Customer Success Operations: Understanding the Value of this High-Impact Division of Your SaaS Company
Customer Success Operations is a relatively new department in B2B SaaS and with it come brand new roles. In most cases, a company considering adding a CS Ops position or an entire CS Ops team to their existing business will need buy-in from C-Suite. This will ensure that Customer Success Operations will have the support it needs to fulfill its mission effectively.
This article will help Customer Success professionals and corporate decision-makers understand the value of CS Operations and when a SaaS company should consider implementing such a department.
What Is Customer Success Operations, and What Role Does It Play?
CS Ops impacts three core Customer Success metrics: customer lifetime value (CLV), cost to acquire customers (CAC), and cost to retain customers (CRC). An effective Customer Success Operations department will increase CLV, decrease CAC, and reduce CRC resulting in higher net revenue retention.
Customer Success Operations ensure that CS initiatives are carried out as efficiently and effectively as possible. This means optimizing the CS workflows to be scalable while using the most appropriate digital tools to fulfill its work.
Typical daily activities of CS Operations include:
- Handling Customer Success platforms
- Analyzing data from marketing tools
- Handling CS team training and onboarding
- Getting buy-in from departments and decision-makers for Customer Success initiatives
- Monitoring a company’s CRM system
- Encouraging team support across departments
Responsibilities and Collaboration
Everything related to the customer experience falls under the purview of the CS Ops team. Because of the broader scope of Customer Success Operations, this department will often have to work with team leaders in Sales, Marketing, and Revenue Operations. Some examples of collaborative work that CS Ops may participate in include: customer data analysis, digital tool selection, and developing strategies for customer communications.
CS Ops makes heavy use of data analytics. This requires a member of the Customer Success team to take responsibility for driving valuable insights and measuring the most meaningful key performance indicators (KPIs). Executive teams then use these metrics to support company operations, suggest and develop effective strategies, create new programs, and diagnose existing issues within the organizational framework.
Tasks and KPIs
An effective Customer Success Operations department will be responsible for a range of tasks related to keeping customers happy, ensuring they succeed with products and services, and extending customers’ lifetime value. Tasks related to these goals can take the form of:
- Creating playbooks
- Setting Customer Success initiatives for the company
- Assessing risk management
- Examining existing processes to look for or upsell opportunities
- Conducting customer churn analysis
The CS Ops team will also be responsible for tracking key performance indicators related to Customer Success that provide insights that lead to proactive strategies. For example, they can follow customer health scores and historical trends, and if this metric shows that a specific customer segment is struggling with a product or feature, a member of the CS team can proactively reach out to help their customers, and ultimately prevent them from churning.
What Does a CS Ops Team Look Like?
There are several key roles involved in making sure CS Ops functions effectively.
Customer Success Operations Manager
The CS Ops manager is responsible for making certain CS teams operate effectively on a macro level. They may also have authority to interact directly with the company CRM, for example, to analyze customer data for behavioral trends and customer churn metrics.
A CS Ops manager’s salary typically averages between $70k and $120k annually, while Customer Success roles subordinate to the manager can make between $60k to $84k a year.
CS Ops managers answer directly to a company’s Chief Compliance Officer in a decentralized structure or the Chief Operating Officer or the Chief Revenue Officer under a centralized hierarchy. Other roles within a Customer Success Operations team are implemented as the need arises, which can vary from company to company. Some examples include onboarding specialists, user care experts, and expansion managers.
How Do You Know It’s Time to Implement CS Ops?
Is the existing management team struggling to keep up with customer needs?
Customer Success teams are typically responsible for managing Customer Success operations. Alternatively, a Revenue Operations team may manage CS's tech stack. While it works initially, this is not always scalable and tends to be unsustainable as a company’s customer base grows. If a team is having difficulty handling the typical day-to-day needs of customers, then it may be time to implement a CS Ops department dedicated to managing the customer experience.
Is getting critical customer data a struggle?
As a SaaS company grows, it will handle a more significant amount of customer-related tasks and data. Getting accurate data fast is becoming a make-or-break scenario in competitive SaaS markets, so a team must have the ability to manage Big Data with the best digital tools. Cs Ops will take on this responsibility and ensure all technology is kept up to date.
Are the available tools not being used appropriately?
One of the principal objectives of a CS Ops team is to bring greater productivity to a company’s customer-related workflow. If a robust suite of Customer Success tools and a best-in-class CRM are already in your company’s tech stack, but they aren’t being fully utilized, a CS Ops manager can help coordinate training so that all teams in your company are using CS technology effectively.
Customer Success Operations departments are an incredible asset to a SaaS company. They drive the culture and strategy for customer-centric workflows throughout a company. As the business trend focusing on the customer experience continues to grow, Customer Success Operations will become an even more significant part of any organization seeking to increase expansion revenue and net retention rates.
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