Customer success is not only about solving the problem. Solving the problem is the main focus of getting to product/market fit. You solve your customers’ pains and satisfy a market need. Customer success is more. It requires a company-wide approach to making your customer happy. You want to create a great customer experience, which starts already before your customers become a customer. It ranges from marketing and sales through to onboarding, activation, retention and support. Your customers must enjoy the experience being a customer of yours. In addition to a great customer experience, your customers must experience a strong return on their investment. The value you create for them must be significantly higher than what they pay to you. An extreme example: If you offer a software solution that reduces your customer onboarding costs by 10,000 Euro per month, it is not a very attractive value proposition if you charge your customer 10,000 Euro per month. In a nutshell, customer success needs to be the company-wide north star and includes a great customer experience and a strong return on investment.
If you make your customers incredibly successful, customer churn will be low. Your customers' willingness to pay will be high and your customers prone to up- and cross-sells. A high customer lifetime value will be the consequence. Customers will also refer your products and services to potential new customers and such referrals and a strong brand will reduce your customer acquisition costs. A relentless focus on customer success should therefore lead to strong unit economics, a shorter payback period and high and very efficient growth.
But customer success needs to be more than lip service. You need to act accordingly. If you, as the founder, only care about the next four weeks revenues, do not be surprised if the whole organization only cares about the next four weeks revenues. If you cannot see any customer success relevant metric on the dashboards you place all over your office space, no wonder nobody in your organization puts the customer first.
As a founder, you need to guide your teams towards your north star. Customer success. Walk the talk!
In my book FastScaling, I dive deep into the topic of how to generate and measure customer success.