Did you attend the biggest customer success event on the planet – Pulse 2017?  I did, and boy was it energizing. Not because it was 4,000+ people. Not because of the surprise Vanilla Ice performance at 9am. Not because of the amazing atmosphere at the event. I am energized from the conversations I had, the presentations I listened to, and the millions of ideas running around in my head on how to build an awesome customer success program.

Perhaps my biggest takeaway from the 3 day customer success conference was the conclusion that when it comes to B2B customer success programs, we are all at different levels of maturity. And that is ok! We are figuring out this changing discipline together as we go.

What Customer Success Programs Really Aim To Do

It’s amazing how the idea of “Customer Success” has evolved over the years.  Taking care of our customers has truly become an art.  Don’t get me wrong, the science of understanding our customers is improving more and more. But at the end of the day, it isn’t about the numbers. Our customers are more than just dollars on a revenue spreadsheet or a NPS score on a survey. What determines the success or failure of a company these days often boils down to the strength and success of the relationships we’ve created with our customers. They don’t feel you value them beyond just those “database numbers”? They leave you. Rather, if they know you are serious about helping them change their business and careers for the better, and see you as a true partner? They’ll shout your praises from the mountaintops. And that’s ideally what every company wants, right? We are all trying to turn each of our customers into advocates. When you create a happy and successful customer, they tell other people. Then those people become customers and you make them successful, and so on and so forth.  I think that is the ultimate goal of a best practice customer success program.

In your customer success program today, are you activating your current advocates?

If not, I believe you might be missing out on a crucial component to make your customer success program best-in-class.  For me, best-in-class for customer success is Gainsight.  That’s why RO Innovation partnered with Gainsight in making a component of the Health Index Score the idea of reference management.  Just imagine if your customer is willing to speak on your behalf as an advocate, a reference or a referral and what that does to your relationship. Likewise, what does it tell you when a customer has not done any activities recently that show you they’re serious about sticking around with you.

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Personally as I’m trying to navigate through how we define Customer Success for our own organization, one of my KPI’s is whether I have a customer that is willing to yell from the mountain tops on our behalf.  That is a relationship that we strive for day-in and day-out.  Having the right tools can be essential to achieve the Customer Success results you desire.

Do you have all the right tools in place?

Howard Tarnoff, Senior VP of Customer Success at Ceridian gave a presentation at Pulse where he shared the tools, stories and tech stack that has lead their program to garner world-class success. He calls the mix the “4 legged stool”:

Now is the time to make sure you have all of the angles covered and you are not missing out on essential components of your Customer Success strategy.

If you want to know more about how to activate your customer’s voice within an ideal customer success program, download this infographic.

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Brian Vail
Brian Vail is the VP of Marketing at RO Innovation. With over two decades of experience managing global marketing teams, he has a passion for leveraging the Voice of the Customer to drive results for the marketing initiatives he oversees.