Customer Success Leadership Community

Customer Experience and Customer Success

  • 1.  Customer Experience and Customer Success

    Posted 11-05-2020 10:41
    So I've heard a lot of buzz about CS and CX being two different things. While I understand the reasoning, I honestly believe they are one and the same. CS is all about creating long-term relationships with clients by ensuring their successful adoption of your product. CX is more geared towards your company brand and how your clients perceive your company as a whole. 

    While they have their unique functions, you can't have one without the other. How are you supposed to have a long-term partnership with a client is they continually have negative experiences with your tech support team or are getting spammed with marketing emails from your company? How is your company brand supposed to be perceived well if you don't have a passionate CS team in place to ensure the ongoing success of your clients? 

    So, here's my official take: Your clients need to have a great ongoing experience in order to be successful. CS and CX not only go hand in hand but are basically the same thing. 

    Am I missing something? I would love to hear your thoughts! 

    Cheers

    #CustomerSuccess
    #Strategy

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    Jared Orr
    Customer Success Leader | Virtual Data Rooms
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  • 2.  RE: Customer Experience and Customer Success

    Posted 11-05-2020 12:21
    Hi Jared - 

    I think of  "customer success" (CS) as a result derived from two macro variables: the "experience" (CX) they have while achieving their "desired outcome" (CO). The customer success function is the bridge that connects the two variables - its objective is to optimize each variable so that the desired value is achieved with a great experience.

    In its simplest form it is an equation:

    Customer Success (CS) = Customer Experience (CX) + Customer Outcomes (CO).

    Company Success is relational to Customer Success

    Jim

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    James Conant
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  • 3.  RE: Customer Experience and Customer Success

    Posted 11-06-2020 12:56
    Hi Jared - similar to Jim, I see CX and CS as equally important but 2  separate elements. So CX is the overarching experience your customers have both with your product and every interaction with your company, whereas Customer Success is a discipline. The CS discipline is dedicated to not only ensuring a deep and valuable relationship is created with your customer, but that internally CS' role is to help guide the company's culture in all areas, to focus on the customer's experience at every touch point. So I see CX as the mission, CS as the "Shepard." 

    Jessica

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    Jessica Carroll
    VP, Customer Success
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  • 4.  RE: Customer Experience and Customer Success

    Posted 11-06-2020 14:15
    Love the analogy, Jessica!

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    Jared Orr
    Customer Success Leader | Virtual Data Rooms
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  • 5.  RE: Customer Experience and Customer Success

    Posted 11-06-2020 13:28
    Jim's equation rings true with me. If the customer gets their outcome but has a terrible experience doing so, that's not customer success. And if they have a wonderful experience but never achieve their goal, then they also haven't succeeded. 

    I will say that for a company without anyone looking over CX as a whole, it does end up falling into my CS department's (i.e. MY) lap.

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    Alissa Wilczynski
    Zemax
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  • 6.  RE: Customer Experience and Customer Success

    Posted 11-06-2020 14:10
    Alissa, I couldn't agree more. Most companies I have seen (and I'm young, so I admit my knowledge in this is limited) don't have an 'official' CX department. While marketing can be a great help with this, usually they seem to be more focused on non-client facing matters. CX tends to fall on the laps of the CS team since we are the ones interacting with clients on a daily basis. 

    Customer Success "done right" means that our clients are having a great experience while achieving their outcomes. One thing we can do as CSM's is to ensure we communicate with our marketing and product teams consistently about the needs of our clients. This will ensure that our customer's experience remains consistently great.

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    Jared Orr
    Customer Success Leader | Virtual Data Rooms
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  • 7.  RE: Customer Experience and Customer Success

    Moderator
    Posted 11-06-2020 09:38
    Following this thread as I am curious what other folks think too!

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    Brian Hartley
    Senior Director, Customer Success
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  • 8.  RE: Customer Experience and Customer Success

    Posted 11-06-2020 13:31
    @Jared Orr, while I agree that you need both CS and CX, I don't believe they're the same thing - especially for people looking for jobs in the field.

    CS is a strategic customer-facing role requiring relationship building skills, strategic thinking, and a strong focus on delivering desired outcomes.

    CX, is more of a marketing/branding function that is also strategic in nature, but often behind the scenes creating "brand experiences".

    If you're a CSM, you likely don't have the marketing skills for a CX role. If your a marketing wiz, you may not have the customer-facing and relationship building skills necessary for success as a CSM.

    Make sense?

    David

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    David Ellin
    Chief Customer Officer (consultant)
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  • 9.  RE: Customer Experience and Customer Success

    Posted 11-06-2020 14:14
    David, yes, that makes perfect sense. I appreciate your feedback. 

    In your experience, have you seen Customer Success departments handle more CX projects than marketing departments? In my limited experience, I've seen CS take on the role of CX more so than the average marketing department would. 

    I guess this was my main motivation for posting this question to the community. I feel, more often than not, the CS department is also the CX department.

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    Jared Orr
    Customer Success Leader | Virtual Data Rooms
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  • 10.  RE: Customer Experience and Customer Success

    Posted 11-06-2020 15:51
    Great question Jared -

    CX is so much more than branding and marketing. One of its primary functions is to identify the reasons for friction along the customer journey and then working with our colleagues to improve them (e.g., channel switching, service transactions, repetitive tasks, needless tasks). The product should be easy to use, easy to buy etc. Of course, we also look for those moments that don't align with our branding and marketing. USX is also an element of CX.

