Monday, December 17

Is it time to retire Customer Success Management?

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It’s nothing to do with the customer

One of the craziest, most limiting roles to have emerged in recent years is Customer Success Management. It’s a relatively new position – I remember first coming across it in 2012 and it started to accelerate in 2015.

The definition according to the Customer Success Association

Customer Success Management is an integration of functions and activities of Marketing, Sales, Professional Services, Training and Support into a new profession to meet the needs of recurring revenue model companies.

This is akin to having a Chief Objection Handling Officer to replace your Sales Director or a Head of Abacus Operations as a replacement to the Financial Director. It’s a role that’s based on antiquated, outdated thinking!

Look at the definition of Customer Success Management above. What’s missing?

It’s the customer! There is zero focus on “the customer”. The driving focus is on “the needs of recurring revenue model companies”.It’s an inside-out view point focussed on improving the function and integrating internal operations with an ultimate objective of making more money. What happens to companies who are in business simply to make money? They do not succeed as well, or last as long as companies that have a genuine customer betterment calling.

Customer Success Management is mostly seen in technology companies who identify themselves as builders of products and seen their traditional business environment change – a demand to rent rather than buy, increased customer promiscuity resulting in customer churn, reducing prospect conversion percentages. These are all performance indicators that drive the question – how can we sell more? And more quickly? The increasing focus on customer experience in the wider business world has led to the birth of customer success, but only in relation to the product the technology companies has built.

Customer Success is simply a poor relation to customer experience as its traditionally practiced. If you take into consideration customer experience in best practice form is still a long way from what it should be when creating a truly customer centric company then I would suggest as it stands Customer Success Management only takes you to tier 2 of what is possible.

What do I suggest existing Customer Success heads do?

Get their business focus changed to a genuinely customer-centric one and the business results that created the title in the first place may more readily follow


About Author

Founder & CEO. Charles is an acknowledged leader in customer-driven performance change using both best practice and emerging next practice perspectives. He leads, mentors and coaches in both strategic and operational initiatives. A strong believer is the potential for "supercompany performance" he innovates using next practice thinking and methods to enhance the business. He researches heavily to retain his reputation as a thought leader, which he has applied across 40 countries, multiple sectors and companies such as Citibank, Nielsen, Microsoft, Vodafone, Tracker and governments in Middle East and Asia. Contributes to business journals and often invited as a speaker or chairman to events all over the world.

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