If you let customer success function towards risk — to fight fires, to placate risky customers, to triage support issues, sales support — it will become that. Even if you don’t believe it, that will become your role. I've made this mistake before and I'm tired of that approach. I choose a different path.
"Growth" teams get the attention and are sexy while "customer success" can feel like back office operations or an extension of support. Yet customer success is the biggest growth lever companies have. I think it's because the error teams make in their mindset, whether they know it or not.
What’s more fun is focus on growth — focus on the wins, the client stories, and transformations your customers receive — that is when you change the view of your importance as a function. When you view it as an engine for growth and a chance to not only keep your customers, but sell into that customer base and grow it, does it really begin to be fun.
But many customer success leaders still struggle to get a seat at the leadership table. It’s surprising since renewal dollars after a few years of solid growth easily eclipse new sales.
So it’s time to change your mindset….
Focus on your best customers. Focus on what makes your top customers your most loyal, top performing, enthusiastic story generators for your company. Interview them, learn from them, write stories about them and share those with your average and low performing customers. Rather than placate your most challenging customers, or bad fit customers, or frankly most challenging customers, inspire them instead. Point the way and lead as a functional group.
It’s much more fun this way.
When you do this right, the next time you are on that call you’ll chat about your customer’s business, what they’re focused on, their problems and goals, and generate ideas. You won’t be discussing the missing feature or how that X, Y, or Z features work.
Motivate your customers to become the best version of themselves and they’ll be motivated to learn your product, do without features they don’t need, and put in the effort.