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Customer Success

Updated: July 11, 2024

What is customer success?

Customer success is the process of ensuring customers are happy and get what they want from a company’s product or service. It involves proactive customer help and offering support to ensure customers see the value in what they have purchased.

Customer success is about building long-term relationships, understanding customers’ wants, and meeting their needs. This helps prevent customers from leaving, satisfy them, and build loyalty.

Customer success includes user onboarding, training, regular check-ins, and gathering feedback. These steps help to spot and fix problems early, ensuring customers have a smooth and positive experience.

Customer success teams use data and customer insights to personalize their help, matching their efforts to what the customers need and want.

Indeed, the area of CJA, or customer journey analytics, is booming. 45% of those surveyed by Gartner who said they’d be investing in CJA will do so for the first time, indicating a desire to create data-driven customer success plans.

Ultimately, customer success is about creating win-win relationships where both the customer and the company benefit.

Why is customer success important?

Customer success is important because it helps a company grow and stay strong. When customers reach their goals, they are more likely to stay, which means steady income for the company.

Customer success makes customers happy and loyal. Happy customers tell others about the company, bringing in new customers through positive word-of-mouth.

For business operations, customer success provides important information about what customers need and like. This helps the company improve its products and services, making better decisions to meet customer expectations.

Adding customer success to decision-making ensures the company focuses on customers. This leads to better products, smarter marketing, and a stronger position in the market, which helps the company succeed overall.

The demand for effective customer success remains high. Many businesses can address customer service channels. Gartner reveals that 62% of customer service channel transitions are ‘high effort’ for customers. Businesses that improve this element of the customer lifecycle will contribute to their customer success journey.

What are the objectives of customer success?

In change management, customer success has goals like keeping customers, growing the business, and making the company look good. For day-to-day work, it means helping customers, making changes easy, and listening to what they have to say.

Let’s examine the business objectives, operational goals, and strategic aims linked to customer success.

Business objectives

  • Keep customers happy: Customer success in change management means ensuring customers stay happy and keep using the product or service, which helps the business make money.
  • Grow the business: Businesses can enhance customer relationships by prioritizing customer success during changes. This promotes loyalty, recommendations, and opportunities for increased sales of products or services.
  • Build a good reputation: Taking care of customers during changes can make the business look good to others, attract new customers, and make current ones trust the company more.

Operational goals

  • Help customers: Customer success in change management involves giving customers the help they need to deal with changes so that everything continues to run smoothly.
  • Make changes easier: It is important for customer success to ensure customers can easily use new features introduced during changes. This means giving them training and support to understand and use the updates.
  • Listen to feedback: During and after changes, it’s important to listen to what customers say so the business can learn from them and improve situations in the future.

Strategic aims

  • Make better products: Customer success during changes can help the business understand what customers want and need, which can guide the development of better products.
  • Stand out from the competition: Businesses focusing on customer success during changes can show that they care about customers, making them different from others and attracting more customers.
  • Build long-term relationships: Good customer success builds trust and loyalty with customers, which helps the business grow and make more money over time.

Who’s involved in customer success?

During changes, it is vital to ensure customers’ happiness. Many people, both inside and outside the company, work together to make this happen smoothly.

Let’s take a closer look at who these people are and what each of them does to help customers succeed during times of change.

Internal stakeholders

  • Change management teams: Understand what customers need and set change goals.
  • Project managers: Oversee changes and make sure customers are happy with them.
  • Customer service teams: Help customers directly and ensure changes go smoothly.
  • Product development teams: Create solutions that customers need and make sure changes fit those needs.
  • Training and education teams: Teach customers how to use new features and give them help when needed.

External stakeholders

  • Sales and account management teams: Contact customers, inform them about changes, and ask how they’re doing.
  • Executives and senior leadership: Ensure everyone cares about making customers happy and provides support to make it happen.

What is required for customer success?

Customer success is really important for any business to succeed today. To be great at it, there are some basic requirements. Everyone needs to prioritize customer care, data should be used to learn more about them, and the company should have effective communication methods in place.

Let’s look closer at these important parts of making customer success work.

Customer-centric culture

Establish a culture that revolves around understanding and assisting customers, ensuring that every team places customer satisfaction as a top priority. Empower employees to take proactive steps to enhance the customer experience.

Data-driven insights

Utilize customer data to gain insights into their behaviors and preferences, identifying opportunities to improve satisfaction. Make decisions based on these insights to ensure strategies align with customer needs.

