Tommaso Fioravanti Tommaso Fioravanti - 12 mayo, 2022 - 7 ’ read

Customer success: what it means and benefits.

In the ever-evolving world of business, Customer Success has become a cornerstone strategy for ensuring long-term customer satisfaction and fostering business growth. Here, we'll take a closer look at the fundamental aspects of Customer Success, defining its significance and uncovering the tangible benefits it brings to both businesses and their customers.

What is customer success?

Of course, it’s a phrase that those who work in companies (no matter the industry) hear constantly. But what exactly do we mean by customer success?

Let me start with an “academic definition” to introduce the concept. Of course, there’s a lot of them out there, but I‘d go with the Gartner one: “Customer success is a method for ensuring customers reach their desired outcomes when using an organization’s product or service. A relationship-focused customer success strategy includes involvement in the purchase decision, implementation and use of products or services and customer support”.

In a nutshell, a customer success engineer spends their day finding ways to help customers reach their business goals through the product/services bought, giving the best experience to customers in terms of onboarding, user experience, assistance, and relationship.

Customer Success vs. Customer Service: Let’s Break it Down

While there might be some similarities and overlaps, it’s crucial not to mix up customer success with teams or groups handling customer service. Here’s a deeper dive into their distinctions:

  • Customer success is a strategic approach focused on the long-term relationship a company builds with its customers. It involves understanding customer expectations, creating personal connections, and making customers feel valued.
  • On the flip side, customer service is more about short-term transactions. It helps users tackle challenges with the brand or its products and services, like resolving technical glitches, settling pricing disputes, or answering inquiries. Effective customer service practices contribute to customer retention.

And let’s be clear, it’s never a matter of customer success versus customer service. When support and customer success teams collaborate toward common objectives, they amplify the value customers derive from the product.

Why does customer success matter? 

Well, let’s start with the obvious – without happy and satisfied customers, a business cannot thrive. 

What we need to keep in mind in the customer success process is that we are working for customer success before ours. On top of that, we may not know in advance what it means for a customer to be successful.

Do you remember when Obi-Wan Kenobi used force to convince the Stormtrooper not to ask for documents because they were not necessary to get them through? 

Well, using the force as Obi-Wan would be a good way to make all customers happy and satisfied. Unfortunately, because the Jedi tricks only work on weak minds, so it is necessary to find an alternative strategy. 😉

Leaving aside the Jedi analogy, the real challenge is to understand how to allow the customer to achieve their goals to be successful. With a view to customer success, the real value we can generate is:

  • understanding the customers’ goals;
  • helping the customer to achieve such goals through the solutions they have purchased;
  • stay on the customer’s side through the whole journey, making sure they are making the most of the solutions installed in the interests of their company.

The importance of word of mouth.

Keeping and satisfying customers is key to creating customer success stories. Word of mouth plays a central role in this process. Speaking about this, the theory of Jason Limkin, ex-CEO of Adobe Echosign, is very explanatory. He coined the phase “second-order revenue”, and we may find a significative example of it in the book “Customer Success – How Innovative Companies Are Reducing Churn and Growing Revenue” by Nick Mehta, Dan Steinman and Lincoln Murphy: 

  • “John loves your product and leaves Company A to join Company B and buys your product again in Company B”.
  • “John loves your product and tells three friend about it and some of them end up buying your product, too”.

The way we approach customers can be positively or negatively viral, since, as Warren Buffet said: “it takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently”.  But how can we make our customers happy? It sounds like a broad question, but the answer is pretty straightforward. Creating value for them.

customer success cycle

Customer Success Metrics: Key Benefits of Having a Dedicated Customer Success team

Benefits for your company.

1. Reduce/Manage Churn

Churn is the number 1 enemy for three subjects: companies, customer success teams, and recurring revenue business

Hubspot defines customer churn as “the percentage of customers that stopped using your company’s product or service during a certain time frame.”

Such definition is enough to explain why it’s crucial to have some dedicated KPIs to monitor the churn situation and take strategic decisions. 

Okay, you may say, but how can we calculate the customer churn rate?

The customer churn rate is calculated by dividing the number of customers you lost during a given period (for example, a month, a quarter, or a year) by the number of customers you had at the beginning of that given period.

