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“But we're not responsible in that - if a customer stays with us - it is not because our customer success team did or didn't do its job. Every single team in the organization is responsible and accountable for the outcomes of the customer. Could be product, sales, finance, whomever. Everyone needs to stop holding customer success solely accountable for that metric”.
Kristi is trying to drive home the idea that while Customer Success Managers are there to orchestrate and facilitate the customer's journey, there are a lot of other factors that may impact the decision to churn that are beyond their scope.
“If the product doesn’t do what the customer needs it to do, customer success can influence it, they can share feedback, they can pull in the relevant people, but at the end of the day, this problem is bigger than anything a single person can do”.
Kristi brings up the importance of clarifying roles and responsibilities of everyone in the organization so that it's very clear who's responsible, accountable, and advised at every stage of the journey. That way, everyone’s accountability on churn comes as no surprise. “As a leader in customer success, I look at ‘is my team actively engaging with the customer, do we have a clear understanding of their goals, are we delivering on it’. All those metrics help tell the true story”.
Kristi finishes off by giving some great advice on how to get other teams involved in eliminating churn: “We've got a program in place right now where when customers leave, for whatever reason they left, the leader of that contributing factor has to interview that customer. So if they left because of product, we have our CTO or someone from the product team go out and interview the customer. Considering the customer's already gone, they're not defensive. They understand that we just wanna learn.
Someone's tone, someone's words, someone's story, is gonna resonate a lot more than if I just have a box checked that says this customer left 'cause of pricing, and they felt like we were too expensive. When you really hear the story, it's a lot different than ‘oh, the customer was trying to get their rate reduced’.