Doing Customer Success the “Right” Way

Last Updated February 18th, 2019

Customer Service Professionals

When we talk about starting, being, or doing Customer Success, there’s not much that can be guaranteed. Companies are nothing short of snowflakes, and objectives like “success” or “change” or “growth” look different on all of us. Business strategies, department initiatives, and sales numbers are wildly variable. It sounds pretty slippery, but there’s a good reason for that. If there is one thing that is unconditionally true about Customer Success, it’s this: no matter what you hear (or worse: overhear), read, or see, no one has it all figured out.

There is no right way to do Customer Success “properly” and “correctly.” There is, however, your team’s way of doing it that challenges them as Customer Success Managers (CSMs), encourages teamwork to solve problems, and helps your customers succeed at what they want to accomplish with your product. So, if you hit these three targets with your current process, is your way the “correct” way? Nope, but the correct way to do Customer Success doesn’t exist…because, clearly, it doesn’t need to.

“Right” and “wrong” are terms typically reserved for ethical conundrums. Though we don’t dabble too much in philosophy at BombBomb, we do believe in having values that encourage us to be better people and keep us on track with our mission of rehumanizing the planet. There are five core values we choose to live by each and every day, and one of our core values applicable to this topic is “humility.”

We define our core value of humility as:

“There is always another side to the story or a different angle. Always listen first. Then listen again. Do not think you have everything figured out because usually you don’t. Have a willingness to utilize another person’s strengths to complement your weaknesses, accept responsibility for mistakes, and give credit to others rather than drawing attention to yourself.”

This core value is based on being humble, exemplifying modesty, and showing respect. (For more on how we use core values in our business, read about it here.) To us, it’s not about coming first in numbers or having the perfect processes. We don’t pretend to know everything about Customer Success — because we don’t. Instead, we’d rather focus on taking responsibility, exercising our skills to help others, and learning from our mistakes. These factors alone improve our team’s synergy and better our Customer Success initiatives more than aiming for “right” ever will.

Understanding how your team members work together to alleviate customer woes will get you much further than trying to nail down the “right” answers to everything. Your team is a machine and even if each piece isn’t pristine, they can still do more than “just” function. They can identify, resolve, and overcome — as a team. As a unit. When it comes to Customer Success, working on collaborative learning is much more important than trying to establish expertise.

There is no blueprint for how to do Customer Success the “right” way. Even if you happen to find some sort of plan or you pay top dollar for a draft by a consultant, there’s no guarantee it would be the best plan for your department. Anything your team does is unique; there is no one-size-fits-all process for Customer Success. So here’s to you, today’s Customer Success professional, for everything you’ve accomplished so far and for your elaborate journey to finding out what it means to be a part of Customer Success. Rest assured: you’re doing just fine.

What are some misconceptions you’ve heard about doing Customer Success the “right” way? What are some things your team has gotten “right” with great results? Tag a Customer Success professional you admire in the comments below and tell them what makes them awesome.

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Donna Kelly | About The Author

Customer success, content strategy, and thought leadership. Writer, editor, content creator. Level 97 vegan and dog mom. Lover of the written word, helping customers succeed, and food. Background in military, SaaS, communication, marketing, and PR. Customer Success Writer, BombBomb. BA, Ashford University. MA, Johns Hopkins University.