CS structure for consultative and customised solutions.

Nathan Byren
Nathan Byren Member Posts: 5 Seeker
First Anniversary Photogenic
Does anyone have experience building CS teams/processes/metrics for a company that has a very customisable solution?

So for example, a company that sells physical products as well as services associated with these products which would vary based on project scope?


  • Harris Clarke
    Harris Clarke Member Posts: 2 Navigator
    edited September 2020
    Hi Nathan ?

    What does your current team structure look like? Does the business have a goal setting structure already in place that informs the metrics and processes for other teams? We have found OKRs to be a big help. The more customizable your solutions, I imagine the more specialized your CS teams need to be to ensure time to value is as efficient as possible. 

    A great point was made on another thread about truly measuring the success of our customers with the tools we sell to them. When our solutions are customizable, our customers' goals and success criteria are also likely to vary widely. You might consider a few standard metrics (e.g. NPS, CES, CSAT, usage, activity and growth rate, etc.) and pair them with metrics specific to each customer. For example: did the customer share what they hoped to achieve with your physical products and services? If so, did they achieve that? Customer specific metrics can be helpful in aggregate as you work with sales and marketing teams to make sure the business as a whole (as @Samma Hafeez put it so well) onboards customers in a cross-functional strategic motion.
  • Jeffrey Kushmerek
    Jeffrey Kushmerek Member Posts: 96 Expert
    Photogenic First Anniversary 5 Insightfuls Name Dropper
    edited September 2020
    Hi Nathan, 
    This is actually the bulk of the last 15 years of my experience. I will be honest and state that if it is not setup correctly, it can be very painful. If you have a solution that is very customizable, it is very important to be involved early on in the presales. It's not crazy to have the SE's report to CS/PS. The reason is that sales teams and SE's can do very well with a defined set of product features and the problem that they solve. When it get's into customization, a different type of sales (solution selling) needs to put in place. I can get more into this, but I wasn't sure how deep to get. 

    The second issue is what type of customization is done, who does it, and who owns the solution going forward. The most painful way to do this is to have the core product and development teams own this, and PS/CS is a project manager making it happen. Where I have seen this be very successful is the following structure:

    VP Professional Services:
    |.                           |.                               |.                               |
    Solution Eng.       Project Mgmt.        Development         Design (if applicable)

    If this is handed off to a customer, that process needs to be defined and warranteed. If not, a Maintenence agreement and team needs to be place.

    The CS team still maintains the relationship ownership here as well.  Does that help?
  • Nathan Byren
    Nathan Byren Member Posts: 5 Seeker
    First Anniversary Photogenic
    edited September 2020

    Hi Harris,

    Thanks so much for your response. OKR's are definitely a good route to go. I actually met with the company today and there is so much work to be done.

    There is little to no measurement of anything. There is just an overwhelming whirlwind that they are struggling with and definitely need some focussed strategy and most importantly they need to do the work that the strategy will entail.

    After meeting with them it seems their projects are not as flexible and complex as I initially thought. It's going to be a bit more of a straight forward segmenting of clients and designing strategies for each segment.

  • Nathan Byren
    Nathan Byren Member Posts: 5 Seeker
    First Anniversary Photogenic
    edited September 2020
    Thanks so much for the input Jeff!

    It turns out the company does not have as complex a setup as I initially thought. However I could be meeting with another client who does, so this input is definitely helpful.

    I've popped you a connection request on LinkedIn and I'm hoping you're open to having a brief chat about this?