WHAT'S INSIDE

CS Industry Insights and Trends for 2022

How Customer Success Tools are helping CS Teams and what's missing.

How Intelligence impacts the entire customer journey

How automation is being utilized to improve the day-to-day of CS Teams

The future of CS and the trends we can expect

Global Survey Report 2022

Customer Success Intelligence & Automation

Introduction

Looking toward the future of CS

Strong Customer Success teams are undeniably powerful. From onboarding to retention and advocacy, they work tirelessly to improve every stage of the customer journey.

We believe in harnessing that power and providing CS Teams with the tools they need to create better outcomes for their customers and companies. Customer Success teams around the world are utilizing technology, specifically intelligence and automation, to improve consistency in their processes, monitor their customer’s experience, and scale their operations quickly. How do we know this? They told us!

Check out a summary of the results from our annual survey below.

Want to be part of next year's survey?

Enter your email to be notified when it launches!

    Background

    Moving toward Optimism

    SmartKarrot’s annual Global Customer Success Survey provides a forecast for trends shaping the Customer Success industry.

    Intelligence and automation are becoming more prevalent across the industry in 2022, regardless of the size or location of the CS Team. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, practitioners and executives are starting to shift their focus to sustainable growth. CS Teams seem optimistic about the future of Customer Success, and we don’t blame them!

    Technology changes fast and so do the needs of a customer. Using your feedback, we're building smarter tools that help you (and your customers) succeed.

    Participant Demographics

    700 Participants from 41 Countries

    Countries
    Role
    CS Manager

    30%

    CS Team Member

    21%

    CS Leader

    20%

    CEO

    20%

    Stakeholder

    9%

    Annual Recurring Revenue
    $MM

    6% of respondents preferred not to disclose their revenue.

    Team Size

    6% of respondents preferred not to disclose their revenue.

    Our Key Findings

    An Appetite for Automation and Intelligence

    Operations & Technology

    Customer Success Teams tend to be interested in expanding or improving their toolkit with new technology and features. However, they are facing some challenges with the implementation.

    Intelligence

    Without customer data, there would be no customer success. Raw data, however, is of little value to CS Teams. Globally, CS Teams of all sizes need and want intelligent data and insights.

    Automation

    Worldwide, CS Teams have seen the value in Automation but are struggling to utilize it at scale. Many businesses are interested in introducing automation to specific CS processes.

    The Future of CS

    Across industries, not only SaaS, but Customer Success is also rapidly advancing in the direction of improved technology (intelligence and automation).

    If you're
    customer obsessed,
    let's talk.

      Operations & Technology

      Tech-based solutions to CS Problems

      We know CS Teams are using technology to improve their day-to-day life. Customer-centric organizations know that improving operations can result in happier teams and customers.

      In this section, see which solutions the industry is prioritizing and get insights into common challenges faced by CS Teams.


      What challenges does your CS Team currently face?

      41% say cross-department collaboration is the biggest challenge in their CS team is currently facing.
      THE SMART TAKE

      Garnering executive support and cross-department collaboration are bigger challenges in 2022 compared to 2021.

      CS CHALLENGES
      Top 3 by Team Size

      Large (100+)
      Executive Support

      48%


      Proving impact and ROI

      48%


      Cross dept. collaboration

      47%

      Medium (50-100)
      Personalizing CS

      38%


      Cross dept. collaboration

      38%


      Executive Support

      35%

      Small (1-50)
      Being proactive

      50%


      Proving impact and ROI

      44%


      Monitoring health & adoption

      42%

      See the full list of challenges. 

      Download the Free Report

      Does your organization use a dedicated customer success platform?

      71% of organizations are either actively using or implementing a dedicated customer success platform.

      Dive deep into how these results compare to 2021.

      Download the Free Report
      THE SMART TAKE

      Compared to 2021, there is a significant increase in companies currently implementing CS platforms (17% vs. 38%) and a substantial drop in companies with no plans of using one (31% vs. 7%) — both pointing in the direction of rapidly growing adoption of dedicated technology in Customer Success.


      Which of the following popular features of a customer success platform are most important to you and your team?

      51% of respondents consider surveys and campaigns to be the most important feature in a customer success platform
      THE SMART TAKE

      Compared to 2021, surveys and campaigns, workflow automation, and customer portals have seen the largest increase in popularity.

      A Customer 360° view is consistently considered to be very important.

      See how your favorite features rank.

      Download the Free Report
      CS PLATFORM
      Most Important Features


      How important is the availability of actionable customer intelligence to the success of your CS program?

      88% say actionable customer intelligence is important or extremely important to the success of their CS program.
      THE SMART TAKE

      The road to customer success starts with an accurate and actionable understanding of customers.

      CS PROGRAM SUCCESS
      Importance of Actionable Customer Intelligence

      Extremely Important

      56%

      Important

      32%

      Neutral

      8%

      Not Important

      3%

      Learn more about actionable customer intelligence.

