Customer Success: How to Close the Feedback Loop with…

Customer Success Management, Marketing, Sales, Product, and the Executive team all have unique information about the customer.

This includes how the customers talk about what they do, how they talk about and use our product, how any of this aligns with our strategic direction (or not).

So creating feedback looks among all of those parts of the company is part of Customer Success Management.

For context, on Friday, May 5, 2017, I did a Customer Success Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Facebook live. It was awesome. The video (audio only… sorry) is embedded below and below that is the transcript (edited for better readability) that answers the question.

Closing the Feedback Loop

From Scott, “What is your opinion on closing the feedback loop? An entire organization is in the loop on customer success. Should all touchpoints have a feedback mechanism?”

Scott asked about feedback loop inside of a company and really based around customer success and whether or not I think that should happen. Yeah, absolutely.

Customer Success Management specifically has so much amazing content, just knowledge, intelligence around our customers that we should be feeding back to the rest of the organization.

What’s working with our customers? What are some use cases that our customers have found successful? What are the types of customers that are really finding a lot of success? Be feeding that back to sales.

Here’s the way that our customers talk about our product.

Here’s the way that our customers are talking about what they do.

Here are those use cases that are really working.

Here are the characteristics of the customers that have grown really substantially over time, whatever.

Same with marketing.

By the way, lead with those positive things so that you gain their trust.

If you in customer success can help sales, help a sales person close one extra deal because you gave them some intelligence about a customer, they will trust you.

Now later on, you can come back and say, “Hey, by the way, here are the characteristics of a bad fit customer. Can you please not sign anymore of these?”

If you start with that, if you lead with that, then they’re never going to listen to you because basically you’re saying, “Hey, don’t do your job. Don’t earn your commission. Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t.” We want to start with something positive.

With sales and marketing, those are some really easy wins that we can have, but product feedback. If the things on the product development roadmap do not directly translate or directly tie to things that are going to make our customer successful, I don’t really know why we’re billing those things.

That’s a whole other discussion, but customer success can really feed back to product.

Often times, product only hears when there’s a problem or if they do reach out.

There are certain methodologies obviously they can use to get feedback, but customer success has a lot of additional context that can be used to feed back in the product and absolutely should be.

That stuff should be operation wise. It should be happening at least on a weekly basis. Whatever the modality is, whether it’s an email, whether it’s a meeting, it doesn’t matter. Don’t get caught up in that. Let’s just make sure this stuff happens. That’s great.

We have that customer intelligence that gets fed back to the rest of the company, but then we have something else. That is customer success needs to feed back certainly to the executives, but I would say to at least all other leadership, the value that they’re bringing.

Very often, we say that a VP of customer success or the chief customer officer, or whoever it is … If you don’t have a big title, but you’re doing customer success and you are the customer success department in the company, this falls on you. It’s up to you to evangelize this concept internally, which means sharing all of the great things that are happening.

I was sitting in a meeting in San Francisco a few months ago.

We took a little break and there were two customer success leaders from two different business lines.

One of them left, and then the other one was sitting there. She was looking at her computer. She kind of made a move and you could tell that something good had happened.

I said, “Hey, what’s going on?” Because I was curious. She said, “Oh, well it looks like for the first time … These numbers for the first time we’ve brought in more revenue from existing customers than we did through new business scales, so in other words expansion revenue.”

I said, “That’s amazing. That’s awesome. You should send that to the CEO.” She said, “I don’t want to bother him.”

I’m like … First of all, I had just spent time with the CEO, so I knew that particular CEO would definitely want to hear that, but second of all, even if I didn’t know that CEO, that’s what a CEO wants to hear.

Even if they don’t know they want to hear it, they definitely want to hear it. They wouldn’t tell you, “Make sure you tell me when this happens.”

They might not even be thinking about that, but if you have that milestone, you need to tell. I would probably send it to the whole company and then ask for forgiveness later, “But that’s amazing that this happened.”

It’s up to you to communicate this to the rest of the company.

It’s up to you to evangelize this especially if customer success is new in your company and especially if you’re fighting an uphill battle like the culture was maybe more customer negative in the past and we’re making this big switch.

It’s up to you to keep fighting the good fight to put those things out there. When you have those great milestones that happen in the company, you need to communicate that. It’s up to you. I hope that helps a little bit. We have time for one more question.

Try to make it a simple question, a simple one-part, really easy question.

About Lincoln Murphy

I invented Customer Success. I focus primarily on Customer Engagement. Learn more about me here.