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You can only pick one

Customer Satisfaction -OR- Measurable Results. Choose wisely...

Conventional wisdom says that we should make our customers both successful AND happy. The assumption is that these always go together. Successful customers are happy customers, right? 

It turns out that not only is this wrong (keep reading⤵), but these two goals actually come into conflict surprisingly often!

Here's a quick example to illustrate what I mean:

😑 SCENARIO: You are working with a customer who isn't achieving results because they aren't taking the necessary actions. But they are convinced they're doing everything right!

So you're faced with a dilemma:

⓵ Tell the customer they're doing it wrong and risk upsetting them. 

-- or --

⓶ Ignore the problem to keep them happy, knowing they'll likely fail.

Sound familiar? That's because this is virtually a daily experience in customer success.


🔑 The key is to prioritize to ensure that the most important thing always comes first.

And although customer satisfaction and results are both good things, they are not equally important!

No company can win unless its customers stay long-term. So, the focus has to be on the real driver of customer retention, which is NOT customer satisfaction.

The real reason customers stay is to get RESULTS!

📉 Our research shows that customers with measurable outcomes stay 6 TIMES LONGER than those without.

But aren't successful customers usually more satisfied? Actually, no.

📊 Customer data consistently shows that there's zero correlation between how happy customers say they are and how long they stay.


Here's my operating principle:

👉 Always prioritize driving measurable results OVER customer satisfaction whenever they conflict. 👈

That almost always happens when trying to get customers to change how they work so that they can take advantage of how your solution produces results. 

I argue that changing customer behavior and showing measurable results are THE essential functions of customer success.

Unfortunately, it can be really daunting to challenge customers to change their behavior! 

Here’s how I operate to prioritize results:

SINCERITY: Strive to demonstrate to customers that you're on their side.

CLARITY: Explicitly show how their key actions will lead to better outcomes.

EXPERIENCE: Look for ways to provide a good experience without compromising on driving their results.


Most customers respond positively to our sincere efforts to help them improve their results. They see that we have their best interests at heart and value the expertise we share.

The ultimate result of following this approach is what I call Customer Bonding, which is that golden moment when customers can no longer envision their future success without your company in the picture!

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