Building a Customer Success Profit Center

Building a Customer Success Profit Center

This week, TSIA has released the 50th episode of TECHtonic, our podcast that covers various topics related to the technology industry. Each episode features industry experts, thought leaders, and executives who share their insights and experiences on issues such as customer success, product development, innovation, and more.

This particular episode, however, is a special one. We spoke with Nick Mehta, CEO of Gainsight, and Kellie Capote, Gainsight’s CCO, about what customer success looks like, both today and in the future. This conversation could not have had better timing.

Gainsight is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company that provides a customer success platform designed to help businesses increase customer retention, reduce churn, and drive growth. As technology companies navigate ongoing economic uncertainty, there has been a significant pivot to customer retention and a new focus on serving customers more cost-effectively.

The conversation touched on a number of interesting points as they pertain to the future of customer success organizations in this unique economic environment, including:

To hear the entire conversation, listen to the episode and subscribe to TECHtonic for more insightful conversations with tech industry leaders.

How the Pivot to Profitability Will Affect Customer Success

In the past, many technology companies focused primarily on growth at any cost, prioritizing top-line revenue growth over profitability. However, as the market has become more competitive and customer expectations have risen, companies are realizing that development at any cost is simply not sustainable in the long run. Make no mistake: this new focus on cost-effective growth in tech is not necessarily a temporary pivot, but rather a shift in mentality that will become more permanent.

To achieve sustainable growth and profitability, companies are beginning to focus more on cost-effectiveness and operational efficiency. Companies that can balance growth with profitability and operational efficiency are more likely to succeed in the long run.

The shift toward cost-effective growth is changing the way that executives think about their customer success capabilities in several ways, including:

  • An emphasis on customer retention: As companies focus more on cost-effective growth, customer retention becomes even more critical. Customer success teams are tasked with helping customers get the most value out of their technology investments and reducing churn. If retention isn't where it needs to be, everything else falls short.
  • Optimizing the digital experience: As more customer interactions occur online, companies are investing in digital experiences to help customers get the most value out of their technology investments. This includes online training, support resources, and digital engagement strategies such as personalized messaging and targeted content.
  • Using data-driven decision making: To optimize customer success and reduce costs, companies use data analytics to gain insights into customer behavior and preferences. This helps customer success teams identify trends and patterns to make data-driven decisions about how best to engage with customers.

The shift toward cost-effective growth is leading companies to think more strategically about their customer success capabilities. By focusing on customer retention, personalization and segmentation, digital experiences, and data-driven decision making, companies can optimize their customer success efforts and achieve long-term growth and profitability.

Percentage of companies that offer a badging program
Customer Success Capabilities for Cost-Effective Growth

Data-Backed Approaches to Scaling Customer Success

As businesses shift their focus to cost-effective growth, customer retention becomes more critical, and there is a greater need for operational efficiency. To achieve sustainable growth and profitability, companies are investing in digital experiences that can help customers get the most value out of their technology investments.

The digital experience can play a critical role in supporting customer success capabilities by providing new opportunities for engagement, personalization, and automation. This allows customer success functions to meet customers where they are in their journey to further personalize their experience.

This can make it easier for customers to access the support they need from anywhere, at any time. This might involve offering self-service portals, chatbots, or other digital tools that enable customers to find answers to their questions or resolve issues on their own.

The digital experience can also enable more personalized interactions with customers, based on their individual preferences, behaviors, and needs. Digital capabilities can provide valuable data analytics capabilities, enabling customer success teams to gain insights into customer behavior and preferences. This allows customer success teams these tools to analyze customer feedback or monitor customer behavior to identify patterns and trends that can inform future customer engagement strategies.

By leveraging digital tools and platforms, companies can improve customer satisfaction, drive revenue growth, and build long-term customer loyalty. This will also allow customer success managers (CSMs) to allocate time and resources to high-value activities, leading them to climb the value ladder.

Monetizing Customer Success

Monetizing customer success has been a topic of discussion for many years now, and it’s something we delved into during our conversation with Gainsight when looking to the future of customer success.

Through benchmarking research, we found that 51% of customer success organizations are monetizing at least some of their activities, while 49% stated they are not. However, in the next five to ten years, we will likely see more companies monetizing their customer success activities. This is because monetization is essential for scaling customer success in a cost-efficient manner. Doing so can also optimize the experience and set customers up for success from a time-to-value perspective.

Percentage of companies that offer a badging program
Percentage of customer success organizations that monetize their activities.

Monetizing customer success means finding ways to generate revenue from the successful use of the product or service. This can be achieved through a variety of means, such as offering premium features or upgrades, charging for support services, or providing additional services that enhance the customer's experience. By monetizing customer success, a business can create a self-sustaining cycle of growth.

Additionally, successful customers become advocates for the product or service, which can lead to increased sales and revenue. This revenue can then be reinvested in further improving the product or service, leading to even more customer success and growth.

Overall, monetizing customer success is an essential component of scalability for any business that wants to achieve sustainable growth and build a loyal customer base.

The Future of Customer Success

The field of customer success is rapidly evolving, and there are several trends that are likely to shape its future. One of the most significant trends is the increasing importance of technology and monetization in customer success. As businesses become more digitally focused, there is a growing need for customer success teams to leverage technology to better understand and engage with customers digitally while monetizing some of their activities.

Another important trend is the shift towards a more proactive approach to customer success. Instead of simply responding to customer inquiries or issues, businesses are now looking to anticipate problems before they arise and provide proactive support. This requires customer success teams to become more data-driven and analytical, using customer insights to identify and proactively address potential areas of concern.

There is also a growing recognition of the importance of customer success within organizations. As businesses look to differentiate themselves based on the quality of their customer experience, customer success is increasingly seen as a strategic imperative. For this reason, customer success teams are likely to have a more prominent role within organizations, with greater resources and investment dedicated to their efforts.

By staying ahead of these trends and embracing new tools and techniques, customer success teams can continue to deliver value and drive growth for their organizations, even during these times of financial uncertainty.

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This blog covers just some of the insights we covered in our 50th podcast episode: Profitable Customer Success: Meh-ga Insights from Gainsight. To hear more insights on this topic such as how to start monetizing customer success and how to set your customer success organization up for sustainable growth, listen to our episode with Gainsight today.

Subscribe to TECHtonic for more enriching conversations with tech industry leaders and experts on cost-effective growth in tech.