How To Build Recurring Customer Value Before It Starts To Decay

Burke Alder

Customer Success Strategist


As Customer Success Managers (CSMs) can attest to, the customer lifecycle can sometimes be a game of guesswork. Many of the metrics and indicators of customer satisfaction rely heavily on consumer sentiment and personal attribution. Common CSM practices such as “pulse checks” or questions such as “Are you happy with results of our product/service at this time?” only capture one person’s view point at a specific moment in time.

Delivering a strong moment of value to a customer often can’t be replicated or duplicated because every single person views value and satisfaction differently. It becomes the responsibility of the CSM to peel back the surface layers of a customer relationship to identify what individual roles are looking for in terms of value—and what constitutes as true customer success.

Unfortunately, because of these varying measures of value, success, and sentiment across customer accounts, it can be difficult for CSMs to catch on to decaying value or decreasing customer satisfaction before it’s too late. This is why it’s important for CSMs and brands to continuously deliver recurring value that can be counted on to consistently boost customer sentiment and satisfaction.

What is Customer Value Decay?

As a consumer relationship moves forward, all it takes is one person in the organization to become upset or underwhelmed with a product to begin a cycle of customer value decay. Even if an isolated incident occurs, organizations are made up of people with feelings, and they will talk and discuss with each other. Value decay can start to snowball when multiple negative interactions begin to pile on each other across user personas and departments.

Signs of Customer Value Decay

What types of interactions often kick off this downward spiral of customer value decay?

Customer Value Decay Examples include:

  • A stagnant onboarding process: Beginning a customer relationship with irritation can be a recipe for doom for any organization. Lulls in an onboarding process, no matter which side is at fault, can start to ruffle even the most loyal feathers. It’s crucial to kick off any customer relationship with maximum internal support on both sides and to minimize wasted effort and time.
  • A poor response to a customer inquiry: This is a common reason customers begin to get twitchy with vendors. Customer Success and Customer Support teams must realize that while a certain customer question might not be new, it is probably new to the customer or individual that inquired. Work diligently and respectfully to clear up any muddy waters that could continue a downward value decay spiral and address every question as if it’s the most important.
  • A lull in new features: While customers often enter into a vendor relationship for immediate value, it’s important to continuously innovate and deliver new solutions. This could also refer to a lack of communication with customers about new features or use cases. The last thing you want to happen is for a customer to learn about something they could be doing from your website or, perhaps worse, another customer.
  • A feeling of neglect: Neglecting customers is a straight shot to value decay. Automated “Just Checking In” emails and quick pulse checks can often make customers feel rushed and part of a crowd instead of like a one-in-a-million account.

How to Build Recurring Value

With so many small ways CSMs can inadvertently kick off a customer value decay spiral, it’s critical to deliver and reassure customers of value throughout the entire customer journey. From Executives to Influencers to End Users, value should be delivered on every level at every stage of a customer relationship. While it might be impossible to totally remove any interactions that contribute to value decay, it is possible to build recurring value before, during, and even after an incident occurs.

Build a Customer Journey that Supports Recurring Value

A customer success team can build recurring value by identifying the individual goals of stakeholders across a customer organization and then work towards delivering on those specific goals. Setting private milestones internally is a great way to offset the issues mentioned above.

When CSMs are personally involved in the day-to-day sentiment of individuals within a customer organization it’s easier to catch value decay before it has a chance to get out of control.

How Is Your Team Building Recurring Value For Customers?

It’s essential for customer success teams to focus on building strong, recurring value for customers to offset the inevitable value decay seen in most customer/vendor relationships. What is your team doing to build value for individuals over time?

Here are other customer success resources to help you build customer success strategies that drive results and behavior across your entire company.


5 Ways to Surprise & Delight Your Customers

Customer Success as a Culture: Customer Success Leaders Edition

Blog Posts:

Customer Success in the C-Suite—Aligning the Board and Exec Team

The Four Fold Mission of Customer Success

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