Customer Success is a Mindset, Not Just a Department

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Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on the K!A CX Consulting blog here.

I have been quoted as saying that customer success is a mindset, not just a department.

But what does customer success as a mindset actually mean?

It means that making customers successful is the responsibility of the entire company, not just a single department.

Every single person in the company, regardless of their role and whether it is customer facing or not, understands how their work ultimately impacts the customers’ ability to achieve their objectives (i.e. progress through the customer journey).

Accountability is not simply transferred to one department because their name implies they are responsible for customer success.

Customer success as a mindset ensures that everyone within the company is working together to deliver a seamless customer experience that is predicated on what customers need to be successful.

That way, improvement of customer experience and product consumption can be accomplished at various levels and holistically.

Solutions to customer issues and escalations need not be band aid solutions delivered by Customer Success to individual customers, but rather comprehensive solutions that drive improved adoption, retention and expansion across the entire customer base can be found by a team of cross functional experts.

Customer success as a mindset also ensures that all departments are aligned in the overarching objective of the company, which is to ensure that customers are using the products regularly and increasingly.

The ultimate focus for every employee becomes how does my work impact the customer’s experience and improve their ability to achieve their goals as effectively as possible?

Companies subscribing to the belief that the success of its customers is the sole responsibility of the Customer Success organization naturally set themselves up to act in silos and with conflicting interdepartmental objectives, ultimately leading to poor experiences for the customer.

Further, it naturally eliminates the opportunity to work holistically at solving systemic problems at the root cause, leaving it up to the Customer Success team to figure out bespoke or workaround solutions for individual customers in a reactive manner.

This approach of discharging responsibility for customer solutions while focusing on department objectives also makes it difficult to leverage the learnings from customer feedback and data back into the organization for continuous improvement.

Bottom Line

Companies need to continually be thinking about how to drive the success of its customers in order for their own business to flourish.

That means everyone in the company needs to understand how their efforts impact customer success and work together to continually improve anything that inhibits customers from achieving their objectives.

When companies think of customer success as a mindset, not the responsibility of a single department, organizations are aligned to continually improve customer experience and product consumption holistically and in the most effective manner.

A mindset that sets the company up for its own success as well!