Many of the dominant themes for the coming year and decade address the need to better align enterprise actions with customer goals.

As the digitization of the marketplace reaches near-saturation, organizations will compete for customers based on value derived—and this will be driven by customer success. Flexible subscription and recurring revenue models mean the customer is in control of their service and tech partnerships and reserve the right to move on to a competitor. Customer success and retention have therefore become critical to achieving maximum customer lifetime value.

This is our look at the leading customer success trends for 2020. Many of the dominant themes for the coming year and decade address the need to better align enterprise actions with customer goals.

  1. Customer Success will Become Centralized
  2. Connecting Customer Data Streams for a Better View
  3. Proactive Engagement Will Become a Priority
  4. Personalized Experience Delivered at Scale with Dynamic Assignment
  5. Data-Driven Scaling Customer Success Initiatives Will Maximize Growth
  6. Leveraging AI to Guide Your Customer Success Team
  7. Your CS Software Will Determine Customer Lifetime Value

1. Customer Success will Become Centralized

Customer success is going to be everyone’s business, not just the CS team’s. Everyone will need to truly care about customer goals. Having one unified platform to control customer success functions is key. Your CS team needs to work with every other part of your enterprise. This means:

  • Sharing customer data across a single, universally accessible platform
  • Establishing cross-functional lines of communication
  • Connect customer data streams
  • Surrounding the customer with a consistent, personalized experience

Everyone in your organization should have access to customer data to make the right decisions, and everyone in the company should and can participate in customer success in order to contribute to outcomes. Toward this end, many enterprises will spend 2020 focused on creating a positive and consistent customer journey by encouraging cross-functional dialogue. Much of this can be accomplished by leveraging platforms that make it easy to exchange customer information, update customer records, and collaborate behind the scenes without involving the customer.

2. Connecting Customer Data Streams for a Better View

All customer data needs to be available, viewable, and shareable across the enterprise to give full picture of the customer. Data in a CRM is at risk of being siloed, and should be operationalized. Also, data streams need to be connected to create a fuller picture of the customer journey.

CRM is already considered a silo and efforts to operationalize it by customizing it will be difficult. It wasn’t built for that purpose. That’s why teams will be moving towards solutions that meant to handle large volumes of data and operationalize it intelligently. A customer data platform (CDP) can connect:

  1. Financial data (contract dates, value, etc.)
  2. Support tickets
  3. Product usage
  4. Customer feedback, and more.

3. Proactive Engagement Will Become a Priority

You’re only as important as the value you deliver. Today’s customer-centric enterprises must nurture their customers’ ambitions and proactively lead them toward value, rather than merely supplying the tools, checking in periodically, and for the most part, leaving them to their own affairs. In order to anticipate the next phase of your customer’s growth and deliver value you must first understand their current situation. That said, proactive and predictive engagements are just the steps before Dynamic Engagement, which can be solved with Dynamic Assignment.

4. Personalized Experience Delivered at Scale with Dynamic Assignment

Enterprises are beginning to embrace concepts such as dynamic assignment, which automatically matches new customers with the right people at the right time, efficiently, based on working connections. This could include connecting a customer with a product expert about a specific feature. It could be the staff member’s portfolio is rich in a specific region, industry, or expertise, or merely that they have the most capacity to take on a new relationship. This streamlined assignment offers more tailored customer experiences and maximizes the opportunity for an early experience of value.

5. Data-Driven Scaling Customer Success Initiatives Will Maximize Growth

The days of an expanding customer base being met with a move to a bigger office and a greater employee headcount are over. You can maximize the increased value of success and scale customer success through digital engagement. The idea is to use technology to scale external initiatives such as customer engagement through digital campaigns and internal communications, like enabling an early warning system. For example, consider how automations can help manage the tech-touch consumer segment.

These digital solutions allow your CS team to service a greater number of customers without reducing their effectiveness. Increased sophistication of these platforms will allow your team to follow a greater number of customer variables and to better link current behaviors with future needs. Your team shouldn’t just know a customer is struggling. They should have actionable steps in place and resources to utilize. There should be a path for them to follow that is standardized across the board so that everyone can do well and help their customers succeed.

6. Leveraging AI to Guide Your Customer Success Team

Smart programs could offer advances in customer product use and analysis, including better cross-functional communication. Internet of Things (IoT) technologies could reveal key information about customer behavior.

AI is still in its B2B infancy, but there’s clear potential for it to play a role in better understanding your customers. For best results, AI should be embedded in a platform as an engine to help guide your teams and to solve problems with your customers. It’s definitely a must-have capability for CS solutions.

7. Your CS Software Will Determine Customer Lifetime Value

Customer success software will become increasingly important this year. The solution you choose determines how much information you can gather from a range of sources, how well this information can be analyzed, understood and shared, and how effectively you can turn customer knowledge into value-driven, goal-based action.

You want to ensure that customer goals are constantly being achieved, which eventually results in your goals being achieved. Make sure you have a success plan (preferably built into your CS software) to do just that.

You can be ready at every stage of the customer journey to create a series of actionable steps, measure against your goals, and adjust as you go—if you have the right customer success software.

Totango’s customer success platform is built with the future in mind. When you’re ready to start giving your customers the experience they demand, create a free trial account to get started today.