Customer Success can’t fit into Existing Frameworks

2017 felt like a fight. I felt I was battling more and more misconceptions when it came to Customer Success than the fewer that I expected. I assumed as Customer Success became more well-received, moved more into the mainstream, and simply became more common that we’d all agree more on things… not fewer. I was wrong. I was WAY wrong. The “Customer Success” universe has become more fragmented. When you say “Customer Success” the frame that’s invoked may be one of Account Management, something that’s software-focused, a world view based solely on customer delight, or it may fit with what I’ve defined Customer Success to be. Or it may be a mix of all of those things combined together in some Frankenstein way that works for you but no one else… or for everyone. Who knows. In my self-reflective quest to break out of this “fight” I took a step
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Those aren’t Problems. Those are Customers!

I work with companies around the world as a Customer Success consultant, I speak at events, and I do workshops. I’m constantly teaching others about Customer Success. And even more, I’m constantly learning. My understanding of Customer Success is constantly evolving. As I am exposed to what’s working – and what’s not – both at a conceptual or strategic level and the day-to-day tactical level, I am continually evaluating and refining my approach to this incredibly complex and valuable business function. But sometimes I learn something that doesn’t change anything but the way I talk about Customer Success and it’s core principles. Often it’s a change that exponentially improves my ability to get the point across. And that change usually comes directly from the people I’m working with. Here’s an example of one of those changes.

We have a problem

In my public workshops we usually have different groups of
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Customer Onboarding Success Secret: Don’t Overwhelm Customers

I’ve said this before, but it is worth repeating; Customer Success is not limited to one part of the customer lifecycle, and Customer Success Management is not limited to simply helping the customer get up and running at first or to save them from churning later.

Rather, when a company has Customer Success as their operating model, they see every aspect of the customer lifecycle and every milestone of the customer journey as just as important as the rest.

In this article I tackle one of the biggest problems I see in Customer Onboarding. It’s a problem that isn’t caused by neglecting the customer… in fact, it’s caused by the exact opposite: overwhelming the customer.

Let’s explore this, shall we?

Most of the time, you overwhelm our customers.

You overwhelm your new users, but it’s not because you’re being negative or doing anything wrong. In fact, you’re probably trying to

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A QBR is NOT Required for Customer Success

There’s a myth in Customer Success Management that you must conduct Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs) or Executive Business Reviews (EBRs) with your customers.

This myth is propagated by those who only work with high-touch customers, by software vendors who are trying to attract those who work with high-touch (and consequently high-revenue) customers, and of course… by those people who just copy what those people say.

But like some myths, it has a basis in reality; it’s just likely that you don’t share that same reality.

But if you understand that Customer Success is when our customers achieve their Desired Outcome through their interactions with your company, then a blanket statement of “yes, you must conduct QBRs” is obviously a statement you shouldn’t listen to.

So while I say that QBRs are not required for Customer Success in general, that’s the same as saying they ARE required in general. And you

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Customer Success: The Importance of User or Customer Onboarding

Customer Success is not limited to one part of the customer lifecycle, and Customer Success Management is not limited to simply helping the customer get up and running at first or to save them from churning later. Rather, when a company has Customer Success as their operating model, they see every aspect of the customer lifecycle and every milestone of the customer journey as just as important as the rest. That said, it is totally possible to plant the seeds of churn early, and that’s where an understanding of the process – and value behind – customer and user onboarding are so critical. Let’s dig in…

The Difference between Customer and User Onboarding

I’m often asked what onboarding means, how user and customer onboarding differ (if at all), and what results a company can expect if they get this process right. Those are good questions that need to start by
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Lincoln Murphy Customer Success AMA Transcript and Video – May 19, 2017

On Friday May 19th, 2017, I did a Customer Success Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Facebook live. It was awesome. The video is embedded below, along with the questions that were asked and my answers. Yep, if you don’t want to watch or listen, no problem! I got the entire AMA transcribed (and cleaned it up a bit for readability, added links, etc.) and posted that below. I answered 13 questions in great detail. Follow me on Facebook so you can find out the next time I do one.

Table of Contents

Here’s the list of questions I covered in this AMA:
  1. Should Sales or Customer Success handle Upsells?
  2. How do we help our salespeople with Customer Segmentation?
  3. How to incorporate High/Low/No Touch into Onboarding?
  4. How do I target my customers when they’re not online?
  5. What if our customers don’t like technology?
  6. What’s the best way to define roles?
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How to Define Roles in Customer Success Management

Most companies just getting into Customer Success start by defining roles (well, one… Customer Success Manager), then they try to figure out the size of the “book of business” the CSM should handle, etc. That’s wrong. But I won’t leave you hanging! Nope, I’ll tell you the correct way to define roles in a Customer Success Management organization. Hint… it all starts with proper Customer Segmentation For context, on Friday, May 19, 2017, I did a Customer Success Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Facebook live. It was awesome. The video is embedded below and below that is the transcript (edited for better readability) that answers the question.

What’s the best way to define Customer Success Management roles?

So the question is about the best way to define roles for sales, account managers and CSMs in relation to the client. Should there be a defined hand off for each?  So sales,
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How to Define Roles in Customer Success Management

Most companies just getting into Customer Success start by defining roles (well, one… Customer Success Manager), then they try to figure out the size of the “book of business” the CSM should handle, etc. That’s wrong. But I won’t leave you hanging! Nope, I’ll tell you the correct way to define roles in a Customer Success Management organization. Hint… it all starts with proper Customer Segmentation For context, on Friday, May 19, 2017, I did a Customer Success Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Facebook live. It was awesome. The video is embedded below and below that is the transcript (edited for better readability) that answers the question.

What’s the best way to define Customer Success Management roles?

So the question is about the best way to define roles for sales, account managers and CSMs in relation to the client. Should there be a defined hand off for each?  So sales,
Continue reading "How to Define Roles in Customer Success Management"

How to Define Roles in Customer Success Management

Most companies just getting into Customer Success start by defining roles (well, one… Customer Success Manager), then they try to figure out the size of the “book of business” the CSM should handle, etc. That’s wrong. But I won’t leave you hanging! Nope, I’ll tell you the correct way to define roles in a Customer Success Management organization. Hint… it all starts with proper Customer Segmentation For context, on Friday, May 19, 2017, I did a Customer Success Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Facebook live. It was awesome. The video is embedded below and below that is the transcript (edited for better readability) that answers the question.

What’s the best way to define Customer Success Management roles?

So the question is about the best way to define roles for sales, account managers and CSMs in relation to the client. Should there be a defined hand off for each?  So sales,
Continue reading "How to Define Roles in Customer Success Management"

Customer Success: High/Low/No Touch Customer Segmentation

The traditional Customer Success method of simply looking at what a customer pays us and giving them a particular level of ‘touch’ is old and outdated. It’s time to logically segment customers based on Appropriate Experience (AX). For context, on Friday, May 19, 2017, I did a Customer Success Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Facebook live. It was awesome. The video is embedded below and below that is the transcript (edited for better readability) that answers the question.

How to implement High/Low/No-touch Segmentation?

Do other companies segment their customers between high touch/low touch, and if so, what is their criteria? It’s funny when I talk to a company about their Customer Success, I can almost always tell where they learned about Customer Success. And it’s usually a software vendor that they’ve learned from. And you can tell based on the language they use which one it is. And a
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