How Mature is Your Customer Success Team? Try This Customer Success Maturity Model

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Cassie Wilson
Cassie Wilson


So, you’ve built an amazing product and you just know your customers are going to love it. Except, there’s one problem: you’re receiving customer complaints.

customer success maturity model

You have two options: you can handle the complaints and move on with the other tasks on your plate, or you could take the time to resolve the issue and look into what caused it.

If you’ve chosen to invest the time to look into the issue and find out what caused the problem, you might consider implementing a customer success maturity model.

In this post, we’ll discuss what a customer success maturity model is and offer tips and suggestions from experts to create your own model. Let’s dive in.

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What is the Customer Success Maturity Model?

A customer success maturity model is a framework designed to help companies examine their customer success strategies and operations and plan for ways to improve and scale them. This model breaks customer success maturity into four main stages:

  • Stage 1 — React: In this stage, customer success teams respond to customer complaints and issues as they arise. Typically, teams have little customer data to work with, and customer engagement is low.
  • Stage 2 Define: In the defining stage, companies structure and organize customer teams, define individual roles in the support process, set goals, and track performance data and benchmarks to help guide decisions. Understanding the customer and their needs is the goal.
  • Stage 3 Manage: With metrics in hand and goals set, customer success teams can be proactive in their efforts. Teams can take strategic measures to intervene and engage with customers. With customer feedback, teams can refine and improve their customer success strategies.
  • Stage 4 Optimize: At this stage, a seamless customer experience is the driving factor of all business operations, including sales and marketing.

It’s helpful to think of a customer success maturity model as a set of building blocks.

Léo Blanc, customer success manager of SubMagic, says, It’s like building LEGO sets, where you start with simple pieces and gradually learn to make more complex creations.”

According to Blanc, businesses start by learning basic ways to satisfy customers. From there, teams “use the customer success maturity model to learn more advanced ways to keep customers loyal and engaged with your tool, your team, and your brand,” Blanc says.

Customer success is paramount to your business’s success. Think about it: happy customers lead to a strong user base. So, providing proactive top-tier customer service to help your customers confidently use your products and services should be the baseline for any good organization.

As Josh Royal, founder and chief visionary officer at Aventus, puts it, incorporating a customer success maturity model is strategic.

Royal says, “The Customer Success Maturity Model acts as a strategic framework, guiding businesses through the evolution of their customer success efforts — from initial, ad-hoc stages to fully optimized and integrated processes.”

stages of customer success maturity model

Maturity Benchmarks to Watch

If you’re just starting to plan your customer success maturity model, you’re going to need to begin tracking key performance metrics. These performance benchmarks will help you and your team identify areas of improvement and will help you understand how you can become more proactive in your customer success efforts.

Here are a few benchmarks you should track.

Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is a giant indicator of how well your customers love (or, on the flip side, hate) your product or service.

Knowing how satisfied a customer is with your company is helpful because 91% of customers will not do business with the same company if they’ve had a previous bad experience with it. Ouch.

That’s why understanding customer satisfaction is important.

Royal says, “Measure how satisfied customers are with your product, policies, or service through surveys or feedback mechanisms.”

Reach out to your customers by email and ask them to participate in a customer satisfaction survey. You can also send your customers a survey link at the end of every interaction, for example, at the end of a chatbot conversation.

Collecting this data can provide your team with valuable insights on necessary improvements you should make to help your customers be more successful.

Churn Rate

Churn rate measures the number of customers who have unsubscribed or canceled your service during a given time period. For companies that operate on a subscription model, understanding how quickly customers ditch their product or service is vital to uncovering lapses in customer success.

Blanc says to ask yourself this, “How many customers leave your product after one month?” After implementing changes to your customer success strategies, measure again.

According to Blanc, “This is the main point that will help you determine whether your changes are beneficial to reduce this [churn] rate.”

Customer Retention Rate

Customer retention rates and churn rates often go hand in hand. While a churn rate measures the number of customers who leave your company, customer retention rates measure the number of customers who stay.

Royal says, “A high retention rate is indicative of strong customer loyalty and satisfaction.” It’s helpful to understand both your churn rate and customer retention rates. Comparing the two numbers will help you determine if you’re gaining more customers than losing them.

You want your customers to stay for obvious reasons. However, the cost of acquiring new customers is often much higher than the cost of retaining existing customers.

So, not only is customer retention smart from the customer loyalty perspective, but it also helps increase your bottom line, making your customer retention rate worth knowing.

Customer Lifetime Value

Customer lifetime value represents the total revenue a company can expect from a single customer over the entire relationship with that customer.

Royal says to “calculate the total value a customer brings to your business over their entire relationship with your company.” And because retaining a customer is more cost-effective than acquiring new ones, understanding a customer’s lifetime value can be a big motivator to implement and improve customer success strategies.

Support Ticket Response Time

Tracking the time it takes your customer service team members to respond to a support ticket is a helpful number to know — and an easy issue to improve with the right strategies in place.

The data shows that 46% of customers who contact a customer support team expect companies to respond in less than four hours. That sounds reasonable enough, right? However, a recent SuperOffice survey found that 62% of companies do not respond to customer emails.

Talk about frustrating! Blanc says, “The majority of tickets created by customers won’t be about how good your product is. These customers may face technical issues, and we know patience has limitations.”

