As 2018 comes to a close, customer success teams are taking some time for reflection and planning. What better time than now to take a minute to review what worked from the past year, determine where changes could be implemented, and lay out some strategic goals for 2019?

Customer success is a rapidly growing industry and trends come and go quickly. In order to truly set your team up for success in 2019 and beyond, here is a quick list of the top 5 things to do as a leader in the month of December

1. Conduct a Quick Client Health Audit with Team

Whether your customers have been around for days, months, or years, take advantage of the downtime during the holiday season to do a quick account audit. This doesn’t mean go back through every single piece of customer data to find holes. In reality, performing an account audit is a relatively painless process that should be done on a yearly basis (or, if you’re feeling ambitious, on a quarterly basis). Work directly with your CSMs to understand where customers stand in relation to their goals, company-wide KPIs, and overall customer satisfaction. Identify gaps in process, product, and usage rates to help map out the next few months of the year. Use this audit as a jumping off point for project planning and as a way to inform upcoming customer conversations.

2. Review Progress of Goals and KPIs (Align with Executive Team)

Outside of individual account KPIs, take a minute to review your team’s KPIs and progress towards goals. What are your team churn and attrition goals? What are your team expansion and growth goals? Understanding and recognizing where your team stands in regards to the larger company as a whole can help position customer success to the team and lay the groundwork for a customer-focused culture. Here is a great eBook and guide for building your customer success KPIs.

3. Touch Base with Members of Your Executive Team

Before the end of 2018, make a point to meet with the executives and leadership from other teams within your organization. Try to meet one-on-one if possible, and then bring the entire executive team together for a larger meeting. In your one-on-one meetings, run through tactical projects and real-world applications of joint strategy. Then, in your larger meeting, discuss messaging as a whole and make sure all your peers understand how customer success (both the team and the concept) impact and influence their day-to-day dealings with customers. Additionally, these executive team meetings should include your CEO to ensure a top-down customer first mentality

4. Determine Your Yearly Budget and Start Thinking about Investments

As a customer success leader, you know first-hand where there gaps in your processes and what technology is required to fill these needs. Of course, your budget is the first step here (especially when it comes to your tech stack) but now is the best time to start researching new investments. Think about what you need to accomplish with your team and your customers. Is it growing customer upsells? Increasing customer satisfaction? What about streamlining internal processes? All of these are critical to your success in 2018, which means they need to be backed up with relevant, reliant technology.

5. Develop and Spread Your Message

One of the biggest customer success trends of the last few years has been developing an overarching culture of customer-focused service. In order to do successfully and easily, you need to spread your message. While your executive meetings are a great place to start, you shouldn’t end there. Work with your CSMs to help them develop their own internal messaging plans. Share ideas with other departments on how they can add customer-service focused elements to their strategy.

Customer success starts with good planning and focus. Over the next few weeks, take a step back and devote your time and energy to your 2019 planning. Trust us – your team and your customers will thank you!