This week Lauren Hayes joined Gain Grow Retain to lead an Office Hours focused on how to shift into a CSOps mindset, especially during the early days of a Customer Success team. Beginning to include some of these thought processes while you are building out the team can be difficult due to the many demands and processes involved with setting up CS but will be extremely rewarding in the long term.
What is CSOps in an early-stage environment?
- Focus – an overall customer success strategy with a focus on growth needs
- Keep it simple and effective in the beginning
- Prioritize – there is a lot to do, so don’t try to do it all at once
- Allows you to advocate to the broader organization
- Share customer stories about how other departments are helping with engagement which benefits other teams to strengthen their work
- Helps you begin tracking metrics that matter
- Allows you to identify how to action on your metrics
- Document the process
- Even as a team of 1, this will help as the team grows
- Creates consistency regardless of the team size
- Allows for scale as you grow
- Identifies areas for improvement
- Allows a growing team to work together
- Time spent here in the early days prevents a lot of time wasted trying to remember how to do repeated processes (avoid reinventing the wheel)
- Develop strategy
- Easy to get caught up in the day to day needs which doesn’t allow strategic planning
- Keeping the big picture in mind helps while you build processes that can scale
- Without mapping out the processes through identifying needs, developing actionable steps, you will be unable to move out of the now and into the strategic and long-term
- Metrics shouldn’t be complex during the early days
- Focus on the things that will help make improvements and changes
The following questions were brought to the attendees and discussed in the breakout rooms:
- When an early state environment is highly reactive, how do you prioritize/focus on ops?
- What are the first projects you should focus on when building out a CS Ops motion?
Small Group Takeaways
- Dashboards and metrics are key to start
- Start with one strategy to fix the biggest active problem
- Understand the sales process and get involved early so you can help the customer get a great start
- Very hard to prioritize and focus on ops, getting support internally from broader organization
- Realize that response time might drop as you try to manage everything but will pick up again when you have these strategies built out
- You need to get input from people but also need to manage the input so decisions can be made
- Take time to assess where the organizational goals are to help with your prioritization
- Can use a sprint model to prioritize projects and be agile on what’s most important
- When should CS tools be brought in?
- When spreadsheets are no longer enough
- Don’t overcomplicate the system
- Merging teams together
- You will need it at some point, so write it down
- Work with someone if needed
- Update them as necessary
- Success markers/churn cause
- Journey Mapping
- Develop customer segmentation to build processes specific to each persona before moving into developing the customer journey
- Use the customer journey to understand the most complicated parts such as onboarding, churn risk mitigation, segmentation based on used case or industry, and subscription size
- Understand and listen to the client, write documentation, and have someone who is dedicated to this process
- Identify what processes are best for your client
- When creating documentation, identify pain points, develop a strategy to solve them, and implement
- How much time is saved with these processes?
- What can be alleviated
- Automate where possible
- Follow the money
- Define/understand OKRs/KPIs
- Adoption of CS within the company
- Look at what data is available
- Keep it simple, especially in the beginning
- Use data to determine what your customers are doing with your product
- Necessary to drive adoption within your team
- Detailed customer journey
- What makes customers successful?
- What leads to churn?
- Talk to CSMs to find pain points
- Important to work on the sales process from the beginning to make sure you have the data to build the process foundation
- Define processes and handoffs
- Map out the processes
- Structure the team
- What should they be doing?
Download the pdf here
Lauren Hayes is an Analyst and CSM at Peersignal.com. Previously the manager of CS Ops at Alyce, Lauren is now building out customer success from the ground floor. This experience gives her the opportunity to embed an ops perspective into the CS motion from the very beginning (and tackle some really interesting scaling questions!)