What Is Customer Success?

A 2023 Guide for SaaS Companies

What Is Customer Success?

If there is one word that sums up the SaaS industry in 2023, it would be “customer-centric.”

Whether you're a legacy player looking to keep up with the Joneses or a startup just entering the market, customer success has quickly become a vital part of the business.

But what is customer success, exactly?

What should your company do to ensure its customers are successful?

And where will the SaaS landscape be in 2023?

Never fear – we've got you covered.

In this guide, we'll outline everything you need to know about customer success and how to make sure your SaaS company remains competitive well into the future.

So pull up a chair, and let's get started!

What Is Customer Success in SaaS?

At its core, customer success is the practice of helping customers use your product to get value out of it. It's about understanding the customer's needs and helping them reach that goal. 

Customer success is focused on creating a mutually beneficial relationship with your customers, where they get value out of your product, and you get value out of their loyalty.

In the SaaS world, we can break down customer success into three core components:

  1. Onboarding: Make sure customers understand how to use your product and have the tools they need to succeed.
  2. Retention: Keeping customers engaged and using your product and understanding what causes them to churn.
  3. Customer Support: Making sure customers get the help and guidance they need to be successful.

Together, these three components form the foundation of customer success in SaaS. With the right processes and systems in place, you can ensure that your customers get maximum value out of your product and keep them returning for more.

Why Do You Need Top-Notch Customer Success?

By 2023, customer success will become an even more integral part of the SaaS landscape. Companies that proactively put customer success at the forefront of their operations will be well-positioned to capitalize on the ever-evolving SaaS world.

Having a customer success team in place will allow you to build lasting relationships with customers, uncover customer insights, and drive long-term growth. Plus, it'll help you stay ahead of the competition by understanding what customers need and how to deliver it.

Some other benefits of customer success include:

  • Cost savings: Having a customer success team in place means you'll spend less time and money on onboarding, support, and churn management.
  • Improved customer experience: A customer success team can help you understand your users better and provide them with a more personalized experience.
  • Better insights: A customer success team can help you gather customer data, providing valuable insights into how your product is being used and how you can improve it.
  • Less churn: By understanding the customer's needs and providing them with the support they need, you can help minimize churn.

As you can see, customer success is an integral part of SaaS – and it's only going to become more so in the years to come.

What Is the Difference Between Customer Service and Customer Success?

Customer service and customer success may sound similar, but they are two very different concepts. 

Customer service focuses on resolving issues or providing help when customers need it, while customer success is focused on helping customers get the most out of your product.

In other words, customer service is reactive, whereas customer success is proactive. Customer service works to fix problems, while customer success works to prevent them.

Customer service helps customers when needed, while customer success focuses on ensuring they get the most value from your product.

This can include proactively reaching out with tips and best practices to ensure the customer is getting the results they expect.

Some other key differences include:

  • Customer service is focused on resolving issues and helping customers with their immediate needs. In contrast, customer success looks at the bigger picture and works to ensure customers' success over the long term.
  • Customer service focuses on technical support, while customer success focuses on customer satisfaction.
  • Customer service works to put out fires, while customer success helps customers reach their goals.

In short, customer service is part of the customer success puzzle, but it's only one piece. 

Customer success takes a more holistic approach to ensure customers get the most out of your product. 

That's why SaaS companies need to invest in customer success to maximize customer loyalty and satisfaction.

What Are the Five Core Principles of a Successful Customer?

Effective customer success is built on the following five core principles:

  1. Listen to customers: It's essential to listen to and understand customers' needs and goals, so you can deliver the value they're looking for.
  2. Proactive outreach: Reaching out to customers proactively allows you to identify potential issues before they become problems.
  3. Empathy: Customers need to feel that their success is essential to them. Empathy and understanding will go a long way in developing trust and loyalty.
  4. Align goals: You need to be in sync with customers' goals to ensure they get the best results from your product.
  5. Measure success: Tracking key metrics and customer feedback will help you understand what's working and where there is room for improvement.

By following these core principles, you can ensure that your customer success team is meeting your customers' needs and helping them get the most out of your product. 

That, in turn, will lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty – which is essential for any SaaS business's success.

Customer Success FAQs

Before we wrap up, here are a few frequently asked questions about customer success in SaaS.

Is customer success a sales or service function?

Customer success is neither a sales nor a service function. Instead, it's a combination of both – customer success teams use sales techniques to help customers get the most out of their product and use service techniques to resolve any issues that might come up.

What are examples of customer success activities?

Examples of customer success activities include:

  • Proactively reaching out with tips and best practices.
  • Providing training and onboarding assistance.
  • Helping customers troubleshoot issues.
  • Setting up regular check-ins to ensure they get the most out of their product.

How do you measure customer success?

Measuring customer success is essential to ensure that your customers get the value they expect from your product. You can measure customer success using customer satisfaction scores, renewal rates, and usage data.

Some other common metrics include:

  • Net Promoter Score
  • Customer Lifetime Value
  • Churn Rate
  • Retention Rate


Customer success is essential to any SaaS business, as it helps maximize customer loyalty and satisfaction. 

To ensure successful customer service, it's vital to follow the five core principles outlined above and to track key metrics to measure customer success. 

By following these principles and tracking metrics, you can ensure that your customers get the best possible experience from your product.


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