This CX Mini Masterclass explains customer success within the context of customer experience. Show host and customer experience expert, Julia Ahlfeldt, explains the typical function of B2B customer success teams, clarifies how this differs from traditional customer service in the B2C world, and then explores the role of customer success in CX. If you are keen to learn more about the heart and soul of the customer journey in B2B CX, then this episode is for you.
What is customer success?
Customer success teams are mostly a feature in the B2B world, often where there is an ongoing client need or subscription based service offering. These teams are responsible for protecting and cultivating the client relationship, as well as delivering client outcomes.
Once a sales team has acquired the customer, the relationship is often transitioned to the customer success team, which is responsible for keeping customers happy and engaged. These teams are also usually tasked with onboarding new clients as well as retaining, renewing and growing their business. Customer success teams are the beating heart of the client’s customer journey once the sales process is complete.
How this differs from customer service
Unlike traditional B2C customer service, which is a reactive function, responding to specific customer issues or queries, customer success teams usually have some proactive ongoing engagement with their clients in addition to solving issues when they arise.
B2C customer service teams are rarely tasked with growing a customer’s business. Retention, yes, growth, rarely. Customer success teams on the other hand are also responsible for understanding a client’s needs and then deepening their relationship with the brand through other products and services if appropriate.
CS and CX
If you are struggling with the distinction, a safe way to think about it is that the CX function is often strategic in nature, while the customer success team is usually more tactical. CX management encompasses the entire journey, whereas customer success is responsible for delivering value once a potential customer becomes an actual customer. Both CS and CX will work towards the same end goal, but through slightly different means.
The customer success team is one of the most if not the most important touchpoint for a customer in the B2B setting. Besides a client’s interactions with the product or service itself, customer success teams are probably the most important point of contact with the brand. That’s a huge responsibility.
In terms of CX management, customer success teams will be an important source of customer insights and they can be a powerful voice for customer advocacy within the organization, but just as CX teams are typically separate from customer service teams, it’s important to create a distinction between the two in the B2B setting. If not, you run the risk of the rest of the business viewing CX as “that team’s responsibility”, which is a slippery slope.
Want to keep learning about CX?
If you’d like to checkout more of these CX Mini Masterclasses or listen to my longer format CX expert interviews, check out the full listing of episodes for this CX podcast.
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Decoding the Customer is a series of customer experience podcasts created and produced by Julia Ahlfeldt, CCXP. Julia is a customer experience strategist, speaker and business advisor. She is a Certified Customer Experience Professional and one of the top experts in customer experience management. To find out more about how Julia can help your business achieve its CX goals, check out her customer experience advisory consulting services (including VOC research and customer insight) or get in touch via email.