Customer Success Maturity Model & Answers to 5 Questions

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Recently @Bora Lee and I joined forces to talk through our new Customer Success Maturity Model. We got more questions than we could answer in the webinar, so I’m answering some of them here. ChurnZero got the rest on their blog.


After you read the model, I’m curious: Did we miss any big indicators that should have been included? If you had to rank yourself, where in the model do you fall for each category?


Here are my answers to the remaining Q&A. If you’d answer these differently or add anything, leave a comment below.


Q: How does everyone track productivity across their teams such as CSM engagement? What kinds of solutions are you using to measure and report on productivity?


A: I’ve seen productivity tracked via Salesforce in high level buckets or on a more detailed level by tracking the number of calls or emails by CSM. You could also track productivity in platforms like on general tasks or via Zendesk to measure support ticket response time.


Don't get caught up in trying to track productivity for productivity’s sake. What’s more important is to map the customer journey, find key moments that matter, and make sure you’re measuring those.


The bottom line: Productivity matters but outcomes matter more. Don’t focus on productivity to the detriment of the results you should be delivering.


Q: What advice & best practices do you have for CS Leaders who are working to implement a tiered support model so that customers spending more money get white glove support and customers spending less money get lower-touch support? Is the right way to do this based on the revenue the customer is delivering to your business?


A: I’d consider building segmentation on your customers’ financial potential in the future. For example, if you map what they’re paying today against their size in the market (total revenue), you can see the opportunities they have to grow – which helps you gauge the type of engagement each tier should receive.


If you’re looking for engagement ideas for your low touch vs high touch segments, try these:

  • Low touch: Set up office hours about interesting topics for customers, create a dedicated customer webinar series, engage them in your online community, run email nurture campaigns.
  • High touch: Offer quarterly business reviews, create specific benchmark reporting, provide access to key strategists at company.



Q: Looking for information on how to get our customers to give us reasons/ understanding why they are churning. Once they have made a decision to leave, they stop returning our calls and we can’t learn from it. 

A: This is a tough one. I’d recommend a couple things:

  • Have a third party reach out to conduct the interview or survey. This is less confrontational, and customers may feel freer to share information.
  • Build the churn reason into your actual cancellation process. If customers have to fill out a form or sign something when they churn, have them self-select a reason or code for why they’re leaving.


Beyond that, you should be mapping churn indicators prior to the actual moment of churn. The best way to do this is to create joint success plans. Once a customer gets to the point of churning, it should be well-documented what outcomes they wanted to achieve but didn’t.


Q: As soon as a CS tool is implemented, how early is too early to send out NPS scores? Could NPS scores be a great early driver for our team to understand where to improve as we evolve? What might be some "dangers" of sending them "too early"?


A: Only one danger comes to mind, and that’s that your follow-up process might not be ready. To avoid this, create a closed-loop process prior to sending out NPS surveys. You should be ready to follow up in two ways:

  • The CSM should follow up with a specific direct response. For example, try this: “Thanks for filling out the NPS survey. Based on your score and some of your comments, I’d love to dig in and hit on specifics.” Then do a follow-up call or put the specifics directly in the email.
  • Share a response from your chief customer officer or other leader in your customer community. For example, try this: “Thank you to all who took the NPS survey. We heard X, Y, and Z from across the customer base. These are the three things we’re doing to improve in these areas: X, Y, and Z.”

This way, you’re not letting feedback just hang there, and you’re both privately and publicly acknowledging that you’re working on their experience. If customers see that you’re doing something about their feedback, it could even increase participation in NPS surveys moving forward. And…we all know there’s nothing a customer hates more than filling out a survey with doesn’t lead to an action on your end.


Q: Can you give an example of a delighting customer workflow?


A: A customer workflow that delights your customers is one that uses data to drive a personalized experience. For example, let’s say I sign up for a customer webinar about a topic. After, I receive an email from my CSM with follow-up content. They also direct me to a conversation about the topic in the online customer community. This type of experience takes time to create, but personalized outreach pays off.