8 Customer Success Bad Practices to Stop Now

Updated: Mar 28, 2019


Your Customer Success team is in place, yet you’re not seeing the results you hear about at Customer Success events. The reason could be a Customer Success Bad Practice.

On the surface, each of these Bad Practices seem like the right thing to do. You might even pat yourself on the back for doing them. In my next article we transform each Bad Practice into a Best Practice. For now, let’s dig deeper to uncover why they are Bad Practices.

Eight Customer Success Bad Practices to stop now.

  1. Engaged Prospects: Your company uses sophisticated tools and metrics to guide prospects through the sales funnel. This results in great relationships with your prospects. While you want to engage prospects during the buyer journey, the problem is when relationships don’t continue after the sale. Engaging prospects and then using hope as a strategy to engage customers is a Bad Practice.

  2. Killer App: Ideally your product is awesome. You wouldn’t have customers without a useful product. However, the days of assuming the right set of features and functions are all you need to be successful are over. Relying on your product to make customers successful is a Bad Practice.

  3. CS = CSM: Customer Success (CS) equals the Customers Success Manager (CSM). While it’s awesome you have a team of Customer Success Managers, you can’t rely on them to do Customer Success. I work with a lot of companies that think hiring a few CSMs solves their churn problems. Relying on your CSM to keep customers successful is a Bad Practice.

  4. Reactive CSMs: I’m working with a team of CSMs that thinks their job is to make customers happy. They keep busy taking orders from customers. Another company I work with parachutes their CSMs into burning accounts right before their license comes up for renewal. Both teams are tired. Making customers happy is not the goal of Customer Success. Reactive CSMs leads to both high customer churn as well as high employee churn.

  5. Ad Hoc Onboarding: At my previous company we had great customer facing programs and services. However, without clear hand-offs from sales and an orchestrated onboarding process, we hoped customers would find their way success. Yet, we never defined what success meant. Hoping customers figure out how to use your product is a Bad Practice.

  6. Churn Analysis: Of course, churn analysis is important. If you don’t measure churn, your company could be in a death spiral and you may not even know it. It’s a Bad Practice when you pore over spreadsheets trying to figure out why customers leave, meanwhile neglecting new customers.

  7. Last 90 Days: One of the companies I work incentivizes their CSMs to close renewals. The result is they are on a treadmill, engaging customers in the last 90 days, while they leave new customers without a relationship. When customers don’t become loyal users in their first 90 days, there’s typically only a 10% chance they ever will.

  8. Designing at the Whiteboard: It’s great to pull your teams together to design your new CS programs and services. Maybe you just returned from Pulse or SuccessCon and are excited to implement the great ideas you learned. However, building customer facing programs without listening to customers is a Bad Practice.

Do these Customer Success Bad Practices feel familiar? How do they hold you, your team, and your customers back? I’d love to hear what other Customer Success Bad Practices you see happening in your company or maybe your friend’s company. Stay tuned for my next article where you learn how to turn these Bad Practices into Best Practices.