From Thoughts to Action

I have been ruminating about this topic a lot lately. It’s been sitting at the back of mind for a while, so the time has come to write about it!

One of my friends, who is also a Customer Success lead in another company, was not considered for a position she was truly passionate about. It was communicated that her current experience doesn’t align with the specific requirements of the position. That position was a “Customer Insights” role. I was puzzled by that outcome, so I started to think about it a little bit more.

Insights are the Foundation of Success

Where I am at, customer insights are the foundation of our Customer Success organization. All the insights that you gather whether it be via surveys, asking the customer directly, support cases, or anywhere else, directly lead to the actionable items for the Customer Success team. Lately, I have been wondering if Customer Success will eventually converge with Customer Insights? To be fair, even the Health Score is heavily influenced by customer insights, automated or not.

At the core of it though, both are post-sale metrics that contribute to the actions that need to be taken by the business based on those “Insights / Scores”. These actions must lead to better adoption. Quite obviously, unless there is a value to the customer, the adoption will suffer.

A Job Posting Investigation

Usually job posts related to customer insights come up in my LinkedIn feed, so an analysis on my end was in order.

I went ahead and captured some of the requirements and looked at them more closely for the purposes of understanding how Customer Insights can be differentiated from Customer Success. Or not!

Take a look these positions for “Customer Insights” positions advertised on LinkedIn –

This is job description snippet from a small consumer company:

  • Drive development and adoption of new customer segmentation
  • Plan and execute end-to-end qualitative and quantitative research to build insights-driven consumer personas
  • Help shape audience definition, product positioning and messaging
  • Build trusted relationships as a strategic consultant to cross-functional stakeholders
  • Be the internal voice of our consumer – be the evangelist in cross-functional groups across the company

Ummm… I think this is what a Customer Success Lead position looks like. I do all the activities described above to lead the Customer Success program.

Here is one more:

  • Use data to inform meaningful insights that drive strategic recommendations and motivate action
  • Communicate research findings and recommendations to key partners
  • Thrive on wanting to know why consumers act and feel the way they do, love sharing this understanding with others, and be known for accurately predicting consumer behavior and reaction.
  • You boldly bring the voice of the consumer into the room regardless in a way that has an direct and immediate impact on the business, even when your points are controversial.
  • Creative. Demonstrated ability to think innovatively—connecting the dots where others cannot when it comes to consumers to create business building insights.

YE-HA! Are you thinking what I am thinking? That sounds exactly like a Customer Success lead role.

A Bold Prediction

All in all, finding out what the customer is thinking and how they are using the product is critical to the Success of Customer Success and to the business.

Dare I say it? Maybe …just maybe, Customer Insights” will eventually collapse into a Customer Success organization or vice versa.

Pallavi Gadepalli

Customer Success Product Manager, Security Business Unit , Cisco Systems

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