Last week Eigenworks had the thrill of travelling to New York City to attend the NYC leg of the 2017 Pulse World Tour. With Gainsight CEO Nick Mehta and the good people at Work-Bench as our gracious hosts, we joined a passionate group of sales people, VC investors, and CSMs to talk about Customer Success: what it is now, what obstacles it is facing, and what we think lies in its future. It was a day of discussion, exchanging ideas, and sharing our thoughts, a day of networking, socializing, and a little jazz - the latter courtesy Eigenworks. As Pulse 2017 rolls across the globe, it continues to preach the gospel of Customer Success, bringing together CS disciples wherever it goes.
So what is Customer Success today?
Customer Success is a calling. It is a passion. It is a movement, one that is growing by leaps and bounds, one that is going to dominate the corporate world over the next few years. As Nick Mehta discussed in his opening speech at this year’s conference, businesses are becoming less and less ‘sticky’ - customer retention is becoming harder and harder as customers become savvier about the services they pay for, and opportunities to go elsewhere if a service fails to meet their needs. You see it often enough in the news, usually about changes in a B2C business - every website gets clicks from stories about how millennials are killing this industry or that industry because they lack ‘brand loyalty.’ This ‘murder spree,’ however (so often presented as a bad thing), is not solely a millennial trend: it is part of a broader cultural shift, one that is limited to neither the youngest consumers nor B2C businesses.
These changes in customer trends are happening because the corporate world grew complacent: once a sale was made, a customer was often left to their own devices; over time, that model has proven dysfunctional. Today’s customers - be they individuals paying for a Netflix subscription or a company signing-up for Box - are no longer content to be under-valued by those they buy from. Businesses are less ‘sticky’ because clients will take their money elsewhere if they’re unhappy: the digital age has made it easier than any other time in history to find out who competes with whom, and enabling a client to ‘jump ship’ if the voyage is rocky. That’s why CS is a movement, especially in the SaaS world where customers can churn on a dime and a rich client portfolio can vanish overnight. At Eigenworks we see that kind of movement all the time - the danger is real, and if companies don’t start getting proactive about it, they’re going to drown in their own churn.
Any company that doesn’t start moving on CS now is going to be left in the dust by clients who know their money and patronage will be more valued elsewhere - but like any other change, convincing the world the customer success is the wave of the future will be a challenge. If a company is going to thrive then their CS has to thrive - as Nick put it, CEOs need to be making it their number-one priority. Differentiation is going to be the most important factor for companies in the future - when choice is more varied than ever before, and switching products has never been easier, a company that cannot positively distinguish itself from its competitor is one that will not last long.
The future of CS, therefore, is one in which every CEO knows how important CS has to be. This is not a process that’s overly difficult - anyone, from a legacy company with decades of experience to the newest start-up - can start pivoting to a CS-dominated paradigm. As CS grows, it gets - is getting - better; as the discipline matures, so too are its techniques and institutional experience. One of the goals of Pulse 2017 has been to make the discipline mature faster: by bringing CS practitioners together to talk, debate, learn, and discover more about their emerging field from their fellow CS peers. That’s why we at Eigenworks were so excited by the opportunity to attend: with our experience with win/loss analysis and churn we know the state of CS today - and we want to be in the heart of the discussion about what CS will be tomorrow.
If the CS is to help the companies of tomorrow survive, it needs to be doctrine today. If you want to know more, why not check-out our CS tools like our Churn Analysis or our Buyer-As-Hero™ Toolkit. W want to help you take on the future today.