4 Best Practices to Align Customer Success and Product Teams

Burke Alder

Customer Success Strategist

Customer success leaders help drive an overarching strategy to ensure that customer success is a core pillar across the entire organization. When an organization is fully aligned around the success of current (and future) customers, it becomes easier to sign, work with, and grow these customer accounts.

It’s also important that organizations put customers first when rolling out new products or releasing updates on current products. When customer success and product teams work in tandem, customer success initiatives will succeed even further.

4 Ways Customer Success and Product Teams Should Align

1. Develop a Set of Clear and Aligned KPIs

Developing a set of clear and aligned KPIs is the first step to alignment. Your goal should be to get started with three to four major KPIs you can align around. Many times the conversation between product and customer success teams begins like this: how engaged are our users or are they using our software? But be aware that although this data is a important, it’s not always the holy grail of metrics. There are many other factors or KPIs that help build a clear picture of customer health.

Your KPI discussion could be started around areas like these: user satisfaction by role including execs/influencers, depth of product usage at every role, customer outcomes achievement by product area, use case delivery, software goals achievement percentage, communication engagement score, and the overall value customers are receiving from your software or services.

2. Have Regular Customer and Product Meetings (Conversations)

Customer success leaders and teams should have a regular cadence of meetings (conversations) with their product leaders. These conversations should include data driven feedback that helps product determine impact and priority of the feedback.

One of the challenges facing customer success teams when talking with product is that they start these conversations based on gut feelings or without data. This puts a strain on the relationship. Also, you might have the tendency to change the product priority weekly. This makes it difficult for product to get anything done. It also impacts trusts. For product to get things in motion, you’ll have to commit to the use case or feature set. Conversations with product are made more easy when you are aligned around the same KPIs. See point one. Here is an example how a product leader is working with customer success. Read here.

3. Have Both Teams On Your Customer Advisory Board

As a traditionally customer success-led group, Customer Advisory Boards (otherwise known as CABs) are usually the setting in which customers can come together, discuss the product, compare successes, and offer up advice and feedback. These meetings can be formal or informal (just a couple well-engaged accounts, for instance) but in every case they should involve members of customer success teams as well as product teams. Often times these meetings can lead to upsell opportunities or new customer advocates, just as they frequently lead to product updates or new feature discussions. It’s well known that current customers are your greatest advocates, and when they are all in the same room it becomes easier for them to sing your praises – and agree on areas where you can improve.

4. Take Customer Feedback Seriously

When a customer provides feedback or suggestions for the product or services, or even feedback on internal processes or team members, it should never be ignored. While the customer success manager works to ensure this feedback doesn’t reflect a greater dissatisfaction with the product, the product team should be down to business figuring out how to either fix the issue or how to prioritize the suggestion in the product roadmap.

I’m not advocating that you only build what customers ask you to build, but you need to be tuned in to their use cases and pain points. Referring to point number two above, developing a process to collect this feedback and communicate it with data will help you build strong alignment with your product team and will help you then communicate status to customers. This one-two punch of customer success and product is instrumental in building a loyal customer base who understands the value of personal relationships.

Check out our resources below for more customer success best practices and insights for how your organization can can ensure your product and customer success teams are fully synced:

eBooks:

Ultimate Guide to SaaS Customer Success Metrics

Customer Success as a Culture: Customer Success Leaders Edition

Blog Posts:

Popular Compensation Plans for CSMs

3 Keys to Restoring Customer Confidence

Learn more about how ClientSuccess can help your company develop a strong customer success methodology and strategy with easy-to-use customer success software by requesting a 30-minute demo.

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