Customer Success Operations

Role of Customer Success (CS) Ops in tech-touch

The Customer Success Operations (CS Ops) role is critical in delivering, optimizing, and maintaining successful tech-touch programs, ensuring that everything runs smoothly. However, it can be a daunting task, especially if you’re just getting started.

CS teams are expanding and new roles are emerging. Since CS is maturing as a specialty, roles (specifically) like Customer Success Operations (CS Ops) are gaining upper hand.

Let’s try and understand why CS ops are vital in today’s day and age where everything is going remote.

Defining the CS Ops role (is it really just operations?)

CS ops is an operations team working hand in hand with the CS team to deliver the best customer experience. The Ops team updates the existing processes for the organization. 

It is operations, but NOT just operations! The following points will make you understand the criticality, of the operations team for CS, better:

  • Provides foundational execution and strategic insights to CSMs (Customer Success Managers).
  • Breaks down silos(especially in SaaS) that have been built around different teams in the organization by aligning across different teams. 
  • Helps in CS Enablement.
  • Gives support to the CS team to carry out data analysis. 
  • Oversees reporting and metrics tracking. 
  • Helps in identifying customer success journeys.
  • Provides support with product analytics as well. 
  • Oversees system implementation and administration, process creation, etc is done by the CS ops team.
  • Manages data analytics, tech-stack for CS team, key process development, strategic planning. 

How does a ‘CS Ops team’ work with the other ops teams?

First things first, hire a person who can grow the team- be it ops or any other function. A team having certain competencies is a crucial factor to keep in mind while hiring. The teams across the organization should be aligned to work smoothly without any sort of friction. 

CS Ops team ensures that the data flows smoothly between all the teams, be it the marketing, sales, product, and the CS team.  Professional services Ops are also an important addition to the organization in today’s digital age.

Regular catch-up, perhaps weekly, with the Marketing Ops, Business Ops, Rev-Ops, etc will ensure collaboration across the teams. This will result in shared and aligned goals of customer success- for both internal and external customers. 

When should the CS Ops team be brought into the picture?

Start with the CS ops team early on. Most of the successful SaaS business organizations have their Ops person early on. It helps the CS team be proactive and streamlines the business operations across the organization.  Also, having the customer journey written down early exponentially grows your business. 

Make a case today for CS Ops- to focus on CS, if you don’t have already. The following situations beg for a CS Ops team to function:

  • If your CS team is not being fully recognized, then you might need an operational manager and an Ops team to voice the concerns. 
  • In case ,your CSMs are always engaged with customers-acquiring, retaining, and growing them- without the time to look into other vital matters. 
  • If your CS team is not performing at its optimal level and is unable to achieve its 100% efficiency. 

Since the Ops helps the business in scale and efficiency, it should be an indispensable part of your strategic position. 

Role of CS Ops in Digital led CS (tech-touch)

Digital-led CS (tech-touch), in these tough times-especially since the pandemic, is gaining momentum. The digital CSM has all the responsibilities of a regular CSM. In addition to those, s/he would have to be responsible for setting up automated digital experiences for the customers.

The important question is to ask what digital CS is aiming at, what it means for customers, if those goals are achievable, etc. It becomes easy if you know what it means for different customer segments. Hence, CS Ops should not only be limited to SMB (small and mid-sized businesses) but should be spread across all customer segments. 

Key experiences and moments are important to understand in the tech-touch or the self-serve processes. For example – having a QBR with customers offline can be a 2-hour process followed by a dinner with them. However, in the case of a tech-touch customer, it’s not possible! 

Here you need to understand the key moments. The digital CSM would’ve to chalk out processes and programs that ensure engagement for tech-touch customers. CS ops can empower CS heads to stay more strategic, helping with executing the solution to furthermore empower CSMs to reach the best possible outcomes. 

The program manager (within the CS Ops team) is generally responsible for getting all those workflows up and running.  Automating success planning and user journeys, especially, for more complex customers with multiple products is vital. The point that I’m trying to make here is that understanding customer needs and creating processes around them to give them the best customer experience should be the goal.

Digital-led CS Ops makes case for the following automated but data-backed decisions. Processes and metrics related to the following areas are set and measured by CS Ops:-

  • Product
  • Revenue
  • Customer feedback
  • Customer experience 

Tech-stack for CS Ops

A tech stack or a technology stack is mostly referred to as “a bundle of practical systems and technologies that provide solutions to most of the problems faced by companies.” It is called the solution stack or data ecosystem. 

Technically, it is a mix of software and hardware bundled together to roll out a function critical to the department/business. The developers need to understand the importance of a particular function and then develop the relevant stack. 

The following points are mentioned to show you what many leaders from the CS world view their tech stack for CS Ops teams:

  • CS platforms act as a Hub (where everyone can access)- to identify where the data coming from, how to link to a BI tool, where the finance data is going to be, etc. are some of the key questions to be answered. This is super critical for your CS ops team. Make sure that you have the right data about customers. 
  • Community and LMS system for customers or potential customers is an important component in a tech stack. 
  • A specific CS system is super important. Product usage/adoption, support tickets, reporting, and analytics, etc are extremely crucial to understanding your CS system as a whole. 
  • Also, when clubbed with AI platforms, like CustomerSuccessBox, it becomes super easy to get a 360-degree view of your customer accounts. It centralizes your data and makes the data accessible to everyone. 

The product team is usually responsible for the prioritization of building the right automation features of CS and users.

Suggested Read: Laying down your CS technology stack

Final thoughts

CS Ops team is sometimes the internal advocate for several dimensions of the business. They also act as bridges between the different departments to identify the shared priorities and work collaboratively. They tend to think ahead of CS teams or other teams such as what they need and be proactive in building those bridges. 

CS Ops is one commonality that can be leveraged, across all businesses. Merging Ops team to build a center of excellence (CS, sales, revenue) or make their report directly to individuals. The best way is to integrate CS ops into already established teams and get marketing on board.

Customer Success Software

This blog was first published on Hacker Noon, part of AMI publication, with 7,000+ contributing writers, 200,000+ daily visitors, and 8,000,000+ monthly pageviews

Content marketer at CustomerSuccessBox | An avid reader, a passionate writer and a life long learner | Writer @ Hacker Noon | B2B SaaS & Customer Success enthusiast |