Why Customer Success Needs to Invest in Operations

August 29, 2019

Teresa Becker

Customer Success Strategist

Customer success is a constantly changing and growing role for most companies. While the focus of customer success was only expanded into its own role a decade or so ago, it has really begun to pick up speed and expand in the last few years. Customer success is now one of the driving forces behind recurring revenue for SaaS organizations. As the role itself has become more important, the metrics and processes associated with the role have started to pick up as well. More and more customer success teams are turning to operations roles and resources to manage the daily workflows and the ongoing success for customer success teams. 

You’re probably wondering why your customer success team, which includes multiple capable CSMs, needs a full-time operations resource. Customer success teams should start investing in CS Ops because it allows them to:

Streamline internal processes. 

In most cases, CS Ops team members work almost like a customer success manager to customer success teams to ensure they’re strategically and professionally set up to achieve their team goals. This includes things like figuring out where inefficiencies are occurring, how processes can be improved, and how technology can help make people’s lives easier. Then, with these answers in hand, CS Ops managers can set out to build internal processes that specifically address these problems and areas of need. This is great for CSMs because these operations-focused processes are data-backed and reflective of data and research, which isn’t always possible for fast-moving, client-focused teams. 

Create manageable workloads. 

A common process for customer success teams (in start-ups and the SaaS industry especially) is that when new customers come on board, they are automatically funneled to the next CSM on the list without any thought to their needs or the specialty of the CSM in question. This has nothing to do with the team’s ability, but it is definitely a drawback to teams growing too fast to keep up with process. A CS Ops manager would be in charge of assessing new customer accounts and distributing them to CSMs according to a predetermined segmentation schedule. With a clear process in place, CSMs can really hone in and focus on what their clients’ needs are. One CSM might work with accounts that are more product focused, while another might be in charge of customers who require intense training and onboarding. 

Aggregate team metrics into insightful reports.

Another critical function of a CS Ops team member is to own data and metrics gathering. Much like sales ops roles allow sales leaders to make critical decisions by proving deep, insightful data in easy-to-understand dashboards, CS Ops managers can work with CSMs to identify the metrics that should be tracked and build custom dashboards and reports to accurately showcase these findings. CS Ops managers can build presentations and use cases around these findings for executives and other teams to highlight the success of the customer success team. 

Allow CSMs to focus on customer success. 

By taking the function of operations off the shoulders of CSMs, CS Ops managers allow CSMs to focus more on customer needs and driving valuable, strategic success. Instead of spending countless hours gathering metrics, putting processes into place, building training plans, and updating CRM records, CSMs can leave that to Ops managers and focus instead on the customers themselves. Adding a CS Ops role to your team can open up schedules and allow your CSMs to provide more focused, personalized service. 

Getting started with Customer Success Ops

If you think your customer success team might benefit from an operations role, you’re not alone. More CS teams are introducing Ops Managers to the team lineup than ever before. You can learn more about getting started with CS Ops here

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