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The Toxic CS Blame Game

This week's Newsletter:


 

STOP BLAMING SALES FOR CUSTOMER CHURN!

Here's another toxic excuse in customer success - and why you need to stop it ↓

Last week, I wrote about how blaming the product is a destructive excuse we use in customer success. (link below)


Customer Success is hard. Making excuses only makes it harder by obstructing our view of real opportunities to improve things.


Here's another destructive example: ► BLAMING SALES


😬 And this one genuinely makes me cringe because of how many times I used it!


BUT WAIT! 

We KNOW that sales frequently sets customers up for failure in myriad ways. It happens all the time! So how is it an "excuse" to call that out?


It's true. Obviously. And how we sell matters so much because:

👉 To succeed, the reason customers buy must match the reason they'll stay. 👈


Customers struggle, fail, and churn when these get out of alignment.


BUT EVERYTHING CHANGED FOR ME WHEN I ASKED THIS QUESTION:


❓ Why are they so often out of alignment? 

❓ Why isn't it clear precisely what target sales should be aiming customers toward?


When I asked myself this question, my heart sank because I realized that I had not done everything I could to define the customer results bullseye clearly and in a way that sales could deploy. 


Actually, I'd hardly done ANYTHING. I spent so much time putting out fires and "working IN the machine" that it felt like I had no time left to "work ON the machine."


I saw that sales relied mostly on marketing messaging and collateral focused on features paired with vague promises of success.


What made me feel even worse was that I knew nobody else in the company was in a better position to solve this problem! 


❗️WHICH MEANS IT WAS MY PROBLEM!


Who else could correctly identify EXACTLY what results our successful customers achieve that actually cause them to stay?


THIS IS WHY IT'S NOT VALID TO BLAME SALES ↓


🤷🏻 How can we blame sales for misaligned customers when we have not sufficiently defined the target? 🎯


I consider this one of the most important reasons for customer success to exist at all. → 


✅ Customer success must take responsibility for scrutinizing and clearly identifying the measurable results that consistently drive customer retention and expansion.


Ditching this toxic excuse opens our view to how much more we can do to solve this problem. Stopping excuses is always about the power of taking responsibility.


HOW TO STOP:


🎯 An urgent priority for EVERY CS LEADER must be to build the clear map of proven results that marketing and sales should use to attract and align new customers.


I help clients do this using my Customer Results Strategy Framework. (Leave a comment below if you want me to share it with you)


I'm amazed that I've not yet encountered a customer success team that has done everything it can to ensure marketing and sales have a clear bullseye for aligning new customers to results. 


Until then, I simply won't accept this excuse.


 

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.


  

 

STOP BLAMING A LACK OF RESOURCES FOR CUSTOMER CHURN!

Why you don't deserve more CS headcount, and how to scale impact ↓

Lately, I've been writing about the customer churn blame game, such as blaming the product or sales.


Another toxic excuse is blaming churn on insufficient resources. This one is highly relatable to me because it's ALWAYS TRUE!


As a leader, I've never had enough people, time, technology, and support. For the last few years, I've been working daily with teams so severely under-resourced that they can accomplish only a tiny fraction of what is expected.


So, if it's true, then why is it NOT a valid excuse?


Here are 3 reasons why insufficient resources should not be your focus...


1️⃣ A LOT OF WHAT WE ARE DOING IS INEFFECTIVE


Unfortunately, there's no proof that most of the "best practices" of CS are worth doing. We now have compelling data that show just how pointless many of the most time-consuming CS activities are:


🛑 QBR's are a waste of time.

🛑 Driving adoption is futile (not to mention frustrating!).

🛑 Customer rescues suck up massive amounts of time and rarely succeed.

🛑 Live user training is ineffective.

🛑 Customer "cadence calls" almost never add value.

🛑 Constant fire-drills sap time and energy.


Before we ask for more resources, we must reclaim the time and energy currently being wasted on ineffective activities.


2️⃣ FOCUS ON CUSTOMER RESULTS NOT SATISFACTION


The data are clear →

🙂 Customer satisfaction has zero impact on retention.


📊 The primary driver of customer retention and expansion is the customer's achievement of measurable results.


👉 Every particle of energy we have at our disposal must be focused on identifying, driving, measuring, and materializing customer results. 👈


This is a big shift because the dominant "personality" in customer success has always been the "people-pleaser."


Adopting a results culture requires abandoning the reactive/responsive approach in favor of proactive/prescriptive actions that ensure customers get results.


3️⃣ SCALE IMPACT NOT PEOPLE


Customer success has long been steeped in a "bespoke" mentality where "every customer is unique" and "everything depends on the customer."


This is not only anti-scalable, it's also DEAD WRONG!


Customers differ in myriad ways, but not in what it takes to get good results with your product. Borrowing from Tolstoy, I like to say...


👉 All successful customers are alike; each unsuccessful customer is unsuccessful in its own way. 👈


The key to scaling is measuring and identifying what works and building standardized processes to make each effective intervention repeatable.


Every product only produces a small number of key business results, and the customer behaviors necessary to achieve each result are consistent.


Scaling impact is about standardizing customer processes to drive key customer behaviors, and systematically measuring and materializing the customer's results.


 


QUOTE OF THE WEEK:


All successful customers are alike; each unsuccessful customer is unsuccessful in its own way.





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