This blog post is the second of five in a series about what goes on in the various departments at Social123. Our company is made up of innovators and leaders that all come together to create and promote an industry-leading product in the contact data space. These blogs are meant to give you an inside look of what goes on behind the scenes of our powerhouse company! Enjoy!
Being brand new to writing in our blog, and blog writing in general – I set out to do a little bit of additional research on the topic at hand (customer success), beyond what I experience day to day here at Social123. It seems that although today in the digital marketing era, we find ourselves trying to be less reactive to the customer experience and more proactive – it seems we still have not found a common definition for a customer success role or even a customer success department. That statement alone – “that we do not have a clear definition of customer success” – is probably the answer staring us blindly in the face. Customer success isn’t a routine set of steps followed during the pre-sales and post-sales journey. It isn’t something that involves a checklist of what we have done when a prospective client comes on board as a full fledged client of Social123. Although those processes are absolutely necessary, they do not by themselves accurately convey the entity of Customer Success. Customer Success is an ever changing experience for both the customer and the “Customer Success” representative. Customer Success is a dynamic that is created so that what would in the past have been the reactive part of a customer’s experience is now anticipated and even in some cases expected so far enough in advance that we are available to the client before they even knew they had a need or problem that needed to be addressed.
The word success in the Customer Success title is the one that intrigues me the most. Success can encompass so many different things. If we (as a customer success department) are a factor in the success of our clients, what does that mean? Does it mean our product is going to save them time and money? Or does it also mean that they have found a company that can provide them with what they need in terms of reliability? Success is a relative term, and so doesn’t that then lead to the assumption that the role of a Customer Success representative must be one that is dynamically addressing the needs of clients from their perspective on what equates to success for them?
In some of my recent research on my chosen ‘field’ of Customer Success, I read that one of the key elements of a successful customer success team is breaking out of the “break-fix” mentality that typically is associated with more of a customer support or technical support role. I could not agree more. I also learned that many companies that are setting up Customer Success departments (and most companies are) are finding it a bit challenging to get the framework set up in order to truly attain that element of Customer Success within their company and for their company. My personal experience? Most of what I researched and referenced above is spot-on. As part of a rapidly growing company, not only is it a challenge to pioneer the establishment of a new department, but it is equally as challenging to do this so that it is scalable. I won’t digress on the scalability – because that would be another whole blog post. However, the challenge of creating the proper framework to be ahead of the game with our clients is definitely real. Being a part of the era of customer success and customer experience is a transition. Therefore, as we try new ways to build our department – some may flourish and some might fizzle out and in a sort of unspoken way be considered a dead end. If I were to be completely honest, I would have to say the ‘break-fix’ mentality may be gone, but in an effort to build a strong Customer Success department and team, we may be holding on to the past until we have a firm foothold into the future. Leaving the ‘break-fix’ mentality behind is probably a bigger transition than most of us realize. However, when you reach a point where you can visualize what you foresee as the Customer Success framework that is the best fit for your particular business, you begin to realize not only that it will be a reality – but that letting go of ‘old habits’ will be the easiest part of it all.