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Stop Blaming the Product

This week's Newsletter:



Why it's a toxic excuse in customer success, and how to turn it around ↓ 

Customer Success leaders too often rely on excuses to deal with our challenges. The problem is that blaming blocks our ability to see the full scope of opportunities we actually have to gain control of our world.

In my experience building, running, and advising customer success teams, I've seen three specific excuses so toxic that they obliterate effectiveness. 

The first toxic excuse is: ► BLAMING THE PRODUCT.

This one is first because it's so common. And the reason it's so prevalent is because it is TRUE! There are NO perfect products. And it's undeniable that product problems matter.

So if it's true, then why is it a false excuse? Two reasons...

⓵ The first reason is that when something is always true, then it's disqualified as an excuse and is instead simply the context in which we work. If the product was perfect, would we need customer success?

But there's a much more critical reason why blaming the product is wrong: →


To understand why, consider the following question:

🔎 If the product is fatally flawed, then why do some customers succeed? 🔍

Somehow, there's a group of customers who've achieved fantastic results. How did they do it? Why didn't the product problems prevent their success?

This is a powerful question if we go looking for the answer. When we take the time to understand exactly what our best customers did to succeed, a whole new world comes into view. 

We ultimately realize that the pathway to big improvements in customer results doesn't run through waiting for product updates. 

Here's how I articulate the principle:

👉 Technology doesn't produce results. Customer behavior change produces results, and technology makes it possible and scalable. 👈

When we study our successful customers, we discover that there is a reliable pathway to achieving results. 

The central opportunity in Customer Success is much bigger than we appreciate. →

⭐️ The purpose of Customer Success is to ensure customers change how they work to achieve measurable results. ⭐️

I've repeatedly seen how abandoning the excuse and shifting to this approach creates breakthroughs!


The Key to Reducing Churn is Knowing What Kind You Have

There are different kinds of churn, and knowing which kind you have unlocks the power to crush churn for good! I'm offering subscribers to this newsletter a free consultation to show you how to find your churn type. Click the button to schedule your session and start getting ahead of churn in 2024.


HOW TO AVOID THE DREADED CUSTOMER HAND-DOWN! Why it's so bad for success, and what to do about it ↓

Most companies make the decision to purchase at a high level in the organization and then hand off the task of implementing it to someone else.

The problem with this is that leaders then nearly always assume they can safely disengage until everything is up and running.

But this is bad for success for at least two reasons...

⓵ Their involvement is usually critical to get things up and running. We need them to make key decisions and to use their authority to drive the process change necessary to get good results. As a result, we lose access to their ability to make important things happen.

⓶ When leaders check out, getting them to check back in is tough! This loss is a big deal when it comes to demonstrating value, staying aligned on what matters, and motivating renewal and expansion.

That's why I say:

👉 For customers, there's no such thing as a handoff, only a hand-DOWN! 👈

Once our level of engagement in their organization has fallen down, it's extraordinarily difficult to get back "up"!

Here's my Pro Tip for fixing this situation:


You must ensure that you maintain engagement with the buyer/owner in the account at all costs. Don't allow their hand-down to isolate you, which will invariably make things difficult down the road.

The most effective way to prevent hand-downs is to establish a separate cadence for checking in with leaders right from the beginning.

I know what you're thinking: that's what QBRs are for!

But, QBRs are very ineffective at maintaining executive engagement mostly because they are not really FOR the executive.

You need an EXECUTIVE BUSINESS REVIEW, an engagement approach targeted precisely at the key leader/sponsor.


1️⃣ Promise that every time you meet, you will show them what they are most interested in → their MEASURED BUSINESS RESULTS!

2️⃣ Tell them you’ll teach them what they can do to improve their results.

3️⃣ Finally, pledge to take very little of their time: all you need is 15 minutes!

The EBR is your chance to keep the critical sponsor tuned in to what really matters (results) and maintain an open line of communication you can leverage when you need their help to drive customer behavior change.



You don't have to measure every customer's results, just the ones you want to keep!

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