customer success

What is customer success?

Customer success is a strategy to ensure a company's products are meeting the needs of the customer. Customer success includes making sure the product works properly, people know how to use the product and there is post-sale support. Customer success requires a proactive focus that seeks to reduce customer churn.

How does customer success work?

The strategy is increasingly being used by software as a service (SaaS) vendors that sell software products through a monthly subscription model. Customer success is critical to ensure that end users of a product can use the product as promised from a perspective of proper configuration and training. Customer success also fosters ongoing positive relationships with customers, especially in situations where customers could easily change vendors.

The following three steps drive customer success for many SaaS vendors:

  • Installation. Usually led by a professional services team, installation includes the actual setup of the software and ensures that products work as promised in the sales process.
  • Training. The customer success team trains users in the functionality and administration of user-enabled changes. This also includes informal training through user groups.
  • Account management. The account management step provides an ongoing relationship between the company and the customer to ensure the software functions as promised, identifies opportunities for improvement and drives contract extensions and add-on services.

For optimal results, customer success teams must practice all three steps with an eye for ensuring the ongoing relationship is successful and the products continue to satisfy customers' needs.

Editor's note: This article was written by Scott Sachs in 2019. TechTarget editors revised it in 2023 to improve the reader experience.

This was last updated in February 2023

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