Chapter 7

Setting Up A Customer Success Tech Stack Right

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Customer Success: The Ultimate Guide

How to Pick A Customer Success Platform (Scorecard Included) 

If you’ve purchased a home in recent years (or if you’re just someone who enjoys real estate “window shopping”), it’s likely you’ve used a tool like Zillow or Trulia to help you in your house hunt. These sites allow you to narrow down your search by categories like price, location, home type, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, etc. Since the purchase of a home is such a major decision, it’s useful to have a tool to help you sift through the available options and narrow down your search to just what’s really important to you.

Choosing a Customer Success platform for your business is also a major decision and one that should not be taken lightly. There are plenty of options available on the market, but how do you decide which one to choose and which features are the most vital for your company? At Totango, we understand the importance of this decision, so we built a Customer Success Platform Evaluation Scorecard to provide you with a customizable template to help you narrow down your search and evaluate platforms against one another based on the factors that are most important to your specific business requirements. For tips on futureproofing your decision check out the New Trends in CS for 2021.

Customer Success Platform Scorecard

How to Use the Customer Success Platform Evaluation Scorecard Template

The top half of this template is designed to help you evaluate different platforms based on how important certain factors are to you, whether or not the platforms offer these features, and how well they perform in each category. We chose six factors to evaluate, including:

  • Product Analytics and Adoption
  • Customer 360
  • Segmentation and Personalization
  • Customer Retention
  • Customer Journey Orchestration
  • Growth

In our experience, we’ve found that these six features are crucial for a business to have in a CS platform in order to successfully manage and grow a CS program. The template allows you to choose which of these are the most important to you and weigh them based on level of importance. For instance, if it’s important for you to be alerted to at-risk customers so you can intervene proactively and save that business, then you would rate Customer Retention at a 20. And if you’re less concerned about facilitating growth and scale, then you would rate Growth at a 5. The six categories should all add up to a score of 100. Once you’ve determined the importance of each factor and added weight to them, then you would start researching the various platforms you’ve chosen and scoring them based on how well they perform in each of these categories. 

The bottom half of the scorecard is all about you and how well these platforms will work for you and your company. There are four questions for you to answer, including:

  • Does the product meet our business requirements?
  • Do I want to work in this platform? Will it make my life easier and more productive?
  • Do I want to work with this team? Do they provide quick, friendly support and proactive outreach?
  • Will this platform help me achieve my customer experience and growth goals?

These are four very important questions to ask when taking on any new product or service. If you’re going to make a significant investment of money and/or time, you need to make sure it’s for a product that will actually meet your business requirements, help you reach your goals, and that you and your team will actually use and enjoy. Just as on the top half of the card, you should start by prioritizing which of these questions is most important to you, or if they are all equally important, then rate each of them at 25 points. Next, based on your research, give each platform a score depending on how well you feel they meet these requirements.  

Once you’ve completed the scorecard, compare the total scores of each platform. The highest scoring platform is your winner and you can feel confident that this tool will meet your specific needs.

Preventing Analysis Paralysis

Analysis paralysis happens when you over analyze and overthink a situation or purchase to the point where you become so overwhelmed that you are actually “paralyzed” and can’t decide on a solution or course of action. If you have too many options or too many qualifications when choosing a CS platform, you may become overwhelmed and experience analysis paralysis – and perhaps even give up on the entire process (bad idea!). To prevent this from happening, we designed the CS Platform Evaluation Scorecard to feature only 10 qualifications and to compare three different platform options.

We recommend narrowing your qualifications to 10 or fewer and only looking at 3-5 platforms at a maximum because it will help keep you focused on just those things that are most important and will also save time when you start your research. Speaking of research, it’s important that you are gathering your research from trusted, unbiased sources. We recommend peer-to-peer business software review sites like G2 and TrustRadius, which feature unbiased and insightful reviews from verified software users. Other sites like Gartner and Forrester are also great for finding in-depth information and research about different platforms and products.

Making the Right Decision

Technology is incredible but it doesn’t work unless it works for you, so it’s important to research and evaluate digital tools before making a purchase decision. Download our Customer Success Platform Evaluation Template to help you evaluate different tools and make the best decision for your business.

Choosing A Strategic Customer Success Partner - Lucid’s Story

Lucid was ready to get started on the path of customer success and set out with two goals. They wanted to have successful customers AND successful teams. Learn more about why Lucid chose to partner with Totango to drive scalable processes and outcomes.

