Customer Success Leadership Community

Customer Support and Success

  • 1.  Customer Support and Success

    Posted 14 days ago
    Hi Community!

    We are starting to scope out what the support function will look like at my early stage startup and it likely will be within the great CS team. I have not personally worked with CS and Support reporting into the head of CS department and would love insights on how the support function should be created, types of backgrounds to look for and preferred tools and support for the team. Anything anyone can share or if we can connect offline would be very helpful and appreciated!

    Thanks,

    Ross
    #CustomerSuccess
    #PeopleLeadership
    #Roles&Responsibilities

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    Ross Reitman
    Torii
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  • 2.  RE: Customer Support and Success

    Posted 14 days ago
    Hi Ross,
    I would be happy to connect with you offline to discuss my team's structure, tools, backgrounds, etc.

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    Stacy Brown
    VP, Customer Success
    SiteCompli
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  • 3.  RE: Customer Support and Success

    Posted 14 days ago
    Thanks Ross - I'm in a similar position and would be keen to hear how you progress. Right back at the point of defining what would be valued by our customer and how do you measure that. I'm in the education sector but I'm sure there's commonalities.

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    Fleur Duekker
    TAFE Queensland
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  • 4.  RE: Customer Support and Success

    Posted 13 days ago
    I will definitely share what I learn. This will be fun to learn how to ensure the 2 teams are complimentary so they help each other and customers as much as possible.

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    Ross Reitman
    Torii
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  • 5.  RE: Customer Support and Success

    Posted 13 days ago
    Hi Ross,
    We're also building out our CS team, happy to swap notes with you.  PM me if you're interested in connecting offline.. 

    Jenn

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    Jennifer Orlando
    Visual Lease
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  • 6.  RE: Customer Support and Success

    Posted 10 days ago
    Hi Ross,

    Quite an interesting question there, but needs an enormous amount of scoping to define what works best for your Organization/Customers.

    If I may ask, you are initiating the Support department from scratch, is it? If Yes, how were your customers being supported all this while given that there already is a Customer Success department established - were they providing the Support as well? If the answer is Yes here too, what prompted the need for a Support department - for example, your customer base and consequently the Support requests grew, the issues got more technical, CS personnel couldn't handle Support along with the Onboarding and retention etc.

    Is there a tool you currently use that records Incidents/service requests? 

    My reason for asking the aforementioned is to understand your current state, and hopefully be able to throw in a few tips based on my experience of initiating a Support department. Plus, be able to define how our Customer Success function utilized data from Support and made deliberate decisions supporting the retention of our customers.

    Thanks,

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    Sunil Jassal
    Regional Customer Success Manager EMEA
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  • 7.  RE: Customer Support and Success

    Posted 10 days ago
    Hi Sunil,

    Thank you for the thoughtful questions!

    • This would be from scratch. Right now in Israel/Europe time zones it is handled by 2 of our co-founders and then in the US time zones they still pitch in and then it is the CSM team
    • We need a support team because our co-founders should not be handling support and our customer base is increasingly rapidly so the bandwidth of each CSM to handle support is dwindling. We do not want to hire more CSMs to cover this as they are not support to be a support function as we begin to scale
    • The requests are also becoming more technical as the customers are staying with us longer and are more deeply embedded into our product.
    • Right now customers are emailing us and we are training them to use our support email address or website chat where the emails funnel into

    Best,


    Ross



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    Ross Reitman
    Torii
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  • 8.  RE: Customer Support and Success

    Posted 9 days ago

    Hey Ross,

    I used to work at Freshworks, and have run the support team for my product till it grew large and had to be transitioned to the central team. I used to do the support myself initially as a founder (got acquired by Freshworks after that) and later as business head of an early stage product. So I feel I can relate to your situation and help out :). Let's DM?

    Thanks,

    Sri



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    Srikrishnan Ganesan
    Co-Founder
    Rocketlane
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  • 9.  RE: Customer Support and Success

    Posted 9 days ago
    Great, thanks for that Ross. I have responded in private just in case there are further specifics into your business which you'd like to keep exclusive - hope that works for you!

    Cheers!

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    Sunil Jassal
    Regional Customer Success Manager EMEA
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  • 10.  RE: Customer Support and Success

    Posted 10 days ago
    Hi Ross!

    I built up both our CS and Support teams and have learned quite a bit over the years of where we succeeded (and where we were off the mark!) and have had the opportunity to continue refining both. Let me know if you're interested in connecting!  I'd be happy to share experiences.

