This summer, I received a call from one of my favorite customer success community leaders, Dave Blake who is the CEO of Client Success. Dave asked me if I might be interested in taking part as a judge for The Customer Success Innovator of the Year Award that takes place each year during the CS100 Summit.
For those of you who never attended, CS100 Summit is one of the most coveted customer success executive exclusive events (mainly because the Client Success team makes everyone feel more like they are at an awesome retreat than at a boring conference).
Long story short… little did I know how intriguing this experience was going to be. As a judge, assessing the finalists included meeting with 5 forward-thinking brainiacs, who all shared fascinating new approaches to doing customer success better.
Andreas Knoefel, a veteran Customer Success Executive, was one of the selected few individuals who made it to the semi-finals with his Customer Success Performance Indicator methodology. I was highly impressed with his approach that I’ve asked him to share his innovation with my readers. Below, is the blog he wrote. Finally, I highly recommend watching the video to hear Andreas speak about his approach in more detail, in addition to reading this blog.
— Irit Eizips, CEO, CSM PRACTICE
Measuring Your Team’s Health
By Andreas Knoefel, Customer Success and Services Executive, Thought Leader, and Author
From Puzzle Pieces to the Picture
As Customer Success leaders we are constantly challenged to preserve the customer base and to increase the recurring revenue stream. I answered this call as the builder and leader of Customer Success for Apple, NextLabs, and several startups. In addition to a fierce passion for each customer, I take the time and reflect on the entire department, it’s structure, team, processes, and interfaces. There are so many pieces, it was sometimes overwhelming to know what to tackle next.
As a mathematician, I developed a framework with eight (8) pillars, which I use to detect weak points, define new strategic goals, enhance the team, tune the customer engagement process and optimize the technology landscape. Over 100 combined experiences by Kristen Hayer and myself validated this structure, the Customer Success Performance Index™ (CSPI).
In this blog post, I am sharing with you my approach, and recommend you leverage it as you are developing your strategic plans.
The Customer Success Performance Index™
The visual below represents the eight (8) pillars that showed a significant correlation with the preservation and expansion of the recurring revenue stream.
- Alignment: Where is the Customer Success team fits in the organization and how does it influence (or not) the corporate’s processes and policies
- Team: The services and capabilities your CS team provides
- Segmentation: Your customer classification
- Playbook: What is included in your playbook and it’s used
- Resources: Resources that you provide for your customer’s success
- Onboarding: How are you helping your customer to ramp up to full productivity
- Relationship: Your customer engagement model
- ROI: How and when do you demonstrate that your solution generates value I classified various choices in each pillar into four buckets from Undeveloped via Emerging and Expanding to Conquering. Based on where you are in each pillar provides a score and allowed me to quickly identify the weakest points in the status quo, and a roadmap of milestones to implement improvements.
In one case I found that the customer engagement model was neglected the most. I implemented automatized measurements, overhauled the Onboarding process and defined Relationship triggers for customer interaction to reduce churn by double digits, In another case, I had a large Team of identical͞ “clones” serving several thousand customers. I defined subject matter expertise around customer goals and aligned the team into corresponding clusters. As a result, my team identified d(efficiencies) in the product usage earlier and better and revenues from renewals and expansions in up-sell and cross-sell went up by over $1 million a year.
As the last example of many, I identified the weak point in the Resources available to the customer. An overhaul of the tools, templates, and processes enabled multiple global partners and tripled the sales force.
Conquer Your Success
The state of your CS organization may be in any of the four states and listing all I encountered would exceed the purpose of this blog. Instead, I am sharing with you examples of the ultimate Conqueror state in each pillar:
- Alignment: CS influenced the operations and compensation corporate-wide to align all teams around Customer Success via a Chief Revenue Officer or Chief Customer Officer.
- Team: The team is organized around customer goals (see next item) and provides a variety of services spanning account management, implementation, onboarding, training, support, marketing, and analytics.
- Segmentation: You shift your review of your customers from internal to external and segment them around common goals
- Playbook: You have a documented playbook for the entire customer journey that is used by your partners.
- Resources: You have a vibrant and managed community for specific customer goals and lifecycle stages.
- Onboarding: You have an integration partner network that uses your implementation playboo0k.
- Relationship: You define together with your customer stakeholders the frequency of touchpoints to improve their business and what progress was made towards these business improvement goals.
- ROI: You establish benchmark baselines around customer-defined goals and present to stakeholders how they perform against your baselines.
Andreas Knoefel – Customer Success and Services Executive – Thought Leader and Author