4 Current Trends Affecting Customer Success
October 5, 2017
Customer success is an ever-changing role. Add in the detail of SaaS customer success, and it’s a veritable landslide of new ideas, trends, and upstarts. For CSMs in the thick of the action, these changes can be confusing while simultaneously ground-breaking. It’s important, however, to understand how new trends impact the day-to-day tasks of customer success professionals. In order to relieve some of the shock value, let’s take a look at 4 current trends affecting the these critical roles today:
First, let’s look at technology. Within the last decade, technological advancements have pushed the customer success industry forward by leaps and bounds. CSMs no longer have to rely on telephone calls, paper surveys, or even tedious spreadsheets that house account information. Cloud-based platforms and solutions now provide a central, holistic place for all customer data to be housed, allowing CSMs and customer success leaders to be able to quickly and easily access all data and information. CSMs never have to be unprepared for meetings or update calls, and leaders are always up-to-date regarding how their department is performing and how satisfied (or not) their customers are.
2. Remote Experience
Today’s SaaS industry, more than ever before, is changing into a remote world. More and more employees, on both sides of customer/vendor relationships, are working remote or from home. So what does this mean for customer success? WIth more people outside of the 4 walls of a building, or even in different states, it can be harder to onboard or activate customers. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible, it just means that training courses and onboarding meetings must be meticulously planned and executed. Customers now expect their vendors to work with them on their terms, which aren’t necessarily the traditional terms. Customer success teams can leverage the aforementioned technology advancements to provide the best customer experience, no matter where everyone is located.
3. Increase in Competition
As with any newly formed role or industry, a growth in competition is putting a sense of urgency around long-term strategy and goals. Affecting both sales and customer success teams (and, in reality, entire organizations), new competitors and startups in the marketplace are throwing a curve ball at CSMs and their leaders. With more SaaS organizations on the market than ever before, customer success teams are being challenged to up their game and provide amazing customer experiences in order to reduce churn and customer attrition. With current customers, CSMs must use every tool in their arsenal, from technology to relationships to strategy, to strengthen customer relationships and guarantee renewals.
This last trend, while not necessarily a threat to customer success, is definitely shaking things up for SaaS industry leaders. As customers as a whole become more comfortable with technology and more aware of innovative platforms, their competency is on the rise. Customers across all industries and verticals are becoming more aware and attentive to how onboarding is being handled, on how training is being conducted, and how customer relationships are being conducted. CSMs and customer success leaders must take these relationships a step further to build strong bridges and committed customer relationships.
Turning Trends Into Action
So what now? Customer success teams have a choice in front of them on how to move forward. It’s unproductive and reactive to assume things will stay the same year over year. These trends are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to innovation in customer success. While the flashy tech and unicorn trends are fun, it’s critical that during these periods of change CSMs never lose sight of what really matters: the customer.
How an organization handles changing trends is a good indication of the value placed on customer accounts, or the on-going logos vs. people discussion. For winning customer success teams, it’s placing the focus on the later, not the former, that will pay off in the long term.
Check out our resources below for more customer success best practices and insights for how your organization can put customers first:
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