6 min read
12 Nov

In this interview, Brett Andersen, VP of Client Success at Degreed, talks about CS's dynamic role and the importance of having clear cut strategies to structure growth and manage customer expectations and opportunities throughout the organization. 

The best way to get our customers faithful to our brand is for us to be loyal to the promises that we make to our customers. That transpires if we are extremely clear on our brand promises throughout the entire customer life cycle.

Demonstrating integrity to your brand promise

No organization grows by being a spectator or a follower in the subscription economy or staying immersed in yesterday's dilemmas. 

The changing business environment has altered the definition of what it takes to be successful.It has become clear over the last several years that the foundation of competitive advantage is rooted in customer experience and how organizations are delivering on their brand promises throughout the customer journey.

Brett points out that success consists of a twin advantage in SaaS businesses - two types of interrelated outcomes.

  1. (Customer Outcomes) – refers to the value and results customers realize from the product or services and how that value is delivered (i.e., the experience)
  2. (Company Outcomes) - refers to the value or results your business realizes by delivering on your brand promises to customers (e.g., revenue retention, revenue growth, brand recognition, or advocacy)

As the product (or technology platform) helps customers innovate (or modernize their existing growth programs), business impacts and capabilities grow. It happens when relationships (b / n the customer and the organization) are well established and celebrated.Knowing what customers want and why they buy our product/service serves as the guiding charters of long-term and mutual relationships. 

Companies should also reconsider everything that touches the customer journey — and create experiences beyond the traditional approach. 

Promoting customers vision

To create brand advocates, the focus on customers has to exist throughout the organization. The question is no longer who or which department owns it. Remember, the customer journey is not a single event but a continuous interaction. 

Customers expect the utmost value they can receive and use, whether that interaction happens online or offline.Brett suggested, since CSMs are so instrumental (to the success) in the post-sales relationship, why not set up a Client Advocacy Program Manager that sits within the CS and other core business groups?

Client Advocacy Program Manager has the following responsibilities:

  1. Create a feedback loop that captures proof points, preferences, referrals, case studies, and testimonials.
  2. Coordinate w/ the marketing team to put the branding and the messaging around the story and share it across the organization.
  3. (Process improvement) Ensure customer voices and sentiments are well-heard in the organization through NPS, CSAT, and other surveys.

Conversely - if the customer does not engage and grow their footprint with our SaaS offering, then business opportunities are lost to competitors. Therefore, customer advocacy has become the pillar of your brand and success.Advocacy is not just promoting a customer vision but translating that vision to a growth formula. 

If the business is not yet ready for this new role (Client Advocacy Program Manager), CSMs are the best obvious choice. They are already listening and proactively looking for wins and success stories and could partner with the Marketing team to capture and publish those stories.

Embracing change and balancing growth mindset 

In a few different organizations, I have seen that the most consistent challenge is how to be okay with choosing what not to do

It is necessary to deliberate about the few things that impact the clients and focus on those things.In start-up organizations, you have many ambitious people who start doing many things, and often in the process, they lose sight of the most vital things and fail to finish what they started.

The key is to stay focused on the client's needs, ensuring that those vital few projects and goals are communicated across the team and empower them to say no if they are not part of those [vital] few.

A new breed of Customer Success

Customer success is about ensuring customer satisfaction and ensuring that our business and technology platform's long-term vision is well-aligned to our customers' long-term success.For our customers to be successful, we must:

  1. Help customers realize the value is more than their investment
  2. Provide and deliver exceptional experiences
  3. Uphold the brand promises we communicate at the beginning of their journey with us
  4. Give the customers the voice they want to recognize and heard
  5. Remind them of their purpose and what they are looking for out of the partnership

Growth mindsets and skillsets: its purpose and relevance

The growth of the company is influenced by how effective and efficient your CSMs. Successful CSMs have a few common traits that help them succeed, which eventually helps in their growth.Organizations need to tell the difference between mindsets and skillsets.

  • Mindsets are the default attitudes or perspectives that someone brings to situations
  • Skillsets are the combination of hard and soft skills and consist of different levels of ability, expertise, and mastery

In the same way, a sense of purpose is the essence of learning mindsets or skillsets. CSMs draw connections between the content of their work, their values, identity, and long-term goals.Here are the different learning models for developing growth mindsets and skillsets.


  • Advocacy is not owned exclusively by a single department.
  • The key to being successful in business is to keep the customers you have already got.
  • Deliver a customer experience with a birds-eye focus based on brand promises and commitments. 
  • Be very clear on mapping the customer journey. All touchpoints must be clearly defined and well-thought-out.
  • Positive brand perception [is] achieved when business value is delivered, not just created.
  • Professional development is the new science of learning mindsets and skillsets.
  • The success of your customers is the success of your business.
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