If CSMs are the pilots driving the car, then customer success operations are the team in charge of making sure the car is in its best form so the pilot (CSM) has the highest chance of succeeding.
The list of customer responsibilities can be quite long, and the day-to-day job can get more complicated as the company grows -more clients are using your product, new features are being developed, and CSM hiring is not necessarily at the same pace as the company’s growth, etc.-
Customer success operations' main objective is to enable the CSMs to be as efficient and effective as possible by creating, organizing, and delivering the necessary tools, reports, and insights. This allows CSMs to cut through the “noise” in order to narrow down on what are the most important items that need to be tackled and also create and define a customer success plan/strategy that will deliver results both to the customer and the company.
In a few words, customer success operations are responsible for finding the most suitable customer success software platforms and/or data analysis platforms and setting them up accordingly in order to deliver the insights and information a CSM needs in order to plan their work accordingly.
Why are Customer Success Operations essential?
Any B2B SaaS company that wants to grow exponentially needs to have a strong Customer Success department that is on top of renewals, upsells/x-sells, feature adoption, onboardings, customer strategy, and the list goes on and on.
In order to facilitate this, the CS department must put in place a well-built customer operations that can build a system so that the CSMs can have full visibility on any of the items mentioned above thus allowing the CSM to be proactive and strategize accordingly.
Moreover, one of the most important customer operations responsibilities in addition to making the CSMs work more efficient and effective, is to get full reports and insights for CS VPs/leads such as, being able to see how much ARR/MRR is left to renew every quarter, revenue forecasts, how many upsell opportunities are still open vs closed, how many customers have/have not been onboarded, feature adoption measurements, support tickets that are still pending, and any other insights that would allow CS VPs/leads to guide their team of CSMs towards the right direction in order to maximize revenue growth opportunities and reduce churn risk.
A well-organized and well built customer success operations can go a long way in improving the output of the CS department.
What are the risks of not having proper Customer Success Operations or none at all?
After reviewing the customer operations responsibilities and how important it is to have a proper setup, we can only imagine how difficult would it become for a company to scale if the CS department doesn’t implement customer success operations as they should or if they wouldn’t have at all.
Without proper customer success operations, CSMs would be responsible in creating their own “measurement platform/tool” in order to try and be on top of everything that is going on with each of their customers’ accounts, making it harder for the CSM to have the time to define a clear strategy or customer success plan and increase their overall output.
How do you create great Customer Success Operations?
In order to create a great customer success operations, CS organizations should identify and follow the next steps:
- Is the company scaling exponentially?
- What are the KPIs/Metrics the CS leaders would like to measure?
- What data and reports do CSMs in the organization need so they can prioritize their work and be more efficient?
- What customer success software and/or BI platforms are needed in order to deliver the items mentioned in point 2 & 3?
- Based on the answer above, CS organizations should identify what positions and skillset are needed in order to get this off the ground.
- How big should the team be? The customer success operations team should be able to provide the items in point 2 & 3 to every CSM and CS leader in the organization, if it can’t be delivered, then you need to hire more people or go back to point 5.
- Once built, an ideal customer success operations team should be in constant communication with the CSMs in order to always anticipate what other tools will be needed as the company continues to grow