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Customer success strategy: a short guide for business leaders

A well-crafted customer success strategy can go a long way, as it can have a significant impact on a business's growth, profitability, and long-term sustainability. Think of it as a roadmap that shows not only the journey towards the desired destination, but also the key points along the way that need special attention in order to strengthen ties with customers.

Whether you're just getting started or hoping to boost your current game plan, this quick guide has the tips and tools to help you achieve customer success and take your business to exciting new heights!

We’ll cover the definition of customer success strategies, explain their importance, and explore some of the concept’s key pillars. We’ll also give you actionable tips on how to best present your ideas to stakeholders, with examples for SaaS.

What is a customer success strategy?

A customer success strategy is a comprehensive plan that outlines how a company intends to build and maintain a long-term relationship with its customers. Its main goal is to ensure that customers are satisfied with a business’s products or services, and that they continue to be loyal over time.

A successful CS strategy typically involves a combination of a smooth onboarding and proactive communication with customers. It also demands staff training and the measurement of key performance indicators (KPIs), so leaders can make data-driven decisions.

But don’t worry – we’ll cover each of these topics in detail, so you have everything you need to keep your customers satisfied and foster loyal, long-term relationships with them.

If you want to dig deeper into the concept of customer success, check out this article: Understanding customer success.

Why is it important to develop a strong customer success strategy?

1. It helps in retaining existing customers

According to our Customer Service Trends Report 2023, 95% of US consumers say that feeling valued in interactions with a company impacts whether or not they continue doing business with that company.¹

The good news is that a customer success strategy can help you retain your existing customers, as it focuses on ensuring that they get more than what they’re paying for. In addition to satisfying their needs, a CS strategy aims to proactively engage with each person to obtain actionable insights on their desires, struggles, and fears.

Once this valuable information is in hand, your company can overcome the obstacles that are getting in the way of deeper and more profitable ties with customers. 

2. It saves you money

Customer success strategies can be vital in driving revenue growth for businesses, as they help retain existing customers, which reduces the need to spend more on acquisition tactics. 

Take into consideration that the costs to acquire new customers have increased by 56% in 2022, while retention costs have grown by 48% during the same period.²

With those numbers in mind, it's fair to say that you can save a significant chunk of money by making sure your customers are not only happy but loyal to your company.

3. It improves word-of-mouth about your company

Building a solid customer success strategy can also improve your company's reputation in its respective market. As your buyers and customers become increasingly loyal, they grow more likely to not only generate repeat business but also to start making informal referrals.

Based on the results of a worldwide survey, personal recommendations from friends and family emerged as the most reliable advertising channel for consumers – almost 90% of the respondents expressed trust in word-of-mouth endorsements.³

4. It reduces customer churn

Another benefit of a well-designed customer success strategy is its ability to reduce churn. By meticulously tuning in to what customers need, showing up proactively, and working to keep relationships active and thriving, businesses can ensure that individuals have a powerful incentive to remain loyal to them.

Additionally, CS teams can identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities, increasing the lifetime value (LTV) of each buyer. Because of factors like these, it's imperative for companies to prioritize building a strong customer success strategy that facilitates long-term sustainability and revenue growth.

5. It offers you a competitive advantage

Tailoring your product or service to align with the distinct requirements of your customers allows you to stand out from competitors and establish a one-of-a-kind selling proposition. This unique positioning can lead to increased sales and customer retention, as well as positive word-of-mouth advertising. When taken collectively, it’s advantages like these that help you stay ahead of the competition.

What are the pillars of great customer success strategies?

1. Smooth customer onboarding

A smooth onboarding experience can set the tone for a long-lasting and profitable relationship with your customers. By providing clear instructions, personalized guidance, and proactive support during the initial steps with your product or service, you can greatly increase the chances that your customers have a positive experience right from the start.

That’s why we built Product Tours, a powerful resource that connects the dots from sign-up to success. With this tool, you can help customers discover everything they need to know about your product through engaging, easy-to-follow interactive tours.

Product Tours allows you to spotlight new features to boost adoption and erase customer pain points, which keeps them out of the support inbox. Andy Allen, co-founder and director of Hike SEO, is already reaping the benefits of our platform: “New users who took the tour activated at 4x our current rate.”

2. Proactive communication

Proactive communication is one of the crucial pillars of great customer success strategies. By anticipating issues and reaching out to customers before they become a problem, you can prevent dissatisfaction and build trust.

In fact, a study conducted with 1,000 U.S. consumers revealed that 86% of Americans believe transparency from businesses is more important than ever before. And 73% of consumers are willing to pay more for products that guarantee total transparency.⁴

Being proactive also shows that you value your customers and are invested in their success. This approach helps to foster a relationship of mutual respect and understanding, which is essential for building rapport, avoiding confusion, and ensuring that your customers feel heard and appreciated.

