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The Ultimate Guide on Customer Success Operations

Introduction

customer success operations

 

Your Customer Success Managers may have great ideas and strategies, but it can be a challenge to execute these ideas. Your marketing and sales team are doing an excellent job but In SaaS and almost every other industry, nothing happens without operations ensuring that everything runs smoothly.

The same applies to customer success. Your CS team draws out the strategy but it is your Customer success operations (CS Ops) team that will make sure you reach your destination.

Why is the scaling of operations a must

You don’t want bad decisions and executions to affect your productivity. Because this will lead to a strong negative impact on your scalability. Productivity can be defined as doing more in a shorter amount of time. And when speaking of the company, it indicates generating more revenue with fewer resources.

Let us look at some questions that’ll help you find out if you’re prioritizing Customer Success productivity.

Who administers your customer’s operations?

Ask yourself this and if the answer is “Sales Ops or Marketing Ops,” then you are clearly not prioritizing the customer. Your customer needs undivided attention post-sales because this is where the customer starts his journey.

And if your answer was, “Customer Success Director or above,” you’re not prioritizing your team by spending valuable leadership time on administration when it should be used to build your team’s strategy and remove obstacles in their way.

Who ensures the renewal process?

If your answer is again, “Customer Success Director or above,” you need to make some changes.

It may be that your renewal processes are not consistent. Or your team waits to see how auto-renewal works. Instead, they should be more proactive and reach out to customers for renewal. 

This means “when you’re not focused, strategic, and accountable for how you spend your time and efforts, the end result is going to be lots of wasted effort, false progress, frustration, and reduced success.”

 

You must prioritize your team’s productivity and efficiency. This will help you achieve more and grow. 

 

Suggested Reading: Renewal Playbook- What magic can it do?

What are Customer Success operations?

Customer success has a lot of behind the scene work and these are called operations. Different team members have different daily activities under the Customer Success umbrella, and operations include them all. Customer Success Operations comprises five main areas of roles and responsibilities:

Data: renewal forecasting, account health, NPS, adoption

Process: renewal playbooks, proactive touchpoints, cross-functional coordination

People: goals, targets, performance, workforce/team planning

Systems: CSM tool management and implementation, CRM ownership of customer elements

Strategic initiatives: product, customer experience, marketing, engagement initiatives

Your CSM is definitely busy gaining, retaining, and growing customers. For the operational areas of Customer Success, you need a dedicated CS Operations team.

Hence, the customer success ops define the processes and measures KPIs in the above-listed areas and include much more. All the CS-related activities that are to be executed on a daily basis become a part of the CS ops team.

Suggested Read: A guide to VP of CS  to acheive 125% ARR

What does a mature customer success organisation look like

So how do you identify if you have a mature customer success business? Well, generally to be customer success mature, an organization should include four functional groups: Onboarding, Customer Success Management, Customer Success Operations, and Customer Care.

Further, Customer Success Operations focuses on implementing strategies, process implementation, and ensuring your customers reach their desired goal. This is based on renewal forecasts, data analytic systems, and many more aspects.

When should I add Customer Success Operations?

When Customer Success is getting obscured by other departments

All departments have different activities to do. But CS needs to have it’s own position in the organization. Other departments which are already in existence for a long period can easily overshadow CS. A CS operational manager is needed for raising the voice to be heard by the C-suite executives.

CSMs are overloaded

Your Customer Success Manager is always busy engaging with the customers, well that’s their work. But this leaves no time for them to look into internal matters.. But when internal processes need to be upgraded and require huge attention from the CSMs, a CS operational manager can come to the rescue.

Operational performance at the best possible level

When your CS operations are not performing at their optimum level, but are trying their best. You need a CS operational manager to remove the inconsistency from the system and bring it to its most optimum level.

What Processes and Metrics does Customer Success Operations Build?

Customer Success Metrics

Performance metrics are crucial and set by Customer Success Operations. This measures their effectiveness and helps find ways to improve. The basic areas that these metrics cover are: revenue, product, customer feedback, and customer experience.

Customer Onboarding Systems Implementation NPS(survey) Metrics
Customer Communication Account Health Scoring Upsell/Renewal Process
Customer Segmentation Adoption Monitoring Revenue Forecasting

One of Customer Success Operations main responsibilities is building repeatable processes for:

Product metrics

When analyzing data, Customer Success Operations often collaborate with Product Managers to have a clear view on product usage and adoption data. This helps the CSM to make informed, data-backed decisions.

