Customer Success has moved beyond a trend and is now a widely recognized value that should become ingrained within all organizations. But as with any business focus, there are varying interpretations and varying degrees of success.

At MindTouch, customer success is all about making customers into the product experts who become loyal brand advocates. Loyal customers are especially important to any SaaS or subscription-based business where a lengthy customer lifetime value is such an important revenue driver.

If your business focuses on customer success, it’s important to do occasional check-ins with the organization to see how the initiative is doing. Much like a quarterly business review with your customers, a review of the successes and failures of the customer success goals in your organization is crucial to ensure the value of customer success is being realized.

Here are three of the most common stumbling blocks of customer success programs in an organization. Any one of these will derail your company’s customer success goals—and worse, jeopardize your customers’ success.

 1. Partial Company Buy-In

Customer success takes your whole company. “Customer Success” is not a re-branding term for Customer Support. Customer success affects Sales, Marketing, Support, Product, and Administration in different ways, yes, but all play vital roles in turning your customers into product experts. Check out an infographic for Customer Success metrics that impact your whole organization.

If customer success isn’t at the heart of every department in your organization, then your company’s messaging and the customer’s experience are going to be confusing at best, but more than likely detrimental to your customer’s success.

It’d be like going to a three-ring circus where the clowns lecture on Shakespeare, the lions and tigers make you cry, and the trapeze artist has an existential crisis in the middle of the tight rope. You’d walk away a confused mess and probably demand your money back.

By determining what customer success is—and what role each department plays in that goal—you can ensure that the customer experience along their entire journey is geared towards them becoming successful.

 2. Error 404: Resources Not Found

Nothing will deflate a customer’s chances of success like not having the right resources. The journey to customer success begins with the first customer contact, before they even become your customer. Everything from marketing materials to support center staff and documentation should be geared towards promoting customer success.

Your company has the experts for how to succeed with the product. It’s crucial that all of the knowledge that they have is accessible to customers. Ideally, all of this knowledge lives online, as SEO optimized, highly structured smart content so it’s easy for customers to find and use.

With the proper resources available through online self-service, you’re lowering the customer effort bar tremendously. Instead of sifting through PDFs or having to rely on customer support phone calls, customer should be able to explore the learning pathways that will make them successful with your product.

 3. Customer Success is Not Cost-Driven

Perhaps the worst way to approach customer success is a cost-cutting initiative. Of course, a successful customer success initiative will drive down support costs.  Successful customers who can self-serve don’t require as much help.

But the spirit of customer success is about providing value to your customers. That’s why we stress our customers becoming product experts. That’s why we have a rigorous onboarding program. That’s why we have all of our knowledge in our online customer Success Center. With these tools, customers can become kick-ass users of our product.

Customers don’t want to feel like they’ve wasted their money. If they feel like they’re getting as much value from the product as possible, then you’ve not only got a satisfied customer on your hands—you’ve got a brand advocate.

We think Customer Success is so important, we even create an annual list of the Top 25 Customer Success Influencers. Because when the customer succeeds, your business succeeds.

Additional categories: Customer Experience