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Børge Solberg
Børge Solberg Member Posts: 9 Contributor
First Comment Name Dropper First Anniversary
edited August 2023 in CS Org Conversations
Hi GGR community!

Put Yourself in this position: You've just accepted this really exciting new job offer as a VP of Customer Success. Your mission is to implement Customer success mindset, methodology and strategy to the organisation. You got the backup you need from the C-suite and board.
On your first day, you get welcomed by your team of 10 Customer Success Managers, but you will quickly find out that you're really starting from rock bottom.

My question for you is this: What are the 5 things you will start with when it comes to implementing a Customer Success strategy? What would you focus on first?

EDIT: Sorry about the horrible Subject. I just put something temporary in and forgot to change it 


  • Ed Powers
    Ed Powers Member Posts: 186 Expert
    Photogenic 5 Insightfuls First Anniversary 5 Likes
    edited December 2020
    In my experience, you must first figure out where you are before you know where you're going. This means conducting an assessment, looking specifically at how the organization is currently executing the three most common Customer Success strategies: 
    • Reactive: How does the company deal with customers who have informed them they are not renewing? What's the approach to saving accounts? What's working and not working? What are the results?
    • Proactive: How does the company onboard and serve customers, ensuring they realize the value they expected, thereby increasing the likelihood of renewals and expansion? What's working and not working? What are the results? 
    • Preventative: How does the company work cross-functionally to create an environment where customers would never dream of leaving? How does the company target customers, develop products and services, market, sell, support, and even invoice in such a way that the entire customer journey is rewarding and builds attachment and trust throughout? What's working and not working? What are the results? 
    If the assessment is done well, then the specific actions you must take and the expected financial benefits become self-evident. The goal, of course, is to improve revenue retention and growth while simultaneously increasing productivity and reducing costs. That's ultimately done by focusing upstream on prevention, which reduces the need for reacting downstream. As a leader, however, one must realize that you can't do it alone. You must mobilize other people to help you develop, build, and improve the system.

    I would then focus on applying change management, specifically Prosci's ADKAR model to lead the action:
    • Awareness: Help the team (and perhaps other teams in the organization) understand what Customer Success really is and what it intends to do. Part of this is sharing in broad terms what's different between what they're doing and what they should be doing. It's also important to share the economics for the business (churn reduction, revenue expansion) and how improving customer loyalty impacts growth, valuation, and new opportunities. 
    • Desire: Build motivation for change individually and collectively. One great way to do this is sharing specific stories (told in their own words) of customers who have stayed more compared with those who have left. Besides offering concrete examples, this engages people emotionally, which builds motivation to make changes occur. Leaders must answer "Why this?" "Why now?" "What's in it for me?" and "What's the risk of not going along with this change?" And leaders must engage people in designing and building the future. 
    • Knowledge: People must know specifically how to do things differently. Journey Mapping is a great way to engage a cross-functional team to design how things should be done and uncover the specific gaps in knowledge, skills, processes, and technologies that must be addressed. This leads to the road map for improvement which often includes new training.  
    • Ability: People must have the capacity and capability to do things differently. This means implementing new processes, training, technologies, metrics, and building individual skills through coaching.
    • Reinforcement: Once the changes have been made, managers must ensure the right behaviors stick. This means modifying company policies, training, and incentive programs.
    Once you ascertain the right path from the outset, it all boils down to leading people and improving the system, whether it's in the CS function or across the enterprise. 

    Hope that helps.