Evolution of Customer Success in the Covid-19 Era Part I

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In just a span of a few months, Covid-19 had changed everything. From the way we meet our friends, travel, shop, eat, and even the way we work, everything is suddenly different. The change has been quite stark in the Customer Success community, where even on a normal day, there are challenges galore. The Pandemic has only added a new dimension to this role, both from the customer’s and the Customer Success Executive’s perspective.

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In just a span of a few months, Covid-19 had changed everything. From the way we meet our friends, travel, shop, eat, and even the way we work, everything is suddenly different. The change has been quite stark in the Customer Success community, where even on a normal day, there are challenges galore. The Pandemic has only added a new dimension to this role, both from the customer’s and the Customer Success Executive’s perspective. 

They are overwhelmed and stressed. It’s been a difficult year, and getting used to this new normal has not been easy. But when all of humanity is fighting for survival by battling emotional and physical stress alongside financial struggles in their day-to-day livelihoods, how are we supposed to keep up in our professional lives? The answer to this question has two parts. First is the evolution of customer success and how we now interact with our customers. Second is the evolution of customer success in how we operate internally with our employees and business dynamics.

There are five stages in a customer lifecycle; Awareness, Acquisition, Conversion, Fulfilment, and Loyalty. In a typical scenario, customers tend to exhibit similar behaviour patterns periodically, but that’s no longer true. A survey conducted by McKinsey & Company in mid-March 2020 states that,

  • “Most consumers are exhibiting a strong tendency to continue shifting their spending to essentials such as groceries, household supplies, and home entertainment while cutting back on most discretionary categories such as clothing, travel, and consumer electronics. This shift in consumers’ purchasing behavior to value-based purchasing has changed the very supply and demand of most commonly bought goods.
  • Most consumers are shifting online. This can be observed in the food and household categories which have seen an average of over 30 percent growth in online customer base across the world.
  • There has also been a shock to loyalty. The tendency of customers to try out new brands in a time period where their normal purchasing pattern is disrupted can either be a disaster or a golden opportunity for brands. Today, customers prioritize value. The higher the value a product gives them, the greater the chance that they will stay with a new brand.”

All these changes in customer sentiment indicate huge obstacles for customer success teams. In today’s era, customers are free to change their behavior whenever they please. As CS team members, it’s our responsibility to adapt to their change. It is we who need to adhere to and support their new reality. Hence, customer success teams should be very flexible and embrace compromise when necessary. 

But with no past precedent to reference, how can we evolve if we’re not sure which metrics in our traditional CS dashboards are now more meaningful than before? Yes, we all have tons of data, but the CS mission is changing right before our eyes at a foundational level, so how do we make sense of it all? Imagine having a friend who can help you interpret data by giving you key insights on customer behavior, engagement and sentiment value, or even intelligence from customized health scores. And this friend would also perform all the repetitive tasks, freeing up your team to focus on the most important and most financially impactful tasks every minute of every day.  Would that be helpful? Now imagine that same friend getting equipped with AI to deliver even sharper insights. An assistant that never sleeps constantly learns and evolves to meet your standards by consistently analyzing historical and real-time data. 

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