Understanding the Customer Success Team Structure

The success of an enterprise depends more than ever on the Customer Success (CS) team. A CS team’s primary purpose is to build, maintain, and optimize lasting customer relationships by helping them fulfill and even exceed their own business goals. The stronger that connection is, the more likely your customers will be to not only remain customers, but also recommend your company to others.

Your customer’s success is your success. The more your customers can achieve using your products and services, the more they will help you achieve your own business goals. Your CS team is there to both set that cycle into motion and to keep it running smoothly, and that is why you need an effective customer success team structure.

Customer Success Team Structure: Roles and Responsibilities

The size of a customer success team is determined mainly by demand but generally speaking larger enterprises tend to require larger CS teams. Regardless of size, each member of your team should be assigned a specific role and set of responsibilities, with a clear overall structure that facilitates smooth operations. Your team may also contain separate sets of team members assigned to each customer segment for an even higher degree of specialization.

The chart below outlines some of the key roles in a typical CS team, along with the primary responsibilities.

Role Responsibilities
Vice President of Customer Success /

Head of Customer Success

  • Oversees the development and implementation of customer success strategies.
  • Manages the existing customer base.
  • Handles the management and growth of the customer success team.
Chief Customer Officer

(optional)

  • Works with the executive board to create and implement customer success strategies, i.e. loyalty or training programs.
  • Champions a customer-centered mindset within the company.
  • Unifies customer data to create a comprehensive, 360-degree view of customers that is accessible to all team members.
Customer Success Director(s)
  • Builds and maintains customer relations by anticipating and advocating for customer needs.
  • Oversees the management and support of internal team members.
  • Multiple CS Directors may be appointed to different regions or customer segments.
Customer Success Manager Team Lead(s)

(optional)

  • Develops and tracks key metrics for both the CS team and its individual members.
  • Manages and supports individual members of the CS team, acting as an advocate for their well-being and career development.
  • Oversees the management of customer portfolios.
Customer Success Operations Manager

(optional)

  • Manages team workflow and internal processes to ensure efficiency.
  • Supports team members in improving individual impact and goal progress.
  • Establishes an early warning system.
Digital Success Manager
  • Specializes in virtual aspects of CS team’s operations.
  • Addresses the volume segment of customers and manages exponentially large books of business (1:1000+). 
Customer Success Analyst

(optional)

  • Works with Customer Success Managers to identify patterns in customer data and use those patterns to inform success strategies.
  • Identifies opportunities and areas of improvement in terms of both customer retention initiatives and identify trends in customers to help determine improvements to strategy and process.
Customer Success Managers
  • Works one-on-one with customers, guiding them through the customer journey and fostering a positive connection.
  • Advocates for the business goals of customers and anticipates how to meet those goals—and how they will change over time.

Each member of your CS team needs to know what they are individually responsible for and what role they play in the larger team structure. Think carefully about how to create a customer success team structure that works well for your enterprise.

Establishing an Effective Customer Success Team Structure

Creating an effective customer success team structure means you need to:

    • Put the customer at the center. In our subscription economy, customers tend toward short-term, low-risk commitments. Meet their need for something better by prioritizing your customers throughout their journey, consistently monitoring their progress, and identifying and taking action on opportunities to enhance their experience.
    • Share customer data across teams. Allowing your team to easily access data from a central location is key to establishing internal efficiency. Chief Officers and Directors should be able to pull data and reports whenever necessary—not just at the end of a quarter. CS team members should likewise be able to easily review individual goal progress. Making this information available to all team members prevents conflicting reports and overlap of assignments.
    • Share data in context. Raw data alone is not incredibly useful, except to the person analyzing it. In all other cases, give your CS team context for that data to illuminate its importance. For instance, campaign progress data should be placed in the context of what is going well versus what processes need improvement.
    • Keep data up-to-date. Business needs and goals naturally evolve over time, and what your customers wanted yesterday may no longer reflect what they want today. Real-time data helps your team act quickly to respond to—and even predict—what problems your customers will bring to the table next. More importantly, this information may help your team be better prepared to solve them.
    • Develop standardized processes for collecting, analyzing, and making use of data. A clear workflow and well-established procedures for handling common occurrences—such as what to do when a customer shows signs of waning interest—helps your CS team spend less time analyzing reports and figuring out to do and more time with customers.
    • Encourage adaptability and flexibility. Even in an ideal situation, there are always unknown and unexpected factors that could throw a solid program off the rails. The most successful CS team is not the one that never makes a mistake—such teams do not exist—but rather the one that is most capable of recognizing when things are not working and adapting their strategy accordingly. If, for example, your enterprise is falling short of an adoption goal, the first question your CS team asks should be, “Why did this happen—and what can we change to successfully meet this goal in the future?” Once the necessary changes have been implemented, you should track and analyze progress to determine if the new strategy is working—or if further changes need to be made.

In short, the most effective customer success team structure facilitates communication and proactive strategizing. For the greatest positive impact, it is vital to equip your CS team members with more than a sound team structure—they will also need innovative technology that helps them optimize the customer experience and streamline internal processes.

Give Your CS Team the Platform They Need

Regardless of the specific position they hold within the customer success team structure, every member’s responsibilities revolve around establishing and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with your enterprise’s valuable customers.

The key to achieving the best results, therefore, is to limit unnecessary distractions for your CS team by providing them with the best possible software for the job. Look for goals and outcomes-based customer success software. Ideally, this software will offer an intuitive interface, visibility into data at every stage of the customer journey, and an early warning system. This software should bring relevant trends to your CS team’s attention—without the need for constant manual tracking—and provide guidance regarding next steps. 

The more your team can focus on what they do best—helping your customers do their best—the more your customers will trust and rely on your enterprise, and the more likely they are to stay for years to come.

Totango is proud to provide enterprises with the best customer success solutions on the market. Request a demo to see how our innovative software can support your CS team’s initiatives. You can also explore Spark to learn more.

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