How to Build a Customer Success Team in 12 Steps

Diana Rubine
By Diana Rubine, Updated on June 26, 2024, 8 min read
Customer Success Teams

One of the emerging trends among businesses today is a dedicated Customer Success (CS) or Customer Experience (CX) team. The truth is that a well-functioning customer success team is your golden ticket to retaining customers.


The implication of building a top-tier customer success team goes beyond addressing customer problems. It’s about creating a journey that not only resolves problems but foresees coming needs, developing trust, loyalty, and mutual growth. This blog explores our 12-step guide to building an exceptional customer success team that champions customer loyalty and drives expansion and referrals.



Why Successful Companies are Obsessed With Customers

Customer success teams are a somewhat new trend, but it’s really designed to take the idea of customer service agents from reactive to proactive. Companies leading the charge in this domain are not just acknowledging the importance of customer happiness but are stepping into a new design, a next level of customer success that extends beyond closing tickets. Customer success teams work with customers on a proactive level to leverage their products and services to the maximum.


This combination manifests in a laser focus on understanding and aligning with the customers and their goals. It’s not about just addressing concerns or resolving tickets anymore; it’s about immersing in the customers’ use cases, understanding their business goals, and aligning the company’s resources to ensure these objectives are met.


The success narrative is shifting from a company-centric to a customer-centric mindset. Again, customer success teams are the key to growing net dollar retention.


Modern methods employed by these companies are not pulled from a vacuum; they are the results of a careful integration of traditional customer service values with the full capabilities of customer success experts looking to serve customers.


The process here is about leveraging data to glean insights into customer behavior, employing cutting-edge communication channels to enable seamless interactions, and utilizing feedback to refine the approach continuously.


Successful companies are thus encouraging a culture where every strategy, every decision, and every action is screened through the lens of customer satisfaction and enabling growing of revenue. They are promoting customer success from a departmental role to an organizational focus. In doing so, they are not just staying ahead in the game but are setting new benchmarks in delivering value, encouraging loyalty, and driving revenue growth.



12 Step Guide to Building Your Team

In the realm of business, fostering robust customer communication and effective client management are the pillars that uphold a thriving customer success team. As the nexus between your business and your customers, the customer success team’s role is indispensable. Crafting such a team is an art and a science, embodying a blend of strategic foresight, meticulous planning, and a profound understanding of customer engagement.


This guide elucidates a step-by-step journey towards building a customer success team that not only resonates with your brand’s ethos but is equipped to propel your customer satisfaction metrics to new zeniths. Embark on this journey to sculpt a team at the forefront of customer satisfaction and a driver of sustained revenue growth.



1. Define Your Team’s Vision

To launch on the journey of formulating a legendary customer success team, a business leader must first arrive at a solid vision. Understanding what customer success means for your business sets the stage. Is the goal to expand net dollar retention? Is the goal to expand usage of new features? The vision sets the focus.



2. Identify the Right Time to Build Your Team

There’s a rhythm to recognizing market signals and internal feedback, balancing being proactive and reactive with customers and building a customer success team. You’ll want to make sure you have the customer base to support the need for it and the products that need to be used.



3. Structure the Team

How you structure the team is vital as you determine the key roles and their responsibilities, each in a unique position yet working together. The need to have a diverse skill set within the team, possibly spanning across various geo-locations, creates a strong team of insights and capabilities.



4. Set Clear Goals and KPIs

Measuring success can be a challenge for customer success teams. It’s about picking out the metrics that matter, aligning team goals with the key business objectives and OKRs, and crafting a narrative of progress that’s both motivating and grounded in reality. An easy one to monitor is net dollar retention, as it indicates how well the CS team is doing to expand usage.



5. Leverage Customer Data

In the world of customer success, data is your ace in the hole. Managers should leverage analytics to detect how customers use their products, how often they open tickets, how often they log in to the platform, etc. The ideal usage of analytics is to pair customer data with a robust human effort.



6. Determine Key Responsibilities and Task Allocation

A well-oiled machine operates with precision, each part aware of its role. Ensuring every team member knows their role, and finding a balance between proactive and reactive tasks is the key to a functioning, efficient team. Customer success team members should know which customers they cover, their expectations, and more.



7. Staff and Train

Forecasting team needs and hiring the right talent is about assembling your rockstar team of customer success agents. When you hire the right people, you’ll still need to invest in them for training and development. They’ll need to be experts on your products.



8. Embrace Technology and Tools

The modern customer success team is armored with CRM, generative AI tools,  analytics tools, and other software, staying updated with the latest in tech to navigate through the complex landscapes of customer interactions. The best toolkit combines everything you need to serve your customers into a single digital workspace like Spike Teamspace.



9. Create Feedback Mechanisms

Creating a loop for continuous improvement is critical for success. Customer success teams must have “ear to the ground access” to what their customers are saying. When tickets are opened, even if they aren’t responsible for them, customer success teams must be notified. If it’s determined to be a user error, it’s an opportunity for training.



10. Prepare for Future Customers

Anticipating growth, making predictions, and preparing for the challenges ahead is about ensuring that your customer success team is not just ready for today, but ready to expand to more customers in the future.



11. Replace Team Members

In the world of customer success, sometimes a change in players is inevitable. Ensuring a smooth transition and adequate training for replacements is key to maintaining the continuity of customer satisfaction. Customers should always be notified when their customer success agent is changed.



12. Leverage AI Tools and Their Benefits

Incorporating AI tools will be a major game changer for customer success teams. As every platform builds in generative AI tools, customer success teams will be able to leverage new capabilities to respond faster to customers and get predictive with their responses.


Build the Best Customer Success Team With the Best Communication Platform


Wrap-Up on Building a Customer Success Team

building a customer success team


As we navigate through the complexities of building a great customer success team, it becomes apparent that this process is more than a mere hiring of people. It’s about building customer-centric strategies powered by a profound understanding of modern-day customer communication and effective client management.


The steps explained in this blog provide a structured path to preparing a team that champions customer success. Leverage technology when possible and hire people who love serving their customers.


Building the best customer experience is about merging the latest technology, like generative AI, with customer success professionals obsessed with serving customers.         

When you get to a place where you want to grow existing customers as much as bring in new customers is the ideal time to build your customer success team.         

It all depends on where your customers are. Depending on your product or service, you may want customer success teams near your customers. Remote work is a huge possibility for most customer success teams, though, thanks to video meeting technology.         

Analytics provide valuable insights into customer behavior, preferences, and needs, aiding in formulating effective strategies for improved customer engagement and satisfaction. Data shouldn’t be used over human interaction, though. It just is a both/and vs instead of.          

Fostering a culture of continuous learning, alongside strong staffing and training regimes, ensures the team meets evolving customer expectations and industry standards. When in doubt, focus on your customers.         

Diana Rubine
Diana Rubine Diana Rubine is a proud Colombian-Israeli and currently, she is the Director of Engagement at Spike. Diana has 15 years of experience in Account Management and Customer Success in a variety of industries such as gaming, mobile attribution & cybersecurity. She also loves mentoring women in CS and Pilates.

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