So we’ve been writing about the power of a strong, funded, dedicated customer success organization since the beginning of SaaStr way back in 2012.  While now mainstream, our early thinking on the power of Second Order Revenue, in many ways, informed a generation of SaaS entrepreneurs and the whole CS space.

But … things have changed in the past 24 months or so.

I now dread calls and Zooms with Customer Success — and I’m not alone.

Just a few of the recent emails and calls we’ve gotten:

  • A random person in CS emailed us they are increasing our pricing more than 10x.  Thank you much.
  • A VP of CS sending us an NPS survey for a flawed product, getting a low grade, and only sending an automated response days later.
  • A Director of CS we’ve never heard before telling us they’d shut off access to our product early if we didn’t agree to a 20% higher renewal price.

How many CS execs in that same time period reached out, for real, to see if they could help us?

None.  Nonce.  Zero.

There are a lot of factors at play here.  Pressure from slowing growth.  Pressure to maintain slipping NRR and slipping renewal rates.  A focus on NRR over GRR.  Price increases across the board, often handled poorly.  And the worst root cause IMHO?  Having CS report to sales.  This turns it into a sales function — not a success function.

The rise of the CRO is here to stay.  Everyone wants to be a CRO now.  But if that means Customer Success is now just a glorified upsell function — count me out.

I’m missing the good old days when Customer Success was really just about … customer success.  I no longer want to talk to Customer Success anymore.  9 times out of 10, they either don’t help, or just want more money.  No Thank You.

A related post here:

4 Recent, Very Bad, Truly Terrible Customer Success Experiences. Just This Week.

(Dreaded call image from here)

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