customer success in 2016

What does the future have in store for customer success?

Glass balls get cloudy, but the vision for the future of customer success is steadily getting clearer. Customer success is still an emerging role, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it will undergo some changes in 2016. As of right now there are still a number of different ways business are addressing scope, reporting, and the activities that fall under customer success. But in 2016, the activities that customer success plays a part in will become more solidified.

So what are the details of how customer success’s organizational alignment and activities will change in 2016? These four predictions will lay it out.

5 Changes customer success will undergo

  1. Customer success will closely work with marketing to manage the customer journey – In 2016, customer success will redefine the scope of their functionality. Since customer success’s focus is on the continued customer journey after the sale, it makes sense that they start to align with marketing to strategically manage the customer journey during the buying process as well. As of now, customer success ensures a customer’s continued happiness to promote a greater LTV which means they have access to the information on what makes a customer happy and what a customer would like to see improved. That information can give marketing valuable insight when deciding how to provide a consistent, engaging customer journey.
  2. The department will be managed as a profit center – Customer success is responsible for retaining and growing the business. This makes it logical then to run the department like you would run a profit center. And in 2016, that’s what will likely happen. Like a profit center, customer success will be crucial to determining which clients are most and least profitable so as not to spend time on customers that have little to no chance of cross-sell and upsell with the worst case scenario being that you break even. Understanding which customers are in the business to cross-sell and upsell will reduce the allocation of resources to less profitable customers. This will make customer success seek out technology that can provide increase cross-sell and upsell opportunities. Advocacy methods and referral programs are one avenue that will be more sought out to accomplish this.
  3. Customer success will take more ownership of digital properties that customers touch – Customer success understands what customers want, like, and dislike. As a result, in 2016, customer success will take on more responsibility that aligns with the current customers they come in contact with. User communities will be managed by customer success to further nurture and interact with current customers. In addition, customer success will direct marketing on the best forms and styles of customer communication. This insight will lead to better and more successful communication between marketers and customers.
  4. Customer success will take an increased marketing role – Customer success has the know it all that marketing needs to market successfully. That’s why in 2016, customer success will take on more of a marketing role. If there are no customer marketers to start, customer success will hire marketers internally. Marketing and customer success are tightly tied together. This will cause customer success to seek out new technology that can help customer success and marketing better align.
  5. Adoption of technology to track the health of a customer relationship will increase – Two metrics that are extremely important to customer success are the rate of client retention and churn. Minimizing churn and maximizing client retention are key to the success of customer success. That’s why in 2016, the adoption of technology that can improve and monitor the health of the customer relationship will become a high priority. This will include the research and adoption of automated advocacy and referral program.