When it comes to Customer Success, I’ve seen a lot of things.
I’ve seen what works (and what works REALLY works… it’s amazing).
Unfortunately, I’ve also seen what doesn’t work. A lot.
In 2017 I heard “Customer Success doesn’t work” way more than I ever expected.
The main reason I saw for Customer Success “not working” wasn’t org structure, comp plans, operations, wrong CSMs, etc.
No, the main problem wasn’t a CSM Org problem at all.
It actually starts further upstream.
You Can’t Solve Upstream Problems Down Stream
The biggest contributor to churn is the acquisition of bad-fit customers.
The biggest drag on growth I see is trying to make bad-fit customers successful.
A huge drag on per unit margin is investing resources in bad-fit customers.
Bad-fit customers are those customers that lack Success Potential.
But this is…
Not a Customer Success Issue
This is a company issue.
This is a growth velocity issue.
This is a Customer Lifetime Value issue.
This is a CAC efficiency issue.
This is a company valuation issue.
This is a CRITICAL issue.
This is all about..
When a company knowingly acquires bad-fit customers – customers without Success Potential – they set up everyone downstream for failure.
Yes, Customer Success Management is setup for failure.
But let’s get real… nobody cares about that (yet).
(un)Luckily, there’s more.
Onboarding, training, pro services, support… anyone else that works directly with customers is also setup for failure.
But so is product, marketing, and… sales.
Bad-fit customers can wrongly influence direction (since what we’re doing “isn’t working”), but there’s something else.
But it’s a cycle as…
Downstream Failure Creates Upstream Problems
Those customers that churn out (or otherwise stop doing business with you) create negative market sentiment and this makes it harder for the next sale to happen.
So it actually hurts sales.
Oh, and you’re setting your customers up for failure.
Stop knowingly acquiring bad-fit customers.
It won’t end well for ANYONE.