Scaling Customer Success in 2024 — The Complete Guide (+Expert Tips)

New customers are important to every business, but there’s an important audience for every business that shouldn’t be overlooked: existing customers.

“Is the person who purchased yesterday happy? Were they successful with our product?” are concerns of businesses everywhere.

Many companies struggle to help customers truly find success with their products. Customers sign up for a monthly package but ultimately cancel, or products get returned. When retention rates are low, something lethal is happening along the path of your customer journey.

Given that we’ve all been disappointed customers at one point or another, this process is easy to understand. I was in this boat recently when I was searching for transcription software. A free program caught my eye, and after I went through the signup and video upload process, it told me that only the first 60 seconds of the transcription was actually free. I immediately canceled my account.

In the words of Chandler Bing, could I have BEEN any more annoyed? Maybe this was a bait-and-switch trick on the company‘s end. Maybe I overlooked obvious warnings and had misaligned expectations. Whatever the reason, my customer journey ended as quickly as it began, and that’s a concern for all companies.

Pinpointing exactly how to help customers achieve their desired outcomes is a big task, but you don‘t need to immediately hire a customer success manager to tackle this. There are many steps you can take to further your business goals and customer success, even with a small team and limited budget. Here’s how to start.

Table of Contents

What is scaled customer success?

Customer support is the reactive process of helping customers with a problem. Scaled customer success is the proactive process of providing customers with the resources and support they need to achieve their desired outcome with your product. This is done by creating repeatable systems that help you keep up with a growing customer base.

A customer success strategy can take the form of knowledge bases, program demos, etc., or can result in the development of entire dedicated customer success teams.

Benefits of Scaling Customer Success

Your customer base will benefit from your scaled customer success initiatives, but how will YOU benefit? If you effectively scale customer success, you can expect to see these payoffs.

Increase in Customer Lifetime Value

Customer lifetime value (or CLV) refers to the sum total of revenue that a customer generates for a company, and your odds of increasing it rise when you scale customer success.

One CEO frames it this way: it’s less about extending company reach and more about increasing the value you provide to existing customers.

“We focus on deepening our impact and ensuring each individual is getting a more enriched experience through our offerings,” says James Wilkinson, CEO of Balance One Supplements. It’s paying off in spades.

“We’ve experienced a 40% increase in our CLV over the past year due solely to our large investment in scaling and optimizing our customer success, which has reflected a huge increase in revenue from our customers over the recent years,” Wilkinson says.

Wilkinson attributes this significant increase in customer growth to customers’ high levels of satisfaction.

“We’re putting great efforts into providing a more personalized experience by collecting data and then using data analytics to improve our recommendations and support framework for our customers so that they consistently return to our brand and make more purchases,” Wilkinson says.

Gather Insightful Customer Data

If you successfully scale your customer success, you’ll gather data, insights, and ideas that will help further your business growth. The most important data to collect revolves around:

  • Customer lifetime value.
  • Decision makers.
  • Segmentation data.
  • Customer happiness.
  • Sales won and sales lost.
  • Support ticket success.

Learn more in our customer data guide.

Proactivity

When do you reach out to customer support? After you have a problem with a product. It‘s a necessary reactive form of customer support, but smart brands also support customers before there’s a problem.

Can you remember the last time a brand proactively tried to assist you with their product? I’ll wait while you think. Proactivity is at the heart of scaled customer success, and it’s a powerful way to support and empower customers to reach their potential.

Better Understanding of the Entire Customer Journey

You’ll learn an incredible amount about your customers by proactively looking at what hurdles they might experience on their journey with your product.

There are huge payoffs to examining your customers‘ experience. You’ll:

  • Understand customer expectations.
  • Anticipate success hurdles.
  • Proactively resolve problems.
  • Improve customer experience.
  • Reduce the burden on the customer support team.

This is particularly important for businesses in the startup phase. Rapid growth can unintentionally result in missing puzzle pieces, skipped opportunities, and overlooked customer health concerns.

With fresh insights into the customer journey, you can tweak your offer to perfectly meet customers’ expectations.

How to Scale Customer Success

With the benefits of scaled customer success understood, it‘s time to look at the nitty-gritty of how you improve your customer’s journey.

Create a clear onboarding process.

A key part of effectively scaling customer success is an onboarding process that sets expectations, answers questions, and anticipates customer issues. Failing to do this is costly.

One founder even says that most customer churn is the result of failed onboarding and that businesses need to be spending more time, money, and resources on building the best customer onboarding.

“This must be the most diligent part of your customer success process,” shares Ed Porter, owner and chief revenue officer of Blue Chip CRO.

Porter says that onboarding requires diligence and time investment to ensure that all buyer personas understand how they will each receive the benefit.

“Often CSMs only talk to execs, who are farthest removed from the usage of the product or service. During onboarding, the full personas need to be mapped, engaged, and have a role to play that interfaces with your company,” says Porter.

Check out this onboarding process example from Duolingo:

Example of company onboarding process from Duolingo

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Offer customer self-service.

Salesforce surveyed more than 14,000 consumers and found that 61% of customers say that, when it comes to simple issues, they prefer self-service. Once you examine the customer experience, you’ll observe where customer issues arise using your product, and you can create resources that aid them.

Customer self-service offerings can take a number of forms:

Look at this customer self-service hub example from SurferSEO:

Example of customer success efforts from SurferSEO

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A word of warning: Never eliminate human help from your process, or customer relationships will suffer. Salesforce found that 65% of surveyed customers still expected an immediate response when they contacted a company, which leads us to the next step.

Invest in customer support.

That’s right — companies can never stop investing in customer support.

In the age of never-ending AI shortcuts and frustrating customer support chatbots, providing personalized support to customers is invaluable — and profitable.