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    Krista Lugo
    Asset Panda, LLC
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  • 11.  RE: Customer Support and Success

    Posted 9 days ago

    Hi Ross:

    In my two previous roles I owned both customer success and support. My background is mostly on the support side so I had to learn a lot (quickly!) about customer success.

    In one of my roles I came into a CS team that did both support and success related functions. Not only was the team stretched too thin, support and success require different mindsets and different operating motions. So it's good you're separating these out to make both teams more efficient.

    The biggest piece of advice I'd provide you is to draw clear "swim lanes" between the teams - what each team does and doesn't do. Of course you want the teams to collaborate and to work together for benefit of your customers - but they also have to stick with their own roles and responsibilities. Once complaint I heard from the success team quite often is "we are doing so much support-related stuff we can't keep up with business reviews." None of these interactions ever made it into Salesforce, so I had no way to quantify it or to gauge the impact on their time. After some coaching and a few hard conversations, I let CS know that support wasn't their role. I also had to make sure the support team stepped up their game, as it were...the success team had been doing support historically because the support team was mediocre before I started. We staffed the support team properly, provided documented processes and tools, and reported to customers and internally what the support team was doing...and voilà, CS stopped doing support.

    That's just one thing you'll have to think about in the midst of many others - but you have to start building in that specialization early. Happy to speak to you more about my processes around this, or give you more advice from my experience if it can help.

    ​​



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    Jim Jones
    VP of Customer Experience
    NTT Cloud Communications
    Aurora IL
    6309262209
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  • 12.  RE: Customer Support and Success

    Moderator
    Posted 8 days ago
    Great points, @Jim Jones. ​​

    Most important is that Support is a sub-group of CS. In particular for teams that scale and grow, the ones more technically adapt problem-solvers migrate towards the "back office" Support and the more relational, business-focused ones towards customer facing engagement roles. When you are ready for that bifurcation, the CSM becomes the quarterback who draws on Support and other resources to keep their cohorts humming, not the touchdown hero. That requires that everyone is in sync, via personal dialog and later-on automated input into your health score with Support metrics.

    You can check on my blog post about maturing CS for more info and connect offline for more details about the operational aspects.

    Regarding Support technology, it's a wide open field. There are multiple popular platforms, and in particular with AI support, self-service systems and methods. I would start small, perhaps with capabilities within your CRM until you know what you really need. Some solutions are more consultative, others geared towards high-volume, etc,...

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    Andreas Knoefel
    2020 - Top100 Customer Success Strategist
    Inventor of the Customer Success Performance Index™
    I maximize customer ROI, and boost CS efficiencies and Net Revenue Retention
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  • 13.  RE: Customer Support and Success

    Posted 8 days ago
    @Andreas Knoefel - I love the concept of growing towards bifurcation and letting it evolve naturally. Thanks for the link to your blog post, I'll check it out!​

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    Jim Jones
    VP of Customer Experience
    NTT Cloud Communications
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  • 14.  RE: Customer Support and Success

    Posted 6 days ago
    @Andreas Knoefel - thank you for sharing! I do like the idea of having this happen naturally. The team is in the early stages and I hired CSMs focusing on relational/business focused skills. Now that I have a core CSM team ramping up I want to avoid them spending time on support which I never planned on them doing long term so the plan is to get ahead of the split for CSM and Support at least. I loved your blog and the examples on how this will play out with other functions in the future. One of my co-founders just asked me if a Community Manager would be part of support!



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    Ross Reitman
    Torii
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  • 15.  RE: Customer Support and Success

    Posted 7 days ago
    Hi Ross,

    I think it's great that you are rolling up Support into CS; there's a great synergy between the 2 groups and I think your teams will benefit from the shared culture and mindset now and in the long term.  @Jim Jones makes a great point to make sure you have well defined "swim lanes" for everyone to keep Support tasks with Support and CS ones with CS.  I know that came up at the last company I was at and not having Support in CS made overcoming that pain point difficult.

    And look for Support hires who have that customer-centric CS skill set, as well as the technical skills.  As your team gets bigger, it will become more experienced and structured.  That will create mentors who can help train up newer support members, lessening the need for someone to start at an expert level.

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    Carl Hoffmann
    Customer Success with a Support Perspective
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  • 16.  RE: Customer Support and Success

    Posted 6 days ago
    Hi @Ross Reitman-

    I love this question and I'm sorry I'm a bit late to the party. Here are some quick thoughts from my angle that might help!


    HTH! - JB


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    Jonathan Bolton
    Chief Customer Officer
    BombBomb
    Colorado Springs CO
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