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For 20 years, CRM was the default technology for solidifying a company’s growth. Amid the accelerated pace of change today, however, businesses must be poised to pivot quickly to keep up, scale, and grow with their customers. Though the burgeoning field of customer success (CS) has often been lumped in with CRM, CS is less about closing sales than generating recurring revenue, customer retention, and referrals. This means CS solutions must be agile and iterative so companies can deliver continuous value for customers, no matter the challenges.
Leaning on my 25+ years in tech, I’ll break down the five reasons businesses must look past outdated, inflexible technologies and embrace an agile, composable CS platform as the solution to manage the entire customer lifecycle.
Before diving in, however, it’s essential to understand the foundational shift required to deliver better customer outcomes. To succeed today, companies must move past the siloed acquisition model to an operating model that protects their customer base by providing value throughout the customer life cycle—from sales and onboarding to expansion. Activating a culture of customer centricity requires all functional teams to collaborate and continuously iterate to improve customer journeys as they would any product.
Traditional, rigid platforms offer a strong base for a company coasting in a steady state, but today is anything but stable. In the face of supply chain disruption, economic instability, cybersecurity threats, and other challenges, companies with a strong CS practice succeed using predictive and dynamic data to help identify and address trouble before it starts.
However, businesses relying on inflexible platforms remain locked in a reactive state. Every time a company changes a product, for example, customer onboarding needs to change too. With a static platform, even minor tweaks can turn into a costly, time-consuming effort that requires IT expertise. Some changes may force businesses to restart mapping their onboarding journey or even their entire infrastructure from scratch.
Composable CS, in contrast, is modular and iterative by nature, allowing for easy pivots so businesses quickly and continuously recalibrate as needed for customers. Instead of investing more time and money on expensive outside services, companies can easily change any part of the customer journey with no-code edits that add value in just a few clicks.
Monolithic platforms are, by definition, solid platforms that do one thing well, meaning businesses must conform to the software to make it work for them. Going live can require heavy implementation, big bang installs, and expensive professional services. After a considerable investment of time and money, companies often end up paying for functions they can’t use or have to change two months down the line when data or metrics shift.
Companies using composable CS, in contrast, pay for what they need now, see immediate results, and invest as they scale, regardless of technical expertise. With modular building blocks that can be quickly customized and allow users to mix and match workflows to maximize outcomes, composable software conforms to and scales with businesses as they shift and grow.
For example, for a large enterprise with thousands of customers, having a flexible solution that can automate customer retention and expansion programs lightens the load on sales, marketing, and customer success teams. Plus, you can scale growth with greater efficiency and effectiveness by strategically leveraging data-driven insights, actions, and analytics to communicate your company’s and product’s unique value.
At its core, CS creates positive experiences that inspire customers to continue subscribing and growing with a product. To accomplish this in a digital age, businesses must leverage the massive amounts of telemetry at their disposal and make their data streams work for them.
Traditional platforms, however, leave companies with no single source of truth. Hunting for data through multiple platforms leaves businesses relying on guesswork based on outdated spreadsheets, reporting, and sticky notes. The result is confusion, chaos, and, ultimately, reactive scrambling to save relationships when it’s too late.
Composable CS, in contrast, provides instant visibility into customer signals and critical events, alerting companies to engage when needed. With a multidimensional customer view, companies can identify, categorize, and monitor the events, activities, and behaviors that indicate which customers need attention and why. For example, a drop in storage usage could predict churn. With composable CS, companies are empowered to survey and take action in an automated way so they can address customer needs and build each relationship in a scalable manner.
Businesses using composable CS get the most out of their CRMs and static platforms by integrating all their data into one shared platform—and the more data sources integrated, the more robust their understanding of customer health becomes. Integration saves time, reduces dependency on ops and data teams, and enables easier integration management by reusing data connectors, editing and duplicating integrations, and using automatic field mapping and real-time previewing and validation. This helps ensure data is consistent across all platforms.
Understanding customer health is imperative because customers have distinct needs that change continuously. An inflexible system provides businesses with a checklist of activities to keep them moving forward. Still, that forward motion usually focuses on the sales and marketing funnel instead of those changing needs.
In contrast, a composable CS platform with a unified design and run capabilities enables you to create the right experience, digital campaigns, and flow for the unique needs of your customers. These capabilities empower businesses to engage proactively, prevent churn, and seize opportunities by providing data-driven insights and alerts.
During new customer onboarding, for example, composable custom success empowers companies to track KPIs and progress against goals, automate communications, and trigger actions. This ensures a consistent and positive onboarding experience with fewer dedicated resources. In addition, the modular building blocks embedded with onboarding best practices can be easily mixed, matched, and reconfigured, enabling companies to continuously iterate and tailor their automation to create personalized experiences for high volumes of customers quickly and efficiently.
A central component of CS is uniting entire companies around the customer, which means breaking down the data and workflow siloes created by rigid platforms. Instead of leaving teams to fly blind, jump between apps, and drop balls, a composable customer success platform provides shared visibility and alignment across entire companies for friction-free orchestration that ensures customers do not feel that pain point. Teams can easily design, share, collaborate, run, measure, and scale any part of any journey and score, analyze, and engage with accounts based on their health.
Rigid platforms can deliver powerful results in closing deals and managing relationships, but they weren’t built to handle today’s digital customer life cycle independently. Today’s businesses are changing at the fastest pace in recent history. As a result, they must be empowered to succeed in the face of more customers, more data, more products, more touchpoints, more customer segments, and more change—and they cannot let their tools hold them back from growth.
Companies must unite their teams around customers’ health and empower them to iterate and deliver value. With a focus on protecting their customer base, the companies that invest in composable customer success will see immediate results, scale their practice organically, and succeed in today’s volatile world.