A startup’s guide to building a customer success team
If you don't invest in your customers' success, you can't expect them to invest in yours. Learn how to build an effective customer success team to nourish long-term customer relationships.
Last updated June 30, 2022
Customer success is key to business success, especially for startups that depend on retention for meeting revenue goals. For startups with a well-oiled customer success team, the opportunities for growth are immense. In fact, the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2022 found that when companies focus on the needs of their customers, they can attract new business, boost retention, and increase sales.
If you’re a startup, you’re probably wondering when—and how—to formalize your customer success team. Read on for tips and strategies on how to start and scale customer success from Zendesk’s Director of Startup Success, Sam Chandler.
What is a customer success team?
A customer success team is a dedicated part of the organization that focuses on building and nurturing long-term customer relationships. Customer success interacts with customers directly to quickly solve their problems and ensure customer satisfaction. The role of a customer success team is to help customers get the most value out of your product or service by proactively connecting with them throughout their lifecycle, anticipating their needs, and providing support.
When to start your customer success team
It’s never too early to start building your customer success team. If you’re a startup that doesn’t have a dedicated customer success team yet, retention can suffer, or worse, it can lead to customer churn.
“The earlier you build a customer success team, the less time you’ll spend playing catch-up.” Sam Chandler, Zendesk’s Director of Startup Success
“Retention and churn are lagging indicators of actions you should take well beyond a customer’s buying decision,” says Chandler. “The earlier you build a customer success team, the less time you’ll spend playing catch-up when retention becomes a critical component to hitting your revenue targets. Companies need a team whose sole focus is keeping customers. Otherwise, it’s everyone’s job, which means it’s no one’s job.”
Customer success team responsibilities
The responsibilities of your customer success team will depend on the unique needs of your customers and business. But here are a few common responsibilities of customer success professionals.
- Drive customer onboarding, adoption, retention, and growth
- Collaborate with peers in sales, product, and other parts of the organization to ensure customers get a return on investment from your product or service
- Engage with customers in a way that thoughtfully changes their perception of what is possible, from both a business and strategic perspective
- Perform issue identification, communication, and resolution
- Maintain product expertise
- Manage one-to-one customer engagements at different stages of the customer lifecycle
- Conduct virtual and onsite meetings with customers