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Customer Success and the SaaS Time Warp

Last month, I presented in a webinar hosted by CMSWire titled “Making the Customer Journey Work.” You can view the replay here.

During Q&A, one participant asked a simple, yet thought-provoking, question that I think everyone in the Customer Success profession might be interested in reading.

“What if a user thinks he has already received all he could from our app? Can the Customer’s Journey end one day?”

We all know the common saying, “All good things must come to an end.” From this perspective, the question makes sense and therefore could happen. However, in reality it never should, especially in the SaaS world.

SaaS companies continue to innovate and evolve and so do their users. For most, the alignment will continue with the potential to deepen the engagement between the company and customer over time. That is what makes the role of Customer Success so critical for a SaaS business.

In addition, there is something interesting that we’ve noticed in the Customer Satisfaction survey data that our customers share with us… Sometimes customers that have been with you longer tend to be less satisfied than newer customers. Maybe it’s analogous to the seven-year-itch in marriage or maybe there’s something else at play. Our usage data indicates that customers can get “caught in time” with the feature-set and use-cases that were present when they first came onboard. Without prompting, encouraging or training (or a combination of all), advances in your roadmap, feature-set and offerings can bypass some of your customers and leave them behind in a time warp.

It is important that as the Customer Journey continues, as shown in the image below, value continues to be delivered in an easily adaptable way to the customer. That being said, with a properly equipped Customer Success team and a high value application, a customer’s journey should never end.

chrun graph

Harry Hirschman

  • David

    Hi Totango,

    Your blog posts are always educative to me.

    I have a question that is really directly linked to customer success. What is your opinion on assigning a relationship manager for key accounts? Would you have a dedicated RM to take care of each corporate account or would you deliver value to all customers as one and avoid assigning RMs?

    • Harry Hirschman

      We believe that both Relationship Managers (RMs) and Customer Success Managers (CSMs) are the primary face of your company for your customers. The distinction we see across SaaS companies is that while Relationship Managers (RMs) primarily coordinate company resources, Customer Success Managers (CSMs) deliver value directly. The questions we get asked time and again are around scaling the CSM model. The first steps are to assign a portfolio of customers to your CSMs based on total ACV. The second is to measure Customer Health. This allows managers to keep CSM workload at a level that allows them to proactively focus their attention AND know which of their accounts need it.

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