Building a Strategic Customer Success and Scaling CS Programs

4 min read
26 May

In this interview, Rama Saripalle, Director of CS at Arm Treasure Data, talks about the importance of aligning key business processes (CS strategies, customer feedback, and customer experiences) as the leading driver for CS programs' success.

Focus on delivering value

RELATIVE TO EXPERIENCE, Rama held different roles and positions before she found her way to customer success. All of these roles have one common thread. It requires a genuine approach and centricity to help customers succeed and support them throughout the process.

Seeing how other team works gives you a different perspective and insight to understand the customer goals and their business objectives. It helps you position and align business processes in meeting and exceeding customer expectations.

As with any relationship, Rama explained,  it should understand what the other party expects from the partnership. Understanding what goals they (customers) are trying to achieve allows us to deliver measurable results that are truly valuable. 

Everyone working on a post-sales or customer-facing role should ensure that the focus is on continuously delivering value and helping customers achieve their desired outcomes. While we do not solve every problem right away, the key to creating a great customer experience is to clarify their goals upfront and let customers know what we are doing to fulfill or achieve it. 

Operational Viewpoint

I asked Rama how she would define Customer Success, knowing she has been in different roles and functions? Customer Success, as the title states, means customers first above everything else. 

It is essential to consider customer success from a customer perspective. It means staying ahead and anticipating their needs even before the customers realize it. In doing so, we will recognize as a trusted advisor and significant business partner. 

Rama said the [biggest] impediment to achieving sustainable growth is having no [CS] growth strategy or collaboration with other functional teams. 

CS Strategy helps us to:

(1) Identify the best approach (for a change) within the problem itself.

(2) Examine and refine the entire customer process and life cycle.

(3) Keep customers engaged and motivated.

(4) Evaluate different tiered models.

(5) Ensure a 360-degree view of the customer situation and provide the best fit solution. 

(6) Improve the business process and achieve success on an ongoing basis. 

In a nutshell:

  • With CS Strategy, Customer Desired Outcome is [envisioned], then Progression (Growth) is reciprocally shared and accomplished
  •  Without CS Strategy, Customer Happiness is only a replacement, not a progression of a business relationship. 

Here are some challenges that the CS strategy help to solve:

  1. Designing the product experience.
  2. The communications flow from marketing, sales, and different core groups.
  3. Mapping touchpoints and journey stages.
  4. Business initiatives and success metrics that define behavior, successes, and failures.
  5. Bringing customer data into a holistic data set.

Organizing success for future success

Businesses cannot exist without a loyal customer. It is imperative to be responsible for their continued success and having meaningful relationships. It is the only way to keeping your customers for life. 

I asked Rama what was the right approach to renewal, or cross or upsell opportunity. In my experience, it's never been about money. It is about how we can get customers better so that it's a no brainer when the time comes for subscription renewals. 

In other words,  do not focus on monetary gains; focus on delivering long-term value. Find as many ways as possible to reach out with inherent value to customers. Operating within a faulty framework is no way to start doing business together.

The bottom line, the customer-centric approach trumps an opportunistic outlook - hence, it prevents losing customers for the wrong reasons.

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