      Download the Free Report

      Intelligence

      Working smarter, not harder.

      There is no doubt that intelligent insights improve the lives of CS Teams. We’ve found a large majority of participants believe in its power, but many are unsure about how to implement intelligent processes.

      In this section, see how CS Teams are currently using intelligence and where they hope to integrate it in the future.


      How would you rate your organization’s current process for capturing Customer Intelligence?

      70% of organizations are struggling with their current customer intelligence process
      THE SMART TAKE

      Teams are struggling with making sense of data (30%), manual analysis (28%), and capturing data (12%).

      See how the results differ across different types of organizations.

      Download the Free Report
      CUSTOMER INTELLIGENCE PROCESS
      Ability to Capture Data


      Agree or Disagree? Artificial Intelligence (AI) will make customer success management more effective.

      79% agree that Artificial Intelligence will make CS management more effective.
      THE SMART TAKE

      The data reflects the growing confidence in the power of AI and CS at the highest levels, particularly for augmenting business effectiveness and efficiency.

      See the bigger picture. 

      Download the Free Report
      ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
      Sentiment by Role


      How interested are you in using an AI Customer Success Assistant that could understand natural language commands, send reminders, answer questions, make suggestions, and perform requested tasks?

      83% are interested in using an AI Customer Success Assistant.

      See the bigger picture. 

      Download the Free Report
      THE SMART TAKE

      There is a high amount of interest in using an AI Customer Success Assistant across all roles, but the interest is slightly higher in the US compared to other regions.


      Which of the following benefits of call/conversation intelligence would be most useful to you?

      51% say real-time call assist and next-best-action guidance are the top benefits of call/conversation intelligence.

      See how CS Teams would use call intelligence.

      Download the Free Report
      THE SMART TAKE

      Due to the difference in demands between their roles, while Customer Success Managers value real-time call assistance the most (55%), for Customer Success Leaders it's the ability to mine customer sentiment at scale (67%).

      CALL INTELLIGENCE
      Top 4 Benefits

      51%

      Real-time call assist and next-best-action guidance

      49%

      Automatic recording, transcription, and call summaries

      48%

      Highlight calls of interest

      48%

      Mine conversation cues, sentiment, and overall intent


      Which of the following advanced features of an intelligent CS solution will be most useful to you and your team?

      49% say accurately predicting future events is the most useful advanced capability of an intelligent CS solution.

      See the full list of advanced features..

      Download the Free Report
      THE SMART TAKE

      Compared to 2021, an AI-powered personal assistant and end-to-end augmented intelligence have seen the largest increase in popularity. The market demand for these features leads us to believe in the power of AI / Augmented Intelligence to make Customer Success simpler, more powerful and intuitive.

      INTELLIGENT CS SOLUTION
      Top 4 Advanced Features

      49%

      Accurately predicting future events (risks, opportunities, etc.)

      44%

      Accurate picture of customer's needs, issues, sentiment.

      39%

      Recommending best action based on various scenarios

      38%

      Auto-learning to improve future outcomes


      Agree or Disagree?: At its best, automation makes customer success more human, not less — by freeing up time (from low-value, repetitive tasks) for CSMs to focus on nurturing more human-to-human customer connections and experiences.

      83% agree that, at its best, automation makes customer success more human, not less.
      THE SMART TAKE

      The data reflects the growing confidence in the power of AI and CS at the highest levels, particularly for augmenting CS effectiveness and efficiency.

      See the bigger picture. 

      Download the Free Report
      ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
      Confidence by Role

      Industry Insights and Trends for 2022

      Want to be part of next year's survey?

      Enter your email to be notified when it launches!

        Automation

        Driving efficiency at scale.

        Automation can be a scary word. For some, it means their role is being replaced by a robot. For others, it means a helping hand to get the job done faster and with more consistency. We believe in the latter and see automation as a way to help CS Teams, not replace them.

        In this section, see how the industry views automation, where it is currently benefiting them, and how they plan to introduce automation into their current workflows.


        How important is automation to your customer success operations?

        86% agree automation is important (or extremely important) for their CS operations.

        Compare this year’s results to 2021.

        Download the Free Report
        THE SMART TAKE

        There are varying levels of agreement across roles and regions with stronger agreement across higher roles as well as in the US and APAC.


        How automated are your current customer success operations?

        71% say their current level of automation in CS operations is very low to moderate.
        THE SMART TAKE

        Although 86% of CS professionals believe automation is important, only 28% of companies report high levels of automation adoption. This signals a significant gap in the ability to actively automate CS operations across the industry.

        See the bigger picture. 

        Download the Free Report
        CS OPERATIONS
        Scope for Automation by Team Size

        86%

        Small

        72%

        Medium

        65%

        Large


        In the last year, how has the level of automation changed in your customer success operations?

        69% report an increase (or significant increase) in the level of automation used in their CS operations.

        Compare results based on company size.

