Ah Springtime… the time when college seniors find a single interviewing suit/outfit, draft a resume and set out to find work. For variety and a clear sense of purpose, I encourage people to consider a career in customer success.
It’s worth noting that the job itself didn’t exist until the last 10-20 years. Customer success is one type of job that economists predicted and anticipated when they asserted that the work world of the future would include jobs never imagined.
What’s so great about customer success? Customer success…
- Helps individuals – much has been made about millennials having a different set of values than previous generations. My view is that people have always wanted opportunities to help people because it is a way to find purpose in work. The customer success role, at its most basic level is about understanding a person’s challenges and figuring out ways to help overcome those challenges. These people come to trust your skill and knowledge and often become friends. Customer success starts very much as a grassroots movement.
- Helps customers – that grassroots movement of helping someone, ultimately helps a business. When a business uses your product more effectively or more often the value they get increases. (Think ROI improvement.) And by proving the value in one part of a company you are often able to help other areas of the business realize value. In a very real sense, customer success roles help entire companies.
- Helps your company – not only do customer success roles help their customers (as the name suggests) they also help their company succeed. These people are valuable conduits between customers (and what their challenges are) and the company building the products/services to serve their customers. If you have a mismatch between what your company does and what your customers need, the product languishes. Indeed, the company eventually dies. But, with strong customers advocates, those mismatches are eliminated.
- Offers an expansive business overview – people working in customer success roles interact across a wide swath of their company so they have an opportunity to learn a lot about how companies operate. One day the role may require you to investigate a billing anomaly while the next you may be asked to articulate a customer’s technical needs to a product manager or a technical developer. The role may require you to interact with marketing because the marketing promise is out of sync with the operational reality. In short, customer success professionals get involved in all areas of the business and are change agents who realign companies in ways that benefit customers.
The pivot point, if you are searching for meaningful work, whether you’re a college senior new to the job market or someone with experience considering a job shift, I urge you to consider the Customer Success role. It makes an impact at the individual and corporate level and ultimately benefits society. Quite rewarding by any standard.