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Customer Success: How Innovative Companies Are Reducing Churn and Growing Recurring Revenue Hardcover – February 29, 2016
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From the Inside Flap
The subscription business model is hotfrom software to music to movies to diet programsinvestors and public markets want businesses that create recurring payments from unlimited customers. The old sales and marketing methods can handle attracting new customers for growth, however, only in the last five years has a discipline emerged that views growth in relation to retention, not just sales. Customer Success is the first-of-its-kind resource for business leaders who need best-in-class guidance for developing a recurring revenue business.
Software as a Service (SaaS) businesses led the charge into the subscription economy, and this guidebook is highly relevant to leaders of those companies by providing a methodology for creating the infrastructure and teams to both renew and upsell customers. The success of SaaS companies has spread across industries, and now all types of businesses are looking to convert to a subscription or pay-as-you-go model, or at least add a like component to their existing business model. Leaders in these situations can equally benefit from the A-to-Z coverage inside, which walks you from the very beginnings of the Customer Success movement to the latest best practices and success stories.
The practical chapters are rated by relevance to business type for quick reference and focused learning. Additionally, this next-level tool doesn't stop at a singular perspective, but features authorial contributions from today's leading Customer Success practitioners who share their personal insights into the realities of focusing a company on the success of its customers.
Whether this is your first step into a recurring revenue business model or you need to revamp your SaaS company into the big leagues, this game-changing presentation by three industry influencers from the leading company in Customer Success gives you the understanding and solutions you're looking for, including:
- The Ten Laws of Customer Success, including complete explanations, real-world examples, and customized information for different business needs
- How Cloud technology has redefined Customer Success and what a customer-centric company needs to do to maintain a competitive edge
- An in-depth look at the critical technology needed for outstanding Customer Success
- Easy-to-understand approaches to capturing the sophisticated metrics that drive prosperous customer-centric programs
Accelerate your revenue model with Customer Success.
From the Back Cover
Praise for CUSTOMER SUCCESS
"Having been at Salesforce to witness the birth of Customer Success, I'm excited to see a book focused on this subject around which I have so much personal passion. One of the foundations of our success at Salesforce was Customer Success so it's particularly great to see the history of the discipline, along with a glimpse at the future, documented in this book. I recommend it to every CEO or leader out there who is truly seeking to build a customer success-centric company."
Jim Steele, President and Chief Customer Officer, Insidesales and former President and Chief Customer Officer, Salesforce
"As one of the early investors in the technology of Customer Success, I'm particularly pleased to see the rapidly accelerating growth of the entire industry. The 'subscription tsunami' as outlined in the book has profoundly disrupted the software world, and forced a focus on customers that did not exist previously. This book will help those who need to understand how this brave new world works, and also people looking for some practical guidance on how to execute successfully in the subscription economy. The team at Gainsight helped pioneer the Customer Success movement and definitely has the chops to put together this hitchhiker's guide for those traveling the same road."
Roger Lee, General Partner, Battery Ventures
"The world is moving to a Subscription Economy, and this book directly addresses that shift. Smart companies aren't trying to pitch products to strangers anymore. They're figuring out how to grow, monetize and build an ongoing, mutually beneficial relationship with a dedicated base of subscribers. Customer success is fundamental to this process, and this book documents three core aspects philosophy, discipline, and organization in a sharp, practical way."
Tien Tzuo, CEO and Founder, Zuora
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Top customer reviews
In reality, customer success is an evolving discipline and no one has all the answers - and even if they did, things are changing so rapidly that today's best practice may become tomorrow's failure. This book is a good introduction to many of the core concepts of customer success, and why understanding what success means for your customer is essential to remaining competitive in today's subscription economy.
The book has a few major gaps. First of all, segmentation is purely on size of customer organization / size of revenue from first sale; it doesn't address the fact that you might be serving multiple quite different customer types all of whom are in the "long tail." Additionally the book doesn't recognize that there might be several different actors in the play. Success for the call center manager might be "getting this new product installed and running within 90 days" whereas success for the call center director might be "reducing staffing costs by 5% while improving time-to-answer by 10%." You have to know your customers at a reasonable level of detail in order to know what metrics matter to which of them, and why.
But these points aside, the book does a good job of introducing the concepts of measuring success by definable metrics, keeping constant watch on those metrics, and ensuring that every part of the organization understands that making things as easy as possible for the customer is key to survival in today's world. Even organizations operating in apparent backwaters such as the manufacturing of heavy industrial equipment should study the lessons in this book in order to see (a) how to beat the competition by being more customer-outcome focused, and (b) how to increase revenue opportunities by understanding the entire customer life cycle. Today pre-sales and after-sales are generally quite different animals with different incentives and the customer is the one who experiences the gaps; tomorrow there should be a continuous coherent journey from initial discovery through to expansion and renewal - but this can't happen unless the entire organization understands what parts play which roles in customer success and incentives are correctly aligned.
If you expect this to be a "how to do customer success" playbook you will be disappointed. There's a significant number of key omissions and some hand-waving, plus the usual business-book generalities. But if you use it to stimulate your own thinking about how your company can focus more on making sure your customers come back for more, it's a valuable tool. Just realize that we're in the early days of customer success thinking, so your journey will likely be on or near the bleeding edge - just like everyone else.
The book does a good job of covering the WHY and the WHAT of customer success. Specifically, there is good coverage of: key metrics, risks to detect, and key activities (at a high level). As other reviewers have commented, you will be disappointed if you are looking for a how-to guide with in-depth case studies.
If I can offer one criticism, it is that the content jumps back and forth and is frequently overlapping. The main cause for this is that the bulk of the book is actually a reprint of a GainSight content marketing piece entitled "10 Laws of Customer Success" that is itself a compendium of the views of 10 different authors.
I close this review with some advice once given to me by my grandfather that still, and will always, hold true: 'Always give more of yourself than people expect'