The profession and practices of Customer Success continue to evolve as an ever wider range of companies set up their own teams worldwide. The role that was once primarily found in the SaaS/Cloud B2B sector has expanded far beyond to any company whose business model depends upon customer relationship retention and expansion.
The first formal research into what subscription-model companies were doing organizationally about customer retention was begun in 2009. A follow up series of research surveys was opened in 2010 and 2011. In late 2012, the first specific inquiry on The State of the Customer Success Profession was conducted via an extensive online survey and follow-up interviews.
More focused research was done in 2014 and thereafter on how companies were defining their customer success strategies and efforts, the process/workflow of their CS teams and on the state of their Customer Success Technology Suites.
Now conducted by the Customer Success Association as part of its Customer Success Standards Initiative, the research continues with a new focus: to explore the potential of the global Customer Success Ecosystem.
Customer Success Research 2023: The Customer Success Ecosystem
For 2023, the fourteenth year of the ongoing Customer Success Research program, we are focusing on how the potential of the CS ecosystem of CSTECH vendors, consultants, trainers, and outsourcers may be leveraged and realized.
In 2012, when the CSA was being formally established, there were three known CSTECH vendors and one consulting firm specializing in the space. Now, at the beginning of 2023, there are over 265 CSTECH vendors (with more coming all the time!). Where once there was only 1 consultant advertising services to assist companies in the design and implementation of effective Customer Success teams, now there are over 70. The CSA’s Training registry includes 44 firms specifically focused on training CS leaders and practitioners. To round out the picture, there are now 11 outsourcing firms offering to partially or fully staff Customer Success teams for a variety of companies.
The primary methodology will be direct interviews with company executives in all sectors. The CSA has long been collecting basic data from applications to be listed in the various vendor registry lists by asking about relationships between CSTECH vendors and 3rd party consultants. Now we will go deeper to explore what those relationships include, how the value thereof is perceived by the parties involved, and what expectations are held for the future.
As the research process continues, findings will be discussed in The Customer Success Forum on LinkedIn.
While full identification is requested (though not required) from all survey participants to assure accurate data, neither your identity nor your specific answers will ever be shared with anyone under any circumstances; only aggregate data will be used for reporting.