It Starts with Lower-Case “customer success”


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The other day I was asked something that I’ve never been asked before:

“What’s your philosophy around SaaS?”

I wasn’t sure what he was looking for exactly, but I had an immediate, gut-level response: “customer success.”

But when I said “customer success” I wasn’t talking about “Customer Success Management” … what I meant was – and ultimately what I’m passionate about – is actual, lower-case customer success.

That you have a Customer Success Management organization in place, and use a product like Gainsight to “power” that organization or initiative, is great. But none of that matters if you don’t first start by focusing on the actual success of your customers.

If you don’t start with the solid foundation of simply trying to solve for success with your customers, any “CSM” activities you pile on will just be glorified customer service or account management; not true Customer Success.

What customer success means to me is building products or creating services that help your customers achieve success – whatever that “success” looks like in the context of your product.

Then selling that product to customers that can be successful with your product or service, and working diligently over their time as a customer to ensure they’re continuing to achieve their evolving definition of success.

Your customer has a desired outcome, right? They want to achieve something. That’s “success” for them. Now help them achieve that. That’s “customer success” and that – by the way – is the secret to your success.

Lincoln Murphy
Lincoln Murphy is a Customer Success Evangelist and is responsible for driving thought-leadership in the areas of Customer Success, retention, churn mitigation, and expansion revenue. Lincoln's passion is creating efficient engines of growth for SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) and Subscription Economy companies. Lincoln has worked with 300+ SaaS and enterprise software vendors migrating to SaaS - from SAP to Hubspot, and from Microsoft to Zendesk - to accelerate growth through Customer Success.


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