Hacking Customer Success

The post below was originally posted on the ServiceRocket blog and is part of the Helping Sells Radio podcast.

There are many approaches to Customer Success. I had a great conversation with Sarah E. Brown and Bill Cushard from ServiceRocket on “hacking Customer Success”. I recall some of the approaches I used in various CS leadership roles at Eloqua, Influitive and Bluecore. At times, it’s helpful to hear about some “in the trenches” tactics that you and your team can use. Have a listen (or a read below).


Ep. 37 #HelpingSells podcast | @Bluecore VP of Customer Success @ChadTev On Hacking #CustomerSuccess. https://ctt.ec/f25B2+


Some of Chad’s tips for hacking Customer Success

  • Plan out your week. Ensure you have the right meetings set up and that the meetings are important. Think about which customers to prioritize and how to best leverage technology to help your team.
  • Leverage your team and share knowledge. No one needs to operate alone – it’s best to share things you’re going through with others on your team(s). Ensure you’re sending the right things to your account executive or your support team. Get feedback wherever you can.
  • Do quarterly retrospectives with your team. Chad recommends “start-stop-continue” exercises he does with team where they write down things they should start doing, something they should stop doing, and something currently being done the team wants to continue. They then look for themes and discuss. Surprising results will ensue!
  • Always have value to offer a customer whenever you’re meeting. Come prepared! A simple prep for a call can make a big difference.Recommended reading: https://enlightenedcustomer.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/top-10-customer-success-hacks-part-i/

Working with customers who don’t respond or who seem “too busy”

Make sure that CSM is set up for success early on; if it’s in onboarding, clearly define their role. It’s them who has to develop trust, the number one attribute in a software engagement. Ensure you’re aligned with a customer and constantly delivering value and so they understand why it’s worth their time.

Always be out in front of hiring

Chad says hiring fast enough and getting a good sense of the pipeline are essential. Get creative and look for ways to hire people on Angellist, your network, a recruiter or other sites. You can’t push it onto HR for Customer Success! Fast-growing startups are fueled by people: process issues can be worked through.

It’s difficult to have a uniform way of measuring customer outcomes.

It’s also labor-intensive depending on segment. It’s easier at enterprise level, harder at SMB level where defaulting to analytics and adoption metrics. You want to be tied to business metrics as well.

Why are data and analytics hard for Customer Success teams to nail?

Cross-team collaboration can be a roadblock. At Bluecore, Chad has created playbooks with sales to ensure everyone is on the same page. Maturity is part of it too. If you search, you’ll find everyone reports on renewal rates, retention rates, churn rates differently. Looking at adoption metrics is a whole other beast. Getting data from one system into another is hard; you have to get engineering and product on your side and assigning resources to Customer Success. Because you need a focus and commitment across executive level, that’s where people tend to struggle, says Chad. If you don’t standardize, you can’t communicate effectively to the board and it leaves blind spots.

Customer Success is not a team, it’s a philosophy

Give Customer Success an outlet to work with product on feature requests, work closely with sales. You have to celebrate as a company when you win and align everyone around the customer.

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