Customer success (CS) teams continue to improve as important business functions. As B2B firms dedicate more resources to CS, leadership wants reassurance that this investment delivers solid returns. Proving this becomes challenging when scaling customer success happens primarily through headcount and by teams segmenting coverage into low-touch and high-touch models. As the costs grow, so do the calls to tier CS support by monetizing higher-touch interactions. Finding new ways to automate routine interactions has also gained momentum among the explored alternatives. So how do you determine the best way to scale your CS?

Scaling Customer Success Requires Four Nominal Investments

Forrester recently published research (subscription required) that models how straightforward investments in CS can double the return in less than three years. Using our Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) methodology, we show that a hypothetical manufacturing company with 5,000 global customers and earning $1 billion annually, making a net-present investment of $11.7 million, returns quantifiable benefits of $37.4 million, resulting in an ROI of 220%. This investment follows four simple principles:

  • Make sure your postsale engagement is as efficient as possible. As companies grow from startup to enterprise, efforts to help customers succeed can expand across many functions. But nondedicated staff sometimes end up handling impromptu requests rather than guiding customers toward their stated goals. A centralized CS management team (subscription required) can put the tools and processes in place to monitor account progress consistently and ensure that the headcount operates at full capacity. A dedicated team better helps your customers avoid problems, determine the best fix when issues arise, adopt best practices, and achieve value faster.
  • Shift to digital-led CS to scale postsale experiences. Customer support uses technology to scale coverage and give customers a self-directed and digital means to solve problems. CS can similarly digitalize postsale experiences to improve efficiency, give customers more ways to interact, and differentiate the experience from the competition. We used a community management platform to model this investment because this type of platform offers robust end-user experiences and readily available pricing as well as features to encourage engagement and manage content.
  • Layer on learning experiences to further boost ROI. Timely offering adoption depends on using purchased products or services properly and extensively. Training materials, how-to videos, and recorded webinars help customers get up to speed faster when they can access these assets through a digital experience (DX). Higher customer retention rates correlate with adoption and value realization, so integrating training materials and interactions helps increase CS program ROI.
  • Focus DX activity on engaging customers so that they advocate for your brand. Running advocacy programs in addition to managing the community may seem costly, but engaged communities let customers share their experiences and advice while helping peers, partners, and employees build relationships and foster trust that, in turn, improves retention and account growth. Holistic advocacy programs further enhance the community experience and activate happy customers who advocate for you.

Our TEI model presents a conservative business case for deploying a B2B DX focused on community and learning. But the speed at which customers respond to community engagement invitations, how their engagement affects retention, or how effectively advocacy programs pay off in testimonials and evidence are a few factors with variability that can affect the model positively or negatively. To understand how different investments in CS can help your company and customers thrive, we built a business case decision tool for you to use and find out what level of returns you can expect.

Clients can adjust the model for specific circumstances, or you can schedule a guidance session if you’d like to walk through it with me.