Steps to Building The Ultimate Customer Success Team

by Chris Arringdale Customer Experience, Customer Success, Team Empowerment

As you start to build your business, your customers will always be at the forefront. In many cases, that will mean customers are going to look to you for full support, information and guidance on your products and services. It’s imperative that you build a resourceful and valuable customer success team to give your customers the experience they are looking for.

We put together a step-by-step process to help you kick off building the ultimate customer success team as you and your customer base grow.

Laying the Foundation

This stage is for building out and creating those key processes for your team to use and for future team members to work off of. Once they’ve been built, assess how effective they are. Furthermore, it’s important to figure out which ones are working,  what needs improvement and ones that can be completely scratched from your customer success process.

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How can you start identifying these? Have your team take some time out of their day to evaluate and keep track of their processes, strategy and training. Having your representatives document these will help you decide which task or process gets delegated out and who manages what customers and help you scale your overall team. Why is this important? Customer success is a constant experience and it’s always changing. This is the time where you can find gaps in your strategies, ultimately setting your team up for success as it grows.

Growth Phase

Your growth phase is crucial to your processes and overall customer success foundation. Ensuring you are hiring the RIGHT people to serve as your customer success representatives can make or break customer relationships and retention. By putting a big emphasis on this, your team will be unstoppable. So, how do you know you’re hiring the right person to join the team? Look for these qualities and adjust them with your current team’s needs and personality. This helps with the merging and growth of teams and creates a more seamless transition.

New team members should possess…

  • Tenacity: Top quality customer success managers and team members should have that “can do” attitude. They will have a thirst for learning and developing their skills to provide better value to their team and customers. How can you look for this? Ask them what their goals are and how they plan to achieve those.
  • Coachability: You want your team members to be excited to learn with the ability to accept criticism and feedback without any defense. They will also be able to collaborate with other team members and help them be more successful. This is crucial to helping your team grow and improve as individuals and as a whole for the best results. Ask them about a time when they’ve had to adapt to a new process or new strategy and if they were successful. Dig even deeper and see how the new process or strategy improved their work or what they did if it didn’t.
  • Optimism: While this may seem a little out of the ordinary, your team members need to possess this quality to help their customers stay excited and happy to work with your company. Your employees can’t be discouraged by a bad employee/customer experience but look at it as a way to improve and learn from their mistakes. This also shows your customers that your team is truly dedicated to helping them achieve their goals and maintaining a good relationship. Ask them about a time when they had a discouraged customer and how they helped turn the situation around.
  • Listening Skills: A great customer success employee will be able to truly listen and understand your customers and evaluate their issues. They will be able to resolve any problems and ensure your customers are happy with the results. They should possess impeccable communication skills and be able to converse well with your customers and make sure they are being understood, all while maintaining a calm approach. Ask them how they would be able to resolve an issue with a frustrated customer.

Managing Your Team

With your customer base growing and your support team expanding, you will need to start implementing layers of management or grouping together teams. This will help create a better customer success experience for your customers and make a more structured program for your employees.

Determine who should be your middle managers or the leaders that each team member reports to. Depending on the size of your customer success team, this will determine how many middlemen you will need. Ideally anywhere from four to ten managers to report to helps keep things running smoothly, everyone in check and on track. Middle managers will then report to your Chief Customer Success Officer.

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This is a great time to evaluate your employees and their goals. Some will thrive in their role as a team member, while others could thrive in a leadership position. Look at their prior performance and results. This can allow you to dig deeper into their customer relationships and align those with the role of team manager. Running a successful team with great leaders in place will help your customer success team continue to hit those goals, improve their strategy and create a better team culture.

Learning and Development Stage

While the customer is the leading focus point for your customer success team, many fail to realize the importance of continuous learning and personal development. Most teams only receive their onboarding training that covers the basics, including processes and customers that they will be responsible for.

Small support teams are typically self-regulating and can get into a comfortable routine of following the same strategy and outline that they learned during their onboarding training. Limiting your team to this leaves no room for growth and skill development. Training should not be a one and done opportunity. With increasing customer demands and evolving technology, your team will need to be able to keep up and stay motivated.

Motivation is lost within a team and individuals when they get stuck in ruts and routines. Remind your team why their job is important, incorporate brainstorming sessions and new strategy training to help them understand their customers and tasks better. In return, this will create a better experience internally and externally with your customers. These small, yet impactful opportunities will make waves in your organization. The benefits include happier customers, engaged employees, customer retention and great team culture overall.

Curious how you can learn more about customer success? Check out our in-depth solution to help aid your team and create the ultimate experience for your customers!

worker taking notes on different customer metrics

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