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The Critical Capabilities of Customer Success Image

The Critical Capabilities of Customer Success

Did you know? 62% of customer defections can be prevented if discovered in advance. Have you started investing in Customer Success, but are uncertain of how to evaluate what technologies can help take your program to the next level? To make your Customer Success team the most effective partner to your company and customers, a usable, innovative, and scalable technology is key. In this webinar, we discuss with SaaS pioneer and advisor Jason Lemkin what requirements to consider for a world-class solution. Get answers to: What capabilities should a best-of-breed solution have? Who needs to be convinced internally? When will you see value? When: Recorded April 2, 2014 | 10:00 – 11:00 AM (Pacific) Who: Jason Lemkin, Managing Director – Storm Ventures; Stephanie Stapleton, Director of Customer Success – Gild; Nick Mehta, CEO – Gainsight

1 min read
The Customer Success Safari Image

The Customer Success Safari

Until this past month, the only safari that applied to my life was an alternative web browser that I would use when Chrome was giving me trouble.  Today, I’m writing this entry from a game reserve in South Africa overlooking the Sand River in the middle of a two-week safari honeymoon.  The days on safari are long and caffeinated – not an ideal vacation for those looking to catch up on sleep.  The morning starts with a 5:00 AM wake up call and ends with a communal dinner (locally referred to as a bourma) that will typically go until about midnight. The main events for the day are two 3-4 hour game drives with a safari guide and trekker – two rifle carrying game experts who drive our small group through the bush in an open air Land Rover.  The trekker is positioned in the front of the car, almost as a living hood ornament, analyzing the prints that animals leave behind as they go about their lives in the reserve.  The guide is behind the wheel, navigating the vehicle just outside the comfort zone of its passengers and up close to animals who could seemingly care less about our […]

5 min readApril 2, 2014
Does Customer Success Need Real-time Data? Image

Does Customer Success Need Real-time Data?

So, does Customer Success Need Real-time Data? The answer to that question is an emphatic “no”. This debate reminds me of one of my favorite sayings – “If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail”.  Customer Success requires information to be successful.  Sometimes we use the word “data” interchangeably with “information”.  They are clearly not the same but let’s not debate that right now. Customer Success relies on data/information to effectively manage customers. No one argues that.  Usage data, delivered at the appropriate pace for your business, is but ONE important part of the necessary data set. Limited Real Time Data Can’t Drive Customer Success If the only source of data that can be captured is usage data, and the only method for capturing it is through a real-time feed, then the solution to every problem becomes real-time usage data.  If that was my only tool, I’m sure I’d use it for every problem, too.  But, given choices, I’d like more information than just that and I don’t need that information in real-time except in rare cases. Let’s explore the real-time aspect of this scenario.  What does it mean to get real-time data?  Simply put, it […]

8 min readMarch 25, 2014
How Technology Improves Customer Success in High Touch Relationships Image

How Technology Improves Customer Success in High Touch Relationships

Some companies practice one type of Customer Success while many have multiple customer segments and align the appropriate Customer Success strategy to that customer segment. In the following blog, I will discuss the High Touch model. For businesses with high customer lifetime values, companies will often adopt a “high touch” approach to Customer Success. It is important to note that the idea that the tiering of customers is not exclusively related to contract value.  If we had a Very Important/Influential/Big Company as a customer, for example, it would be on our strategic customer (high touch) list even if they were paying us $5/month. Different Relationships call for Different Customer Success Strategies At companies with the high touch approach to Customer Success, the Customer Success Manager (CSM) typically manages a relatively small number of accounts (e.g., 5-20). This means that the CSM or Account Manager often knows everything that there is to know about the customer – down to pets’ names, favorite coffee spot, their kids’ school schedules, etc. They communicate with them frequently, likely every week and in some cases, every day. Although the CSM might interact frequently with the customer, oftentimes the interactions are not as impactful as they could […]

3 min readMarch 21, 2014
Gainsight Platform Spring Release Image

Gainsight Platform Spring Release

Hi everyone, I’m thrilled to have joined the Gainsight team to lead our Product Management and Analytics roadmap. Prior to Gainsight, I was at Facebook where I worked closely with our Customer Success teams, using predictive analytics to drive advertiser retention. Through this experience, I was exposed to the large market opportunity for Customer Success solutions. While Customer Success emerged at small companies with small customers, today, large enterprises are recognizing the need for a Customer Success solution to retain and increase the lifetime value of their largest, most strategic relationships. For enterprises, continued growth increasingly depends on existing customer relationships – Gartner predicts that 80% of future revenues will come from 20% of existing customers. Data has become a cornerstone of Customer Success Innovation and I look forward to building more ways for our customers to explore and use data to deliver value in every client interaction. The Spring release of the Gainsight Platform delivers functionality to help enterprises deliver value to their most strategic clients. It includes: Sponsor Tracking to monitor executive and advocate relationships across LinkedIn and InsideView. Salesforce1 Mobile App that puts the power of Gainsight in executives’, sales’ and customer success managers’ pockets as they prepare for client meetings. Gainsight Success […]

