What's the Purpose of Your Customer Success Program? - Glide Consulting
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What’s the Purpose of Your Customer Success Program?

What would be possible for your customer success team if they knew exactly how to proceed in every situation? What if they always knew just what to do, or where to focus their energy?

Would this change your day-to-day operations? Or the way your team worked together and managed their problems?

If this sounds like a pipe dream, you’re not alone. Setting up a functional customer success team is difficult, and most companies go about it in a way that’s destined to fail.

Instead of focusing on a single thing, customer success leaders bounce around looking for problems to solve without a clear idea of what they are trying to achieve. This lack of purpose then trickles down into every other operation — from hiring to building effective daily processes.

And overall, the failure to define the purpose of your customer success team is one of the biggest mistakes companies make. This is why, whether you’re looking to build your team or just take it to the next-level, the answer to your team’s ultimate success will lie in finding its real purpose.

The first step is learning more about crafting your team’s purpose statement,

Here are 10 questions you can ask yourself to help determine your program’s purpose.

Secondly, I’d like to discuss what defining the purpose of your customer success teams can look like, and talk about the steps you can take to begin laying the foundation for your team.

Understanding the value of a clear purpose

Every team in your organization needs a purpose, and none so much as your customer success team.

To truly understand just how valuable purpose can be, think about some of the issues your team currently may be facing.

For example

  • Consistency issues — without a single goal to work towards, customer success teams will provide individual levels of service based on what they ‘feel’ is right for any given situation.

 

  • Productivity Likewise, productivity and task switching can become a huge struggle for teams when they don’t know which tasks are a greater priority than others. For instance, most CSMs will need to change hats between ‘making a customer happy’ and ‘getting the customer to spend more money,’ both of which work against each other in a way that leaves the customer feeling confused.

 

  • A lack of long-term planning — Instead of being able to productively plan with their goals front and center, teams are forced to reactively put out fires, leaving little time for future plans.

While each of these cases can seem difficult to manage, having a clear and referenceable team purpose can act as a guiding light so that everyone knows exactly where to invest their time and how to prioritize their effort.

Crafting your purpose statement

The easiest way define your team purpose, and ensure that your team is staying in line with it, is to craft a ‘purpose statement’

While incredibly valuable, creating one with your team can easily get pushed aside for more ‘immediate’ tasks, because purpose statements take more than passive attention.

In order to succeed, your team must come together to define clearly what customer success means to them, and then work together towards a common understanding of purpose for the team as a whole.

Without doing this level of detailed work, teams are left with generic words and phrases that mean nothing; words like integrity, innovation, and teamwork.

When it comes to time to craft your own purpose statement, here are few suggestions to get you started:

  1. Know what one looks like. Context is key when getting started, so here’s an example of a purpose statement from one of our clients: “To partner with our clients and make them look like rockstars.”
  2. Understand your core values. One of the first steps to understanding your team’s purpose is determining three values that represent what your team is willing to spend more time, effort and energy on than anything else.
  3. Ask yourself, “What do you want your Customer Success Managers to think about every single day?” Should their goals be continuously generating income or providing next-level customer experiences? The choice is yours but you need to outline it clearly ahead of time.
  4. Involve your whole team. Purpose phrases are only effective if they align with each member of your team. Not being involved in choosing the words makes them harder to rally behind, so it’s essential to get your entire customer success team in on the process.
  5. Avoid using too many words. Concision is key when crafting your purpose phrase and your core values. Choosing too many words can be confusing for team members, let alone difficult to remember in a pinch.

After you’ve defined your purpose, you can use it as a litmus test for your entire customer success organization. For example,

  • Do our onboarding calls support and fulfill our purpose?
  • Do our quarterly business reviews support and fulfill our purpose?

If you’re interested in learning more about crafting your team’s purpose statement,

Here are 10 questions you can ask yourself to help determine your program’s purpose.

Getting your C-Suite onboard

Once you’ve established your core values and purpose statement, it’s good to be aware that other team members and leaders within your organization may find cause to challenge them. This is especially true if they don’t understand or believe in the customer success team’s purpose.

Unless each team understands and believes in your newfound customer success purpose, your organization will present a haphazard and confusing experience.

For instance

  • if your CSM’s goal is to improve the customer experience, but the C-Suite is more interested in increasing exposure, or
  • if your CSM’s goal is to prevent churn but your C-Suite wants to achieve x number of new subscribers.

These differing goals will lead to greater misunderstandings about your team’s overall success.

Therefore, it’s important to help your C-Suite understand the specific values of your customer success team and its goal, so that the leadership can feel positively about your team’s overall direction.

To combat this, help your team create a purpose speech to articulate to others what their purpose means to them.

And above all, stay transparent about what you’re hoping to accomplish and the underlying motivations each of you may have for those goals. Making concerted efforts to communicate your team’s goals will help keep everyone on the same page and happily moving towards a united point.

Remember, the long term effects of customer success can trickle down into every other team within your organization, in a myriad of different ways, so communicating in a way that ensures your long term success is key.

Final thoughts

After all the work you’ve put into defining a team purpose and getting your organization to come onboard, don’t let it go to waste by having it lose momentum.

Keep your purpose statement front in center in all your daily operations by having it present around your team as a regular topic of conversation.

Ask your team members how your team purpose has influenced their decisions. When hiring, keep it front and center to help structure your questions and guide the end decision.

Regardless of what you choose to do, always keep it in the forefront of your team’s mind and a regular practice day-to-day.

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