6 Essentials When Selecting Tools for a Customer Success Tech Stack

Customer success tools can help you increase your revenue by promoting client satisfaction and retention. To get the results you want, it’s important to invest some time in selecting the right software. Here are six essential features to look for when selecting a customer success tool.

1. Easy Integration

Customer success tools don’t work in isolation. They analyze and apply data provided by other apps you use when interacting with customers, such as customer relationship management software, marketing platforms, dropbox, aws3, and customer service software. Your customer success tool needs to connect with all of these data streams in order to provide you with a complete view of your customer interactions.

To make this happen, your team needs to be able to integrate your customer success tool with other software you’re already using. Make this task easier on your team by looking for a customer success tool that supports integrations with the apps you use in your workflow. For instance, Totango supports data hub integrations by including a built-in library of JavaScript integration codes which make it easy to connect your customer success tool to virtually any data source from other popular apps, including HubSpot, Salesforce, Zendesk, and many more.

2. Support for Scaling

Customer success tools support business growth, and it’s important that your tool can scale up to keep pace as you add more customers and staff. When evaluating customer success tools, consider questions such as:

  • How many users can the software support, and what does it cost to move up from one tier to the next?
  • How many customer accounts can you support?
  • Can you segment customer data to deliver customized service to customers at scale without scaling your team up?
  • How many emails can you send out per month?
  • Workflow automation for both human and digital tasks

Look for a solution that supports the scale you’ll need to support your customers and grow your business.

3. Data Availability from All Points on Your Customers’ Journey

Data relevant to customer success can come in from all points on your customer journey map, from onboarding and adoption to escalation and renewal. An effective customer success tool should make it easy for your team to view and manage data from all phases of your customer’s journey.

The Totango Spark platform is designed to provide your team with access to any relevant data you need from any part of your customer journey cycle. Modules called SuccessBLOCs support success at each stage of your customer’s journey by providing out-of-the-box templates with everything you need for that stage, including KPIs, dashboards, analytics tools and optimized workflows called SuccessPlays which automate the implementation of best practices. SuccessBLOCs are available for a wide range of customer success management, including onboarding, adoption, training, escalation, upselling, renewal, referrals, and many more. SuccessBLOCs grant companies the opportunity to prioritize their customer success initiatives by creating automated, customized playbooks for every stage of the customer journey.

4. Customer Engagement Metric Monitoring

Customer success depends heavily on customer engagement. In order for customers to succeed at achieving their goals through their relationship with your brand, they need to be sufficiently engaged with your product to derive value from its use. This requires successful onboarding and adoption.

To better promote successful onboarding and adoption, it’s important for your customer success tool to support active monitoring of customer engagement. A dashboard that makes it easy to view engagement data such as onboarding rates, adoption rates, and customer satisfaction scores can facilitate this. Your tool should also support the ability to generate reports on customer engagement for your review and follow-up action.

Monitoring customer engagement data in this way positions you to take follow-up steps to promote higher engagement. For example, if you use the Onboard New Customers SuccessBLOC, when you detect that a customer has not completed the onboarding process in a reasonable amount of time, you can re-engage them by automatically initiating a series of follow-up actions to guide them through the rest of the process. You can use a similar strategy to monitor and promote adoption.

5. Customer Health Scoring

To maximize your ability to manage customer success, the right tool should also support monitoring of customer health score data. Customer health scoring combines data from multiple customer KPIs into a single metric which indicates whether a customer is on the path to renewal or at risk of churn. KPIs such as product usage, license utilization, and engagement can provide valuable insights into whether a customer is deriving value from their purchase or not. Knowing this empowers you to take appropriate action, such as extending an upsell offer to a satisfied customer or intervening to prevent a dissatisfied customer from churning.

Totango Spark makes customer health monitoring intuitive by using green, yellow, and red color-coding to represent at a glance whether a customer account is healthy or not. In conjunction with Spark’s analytics and segmentation tools, this makes it easy for you to determine which action to take with individual customers to bring them to the next stage of their journey successfully.

6. Real-time Insights

To be actionable, customer success data needs to be kept up-to-date and provided in a timely manner. Outdated information or data which is difficult to access immediately does little to help you promote customer success. For real results, you need a dashboard interface with provides your team with real-time insights into customer data.

Spark delivers the data you need by providing customizable dashboards highlighting the KPIs you prioritize. Each SuccessBLOC comes with its own scorecard to help you define and track customer goals visually based on one or more relevant KPIs. You can see at a glance in real-time whether a customer has completed their onboarding process, what their Net Promoter Score is, how many accounts with upcoming renewals are in poor health, or anything else you need to know.

