take you directly to the Jobs section:

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/1913401/jobs

Categories: Employment, People
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This is a very popular question as people hear of Customer Success and realize that it’s the kind of job they’ve always wanted.

The prime attribute of a Customer Success Manager is domain expertise, knowing a field (e.g. fleet management, sales management, healthcare operations, financial services, etc.) well enough to serve as a trusted advisor to others in that field.  The next most important attribute is knowledge of the customers.

In order to “move into Customer Success,” start by identifying your domain expertise.  The next step is to look around for companies that offer products and or services into that vertical market, and begin to talk to them about how your expertise could be useful.

Attending local Customer Success meetings can also be effective, as CS executives may be there looking for candidates.  Read blog posts, and The Customer Success Forum on LinkedIn to familiarize yourself with the language of Customer Success.

Categories: Employment, People
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General

Unfortunately, the typical approach is simply to go out to LinkedIn, copy somebody else’s job announcement for a Vice President or a Director of Customer Success, and tell the candidate that their first assignment is to design the group.  That’s a recipe for failure.  Either the new hire will get frustrated with Senior Management’s lack of understanding of what Customer Success is all about and quit, or the Sr. Mgmt group will start to realize the potential and then recognize that their new hire is not what they needed after all.  Either way, the cost is a lot of wasted time and miss-steps.

The Questions of Customer Success

The starting point is for Senior Management to get clear on the role and the expected results from their investment in building a Customer Success team.  To help with that process, there is a resource in the Customer Success Library here called The Questions of Customer Success.  The resource is a bank of questions that will need to be answered in the areas of Strategy, Process, People, and Technology.

Another resource that can be of significant assistance in this process is to get a Briefing for the Senior Management team to acquaint them with the full range of options and best practices in Customer Success as practiced by other companies worldwide.

Once the role/mission of the new group has been clearly defined and understood by the Senior Management team, the next step is to proceed to the design phase, to the creation of a blueprint for the implementation of the customer success team.  At this point, it may be appropriate to start the process of identifying and recruiting an executive.  Up until this point, it is recommended that the company consider retaining an interim Customer Success executive for leadership of the implementation.  There are several consulting firms listed on the Customer Success Consulting Services Catalog that offer interim management services.

An effective Customer Success group is not something that can be built quickly.  Companies should expect to spend at least two years in the effort.

Recommended Reading:

The Definition of Customer Success

The Mission of Customer Success

The History of Customer Success

Categories: General, Strategy
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People

In addition to all of the standard approaches to publicizing an open Customer Success Manager position or for an executive CS leadership opening, the best place to advertise is in the Jobs section of The Customer Success Forum on LinkedIn — and best of all, it’s free.

To post the announcement, log into your LinkedIn account and go to the Forum.  Select the Jobs tab just beneath where it normally says “Start a Conversation with your Group” and “Enter a conversation title.”  You’ll see the labels in that area change once you click on Jobs to be:  “Share a Job” and “Share a job with your group.”  Go ahead and post a brief description of your opening, and add a link to the full description on your website.  (Note: The Forum rule against putting links in new discussion topics doesn’t apply in the Jobs section!)

The announcement normally stays up about 2 weeks — but if it disappears, then just enter it again.  Once you’ve filled the position, please remove the announcement.

Here’s the link for The Customer Success Forum on LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/1913401

And this link will take you directly to the Jobs section:

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/1913401/jobs

Categories: Employment, People
Did you find this FAQ helpful?
0
0

This is a very popular question as people hear of Customer Success and realize that it’s the kind of job they’ve always wanted.

The prime attribute of a Customer Success Manager is domain expertise, knowing a field (e.g. fleet management, sales management, healthcare operations, financial services, etc.) well enough to serve as a trusted advisor to others in that field.  The next most important attribute is knowledge of the customers.

In order to “move into Customer Success,” start by identifying your domain expertise.  The next step is to look around for companies that offer products and or services into that vertical market, and begin to talk to them about how your expertise could be useful.

Attending local Customer Success meetings can also be effective, as CS executives may be there looking for candidates.  Read blog posts, and The Customer Success Forum on LinkedIn to familiarize yourself with the language of Customer Success.

Categories: Employment, People
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Process

The Process or Workflow of a Customer Success Group are the normal range of activities that the individual Customer Success Managers do as they work to increase adoption of the product and to build more sustainable, proven value for their customers.  These activities include such things as telephone calls, online conferences, site visits, analysis of product feature usage patterns, general research into a customer’s company and/or business, meetings with other teams within the company, etc.