3. Staff training

Staff training is an investment that pays dividends in the form of happy customers, increased revenue, and a positive reputation. With proper training, employees can confidently handle almost any situation, leading to greater customer support efficiency and more positive outcomes for everyone. 

When employees are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to provide exceptional service, they’re able to build strong relationships with customers. Investing in staff upskilling also shows that your organization values its employees and is committed to providing the highest level of service to its customers.

4. Measurement of KPIs

Without accurate measurements, it can be challenging to determine the effectiveness of your customer success initiatives. That’s why you need to keep track of some key performance indicators. In addition to helping you identify areas of improvement, KPIs can provide valuable insights into customer behavior.

Selecting the right combination of these KPIs will depend on the specific goals and objectives of your customer success strategy. Here are some examples:

  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): As the name suggests, this measures the satisfaction level of customers through a survey or feedback form.

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): This assesses the likelihood that your customers will endorse your brand to friends and family, whether through social media, word of mouth, or other communication channels.

  • Churn Rate: Depending on how it’s calculated, churn rate can reveal the number of customers who leave or the revenue lost from them.

  • Customer Effort Score (CES): The CES indicates the level of exertion required by a customer to have their request addressed, which may include obtaining answers to queries, resolving issues, completing a product purchase, or finalizing a contract.

5. Data-driven decision making

Data can help businesses identify patterns, trends, and opportunities that would otherwise be missed, allowing you to tailor your approach to meet the unique needs of each customer.

Moreover, data-driven decisions provide measurable results, which can be used to iterate and improve upon customer success strategies over time.

Simply put, businesses that leverage data to drive their decision-making will be better positioned to achieve success and deliver exceptional customer experiences than those who don’t. 

How to best present a customer success strategy

1. Use the SEE technique (state, explain, exemplify)

When presenting a customer success strategy, using the SEE technique (State, Explain, Exemplify) as the first step can be incredibly effective.

By clearly stating the objective of the strategy and explaining the reasoning behind it, you can help your audience understand the importance of your plan and its primary benefits. Additionally, providing examples of how the strategy has worked in the past or how it can lead to positive outcomes in the future can help persuade your audience to support your approach.

2. Address potential concerns

Start by identifying the most common concerns your audience may have and developing a plan to address each one. Be transparent and honest about any potential roadblocks, and provide clear and practical solutions to resolve them. By doing so, you can demonstrate your commitment to achieving top-notch customer success and instilling confidence in your listeners that you are the right person to help them reach their goals.

3. Demonstrate the ROI

Demonstrating the potential return on investment of your customer success strategy helps you prove the value of your plan of action while also showcasing how that plan can positively impact your clients.

To do this, you need to establish clear and measurable goals that align with your business objectives. Once you have these goals in place, you can use data and analytics to track progress and demonstrate the impact of your CS strategy.

This will not only help you build credibility and trust within your company, but also enable you to make data-driven decisions that drive long-term success.

4. Clearly outline the implementation plan

Highlighting how the implementation plan will help customers achieve their goals and solve their pain points will increase your audience’s commitment to the process.

Use clear and concise language, and provide specific details on the timeline, resources, and responsibilities to make the implementation plan as transparent and easy to follow as possible.

Keep learning how to generate success for your business

Designing a customer success strategy is a good starting point for helping people achieve their goals with your products and services.

If you want to make a difference in a highly competitive market, however, just being good enough will not cut through the noise. You need to adapt to ever-changing customer needs, stay up to date with industry trends, and make smart decisions for the future of your business.

That’s why we have curated three articles that will help you advance on your customer success learning journey:

In the event that you’re ready to leverage the power of the technology now, we’ve got you covered. Ask for a demo or start your free trial today.


¹ Intercom, Customer Service Trends Report 2023. We asked 1,700+ customer support teams across the world how they’re meeting the challenges and opportunities of 2023. ² Optimove, The Optimove 2023 Survey of B2C Marketers. Optimove queried 221 senior level marketing executives in the second quarter of 2022. The survey was designed by Optimove and fielded by Survey Monkey. Respondents included executives at companies with the following B2C models: digital-first multi-brand, wholesale manufacturers, traditional multi-brands, digitalfirst direct-to-consumer, and traditional direct-to-consumer retailers with brick-and-mortar outlets. Respondents included CEOs, CMOs, and SVPs of marketing.

³ Statista, Most trusted advertising channels worldwide as of September 2021. The survey was conducted globally between August and September 2021, encompassing responses from over 40,000 participants. ⁴ Sprout Social, #BrandsGetReal: Social media & the evolution of transparency. Sprout Social surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers on their transparency beliefs, expectations and desires to develop a study called “From Risk to Responsibility: Social Media and the Evolution of Transparency.”