What I learned at my first Customer Success Cafe

by | Feb 1, 2018 | Advice, Blog, Community, Culture, Onboarding |

By Vitor R. Lopes

Customer Success Cafes are an informal event for Customer Success Managers of all levels to meet, discuss challenges and drink coffee. This is an initiative for CSM professionals in a more intimate and smaller setting to share ideas and challenges, networking and to build a strong community in the city. I joined my first one this month, and here I share what I learned.

For the first session in Berlin we had the pleasure of having Kate Forgione, founder of the Customer Success Network (based in London), to guide us through the Cafe session and share some best practices on the customer success methodology. Our thanks go also to the hosts at Two Planets (Hermannstraße 230, 12053 Berlin) who welcomed us with open arms and great coffee!

To start the discussion, we’ve gathered a few notes from each one of the participants that addressed main challenges they are currently facing in the role. These were:

  • How can the customer success team help the organisation become more customer-centric?
  • How can we improve the customer onboarding process and training tools?

The path to a customer-centric organisation

Organizations are comprised of different departments with specific goals in mind. However, it might seem that sometimes the customer is left wondering if they received the best response possible. This is turn could hinder the overall customer retention rates of the company (aka recurring revenue!).

  1. Perhaps the most fundamental step in gearing up the organisation towards the best interest of the customer – a commitment coming from the senior management and founders. The top-bottom guidance will enable the direction of the entire team.
  2. One way of working on the internal alignment towards customer-facing activities is providing employee training by mixing departments into different teams. A set of challenges are presented and teams work together to solve them – with the customer in mind.
  3. BPMN! Business Process Model Notation is a great tool to devise processes that reduce inefficiencies, improve collaboration between departments and allow teams to have a working model when optimising processes.
  4. Product-driven businesses should address usability and different communication channels to gather customer feedback quickly and in a painless way.

Providing the best tools and activities for a successful customer onboarding

This is fundamental. Each customer type, small or enterprise size, have different working methods and schedules. It could be a challenge to create a customer journey that includes these different nuances.

  1. There are many platforms using onboarding wizards nowadays. This is especially useful for smaller customers working at a faster pace, however generating less revenue and consequently difficult to allocate more CSM time on them.
  2. Definitely dependent on the business model, certain companies might take advantage of certain incentives to keep their customers highly engaged.
  3. Networking events for customers can be extremely beneficial as you will find promoters to advocate your product by sharing their success stories. It is also a great opportunity to gather feedback from the customer base.
  4. On-site workshops and online webinars are two ways to address different segments of your customer base. How can we make these more energetic and enthusiastic for the customer team?

Although we discussed many great points, some questions were left open as an opportunity to be addressed in future sessions. We certainly look forward to be a part of the next meetings and to welcome new faces to the conversation.

Check out Customer Success Cafes in your city here, or email founders@customersuccess.network to start one in your city.

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