    Removing friction is not easy given that most have root causes in functional areas outside our control (ops, dev, product mgmt, finance, sales, etc), and they each have their respective priorities with associated $$$'s. Getting our ask up that list on behalf of our customers def requires skill.  Says easy does hard - I know, ...I recently lead an initiative to reduce our service trans by 50% over a 3 year period. We met the goal but wouldn't have done so without exec sponsorship, buy-in from my colleagues, the ability to quantify benefits, influence, and relentless perseverance. 

    Jim

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    James Conant
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  • 11.  RE: Customer Experience and Customer Success

    Posted 11-10-2020 08:00
    Agreed 100% Jared.  I have an interesting perspective because I was hired to build and lead a "Customer Success" team, but once I started uncovering gaps and determining what we needed to build to ensure a holistic approach to meeting our customers needs it became everything you said above.  We've now changed the title of our team to be "Customer Experience" and within that team I have 4 teams - Customer Success (CSMs), Customer Marketing, Customer Training and CX Operations & Insights (includes Gainsight as well as VOC and market research functions).  Both our operations team and our customer marketing team work closely with other teams like product and Customer Service (our customer marketing content lead is actually editing all of our CS templates and crafts any one-off crisis comms for them and product to ensure a consistent approach, tone of voice, etc.).  It's been a heavy lift but whenever you can pull it all together to be one in the same - even if on different teams - the customer wins!

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    Melissa Caldwell
    Wiley
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  • 12.  RE: Customer Experience and Customer Success

    Posted 11-10-2020 15:49
    Super cool, Melissa! Do you see this kind of structure a lot with other companies? Do you think in the near future, more companies will have an "experience" team and a "success" team?

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    Jared Orr
    Customer Success Leader | Virtual Data Rooms
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  • 13.  RE: Customer Experience and Customer Success

    Posted 11-10-2020 15:55
    I have not seen this structure at other companies, but I really like it and would love to see more companies embrace it as it breaks down the silos and allows for keeping the customer at the center of all activities.

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    Melissa Caldwell
    Wiley
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  • 14.  RE: Customer Experience and Customer Success

    Posted 11-14-2020 17:23
    Hi @Melissa Caldwell,

    I have recently joined Cision as VP of Customer Experience, which incorporates 3 teams: Customer Support, Onboarding & Training and Customer Success. ​In the coming weeks I will be reviewing this structure & maybe adding to it with a project team to support a large scale migration from legacy software to our next generation software.

    I agree with the reasoning behind why this structure can be so positive but it effectively comes down to whether we can influence the wider business to drive a more customer centric culture.

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    Matt Myszkowski
    VP, Customer Success Management, EMEA
    SAP
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  • 15.  RE: Customer Experience and Customer Success

    Posted 11-15-2020 10:13
    Matt,

    I have no doubt that you will end up with success but can't help sharing a few (wacky?) ideas.

    First, as soon as you label something, it sets expectations about what that individual/team does and, by definition, what they don't do.  This often leads to a fragmented experience for customers, who quite frankly don't care what you call your teams.  

    I get tired of talking about form following function: how you structure (form) is only relevant after you have figured what work is to be (function).  In my many years I have seen so many change programmes fail because people assume changing the organisation will fix problems.  It never does.  First figure out what the work should be (not always what you today) and what skills are needed to deliver it.  

    Collaboration across teams is much more important than structure but never gets the emphasis or effort it deserves.  Great organisations win because they figure out how to get people to work together, not how they can draw neat org charts.  Make this a priority when thinking about your organisation.

    And the wackiest - give everybody the same title.  I like Customer Champion. Collectively (ie not just managers) figure out what work has to be done and then ask people to volunteer to do one or two of those tasks.   One mighty be a BAU task and the other a change-related task.  Repeat this team allocation on a regular basis.  There are lots of examples of companies building entire organisations on this approach with success as measured in terms of financial performance, customer retention/satisfaction and staff engagement.  

    The biggest challenge in all of this is management.  Few are able to give up the comfort of being in charge.  I think you're up to it!

    Cheers

    DJ

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    _____________________________________________
    David Jackson
    CEO - TheCustomer.Co
    Founder CS Leaders Institute
    Top 25 Customer Success Influencer 2020
    ______________________________________________
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  • 16.  RE: Customer Experience and Customer Success

    Posted 11-15-2020 20:48
    We have a similar structure to Melissa - our CX Department is made up of Onboarding; Customer Knowledge, Support and Content Management (Support + Training); CX Team VOC/Insights; Customer Success and Key Accounts Customer Success. It's a large team, but it seems to really work well for us and our sector. We've had this form for a year, so still in it's infancy and growing. 

    As a whole, we support our Customers through product training and success planning to achieve desired outcomes. Our CX Team is focused on supporting the delivery of the other CX teams - specifically the processes and management of lifecycle, actionable insights and proactive customer services.

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    Kath Reuben
    Manager, Key Accounts Team
    HotDoc
    Melbourne VIC
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  • 17.  RE: Customer Experience and Customer Success

    Posted 11-13-2020 17:48
    That's an awesome structure, Melissa. Nice work!

    David

    David Ellin
    2020 Top 100 Customer Success Strategist
    770-853-5115