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Why every Customer Success Team needs CS Ops

Customer success without CS Ops

If you don’t have a Customer Success Operations role or team you need to fix that quickly. More than ever CS teams need to improve their performance because customer expectations will continue to grow and no SaaS company can afford avoidable churn any longer.

At the same time your CSMs can’t waste their time on bad-fit customers and busy work that adds no value to the customer or the company. That’s exactly what the CS operations function is for – making customer success managers more effective. It’s not a function/team that takes care of administrative work.

The center of excellence

So far I’ve identified 7 ways how CS Ops is able to contribute to improving the performance of the CS team and the whole company (in no particular order):

1. Building and distributing subject expertise

The technology is not your customers’ bottleneck. Their outcomes are limited by their skills and knowledge on the job(s) they need to perform. Being a product expert is no longer enough. However, subject expertise is an asset for everybody in the company – marketers, sales reps and product teams.

2. Creating inputs and content

As the “owners” of the subject expertise it’s only logical that CS Ops are best suited for creating the content and inputs for educating, training and consulting customers. Like checklists, templates or framework.

3. Following trends and identifying best-practices

Subject expertise is built from research and running experiments. One, if not the best source for best-practices are your customers. Who are the customers that are true masters and get a ton of value without requiring any inputs from your side?

An additional source are service providers like marketing agencies or individual thought leaders. In today’s world expertise and thought leadership are temporary. A new emerging trend can wipe them out in an instant. What’s better than following trends is creating them yourself. If you can come up with a unique and better way to do something you’ll win.

4. Designing, measuring and improving the customer success journeys

Customer success managers main responsibility is bridge the gap between their customers’ starting points and their goals. That means they need to help them complete tasks, solve problems and achieve specific milestones. With the collective insights on all customers CS OPs are able figure out the most effective ways to the promised land.

5. Creating and sharing customer insights across the whole company

CS Ops are an effective “tool” to eliminate the data silos in the company. Because what happens after customer success managers take over customers from sales matters to everyone. Customer outcomes power copywriting, verified ideal customer profiles help sales to focus acquisition and use cases help building and prioritizing the right features just to name a few.

6. Identifying the patterns behind churn

There’s only one reason why customers churn – because they didn’t get enough value. Everything comes down to it. The only exception is churn that is not under your control like customers going out of business. However, there are more than one cause for the lack of value. Eliminating churn in a sustainable way requires to understand the recurring patterns behind.

7. Optimize resource distribution

Time is the most scarce resource for every CSM and a lot of it is wasted. Because they spend it on preventing inevitable churn or trying to turn-bad fit customers around. The CS Ops team provides a thorough analysis of customer profitability and growth potential allowing CSMs to focus on generating actual ROI. 

Customer Success Operations is not a nice-to-have. It’s the key to build high-performing teams.