The customer success space primarily strives on building optimal, long-lasting relationships over the course of time. In such a case, it is of high pertinence that they come up with a customer success org structure. This chart structure gives shape to why and how the hierarchy of a CS organization should look like.
It is a given that your customer’s success is your success. The more your customers benefit from your services, the better you grow as a company. And that is when the role of an efficient customer success org structure comes into play. It aids in setting the cycle in motion and keeps it moving at a consistent pace.
The given infographic shows how a sample B2B customer success org structure should look like. Consequently, I have added the requisite roles and responsibilities of each of these elements in the chart as well. Let us begin.
VP, Customer Success/ Head of Customer Success
The designation of a Vice President in Customer Success tops the org chart. As they say, with great power comes great responsibility, the value and power of a VP is seemingly immense. Of the many roles and responsibilities, one that packs a punch is crafting a clear-cut vision for the company. This usually deals with streamlining the tools, policies, metrics, and commercial compensations, and aligning them with the vision.
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Director, Customer Success
The hierarchy then descends to the Director of Customer Success. This is where a director aims at building customer relationships from scratch and maintaining them. Also, he investigates the support and management of internal teams as well. Further, he oversees and connects with the other CS directors that have been appointed to the different customer segments, if needed.
Customer Success Managers
The main function of a customer success manager is to manage and support individual members of his team and see if it is smoothly running. He also oversees and manages the client portfolios whenever the need arises. Aside from this, he develops and deploys key metrics that bring in fruitful benefits for both the company and the members.
Account Development Managers
Account development managers ensure that the customers contact them first with whatever they need. Also, when a client is muddled between an issue, it is generally an account manager whose responsibility is to get them out of the trouble and assist them with suitable solutions. It is their sole duty to develop and retain the customer’s account from any technical glitches.
Onboarding Team Lead
The Onboarding team plays a crucial role in seeing that the new clients have onboarded with utmost diligence. This is the first opportunity you get to create a stellar impression. Further, a pre-planned onboarding strategy will help to retain customers more. On the same graph, an unplanned onboarding might end up missing the vital timelines-based activities.
The training specialists help clients with the proper know-how of the products or services. They also render training sessions every now and then to educate the users about the resources and how using their products can benefit them.
Customer Operations Director
The operational conducts are usually shared between traditional customer success managers and services. These managers strive to recognize and maintain solutions that can bring in both scalability and efficiency. As they handle the operations, they are more equipped with broader technical skills. This helps to communicate across consultants, developers, and analysts in the team.
Customer Engagement Manager
A customer engagement manager is a focal point to every significant objective of the business. In a way, it influences customer loyalty, customer retention, and customer profits too. Further, it helps to foster valuable knowledge, communication, and relationships. This in turn drives better profitability and productivity.
A renewals manager’s primary goal is to amend necessary changes as requested by the customer himself. And then augment the renewal experience by streamlining contract issues and modifying the suggested requirements. Aside from this, they are also responsible for pulling out reports and then evaluating the existing data as linked with the client.
Additionally, as every product and business go unique from one point or the other, there is no one size fits all policy in the organizational structures. Let us now look into some of the other alternatives in this regard.
Reporting into Sales under the CEO
Reporting directly to the CEO
Reporting to a Chief Customer Officer
Reporting to the Chief Revenue Officer
Under the Chief Customer Officer, one can have many designations. This includes Chief Experience Officer, Chief Client Officer, or Chief Customer Service Officer. Similarly, under the Vice President of Customer Service role, you can find Customer Service Executive, VP Customer Experience, VP Client Services.
The same goes for the Director of Customer Service. You can see the Director of Client Services, Director of Implementation, etc. And for Customer Success Manager, the designations are in variety. It could be Relationship Manager, Customer Experience Manager, Client Services Manager, etc.
How to create an effective Customer Success Org Structure
- Share client data across teams: Internal efficiency is achieved when your teams can access information from a common share point. It becomes excessively easy for the different teams to club in and pull-out reports or data whenever they wish to. This also cuts down on the unnecessary interdependence or endless waiting time to get the data.
- Enable Customer-first approach: In a customer success space, the customer is the king. You must put them in priority. Meet their needs by constantly observing their growth with you, and taking the much-needed actions to boost up their customer experience so far.
- Stay Updated: In an ever-changing business where the demands of a client are unpredictable, it is better to stay updated. It would hurt to see a customer churn away and pick a competition of yours instead. To save yourself from that let your updated products and services reflect excellence and evolution as well.
- Get flexible and adaptable: You need to realize that making mistakes is only human, but learning from those mistakes and correcting yourself is all that matters. That is why you should imbue a flexible and adaptable approach as much as you can. Track and analyze the growth your business has done so far. And check whether the changes you make in veering in the right direction or not.
Best Practices for Building the Optimal Customer Success Org Structure
Building a customer success organization structure around certain best practices is important. These best practices will make it simpler for teams to build a better structure. Though there is no single process or one-size-fits-all for a customer success organization structure, some best practices will help make the building easier.
Use a customer-centric approach as much as possible
To build an efficient customer success org structure, it is necessary to allow customer data to be shared across teams. It is also important to choose a customer-centric approach since the customer is a priority. Customer-centric businesses are the ones that are most likely to succeed. Your customers must be the first priority. The team needs to do everything to keep customers happy and satisfied. A customer-centric approach will improve customer experience and increase the chances of customer retention. A customer success team must keep the customer at the core of all activities. This alone will make the company unique in the eyes of customers.
Always be updated about the current state of affairs
A customer success org structure requires all members to keep themselves updated on all events and happenings. Teams must be aware of the changing industry and stay relevant in the scenario. You need to ensure that your customers don’t choose a competitor because you don’t have relevant information. This is possible when your team has all the information and upgrades for customers to make the best decisions. The customer success team must know about the latest developments in their space, customer’s niches, and more. This customer success org structure can be improved by incorporating the latest trends, techniques, and knowledge. This also reduces the dependency on external agencies. If the customer success team is aware of the latest updates, they will be able to guide others in a better manner.
Flexibility and adaptability will help you move in the right direction
It is normal to make errors. However, there needs to be learnings and improvements from that process. This comes when the customer success team is ready to learn, be flexible, and adapt to situations as much as possible. You need to fix loopholes and gaps in the team to create a set process. Being flexible and adaptable will also improve the team process in total. It is also necessary to track how the different elements move across the journey and analyze it accordingly. This comes when you look to offer customers value at every stage in their journey. Being adaptable and flexible across the customer journey will fill gaps in the process and ensure that customers are retained.22
That’s a Wrap
To sum it all, you can bring in an effective customer success org structure when you facilitate stellar strategy and efficient communication. To get even better results, it is advised to equip the customer success unit with the beauty of technology. When a procedure is technology-enabled, it will become a lot easier to optimize the overall customer experience and will aid in streamlining internal processes. So, try on the aforementioned practices and get your organization a great CS org chart that saves you the deal.
Shivani is a talented CS manager with the skillsets to elicit, scope and manage end-to-end B2B SaaS project delivery. She has a keen interest in depicting her learnings in customer success by writing resourceful blogs and articles.
Published November 11, 2020, Updated March 01, 2023