As your business increasingly recognizes the pivotal role of customer success in sustaining growth, establishing a robust CS Ops function becomes more and more important. Whether you're a seasoned professional venturing into a new territory or a visionary leader initiating a CS Ops function from scratch, these crucial five steps can help you set the foundation for a thriving CS Ops function.
5 Steps to Take When Pioneering a CS Ops Function
Define a Clear Mission, Objectives and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) - The first and most pivotal step in this CS Ops journey is a crystal-clear definition of your goals. You might start this process with crafting a Customer Success Operations Mission statement, and one way to effectively do this is to hold a half-day workshop with your team. This engages your team and allows them to actively participate in forming and refining your team’s mission. This process also gives everyone a shared understanding of the team’s purpose, values and overarching goals. Then, align this mission statement with tangible goals and metrics or KPIs, such as Net Promoter Scores (NPS), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), and churn rates. For example, one KPI could be to increase customer retention rates from 85% to 90% within the next year by improving contract renewal processes and customer engagement strategies – or another one might be to raise NPS from 30 to 40 within six months by enhancing CSM training programs, leading to improved customer satisfaction.
Build a Skilled Team - The second step in building your CS Ops function is assembling a team that can help you achieve the objectives outlined in step one. I recommend looking for individuals who possess the following skills:
Customer Success experience with proven accomplishments in customer retention and satisfaction.
Analytical skills for gathering and interpreting data to drive insights.
Project management competence to manage complex initiatives from start to finish.
Tenacity and technical capacity to quickly grasp and master the intricacies of your specific CRM systems and platforms.
Document Standardized CS Processes - Next, you will want to document standardized processes for critical customer touch points in your operational workflows. Along with your team, assess what is functioning well, identify areas requiring improvement, and pinpoint any potential gaps in your processes. Synthesize this invaluable feedback to prioritize 'low-hanging fruit,' allowing for swift and high-impact enhancements to your operational processes. This iterative and collaborative approach ensures operational efficiency and establishes in your team a foundation for continuous improvement.
Leverage Technology - In CS Ops, leveraging technology strategically is the linchpin for achieving your desired outcomes. But it's not just about adopting technology; it's about doing so smartly and with clear intention. Typical technology systems that support Customer Success processes are:
CRM system to centralize customer data and enable collaboration.
Data analytics to monitor customer health and identify trends.
Automation to streamline and automate repetitive tasks to improve efficiency.
Empower Data-Driven Decision Making - Harnessing available data from any of the above-mentioned platforms allows individuals within your organization to understand your customer, and provides the insights needed to make informed and strategic decisions. The key lies not just in collecting data but ensuring that the right individuals have access to the pertinent information that aligns with your tracked KPIs. Therefore, it is imperative to craft reports and dashboards that encapsulate the essential data required for tracking and evaluating these KPIs. Armed with comprehensive data, your organization can measure performance over time and adapt strategies based on this data.
In the ever-evolving landscape of customer success, forging a path for a CS Ops function demands strategic planning, agility, and a commitment to continuous improvement. As you embark on this transformative journey, remember that success is not just about processes and technologies; it's about fostering a customer-centric culture that permeates every facet of your organization. By implementing these first five must-take steps, you lay the groundwork for a CS Ops function that streamlines your operations and enhances your overall customer experience.
The author, Grace Tester, is a Senior Strategic Client Development Manager at nCloud Integrators, an industry leader in customer success strategy and implementation, with a track record of improving customer journeys at hundreds of customers every year.