Effective communication and collaboration

Promote seamless communication and collaboration among teams, facilitating the sharing of customer insights across departments to enhance organizational understanding. Collaborate across teams to consistently deliver a positive customer experience at every stage of the process.

Why do customer success projects fail?

In today’s digital world, companies often use technology to make customers happy and do well. However, staying focused is important, or initiatives may not succeed.

For example, if leaders and workers are unsure about the goals, progress can be slowed, ideas may not be tested, and tools may be questioned about whether they are helping the company.

Let’s take a closer look at why customer success projects can fail.

Lack of proactive leadership and clarity

One significant reason customer success projects fail is the lack of proactive leadership and clear direction. When leaders fail to articulate clear goals and strategies for customer success, employees can be confused. This lack of direction hampers innovation, delays decision-making, and undermines confidence in the effectiveness of customer success tools and initiatives.

Inadequate integration of customer feedback

Customer feedback is crucial for understanding their evolving needs and expectations. However, when organizations fail to integrate customer feedback into their operational strategies and product development processes, they risk missing valuable insights. Ignoring customer feedback can lead to misalignment between customer expectations and solutions, resulting in decreased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Insufficient scalability and adaptability

Customer success initiatives must be scalable and adaptable to accommodate growth and changing market dynamics. Organizations that fail to anticipate scalability challenges may struggle to maintain consistent service levels as their customer base expands. Moreover, inflexible customer success strategies can hinder agility and responsiveness to emerging customer demands, diminishing overall effectiveness and limiting long-term success.

Customer success use cases

Customer success involves proactive support, personalized help, and ongoing engagement. However, it can be hard to visualize how these practices manifest in the workplace.

The following examples show how customer success works in different businesses, helping customers have better experiences and get more value from what they use.

These scenarios make it easy to see how customer success can make a big difference in everyday life.

Retail banking


A bank wants to help customers manage their money better.


The bank offers free financial advice, easy-to-use budgeting tools on their app, and regular check-ins with a personal banker.


Customers use the advice and tools to save more money and reduce debt. They feel supported by the bank and stay loyal, using more of its services.



An online store wants to stop people from leaving their shopping carts and make them happy.


The store shows items the customer might like, offers help through live chat, and has a simple return policy. They also have a rewards program for regular shoppers.


Customers have a smooth shopping experience, buy more, and leave fewer carts. They return to shop, and the store makes more sales and keeps customers happy.



A marketing agency uses a data tool to get better insights into their clients’ campaigns.


The data tool company provides training, regular check-ins, and special reports for the agency. They also offer ongoing help and strategy sessions.


The agency uses the data tool to improve their clients’ campaigns, making clients happier. This helps the agency get more business and referrals, benefiting both the agency and the data tool company.

People also asked

What does a customer success specialist do?

A Customer Success Specialist ensures customers achieve their desired outcomes using a company’s product or service. Their primary focus is fostering strong customer relationships, understanding their needs and goals, and providing support and guidance throughout their journey. Key responsibilities may include:

  1. Onboarding: Helping customers get started with the product or service, providing training and resources.
  2. Customer support: Addressing inquiries, troubleshooting issues, and resolving customer concerns promptly.
  3. Relationship management: Proactively engaging with customers to understand their business objectives and how the product/service can help achieve them.
  4. Retention and renewals: Monitoring customer satisfaction, identifying risks, and taking proactive steps to ensure customer retention and renewals.
  5. Advocacy: Acting as a liaison between customers and internal teams to advocate for customer needs and influence product development or improvements.

Is customer success a sales job?

Customer Success is distinct from a sales job, although there are overlaps in objectives and outcomes. While sales focus on acquiring new customers and closing deals, Customer Success ensures that existing customers derive value from the product or service throughout their lifecycle. Customer Success Specialists are more concerned with nurturing relationships, promoting product adoption, and driving customer satisfaction and loyalty. They aim to maximize customer retention, expansion, and advocacy rather than solely generating new revenue.

What is an example of customer success?

Salesforce’s approach to customer relationship management (CRM) is an example of customer success

Salesforce provides comprehensive Customer Success programs that include onboarding assistance, ongoing support, training resources, and community forums to help customers maximize their use of Salesforce products. 

They offer personalized guidance and proactive engagement to ensure customers achieve their business objectives and derive maximum value from their CRM investments. Through these efforts, Salesforce enhances customer satisfaction and strengthens customer loyalty and advocacy, contributing to long-term business success.

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