It is very important to be able to tie all such activities back to the mission of the Customer Success team, to understand the role of each in increasing value to both the Customers and the Company.

Customer Success Process Data

As much as possible, Customer Success teams should keep track of their utilization across the range of activities of the group.  All activities should be grouped into categories, and within each category, gather data on volume (number of times the activity is done), duration (how long does the activity last?), frequency (how often is the task/activity done?), priority (what is the importance of the activity?) triggers (what causes the activity to need to be done?) and outcome (What is the deliverable for the activity?  How do you know that it is complete?).

Customer Success Process

Category: Process
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Strategy

Customer Success is a long-term, scientifically engineered and professionally directed strategy for maximizing customer and company sustainable proven value.  Note the key words/concepts in that sentence:

  • Long-term:  A viable, effective Customer Success tam and program is not something that can be built overnight.
  • Scientifically engineered:  You can’t win at Customer Success without extensive and accurate data about your customers
  • Professionally directed:  Just as domain expertise is a necessary and vital attribute for customer-facing CSM’s, CS executives have to be highly skilled in running a profitable and effective group.
  • Maximizing customer AND company:  Both are equally important.  A customer will leave if they do not perceive value in the relationship with your company.  Your company will not continue to have a Customer Success team if it is not delivering strategically significant levels of ROI.
  • Sustainable, proven value:  The sale is never final.  The relationship will persist only if both parties perceive continuing value in it.

In practice, Customer Success Management is an integration of functions and activities of Marketing, Sales, Professional Services, Training and Support into a new profession.  There are three necessary building blocks for this emerging profession: an in-depth knowledge of the customers, effective knowledge of the product being sold, and extensive domain expertise.

Recommended Reading:

The Definition of Customer Success

The Mission of Customer Success

The History of Customer Success

Category: Strategy
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The Mission of Customer Success is to increase sustainable proven value for both the Customers and the Company. The essence is found in three core words: sustainable, proven, and value. The goal is increase, and the beneficiaries are the customers and the company.  This is who Customer Success teams and professionals are and what they do.

While Customer Success professionals do a lot of different things, including (but not limited to!):

  • Customer Intelligence gathering / analysis
  • Sales Engineering
  • On-boarding / customization design & delivery
  • Business coaching/consulting/advisory
  • Encouraging user adoption of functions and features
  • Training
  • Reporting
  • –and much more

all of these activities need to be directly tied back to the production of more sustainable, proven value for the customers and the company.

Recommended Reading:

The Mission of Customer Success

The Definition of Customer Success

The History of Customer Success

Category: Strategy
Did you find this FAQ helpful?
0
0

Unfortunately, the typical approach is simply to go out to LinkedIn, copy somebody else’s job announcement for a Vice President or a Director of Customer Success, and tell the candidate that their first assignment is to design the group.  That’s a recipe for failure.  Either the new hire will get frustrated with Senior Management’s lack of understanding of what Customer Success is all about and quit, or the Sr. Mgmt group will start to realize the potential and then recognize that their new hire is not what they needed after all.  Either way, the cost is a lot of wasted time and miss-steps.

The Questions of Customer Success

The starting point is for Senior Management to get clear on the role and the expected results from their investment in building a Customer Success team.  To help with that process, there is a resource in the Customer Success Library here called The Questions of Customer Success.  The resource is a bank of questions that will need to be answered in the areas of Strategy, Process, People, and Technology.

Another resource that can be of significant assistance in this process is to get a Briefing for the Senior Management team to acquaint them with the full range of options and best practices in Customer Success as practiced by other companies worldwide.

Once the role/mission of the new group has been clearly defined and understood by the Senior Management team, the next step is to proceed to the design phase, to the creation of a blueprint for the implementation of the customer success team.  At this point, it may be appropriate to start the process of identifying and recruiting an executive.  Up until this point, it is recommended that the company consider retaining an interim Customer Success executive for leadership of the implementation.  There are several consulting firms listed on the Customer Success Consulting Services Catalog that offer interim management services.

An effective Customer Success group is not something that can be built quickly.  Companies should expect to spend at least two years in the effort.

Recommended Reading:

The Definition of Customer Success

The Mission of Customer Success

The History of Customer Success

Categories: General, Strategy
Did you find this FAQ helpful?
0
0

To see a list of all available question & answers, click on the categories above.