Revenue metrics

Since Customer Success Operations analyze your data, they are able to build a revenue forecast to show upcoming renewal and at-risk revenue. This helps the CSM to have crisp numbers on what quarterly revenue is up for renewal and at-risk, and why, by category.

Customer feedback metrics

Customer Feedback is important. It helps you learn where you stand and how much you’ve to improve. Customer Success Operations analyzes customer satisfaction surveys such as NPS, CSAT, and CES findings to inform leadership on areas of opportunity for development.

Bonus Tip: 7 metrics to help you do it right in your business

Why is Customer Success operations important

Every operation in your organization is important and has to be completed successfully as this directly affects your customer success strategies and goals. Let us look at the benefits of CS Operations:

Enhanced team performance

There are so many different tasks that can be assigned to different members of the CS ops team. And when the entire team works on a different path but towards the same goal that is customer success, it enhances the team performance.

Customer success KPIs are well analyzed by the team. This makes it easy for the CSM to build strategies. The overall performance of the team can be managed well by the head of CS operations to drive better results.

Ability to Scale

As a business you need to keep scaling and growing. The CS Ops team helps you and your customers reach the desired goals. And now you have the time to monitor and focus your success strategies on different groups.

You can engage customers at scale and increase the level of service you provide. That’s a recipe for greater customer satisfaction, as well as growth.

Improved Transparency

Being transparent towards your customers is what makes them trust you. With the help of your CS team, you will have detailed and analyzed reports which will provide an in-depth knowledge to your customers. 

And this will also save the time of your CSM because CS Ops can put the time and resources required into doing this type of research. This enables your organization to get more value from the data.

What is the role of Customer Success ops

Your Customer Success Team is responsible for developing strategies for customer success and retention whereas CS Ops is responsible for fulfilling these tasks. Again, it affects many parts of the organization.

Monitoring Product Use

Monitoring when and how much is the product usage is a continuous process. And this journey doesn’t end when the customer buys the product, but it is the very beginning . 

Customer Success Ops also monitors and analyzes patterns of usage, and then reports their data and findings to the CSM. 

Building advocacy

You know how your customers feel about you when you take feedbacks.The CS ops team keeps a continuous check on customer feedback metrics like NPS, CSAT, CET. They report to their superiors if there are any issues with any of the customers w.r.t. these metrics. 

Pro tip: What is NPS, CSAT, CES? Why is it important?

Reporting Issues

When your customers have the same problem multiple times, it means you’re lacking in some or the other way and that means there’s a hole in your process.

CS Ops takes these service issues and looks for the holes. They’ll identify where your support materials are unclear or missing solutions.

When do you need a Customer Success ops manager

Your CSM is responsible for creating and managing your customer success strategy. But, do you also need a Customer Success Ops Manager? 

Well let us look at some of the reasons why you should probably have a Customer Success Ops Manager:

  • Every department plays an important role in the success of your customers. But the Customer success team specifically doesn’t get the attention it needs. Other teams are roaring for resources and funding, and the CSM can’t fight that battle alone.
  • There is a lot of work happening behind the scenes and we call it operations. Your CSM is very busy with managing customers’ demands and might not have the time or resources to handle it. Here is where you need a dedicated  CS Ops manager.
  • There can be a situation where your customer success is inefficient, and less effective than it should be. Having a CS ops manager will help you.

If you have one or more of these situations, you should probably hire or assign a CS Ops manager. 

Customer Success Operations Manager job description

Customer success operations managers have the responsibility of driving the operational excellence and efficiency of the CS team. But let us dive deeper into the job description and roles of a Customer success operations manager:

Aggregate Data: They need to gather data from different sources and use them for further processes.

Analyze Data: Due to chunks of data available, it is difficult to draw meaning from it. Hence it is important to analyze the data well. The CS Ops manager has to handle different criteria for the analysis and work towards getting the right output.

Report: Once you have aggregated and analyzed your data, it’s time for you to make meaningful reports that help other teams understand and work with their strategies.

Customer Success Operation Manager job description

Final thoughts

The CS Ops team will help you manage and scale your customer success. It will make it easier for the CSMs to make decisions based on strong insights. And it also ensures your customers reach their desired goals. 

 

Hiring a CS OPs manager will make it even more efficient, as this will allow CSMs to focus on ensuring your customers’ success.

Deliver world class customer success at Scale

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