Select the Right Customer Success Tools for Your Needs

Best-in-class customer success tools should come with a number of essential features, including easy integration, support for scaling, data availability from all customer journey points, customer engagement monitoring, health scoring and real-time intelligence. Look for a tool that provides all the functionality you need to ensure customer success and retention.

Totango Spark provides all of the features discussed above and more in a powerful integrated platform designed to make it simple to run any customer journey easily at scale. To see how Spark can support your customers’ success, try it free to see for yourself how the right tool can promote the success of your customers and your business.

Zoom’s Customer Success Story

"I live and breathe in Totango". Jim Mercer, Zoom's head of customer success, and his team share how Totango enables Zoom to scale their business model while keeping true to their core customer centered business strategy of delivering customer happiness.

8 Customer Success Tools to Try 

Customer success tools extend the functionality of your CS platform, multiplying its value. By connecting data from other success tools to your CS tool, you can view and manage all your customer data from one place instead of leaving it isolated in separate information silos. This allows you to leverage all your data by integrating it into your customer success strategy. Your CS platform can then become the hub for a unified campaign that harnesses all your apps and data to the task of automating customer success outcomes.

Putting this plan into practice to make the most of customer success tool integration requires choosing the right tools. Here’s a look at eight popular tools, what they do, and how they can enhance your CS platform and strategy.

Note that all these tools integrate with Totango’s CS platform, which is designed to put data from any source to work driving automated customer success outcomes. If you’re already using other tools to perform the same functions, you can still use the general tool integration strategies illustrated by the examples selected here.

CRMs: Salesforce and HubSpot

Customer relationship management apps let you store, manage and deploy data associated with customer relationships for purposes such as lead generation and sales pipeline management. By integrating CRM data with your CS platform, you can analyze your customer data and harness it for customer success management. For example, you can establish criteria for customers who may be in the market for an upsell offer and set up automated workflows to send promotional emails to this segment of your customer database.

Two of today’s most popular CRM apps are Salesforce and HubSpot. Salesforce offers more customization for companies with advanced CRM needs, while HubSpot serves the needs of companies seeking basic functionality with a user-friendly interface, particularly companies focused on inbound marketing.

Data File Sharing: Dropbox

File sharing apps make it easier to store files in the cloud, share files, and sync files between devices and users, especially large files. Connecting a file-sharing app with your CS platform lets you upload files on a one-time basis or create an automated schedule, as well as schedule automatic file syncing. One of today’s most popular file-sharing solutions is Dropbox, which lets you store files on the cloud and sync them with local files.

Billing: Zuora

Subscription billing is the lifeblood of SaaS revenue. Billing apps help you automate processes such as offering quotes, creating recurring subscriptions, collecting bills, tracking payments and tracking subscription analytics. Integrating your billing data with your CS platform can help you streamline subscription renewals, increasing retention and reducing payment support issues.

Zuora is a billing app geared toward the needs of subscription-based revenue models. It automates billing, collection, and real-time recognition of payments.

Workflows: Zapier, Segment

Workflow apps allow you to define and automate customized macro processes consisting of a series of tasks. The task can then be set up to trigger automatically when certain data criteria are met. This can save you time performing frequently repeated task sequences by reducing a complex series of actions to a single command initiated when the relevant data parameters are detected.

Integrated with a CS platform, a workflow app can let you create automated workflows which promote customer success outcomes. For example, you can automatically send product tracking information to your CS platform.

Popular workflow apps include Zapier and Segment. Zapier is more affordable for smaller companies, while Segment is more user-friendly to set up and administer.

Support: Zendesk, Jira

Support events are critical steps in the customer journey. How smoothly an escalation incident gets resolved can determine whether the customer renews their subscription or churns, as well as whether they become a brand promoter or a detractor. Support apps help automate the management of customer service tickets to promote quicker resolutions and higher satisfaction. They may provide features such as online knowledge bases, help centers, community forums, and support via multiple channels, including social media, messaging, live chat, email, and voice.

Connecting your support tool to your CS platform lets you automatically assess the customer’s situation and steer them toward the channel best suited to achieve resolution, whether this consists of self-service tools, chatbot support or a live human agent. For example, if a customer is experiencing onboarding challenges,

Two of today’s leading support apps are Zendesk and Jira. Zendesk is geared toward managing end-user communication to promote customer satisfaction, retention, and revenue growth, while Jira excels at managing internal projects such as software management lifecycles. The two tools are not mutually exclusive and can be used together.

