By Jeremy Gillespie
2018 is almost in the books, and customer success continues to be a hot topic, year over year. With the importance of CS growing, there’s never been a better time to be in our field. As we head into 2019, I want to take a moment to discuss 7 trends that will be even more important next year.
Customer success is no longer an afterthought. Organizations are realizing the benefits of having a strong, customer-focused strategy in every department, from sales and marketing to finance and product. This means that it is critical for customer success teams to lead strong communication efforts that empower the entire company to focus on customer success.
Customer Success Education
Customer success as a field is growing so quickly that companies are having trouble hiring and training their employees fast enough. In 2019, companies will prioritize education for their CS teams. This will come in the form of attending local and national industry events, as well as ongoing, formal education for success teams.
Revenue Growth Over Churn Reduction
Over the past few years, customer success has shifted from a churn-reducing department to a revenue growth machine. Investors view expansion revenue as critical to scalability, so while churn reduction is still important, more organizations are relying on customer success to be responsible for expansion and focused on negative churn.
Leveraging customers as advocates is an important part of the new customer success playbook. Advocates help sales and marketing teams acquire more customers, and can serve as best-practices ambassadors to other clients. As this becomes a focus for organizations, customer success teams need to consider how to transform their top customers into advocates.
Increased Focus on Metrics
Customer success leaders are being asked to demonstrate a clear ROI to their companies. Of course, real-time metrics are critical so that CSMs know the heath of their customers, stay on top of problems, and ensure that clients are progressing through the optimal customer journey. They are now also critical for leaders who need to highlight the achievements of their team.
Customer Lifecycle Optimization
I’ve talked about customer journey mapping before, but it’s continued to grow in importance. The goal is not to only measure a customer’s progress through the journey, but to accelerate and expand the relationship over time. This should be a continual process instead of a one-time project, and done correctly, has a direct impact on bottom-line revenue for the company.
Outcomes and ROI
Customer outcomes and ROI are more important than ever. In 2019, this trend will continue to pick up steam with a focus on finding concrete measures of customer outcomes beyond adoption or customer satisfaction. While those factors remain important, customers need to see positive changes to their business in order to feel that they have received a return on their investment.
I expect these 7 trends will continue to rapidly evolve in the coming 12 months. It’s an exciting time to be a part of the growing customer success community, and 2019 will be a big year for all of us!
Wondering how to tackle these trends? The Success League is a customer success consulting firm that helps leaders build and develop top performing teams. We offer consulting engagements and training options that will make your customer success team shine in 2019. TheSuccessLeague.io
Jeremy Gillespie - Jeremy is a growth marketing expert who loves using complex data to build creative retention solutions. By leveraging data and technology, he excels at creating innovative retention and expansion marketing programs for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Jeremy is a founding advisor to The Success League, and is also the founder of Built to Scale, a Bay Area consulting firm focused on helping businesses build scalable customer acquisition and retention programs. He holds a BA from the University of Pittsburgh and MBA from Point Park University. He's a proud former Pittsburgher, currently living in San Francisco.