Customer Success calculation of churn rate
How to Calculate Customer Churn Rate and Revenue Churn Rate –

2. Drive Increased Contract Value From Existing Customers 

Data, as you know, allow us to understand a lot of very important thing of about our customers, such as: 

  • their buying behavior;
  • how they’re using our solutions;
  • their issues.

This kind of information allows us to understand how to help them solve their problems by suggesting new solutions (cross-selling), changing the way they’re actually using them, or maybe adding features (upselling). Plus, thanks to the use of AI, we may try to anticipate their buying behavior and trends.

Now, it becomes clear how having a data-driven customer success team is essential to understanding how to increase contract value from existing customers and make sure the customer is happy with our solutions.

Let me share this example from the interview with Mark Nelson, Tableau President and CEO at Forbes, about an issue with the NFL team Seattle Seahawks.

“The Seattle Seahawks recently used data to make an important business decision. If you’ve ever attended a large stadium event, you know that hearing the sounds and calls from the field can make or break your experience. Fan feedback is a critical source of data for the Seahawks, and fans were displeased with the stadium’s audio quality. Rather than replace audio across the entire stadium, the Seahawks decided to explore the data further. A deep dive into the data revealed that audio quality was poor only in the four corners of the stadium. Instead of a pricey replacement of the full audio system, improvements were made in the targeted areas. This resulted in significant cost savings for the organization and a near immediate, positive turnaround in fan feedback— a huge data exploration win.”

Think of how happy a customer can be in a case like this if the success team is able to find the right solution for the company just by analyzing its users’ needs and analyzing its data. And as you know, customers’ happiness is something that lasts a long time, a real success.

3. Improve the customer experience and satisfaction

Last but not least, there’s the importance of delivering the best customer experience from the use of the solutions to the whole relationship with the company.

Customer relationships begin only after they subscribe to your product and start using your platform. Onboarding is no longer enough to make the relationship work. Instead, consistent touchpoints (whether automated or manual) are necessary to provide an exemplary customer experience. 

Customer Success Revenue Model

Benefits aren’t just limited to your company – they extend to your partners and customers alike:

Benefits for partners.

Below I have tried to summarize the advantages of having a success-oriented team as a vendor if you are one of our partners (but surely, over time, I will have to extend this list):

  • First, you will have a single team for renewal ready to help you with the same process worldwide.
  • You’ll be able to count on a team that is closer to the end-user and helps it to discover all the advantages, integrations, and possible combinations of Imagicle solutions to make his job easier.
  • Even if the purchasing process always takes place through the partner (i.e., you) thanks to our go-to-market 100% indirect, the Customer Success Team will always be there to help you and your customer renew the Imagicle solution.

Benefits for customers.

If you are an end-user, you will have no fewer advantages. Indeed, they all concern you!

  • You will have a dedicated team ready to help you through the whole journey with the Imagicle solutions and allow you to take full advantage of all their potential to make your job faster, smarter and easier. 
  • You will have a team of people always available to listen to your needs and collect your feedback and ideas.
  • You can be sure: this team was created specifically to help you achieve your goals and succeed with your business, so you can count on it.

How we manage Customer Success in Imagicle.

Even before the creation of a dedicated team, the concept of Customer Success was already a pillar within each of our teams and across the entire company.

Consider that Imagicle’s motto, for over ten years, has been “It’s always a matter of happy people”, and this has always been our compass and our destination.

The Customer Success Team was then born to be ever closer to our customers, and we’ve structured it in 2 different sections: 

  • Renewal Team to take care of products’ renewal worldwide through a standard process.
  • Customer Success Team, to get in touch with customers worldwide (new and existing) and help them enjoy the Imagicle solutions at their full potentials.  
Customer Success Team description

We are here for you. Get in touch!

That’s all for today, guys. I hope I was able to give you the idea of the importance of a team entirely dedicated to customer success for anyone dealing with Imagicle, be it a partner or an end-users. We have seen what Customer Success really is (beyond clichés) and how we can bring value to customers to help them reach their goals and use the Imagicle solutions at their full potential. 

Today there’s a new team dedicated to your success, and if you are curious to know more, all you have to do is contact us!

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