Beyond Touch Levels: Scaling Customer Success through Appropriate Experience (AX)

There’s no such thing as a ‘tech-touch’ or ‘high-touch’ customer. There are only customers and their Appropriate Experience (AX).

This is the modern take on Customer Success Management that leaders of world-class CS organizations operationalize around.

While traditional approaches often relied on revenue-based customer segmentation, leading to inconsistent experiences and inefficiencies, AX prioritizes individual needs and goals, allowing for efficient scaling by logically segmenting – and allocating appropriate resources to – customers based on shared AX.

Here is a deep-dive on AX-based Segmentation.

The Pitfalls of Revenue-Based Segmentation:

  • Ignoring Individual Needs: Categorizing customers solely by what they pay disregards their unique journey, preferences, and desired level of engagement. A high-paying customer might thrive with what has historically been seen as a tech-touch experience, while another, regardless of their spending, might require consistent high-touch engagement to achieve success.
  • Creating Entitlement and Churn: The perception that high-paying customers “deserve” more, regardless of their AX, can foster entitlement and dissatisfaction if their expectations aren’t met. This leads to churn, contraction, and hinders long-term growth.
  • Unsustainable Resource Allocation: Focusing solely on revenue can lead to overburdened CSMs managing too many “low-touch” customers or underutilized CSMs with “high-touch” clients who don’t require constant engagement.

The Power of the Appropriate Experience (AX):

  • Individual-Centric Approach: AX prioritizes understanding each customer’s unique journey, needs, and preferences. This involves actively listening, gathering feedback, and tailoring the experience accordingly.
  • Focus on the Entire Journey: AX goes beyond individual touchpoints and encompasses the entire customer journey. It considers pre-purchase interactions, the product itself, and all post-sale touchpoints across various channels.
  • Dynamic and Data-Driven: AX acknowledges that customer needs and expectations evolve over time. By leveraging data and feedback, we can constantly evaluate and refine the experience to meet their evolving needs at each stage.

Addressing Counterpoints:

  • Customers Paying Different Amounts: While AX doesn’t directly consider payment, it acknowledges customer expectations based on their investment. If a customer expects a certain level of engagement due to their spending, incorporating that expectation into their AX can lead to a more satisfactory experience.
  • Profitability and Customer Fit: The concept of Success Potential identifies “Bad Fit” customers who don’t meet certain criteria, including having the resources or willingness to pay for the level of support they require. In such cases, it’s sometimes necessary to avoid doing business to ensure sustainable growth and avoid setting both customer and CSM up for failure.

Capacity Planning through AX:

By embracing AX, we unlock the potential for improved capacity planning and resource allocation. Here’s how:

  • Matching Needs with Resources: AX helps match the level of engagement with the customer’s specific needs, not just their revenue tier. This ensures CSMs aren’t overloaded with “low-touch” customers requiring minimal support or underutilized with “high-touch” clients.
  • Identifying “Good Fit” Customers: The Success Potential framework, informed by AX criteria, helps identify customers with the ability and willingness to receive the level of support needed. This allows for proactive capacity planning and avoids dedicating resources to customers unlikely to succeed.

Here’s a deep-dive on Capacity Planning for Customer Success.


Moving beyond “tech-touch” and “high-touch” labels and embracing the AX signifies a paradigm shift in CSM. By prioritizing the individual customer journey, setting realistic expectations, and focusing on delivering value based on needs regardless of spending, we can create win-win situations for businesses and customers. This not only fosters long-term success and ethical growth but also unlocks the potential for improved capacity planning and efficient resource allocation, leading to a more sustainable and scalable CSM operation.

About Lincoln Murphy

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