It might sound simple, but responding to and helping customers when they have an issue is a great way to build loyalty. Set a timeframe and track how long your customer service team takes to respond to customer support tickets. Then, use this information to help plan your improvements.

Feedback Volume and Quality

When tracking support ticket response time, pay attention to the kinds of feedback your customer service teams receive and the quality of the feedback. Messages of praise let you know your company is doing something right. However, negative feedback indicates a customer success issue.

Blanc says to ask yourself this: “How many suggestions do you get from customers? And most importantly, which suggestions are the most asked?

Collecting and analyzing customer feedback can point to a breakdown in your customer service pipeline.

Net Promoter Score

Did you know that 90% of customers say they consider reviews before making a purchase?

It’s true. And, not only that, but 74% of customers find that reading reviews and ratings is the best way to learn about a product or service.

So, what your customers say about your business to others is vitally important to customer success. Terrible ratings and reviews will deter new customers from taking a chance with your company.

That’s why it’s helpful to know your company’s net promoter score. Royal says a net promoter score can “assess customer loyalty and likelihood to recommend your product or service to others, providing insights into overall satisfaction and advocacy.”

If your net promoter score is unsatisfactory, then you know you have areas of improvement to work on.

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How Maturity Affects Performance

Understanding the frustrations of your customers and wherein the customer pipeline issues occur is necessary for your customer success team.

One of the most significant benefits of a customer success maturity model is that it creates alignment between your customer support team members.

Royal says it “establishes a unified direction for the entire team, ensuring everyone understands and works towards the same customer success goals.” With defined goals and responsibilities, your customer support team can work cohesively to support your customers.

Second, strategically working to improve specific benchmarks, such as ticket response time, helps increase customer retention.

According to Blanc, customer retention is the highest priority. Blanc says, “Retention is the new black, as with every business worldwide. Once you understand where your customer maturity is at and create actionable processes to improve it, the retention rate will increase.

A third benefit of a customer success maturity model is that it places the customer at the center of all operations. Royal says it “cultivates a customer-first approach throughout the organization, strengthening customer relationships and loyalty.

According to Blanc, customer loyalty is important because “the more mature your business is regarding customer success, the better the relationship with your customers. We often underestimate word-of-mouth, but it can be the most important acquisition channel.”

How to Use the Customer Success Maturity Model (+Expert Tips)

how to use customer success maturity model

Focusing on your customers’ success is critical to the success of your business. If you lack a customer-centered approach, here are five steps to create and implement your customer success maturity model.

1. Assess the current situation and identify areas of improvement.

Before you can establish and implement improvement strategies, you need to first understand where your customer service stands.

Shehla Yamani, an experienced customer success leader, suggests assessing the current situation is vital to creating a successful customer success maturity model.

Yamani says that “by discerning their current stage, teams gain insight into their strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. This awareness enables them to tailor their strategies and actions accordingly, facilitating a smoother transition towards higher levels of maturity and effectiveness in delivering customer success.

Take the time to assess your current situation and brainstorm relevant metrics that will help you gain insights into your customer success performance. Think about tracking metrics like churn rate, retention rates, and ticket response times to name a few.

These metrics will provide valuable insights to your customer success team, identify areas of needed development, and provide a baseline for improvement.

2. Establish a customer support team.

Whether you’re a brand new company or you’ve been grinding away for a while, you need to establish a team of employees dedicated to taking care of the needs of your customers.

Having a dedicated team focused on ensuring the success of your customers is paramount to improving your churn rates, customer retention rate, ticket response times, and achieving your company’s goals.

Blanc thinks a dedicated team is the key to a company’s success. Blanc advises the following: “Don’t be afraid to invest time and money if you use a customer maturity model. At Submagic, 30% of our team is dedicated to customer care, and we always follow new trends and processes to be closer to our clients while growing and reaching our product goals.”

3. Create an action plan.

Once you’ve established a team of customer service professionals, it’s time to brainstorm a clear action plan to help you and your team reach your goals.

Using the baseline benchmarks that you’ve collected, define clear, achievable objectives that your team can work on to implement and improve. It’s important to remember that your objectives should be SMART goals — or specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

SMART goals can help your team stay on plan.

4. Measure and monitor success.

The results of your customer success maturity model likely won’t flourish overnight. Instead, you’ll need to measure and monitor your objectives to see any fluctuations in your benchmark metrics.

Royal understands the necessity of keeping a pulse on your customer success maturity model. He says, “Make it a habit to periodically check in and recalibrate where your company stands on the maturity model. Customer expectations, market trends, and your own team’s skill set are always in flux.”

And since expectations, market trends, and skills sets are constantly changing, it’s okay to make changes to your customer success goals, too. The important thing to remember is that a maturity model is meant to help you improve your customer success, and the best, most relevant improvements come from continuously monitoring customer data.

5. Promote a customer-focused culture.

It may take a while and a lot of trial and error, but as you learn what works and what doesn’t, encourage your employees to keep a customer-centric mindset. Ultimately, your customers and their experience should be at the forefront of every business decision you and your team make.

Your Customer’s Success is Your Success

No matter where you are in your business — whether you’re a new company or an established brand — you can take the necessary steps to implement a customer success maturity model to continue the success of your business.

Besides, the heart of every successful business is happy, successful customers. And by creating and implementing a customer success maturity model, you and your team can help turn your customers into loyal champions of your brand.

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