Integrate Your CS Platform with Customer Success Tools

Customer success tools include apps for CRM, file sharing, billing, workflow automation and support. All the tools mentioned here easily integrate with Totango’s platform. Totango can integrate with virtually any data source, capturing information in real-time so you can put your data to use promoting customer success outcomes. Harness your customer success tool data to trigger automated workflows called SuccessPlays which implement best practices for optimal outcomes at each stage of your customer journey.

Why Business Intelligence Software is Not Enough for CS Teams 

Have you ever tried to recreate a meal you had at a restaurant? You went to the store, purchased the ingredients, and then came home and put your culinary skills to the test. But, somehow, it just didn’t taste the same. Even though you had the right ingredients, you didn’t have the recipe.

This is kind of what it’s like trying to make a Business Intelligence (BI) tool work as a Customer Success (CS) tool. You’ll have the right ingredients (data) but you won’t have the recipe (data application) to help you succeed. While BI tools are great for collecting data, a purpose-built CS software helps you put that data into action.

What is Business Intelligence Software?  

BI software is a data analysis tool that is designed to collect, analyze and report data for data queries, visualizations, and reports or dashboards. It provides CS teams with much-needed insight into company-wide customer data and makes it more accessible and convenient to organize and analyze.

What is Customer Success Software?

Similar to BI tools, CS software collects data from multiple platforms into one place to provide a full 360-degree customer view. However, it then goes several steps further by helping companies act on that data to drive customer retention and growth, and foster ongoing customer value after the sale. 

What CS Software Does that BI Software Can’t

BI tools are built for data but they are not built for data application. While they can collect and democratize data for the whole company, they are not equipped to manage internal and external projects, tasks, workflows, and other important factors. Consider these three things that CS software does that BI software simply cannot do:


CS automation is the process of turning data into goal-oriented, results-based action. While BI software can collect and disseminate real-time information on the customer experience, its usefulness ends there. A CS platform, however, has automation features that use the data it collects to trigger action, driving proactive, personalized engagements that create a more consistent experience, and ultimately, increase renewals and reduce costs. This automation can also help to predict and prevent churn. For instance, if customer usage of your software falls by a certain amount, an automated trigger would alert a team member to follow up with that customer to identify struggles and create a game plan for success. CS automation is crucial to preventing churn and ensuring growth opportunities are recognized and acted upon.

Intelligent Workflow Optimization

Similar to how challenging it can be to recreate a dish without a recipe, it’s tough to standardize and support customer success workflows and best practices without the help of purpose-built CS software. Getting your team the data they need is a start, but it’s equally as important to have the next steps preset and ready to go for situations you know will come. Building a standardized workflow ensures that the CS team is able to deliver a scalable, repeatable customer experience. And a CS platform can help by optimizing the steps the team takes, enhancing collaboration, and empowering teams to make decisions on how best to work with customers. It captures customer interactions and engagements, which adds to the intelligence of the system, and can also reduce the risk of errors and increase efficiency. And from the customer’s viewpoint, it creates a seamless, high-quality experience throughout the entire journey.

Customer Lifecycle Management

In order to foster a lasting relationship with your customers, it’s important to be able to predict and address their needs and goals as they naturally grow and evolve over time. While BI software is unequipped to facilitate this crucial task, CS software is built around the customer journey to help map, visualize and track key tasks and milestones, including both internal project management and task assignments, as well as customer achievements. It provides your team with the flexibility to drive different engagement models according to your strategy for various customer segments, driving human or digital outreach based on the defined strategy, and leveraging a combination of both data and human intelligence. 

While it’s important to evaluate customer satisfaction in the moment, it is equally as important to be able to view such data within the larger context of the customer journey. For instance, what stage is the customer at, and are they headed in a positive direction? A CS platform is able to help answer these questions quickly and comprehensively, while also helping you build out a digital strategy using targeted campaigns that will resonate with each individual customer at the right place and time in their journey.

Use the Right Tools for the Job

While BI software is extremely powerful and can be beneficial to the entire company, it simply is not dynamic enough to provide everything a CS team needs to deliver an optimal customer experience. Data is only as good as its application, so CS teams need a powerful CS platform that is designed to help them act on their data and scale their operations.

Totango’s innovative customer success platform combines functionality with flexibility, allowing your team to configure everything from best practices and standard operating procedures to scorecards and templates for communication in order to create a system that perfectly fits within your overall vision for your enterprise. Modular SuccessBLOCs allow your team to prioritize action items, segment customer data, and strategize for success with ease, while our advanced early warning system promotes proactive action, helping team members address potential problems before they escalate.