6 common customer success mistakes

6 Customer Success Mistakes that Leaders make

Since the last 5 years, Customer Success has become a buzzword in not only the B2B SaaS industry but several other industries too.

As companies have started understanding the benefits of customer success, they have started rushing into the field in the hope of getting quick returns on their investment.

Customer Success is a long-term game that requires not only investment but most importantly a change in mindset. It is not just for a handful of post-sales teams but should be driven across the organization.

While scaling Customer Success, leaders are prone to make some common mistakes based on their presumptions. These customer success mistakes though look like hacks in the start, eventually lead to massive wastage of time and other resources while giving inadequate results.

Quarterly Business Review Template

That can lead to a lot of frustration and other complications.

So to make your lives easier and help you better implement and scale Customer Success here are 6 Customer Success mistakes that leaders make: 

6 Customer Success Mistakes that Leaders Make

1. Making the Customer Support team do Customer Success

There are leaders who want to take a dip into the field of customer success and only after proven results are ready for commitments.

Here they make the mistake of making the customer support team do customer success. 

Can a software developer do sales? You would would say that I am crazy to even think of such an idea ?as the work and the mindset of the people who do that work are completely different.

What makes you think a customer support rep can do customer success?

Customer support is a totally different department with different KPIs, targets and ideology. Under no circumstances should a Customer support rep do customer success.

That would not only result in total failure of customer success but also the good work that your customer support team would have been doing, that would also be derailed because of unrelated responsibilities.

When starting with customer success, even if you are starting with one person, make sure that person is actually from the customer success field instead of giving additional responsibilities to people from other fields. 

2. Building a Customer Success Team without a Leader

Sometimes the CEO or any other senior executive is given the additional role of starting the Customer Success practice in the company. 

S/he starts building team and hiring reps but are only able to give 10-20% of their time to customer success. It results in inadequate strategies and plan and hence poor results.

It is important to hire a customer success leader whose aim is not only to build an effective customer success team but also think, understand and solve customer success problems. 

A person whose KPIs is to build customer success practices from ground up will do a much better job than someone who is just doing it as a part time gig with no fixed goals.

And there is no use of building a team without proper processes in place as that wouldn’t bring positive results.

So hire a customer success leader, even if that person is doing the leadership position for the first time, so that the customer success team has a fair chance to make an actual impact.

 Building a Customer Success Team without a Leader

3. Building a CS Team without having a CS Practice in place

This point is also related to the previous point. Once you hire a customer success leader, s/he will understand the pain points of the customers and then build proper processes by running several experiments.

It is crucial to build scalable, repeatable, well defined customer success practices before expanding the customer success team. 

What will a 10-20 member team do if there are no fixed processes that deliver consistent results?

Once basic processes are in place, the focus should be on building the team and based on the feedback received, improving those processes.

Cheat Sheet for Customer Success Template

4. Starting a Customer Success Practice with too many KPIs

Customer success team is responsible for a lot of things like increasing LTV of customer base, reducing churn, facilitate renewals, create upsell opportunities, provide references, 

As a leader you would want the customer success team to achieve all the goals ASAP. 

But it is impossible for the customer success team to improve the onboarding process, retention, MRR growth, upsell etc in one quarter or even one year.

Focussing on too many goals at once leads to no result. It just results in chaos and confusion.

Discuss with the senior leadership on what things need immediate attention and then make a detailed plan with timeline to achieve those.

It is critical to choose 1-2 goals and laser focus on them until you get positive results. Once you are able to achieve those goals, then you should move to the next goals.

Starting a Customer Success Practice with too many KPIs

5. Setting up over ambitious Timelines

People in general underestimate how much time would be required to achieve certain goals. 

For example, if you want the onboarding process to be more effective then one month timeline won’t be enough. Even one quarter timeline for the same is quite aggressive.

Customer Success Leaders need time to understand the problem, conduct experiments, do A/B testing before they can figure out a repeatable and scalable solution which can be perfected as the customer success team expands.

The number of goals should be less and enough time to achieve each goal should be given so that an effective and efficient solution can be figured out.

6. Starting a Customer Success Practice without any CS Tech

Imagine you have hired workers to construct a building but haven’t giving them proper tools and equipment to help them. 

No matter how good your team is, they wouldn’t be able to do it. Even if they are building something, it would not be good enough and in the end just wastage of resources.

If you are trying to use a CRM or a to-do platform as a Customer Success tool, be rest assured you are wasting your resources and are doomed. It would have been acceptable if it was a decade ago but now it is completely unacceptable. These are NOT a replacement for customer success technology and don’t have data, customer success actionability processes and hence will act as roadblocks.

It is essential to have a Customer Success technology like CustomerSuccessBox, Gainsight, Totango, Churnzero etc so that your customer success team doesn’t spend time on mundane tasks.

A customer success platform goes through millions of data points to help the customers know which customers are facing what problems and need your immediate attention.

A customer success platform also helps you automate the mundane and repetitive tasks so that your customer success team can focus on the important tasks.

 These are the common mistakes that leaders make while setting up customer success department in their company. 

Did you make any of these mistakes? Or have we missed any mistakes that should have been added to the list?

Arnab is a content marketer at CustomerSuccessBox. In his free time he loves watching videos on YouTube and reading about entrepreneurship and startups.