3 min readMarch 18, 2014
Customer Success – It’s As Easy As 1, 2, 3 Image

Customer Success – It’s As Easy As 1, 2, 3

We definitely live in a complex world.  No argument there. But I think there are times when we over-complicate things.  Customer Success is no different.  It’s not simple to help customers get value out of our sophisticated products when they have 1000 other things to do, too.  It’s no wonder we get paid so much money. But let’s take a few minutes to examine it from the top down and see if we can uncomplicate things just a bit. One Main Customer Success Metric Ultimately, there’s just one very “simple” measurement for a Customer Success team: Grow your install base Am I right?  Think about it.  If a Customer Success team does its job well, won’t this be the result?  Regardless of their actual responsibilities or activities, this should be the outcome of an effective team.  One quick caveat – I realize that not all companies can actually grow their install base for a variety of reasons.  I’m using the phrase “grow your install base” to cover both a) growth and b) improvement in your churn rate.  Whether you are fighting to move the needle from 110% to 115% or from 92% to 96%, the idea is the same.  In […]

8 min readMarch 10, 2014
[Infographic] Diagnosing Churn Image

[Infographic] Diagnosing Churn

We surveyed a panel of more than 100 subscription businesses to discover the impact of customer churn and reveal Customer Success best practices. This infographic summarizes the survey findings, reavling that companies with a dedicated Customer Success team have a 24% lower churn rate than companies without Customer Success. Why download? Think of customer churn as something that results in a doctor’s visit, like recurring migraines or high cholesterol. It’s painful, annoying, and won’t go away. While the cause of your company’s churn ailment might be indiscernible to the untrained eye, a professional Customer Success Manager can monitor, diagnose, and prevent churn much like a doctor treats high cholesterol with a Rx. What is the best way to monitor churn? How should you treat churn and are there any cures? How frequently should you calculate the churn metrics?

1 min read
Turkey Club or Ice Cream Sundae? The Quandary of Tracking in SaaS Image

Turkey Club or Ice Cream Sundae? The Quandary of Tracking in SaaS

In my experience, one of the largest gaps between opportunity and reality in business today – especially from a Customer Success standpoint – is in the area of what and how to measure. In SaaS, where measurable data represents an embarrassment of riches, the gap can be even more significant. The ability to track and measure customer behavior down to a minute level is integral to the SaaS structure, but that proliferation of data actually can make extracting what’s important and valuable that much more difficult. An overwhelming abundance of choices often results in decision paralysis and reversion to a default – the equivalent of choosing the Turkey Club from the exotic, multi-page menu. In the case of SaaS, this often means relying on tracking log-ins or utilization of certain core functionality on the assumption that these must be important indicators of adoption and leading indicators of value. Overcoming Analysis Paralysis in Customer Success It’s in this context that Dan responds in his blog post by recommending that you order the ice cream sundae. I like ice cream sundaes, and I also find a lot to like about Dan’s suggestion to track success. It does two things that are, in […]

5 min readFebruary 28, 2014
Tracking Customer Success, Not Just User Activity Image

Tracking Customer Success, Not Just User Activity

There’s an awful lot of talk these days in the Customer Success community about tracking.  Tracking activities.  Tracking product usage.  Tracking customer engagement.  Tracking survey scores.  Tracking, tracking, tracking.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  Customer Success is dependent on data, which obviously needs to be tracked, gathered, and turned into information.  I don’t think anyone argues with that general approach.  What I’d like to argue in this post is that we may be too focused on tracking activities and not focused enough on tracking real success. What does it mean to track Customer Success? This, of course, leads to the question – “What does it mean to track success?”  For most software applications, there is a clear answer to that question.  It lies in the ROI calculation.  Let’s explore a simple example to illuminate this point.   Say we have created a financial application that produces critical month-end reports and that each report, when done manually, takes two hours to complete.  But, with our application, it’s a simple push of a button.  So, in this oversimplified scenario, every time the “Create Report” button is clicked, two hours of effort are saved. In the current noise of Customer Success applications, […]

5 min readFebruary 26, 2014