Customer Journey | 5 min read | Published July 28, 2022

What is Customer Success, and What Is It Not?

Some words are used so often that their meaning is blunted or outright transformed. One of these such words is “success,” and depending on the reader, can mean anything from “victory” to The Weather Girls’ album. As far as Customer Success teams are concerned, it leans towards the former (sorry fans of 1980s post-disco, your day will come). 

weather girls

Hopefully it’s not a stretch to say that just about every business recognizes the importance of customer service and customer support. The better a business takes care of their customers, the more likely it is that they will experience greater retention, increased revenue, and overall business success. But truly ensuring success for customers is often put on the back burner, and thus Customer Success teams and tools are, unfortunately, seen as less important.

To legitimately ensure a customer’s success, a business requires a strong Customer Success team. 


Customer Success = Successful Business

But what constitutes a Customer Success team and program, and what makes it, well, successful?

Where a customer service or customer support team is mainly concerned with solving tickets and making sure the product is running correctly, a Customer Success team is different in that their purpose is to ensure that customers achieve their goals. In other words, your customers’ success is your business’ success, and your Customer Success team is there to make it happen. 

In today’s market, a customer support team isn’t enough. Customers expect more. However robust of a ticketing solution is used, or however proficient a service team is, the fact is that neither have the functionality to completely ensure retention or growth. 

Customer Success takes the core components of customer support and runs with it. A great success tool enables a team to track customer happiness and retention scores such as CSAT or Customer Distress Index scores, as well as pinpointing opportunities for optimizing the product.

If your business is working to make sure your customers find the greatest success possible with your products and services, then you’re also working to up your own success. It’s a symbiotic relationship, kind of like clownfish and anemones.


The Relationship between Customer Success and Customer Support

Bringing up symbiotic relationships again, one of the most integral aspects of using a Customer Success product and team is to make sure that they are operating in tandem with Customer Support teams. If both teams are operating well and using products that work together, a business ensures that customers are getting the best possible experience. 

Support manages the day-to-day issues and solves smaller scale problems whereas Success builds and conducts the long-term plan. Think of Support professionals like the orchestra and Success as Bach or Mozart. 

Bach and Mozart love Customer Success products

A Day in the Life of a Customer Success Manager

To drive this relationship and ensure that customers find success and stay there, a Success Manager has to be there at every pivotal point, and essentially every step of the way. They need to first make sure that the product in question is implemented correctly and fitted to the specific customer’s needs and ultimate business goals. Similar to a tailor fitting someone with a tuxedo or gown, they are working to make sure the clothes fit their customers, not themselves. 

After making sure the product is fitted to the customer, Success Managers stay in the ring. They keep close tabs on whether or not the product is helping their customers attain their particular goals and, if they aren’t, they jump in and correct the course. In this way, the Success Manager is working for the customer. With your Success Managers essentially working as an auxiliary part of your customers’ teams, they greatly increase potential for retention and especially for expansion – the better the product performs, the more likely customers will want more.

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