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Customer Success: What It Is and Why It Matters

As customer expectations soar through the roof and customer needs become more complex, companies struggle to service each person properly. The challenge is not only on the front end of onboarding new...

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As customer expectations soar through the roof and customer needs become more complex, companies struggle to service each person properly. The challenge is not only on the front end of onboarding new customers but also on reaching out to every existing customer and proactively solving their problems to prevent churn. 

And we all know that one bad customer experience can have a huge effect. 

  •  96% of consumers would defect due to bad customer service (Achieving Customer Amazement Survey).
  •  72% of customers say that their number one issue is having to explain their problem to multiple customer service reps at a company (Zendesk).

In this post, we break down what customer success is, why it's important, and what you can do to upgrade your customer success capabilities. 

Let's dive in.

What Is Customer Success? 

Customer success is the process of servicing customers with the goal of increasing their satisfaction with a company's product or service. It involves helping customers to use product features and improve their experience with company processes. Also, customer success helps improve satisfaction and retention while driving increases in referrals and repeat purchases.

Well, isn't that like customer support? 

Not quite: there are a few critical differences between the two to know.

Customer Success vs. Customer Support

While these two concepts may seem the same, they are two different activities. Customer support is more of a reactive approach that involves helping a customer when they reach out with a problem or a question. Customer success is proactive and focuses on helping customers reach their goals. 

A customer support team is usually there to answer questions, handle inbound calls, and respond to emails. A customer success team, on the other hand, may reach out to customers proactively, ask about their experiences with the product or service so far, and help them use it better.

Benefits of Customer Success

Customer success is extremely beneficial for any company or business. Why is this the case? Research shows that many customers who have had a bad experience churn without letting brands know why they were dissatisfied. On the flip side, companies that focus on customer success can secure repeat purchases. 

  • US businesses lose an estimated $62 billion each year because of bad customer experiences. (Forrester).
  • Research shows that a 5% increase in customer retention can improve a company's profitability by 75% (Bain & Company)

What's the takeaway? By taking a proactive customer success approach, companies can retain customers at risk of churn and earn recurring revenues.

Key Functions of a Customer Success Team

There are several vital elements in the job description of a customer success professional. Here are the top ones to know:


Some companies conduct their onboarding through email drips, recorded webinars, or product walkthroughs. The most personal you get, the better. Having a kick-off call with a customer provides for a much more personalized experience and is usually done by the customer success team. 

Assisting in Renewals

Depending on the complexity of the product or service, when a customer wants to renew, they may need assistance picking the right plan. And often, a good call with a customer success rep can give customers all the insight they need to make the right decision—and score a renewal for the company.

Ongoing Monitoring

Another important component of customer success is monitoring product usage and retention and ensuring that customers aren't experiencing frustrations or roadblocks. It's also diagnosing problems as they occur by seeing where customers get stuck and reaching out to them proactively. Companies should use monitoring tools that could show when a user encounters a roadblock or that they haven't logged into the system in a while. 

Maintaining Communication

Last but not least, a good customer success team should keep tabs on each customer and communicate regularly with them via email, phone, and through the product. And no, we're not talking about setting up automated marketing flows. We mean personalized communication from the rep, referencing their last call, and checking up on their experience with the product so far. It's recommended to check back with each customer at least every three months, if not more often.

Why Companies Should Have a Customer Success Mindset

Well-known consumer research reveals that for every customer that surfaces a complaint to a company, many people don't reach out with their concerns. Customer experience (CX) experts have referred to this problem as the "customer complaint iceberg." According to this theory:

  • For every one complaint received, 25 don't get raised to the company.
  • Each of the 26 customers tells ten people about their dissatisfaction.
  • Each person who hears about the negative experience tells five more people.
  • An estimated 1,560 people can hear about a problem for each complaint received by a company.

That means you can't rely on customers to get in touch if they need assistance or have questions. So having a customer success team that proactively connects every customer to see how they are doing is absolutely essential for any business. As businesses expand globally, the demands of customers grow, and the customer success operation becomes more complex. 

Here are a few vital ingredients of customer success that every company should have.

24/7 Support

A customer success team should be able to support customers across multiple time zones and at all hours. Businesses need to be available to support a variety of different customers and on a variety of different channels such as social media platforms, email, text, chat, and various message apps.

Multilingual Support

Brands must service customers in a variety of languages, and it's not enough to translate your FAQ pages. Consumers want to speak to human service reps that know their cultures and can resolve issues in their native languages. The five most sought-after languages that every global brand needs are: English, Mandarin, Spanish, Arabic, and French.

Familiarity with Tools and Product Features

Since customer success is a proactive process, it often involves solving complex customer issues and helping customers navigate the more advanced features of a product. Reps need to be experts in the particular product and all the features that customers may have questions about. 

Empathy and Rapport

Empathy is a vital ingredient in this process as well. But even more than empathy, customer success reps need to build a relationship with each customer, and for that, they need to have a good rapport. Customers need to feel heard and understood and believe that the customer success representative is willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to address their needs.

Unlock Stellar Customer Success with Helpware

Struggling to reduce churn and increase your repeat purchases? Don't have the right internal resources to proactively reach out to your customers and solve their challenges? It may be time to hire an outsourced customer success team. 

Here at Helpware, we can assemble a team of service professionals, train them on your products and services, and quickly onboard them to your operation. We offer multilingual support and 24/7 service, and our reps are skilled at communicating via multiple channels. 

Want to make customer success a priority? Reach out to Helpware today!



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Rigo Vega
Vice President Global Customer Success

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