As an individual starting their career in Customer Success, one should ask themself why this profession is important and where might this career track lead. If you’re an entrepreneur who is starting a SAAS business, it’s important to question what is it that most high-growth businesses get wrong in Customer Success. But what’s also important is to be aware of all the different roles in a CS team so you can customize a structure uniquely tailored to your business needs. A team that not only elevates Customer Success but ‘creates scalable customer love.’
We already discussed in detail the importance of Customer Success Managers (CSMs), Customer Success Leaders (CSLs), Director of Customer Success, and Vice President of Customer Success in the previous blog, All the Roles You Could Take Up in Customer Success: Part 1. Now it’s time to take this discussion further. So, here is another sneak peek into the different roles in the CS space.
Chief Customer Officer (CCO)/Chief Experience Officer
A CCO is the highest position in the CS department. They strive hard to make sure their entire organization follows a customer-centric business strategy. Unfortunately, their role isn’t that simple. In the 2020s, most companies will follow a subscription-based business model, and because of this trend, the roles of CCO or Chief Experience Officer have become indispensable. According to a study conducted by Gartner, 90% of companies have the role of CCO, or Chief Experience Officer, or an equivalent Today, it’s a CCO’s responsibility to ensure smooth coordination between teams such as Customer Success, Customer Support, Professional Services, Customer Operations, and Customer Experience. Each of these teams plays a key role in customer-facing responsibilities. In essence, how can all of these different departments be the voice of the customer? The CCO works towards that goal by strengthening customer relationships, training employees with a customer-centric approach, and enables cross-functional collaboration.
CS Friendly Salespeople
Of course, the sales department will pride itself on winning business deals, but closing deals alone is not enough for the long-term viability of any company. Having salespeople that understand the importance of customer-lifetime-value and incorporating this long view into their practice is critical. A good salesperson can set positive expectations for onboarding, even if they aren’t actively onboarding the customer. This is one of several key ways sales is a crucial cog within the CS machinery. Further, in some companies, a salesperson will re-engage with the customer post-sale for renewals and upsells. Again a customer-success-friendly approach is paramount to success and enduring teamwork.
Technical Implementation Manager
This role is for highly technical products, necessitating a dedicated technically-minded person to drop into a new customer onboarding and help integrate. Originally thought of as a product department resource on-loan to the CS department, this role has become a dedicated customer success teammate. The reason, technical implementation managers, are often the very first people to engage with a new customer post-sale! This means the customer’s very first impression of the product and the personality of customer success is with the implementation manager. Additionally, this role has seen so many implementations and integrations that they can identify problems before they become a problem and mitigate them immediately.
Customer Success Operations
Last but not least (we saved the best for last), also known as CS Ops, this is a pivotal role that is responsible for enabling the customer success tech stack. A completely integrated, high-octane tech stack allows for the digital execution of customer success strategies. Many various CS Ops activities need to be executed on a day-to-day basis so that the CS team at large can function smoothly. Maintaining the Customer Success Platform, monitoring the CRM system, ensuring the digital flow of information from one system to another is working smoothly, and any automated workflows are working as intended. Further is training and certifications of employees, video conferencing, drawing insights from other departments like marketing automation tools, in-app messaging, enabling brand advocacy, and more. CS ops help CSMs or CSLs by making sure everything is working correctly. CS Ops is extremely important in an organization because it enhances team performance and helps scale the business even further. Another nuance, CS Ops usually works very closely with the VP or other executive of the CS department. The two regularly collaborate on data and work together on monthly or quarterly reports. This means the CS Ops is privy to high-level information and in many circumstances, may see important insights in the data before anyone else. CS Ops is one of the fastest-growing roles in the customer success industry.
To conclude, there is a healthy diversity of various roles in the Customer Success field. All of these roles are strongly interconnected with each other, demanding cohesive teamwork. A wide range of skill sets is required to be successful in this field and deliver quality results. For many, working in the CS profession is deeply fulfilling. There’s the gratification from solving problems, almost like solving a puzzle, and of course, the kind words of praise from customers. Anyone contemplating this field should join up; there are a lot of openings right now!