        Download the Free Report
        THE SMART TAKE

        The increase in automation adoption can be attributed to the influx of fast-scaling companies, CS process maturity, the need for operational efficiency, availability of intelligent and personalized automation, innovation in AI, and more.


        Which of the following areas should be automated the most?

        57% say risk and opportunity alerts should be automated the most.

        See the full list. 

        Download the Free Report
        THE SMART TAKE

        Risk and Opportunity alerts are the most-preferred areas for automation across all roles, team sizes, company sizes, and regions.

        AUTOMATION
        Top 4 Areas for Automation

        57%

        Risk and Opportunity Alerts

        51%

        Campaigns and Surveys

        45%

        Health and Usage Monitoring

        44%

        Tasks and Playbooks


        How integrated are your current CS workflows, analytics, and automation?

        50% say their current CS workflows, analytics, and automation are not integrated (or they are not aware)

        See the bigger picture. 

        Download the Free Report
        THE SMART TAKE

        Half of the respondents say their CS workflows, analytics, and automation are extremely siloed (17%), not integrated (26%), or they are not aware of any integration (7%) — representing a significant desire for comprehensive integration.

        The Future of CS

        Looking toward 2023 and beyond.

        As Customer Success becomes more mainstream, we expect to see a lot of innovators in the space pushing the boundaries and providing new ways of improving the customer journey.

        In this section, see predictions from practitioners, stakeholders, and CEOs. Do you agree with them? Let us know on LinkedIn!


        Agree or Disagree?

        What changes do you expect to see in the Customer Success industry over the next two years? See how you compare with our participants by answering the following questions.

        There will be significant changes to our customer success tech stack (innovation, specialization, and consolidation) over the next two years.

        79% think differently.

        We think consolidation of the CS tech stack is increasing in popularity, enabling customer-centric businesses to gain unified, strategic, and actionable visibility into their customers at an organizational level.

        79% agree with you!

        We think consolidation of the CS tech stack is increasing in popularity, enabling customer-centric businesses to gain unified, strategic, and actionable visibility into their customers at an organizational level.

        Artificial Intelligence (AI) adoption in customer success will become mainstream in the next two years.

        72% think differently.

        We see a lot of demand for the CS capabilities that AI unlocks and believe that sooner or later, AI will become integral to a CSM’s daily life.

        72% agree with you!

        We see a lot of demand for the CS capabilities that AI unlocks and believe that sooner or later, AI will become integral to a CSM’s daily life.

        Smart intelligence and automation will play a significant role in scaling customer success over the next two years.

        75% think differently.

        Our view is that smart intelligence and automation can help CS Teams scale results (not just grow) without an additional strain on resources.

        75% agree with you!

        Our view is that smart intelligence and automation can help CS Teams scale results (not just grow) without an additional strain on resources.

        Customer Success will evolve from a defensive, "churn buster" role to an offensive, "earn booster" function over the next two years.

        71% think differently.

        Although CS has its roots in churn prevention (defense), customer-centric companies have been evolving it into a growth driver (offense).

        71% agree with you!

        Although CS has its roots in churn prevention (defense), customer-centric companies have been evolving it into a growth driver (offense)

        Customer Success adoption in non-SaaS industries will accelerate rapidly over the next two years.

        70% think differently.

        CS originated in the SaaS industry, but it solves a universal, industry-agnostic problem. It’s only a matter of time until non-SaaS industries adopt CS practices.

        70% agree with you!

        CS originated in the SaaS industry, but it solves a universal, industry-agnostic problem. It’s only a matter of time until non-SaaS industries adopt CS practices.

        If you're customer obsessed,
        let's talk.

        Final Thoughts

        Customer Success is Evolving Fast

        When we look toward the future of CS, we need to consider the foundation that has been built in the industry. Automation and intelligence should function as an additional tool in the CS Team’s toolbelt and assist them in their effort to enhance the overall customer journey. Without some level of automation and intelligence, CS Teams will miss out on opportunities to improve customer outcomes at scale.

        We are in the new frontier. Timely intelligence and thoughtful automation provide a major opportunity for customer-centric organizations to understand and help make their existing customers successful on an ongoing basis. We can’t wait to be a part of your growth and look forward to another year of intelligent automation at scale!

        SmartKarrot is an intelligent customer success platform that drives predictable and repeatable success. From onboarding to advocacy, SmartKarrot helps enterprises and SMBs implement and scale Customer Success.

        Resources & Insights

        NEW MICRO-PODCAST!

        Customer Success Intelligence Podcast

        In Episode 26, our CEO chats with Irit Eizips about the evolution of AI-Powered Customer Success.

        Articles & Blog

        Current insights, resources, inspiration, and ideas that will help take your Customer Success team to the next level.

        Customer Success Surveys

        We survey CS Teams from all over the world to get their feedback on current industry trends and what they see for the future of CS.

        Take SmartKarrot for a spin

        See how SmartKarrot can help you deliver
        winning customer outcomes at scale.