Research has found that 88% of customers report that good customer service increases their odds of becoming repeat customers. Aim to understand customer needs and provide personalized support.

Or, as this founder put it: Foster a culture of customer obsession. Dr. Thanu Jey, medical director and founder at MediBrace, encourages businesses to leverage technology but keep the human touch in their customer support.

“Remember, technology empowers, but human connection is irreplaceable. Invest in building strong relationships through personalized interactions and active listening,” says Jey.

Jey also recommends empowering your team to go the extra mile to resolve issues and exceed expectations. “By prioritizing customer success, you build a community of loyal advocates who drive sustainable growth,” Jey says.

Here’s an example of a customer support hub from Later:

Example of customer success self-service from Later

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Survey for customer satisfaction.

More than 80% of companies agree that it’s cheaper to retain customers than it is to woo new ones. The importance of customer satisfaction can‘t be overstated, but how is your company doing on this front? Without surveys, you’ll never know.

Surveys turn your customers‘ feelings into data, and you can’t effectively scale customer success without it. Once you have this data, you can:

  • Identify patterns.
  • Develop more strategic initiatives.
  • Create better service offerings.

Not sure what to write? Download our free customer survey templates.

Check out this example of a customer survey from HubSpot:

Customer satisfaction survey from HubSpot

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Share customer success.

Not all of your customer interactions need to be customer service-centric or sales-oriented. Some teams nurture their customer base by sharing success stories.

“An example of scaling customer success that we’ve applied in our company is sharing successful cases of using our product with all users,” says Aksinia Chumachenko, product analytics team lead at Simpals.

“When people see that someone has solved their problem with a product or service, it increases their trust, and they are more inclined to use this product themselves because they have seen a positive example. This is an example where scaling customer success can impact revenue, as it encourages more people to use the product,” Chumachenko notes.

6 Tips for Scaling Customer Success

One in 6 shoppers say they’ll walk away from a purchase over bad service. The cost of poor customer experience is steep. Use these tips to help you build a system that works for both you and your customers.

1. Build a customer success team.

A customer success team (CS team) is a part of your company dedicated specifically to helping customers achieve their desired outcomes with your product. While it may seem like your entire company fits under this umbrella, many workers will never come into contact with customers themselves.

Customer success managers, on the other hand, work directly with customers and help improve the customer experience, retention rates, and revenue growth. These teams can come in different shapes and sizes: some companies have an entire customer success department, while a smaller team might have one customer success leader.

When managed properly, these teams are incredibly effective: The HubSpot customer success team was able to improve revenue retention from 80% to 100% by refining how we work (here’s how).

2. Leverage automation tools.

AI can’t do everything, but it can have a huge impact on your customer success. Shubham Nigam is an advocate for AI. As a Senior Software Engineer at LinkedIn Search for four years, he worked on the search feedback in the LinkedIn app. He said that millions of daily users resulted in thousands of pieces of feedback from customers; AI made the feedback manageable.

“Using AI, we were able to categorize pieces of feedback and find the best ones to work on. The only way to scale customer success is to use AI,” says Shubham Nigam. “Convert the unstructured customer feedback data into structured data through LLMs and then give feedback to product teams to fix it.”

While not all companies can relate to receiving thousands of customer service messages per day, everyone can automate processes so they can focus on customer interactions.

See come of some of the free automation tools available in our Service Hub:

scaling customer success, Free customer success organization tools from HubSpot

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3. Use customer feedback.

Your golden ticket to increase customer satisfaction may be sitting in your inbox already. No one has insights into your product like current customers. Yes, sometimes these suggestions come from angry customers and make you feel like Ron Weasley opening a howler from his mother. Those emails still contain lightbulb moments for your customer success team.

Savvy customer success operations welcome customer suggestions. Here’s an example from the Tailwind App:

Tailwind App customer suggestion form

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I‘m a longtime customer of Tailwind, and I’ve suggested features that have eventually been worked into the platform. It feels incredible to see my customer feedback be valued and implemented.

4. Build scalable systems.

Scaled customer success relies on businesses building repeatable systems. This can leverage technology like:

Example of the chatbot builder within the HubSpot Service Hub®:

HubSpot Service Hub® chatbot builder screenshot

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Automated customer service is powerful when used correctly, but remember that managing customer relationships requires human attention and can never be completely automated.

5. Involve engineers.

Engineers don‘t know what inspires customers to buy from your company like your sales employees do. And your sales team doesn’t know the capabilities of the product backend.

“Being an engineer for 10+ years, I strongly believe that it should be an engineer directly talking to the customer and solving their issues with great speed, removing the need for the customer talking to the middlemen,” shares Nigam.

Nigam notes that this has been successful for Quest Labs AI. As the chief technology officer (CTO), Nigam leads customer success for select clients. “I haven’t heard a single complaint as of yet in the last couple of months after this strategy,” Nigam says.

6. Use Service Hub.

Not everyone has the budget for an in-house customer success organization; that’s where HubSpot comes in.

Service Hub has the tools you need to scale your customer success without the overwhelm of needing a different software for every task. Let us help you:

  • Manage contacts.
  • Track conversations.
  • Generate reports.
  • Automate follow-up communication.
  • Create customer portals.
  • Deploy customer surveys.
  • Build a knowledge base.
  • And much, much more.

Try it for yourself with our free plan or a free demo of our premium plans.

HubSpot Service Hub screenshot

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Scaling Your Success

When I‘m having an issue, and I’m put directly in touch with the customer success team, I feel confident that my problem will actually be solved. Investing in your customer success platform will make your customers feel just as valued.

Whether you’re building your customer success team or working on scaling customer success with free tools, the HubSpot Service Hub will support you and your customers every step of the way.

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