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The Three Ways Customer Success Drives (And Supports) Tech Innovation

This post explains the three ways that CS contributes to tech innovation (and what that looks like on a tangible level)
Diana De Jesus
November 3, 2022

Customer success sits at the forefront of technology innovation (for real).

Think about it: CSMs engage with their own platform every day as they assist customers. But they are also engaging with their customers’ platforms on a regular basis as they plan customer journeys, integrations, and help users find value in their unique context. Then there are the innovations in technology built for customer success teams. 

It’s dizzying.

Technology innovation was a key topic at the #ReUp2022 Customer Success Summit, discussed across multiple firesides, keynotes, and panels. In this roundup post, we’re sharing the three ways that CS contributes to tech innovation and what that looks like on a tangible level.

1. As a technology buyer

The customer success team needs software to do its job properly. Most of the time that’s hinged on a CRM system (even though that’s not the ideal situation) but often includes other technologies like a customer success platform and product-use tracking systems.

When it comes to driving innovation, the real key is how the CS team buys software. During his talk on the 5 Big Mistakes People Make When Evaluating Software, Jose Escamilla, the Director of Client Strategy Operations at Attentive, explained that CS can fall prey to the trap of thinking more technology equals more innovation. Instead, he cautions CS leaders to first take time to identify if you need a tool, then align to what your team truly cares about—as in, adapting best practices to your needs rather than the other way around—then looking at possible tools to solve your problem. 

“In the end, you're building a project plan in a way which is going to allow you to move so much quicker through the eventual rollout of this tool, which is going to make you far more successful,” said Jose.

2. As a technology builder

Ella Dillon, the CCO at Conversica, added up all the demands placed on a typical CSM and found it would take around 5,000 hours per year to complete. If you think that sounds like a lot, you’re right—the average person only has about 1,800 working hours a year, or around 25% of what’s demanded. 

To fix what Ella calls the “CS pyramid of pressure,” the customer success team can actually build technology to help them. 

The CS Pyramid of Pressure from Ella Dillon’s talk at #ReUp2022

As demands rise on CS—with CS only having so much capacity—it makes sense for technology to come into play. This again puts CS at the forefront of tech innovation because it helps CSMs work across functions and focus on what matters: the customer.

“The customer does not care about marketing, sales or customer success,” said Ella. “They care about their customer journey and their experience.”

3. As a technology partner

When a new product or feature launch is coming, it’s easy to think of it as a marketing or sales motion. In reality, it’s an innovation motion—you’re bringing a new offering to market that will hopefully improve customers’ lives. 

Introducing new concepts to existing customers is where CS can truly shine because they hold customer relationships. And during his talk on Driving to the Future of CS, John Gleeson, the VP of Customer Success at Motive (formerly KeepTruckin), shared how much the CS team helped when the company rebranded and launched new products.

He explained that the CS team was instrumental in understanding how customers felt about the rebrand on the “front lines.” It became more than a simple announcement or email blast; the CS team was able to leverage their existing relationships to have a much deeper conversation and bring customers along for the rebrand ride. 

“The big role in the planning process that CS played was actually connecting that branding team to our customers on the front lines,” said John.

There’s more to innovation than coding

Truly innovative technologies need to be built, of course. But the value comes from how it's used, implemented, and improved over time. That’s where customer success has a valuable role to play. By sitting at the forefront of customer relationships—and as a technology user themselves—CS can drive innovation forward in a way that impacts both top-line revenue and internal efficiencies leading to bottom-line growth.

Watch all of #ReUp2022 On Demand HERE

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