5 Top Influencers for Customer Success

customer success teams. Chad is also a customer success coach, and every month he spends his time coaching customer success professionals in customer-facing roles. His purpose is to help other…

Zight | October 13, 2021 | 6 min read time

Article Last Updated: October 02, 2023

5 Top Influencers for Customer Success

People need a personal connection when things go wrong. As a result, interactions lay the foundation of a great customer success experience. Excellent customer success is more than just managing onboarding, or rehearsing a list of best practices for a client.

In the past, customer success was typically regarded as a hassle and an expense that businesses had to bear, and that was just a burden on success. Fortunately, that adversarial view of customers is changing, and progressive businesses consider a customer-focused culture a core value.

Thus, customer success has undergone significant changes in recent years. Today, more businesses realize that putting their customers front and center is crucial to retaining customers, transforming customers into loyal advocates for your company, and delivering a competitive advantage.

This article will go over the top 5 influencers for customer success who can help you improve your customer success systems.

Importance of Customer Success

Typically, business owners and digital marketers believe that to scale a product company you need:

  • Highly engaged customers
  • Satisfied customers
  • Repeat customers
  • Customers who offer feedback

Excellent customer success can get those kinds of customers—more than any other function of your organization.

In a digital era, unhappy customers can quickly dent your brand’s reputation and have many competitors to choose from. More than ever, it’s vital to get customer success systems right.

“The challenge is actually quite simple (not easy) – the right mix of executives, people, and product to realize the real potential of investing in your customer’s success.” – Ellie Wu

Properly implementing customer success depends on several factors. If you’re executing customer success with a tone that aligns with your brand messaging, then you’re on the right track and will reap long-term benefits. However, to achieve these benefits, you need to define your approach to customer success carefully.

Top 5 Customer Success Influencers

1. Chad Horenfeldt

Chad is the Customer Success and Customer Experience leader at Kustomer. At Kustomer, Chad leads a team of customer success managers and technical account managers. He is also a member of the advisory board at The Success League, which is a consulting company that helps company executives build and develop top-performing customer success teams.

Chad is also a customer success coach, and every month he spends his time coaching customer success professionals in customer-facing roles. His purpose is to help other professionals achieve their goals while improving his coaching skills and customer success knowledge.

He is a customer success executive with over 15 years of experience building and developing customer success teams. This involves executing customer success strategies that have led to exceptional customer satisfaction, customer retention, and growth rates.

Chad also has a proven track record as a creative, driven, and outcome-focused leader who specializes in hiring qualified employees, leveraging technology to improve efficiency and productivity, developing lasting relationships based on trust, and building a customer-centric culture.

He believes that trust and value are key indicators of effective customer success. He teaches that trust and value are interconnected and equally important for exceptional customer success.

2. Jason Whitehead

Helping customers achieve their goals with products isn’t about technology but more about those who use it. The key to customer success is to build the capacity of the customers to adopt technology in a way that offers them value, such as improved productivity and improved revenues.

Jason believes companies can achieve great customer success by offering enablement programs to move customers out of their comfort zones. Focusing on the human side of technology adoption, change management, and value. He also believes that businesses can succeed in customer success by offering expertise in their products and empowering customers to achieve their own success.

Jason is the Co-founder at Success Chain, and he has been recognized as one of the Top 50 Influencers in Customer Success in 2021 by SmartKarrot. He is a senior executive and a proven leader with over 20 years of experience building customer success teams and programs and facilitating software adoption. Jason is also the co-host of “The Jasons Take on” podcast and webinar series where he discusses insightful conversations about customer support and customer success.

3. Ellie Wu

Having a solid grasp on the strategies that help businesses and employees deliver exemplary customer experience, Ellie is a successful Customer Success leader. She is the Vice President of Customer Experience at Bugcrowd. Also, she is a member of the Board of Advisors for Women in Cloud. She is an avid speaker and podcaster.

In her article #Misguided Customer Centricity – Want to Get Away?, Ellie notes that startups must realize customer success isn’t about the service or product for startups to succeed. They must also understand what motivates their employees. Fear isn’t a sustainable source of motivation. Fear doesn’t inspire loyalty, creativity, or anything beyond the minimal requirement. Unreasonable objectives and punishing failure are a perfect recipe for underachievement.

Ellie points out that when you’re evaluating your customer success strategy, you must audit your outcomes with your efforts to avoid your episode of Misguided Customers Centricity.

4. Kristi Faltorusso

Kristi has been recognized as a Top 30 Customer Success Influencer in 2021 by SmartKarrot. She helps B2B SaaS companies achieve hyper-growth. In the ever-changing landscape of customer success across global companies, she has spent the last decade helping businesses change how they handle customers, resulting in improved customer retention, customer advocacy, and long-term revenue growth.

Kristi has led Customer Experience and Success teams at companies, such as BetterCloud, BrightEdge, Sisense, and Intellishift and she has covered customers at all segment levels, including small and midsize business (SMB), mid-market, and enterprise. Currently, she is the Vice President of customer success at ClientSuccess, where she leads customer support, technical support, and consulting teams.

According to Kristi, businesses out there supporting customers should:

  • Be honest and avoid misleading customers and telling customers what they think they want to hear.
  • Set the right expectations. Customers want products to be specific, but if your product isn’t ready, don’t tell your customers that the product will be ready soon and try to push your production team to do something they can’t do.
  • Don’t be afraid to say “no.” It’s okay to push back, and it’s okay to provide alternative solutions.
  • Ask for help. If you don’t have the resources and what it takes to have a proper discussion with your customers, ask your assistant or manager to help you out. This is an opportunity to listen and learn from your employees and see how they approach challenges.

5. Jay Nathan

As the co-founder of Gain Grow Retain and the CCO of Higher Logic, Jay is no stranger to successful communities. His professional career has helped customers feel welcome in their brand community, creating stronger loyalty as they find meaning and connection.

Jay’s no stranger to hard work, either. He recognizes the value of sticking to strong values when things get tough. In his own words, “There’s no magic or dark art to customer success. It’s a matter of focus on just three things: Relationships, Value, and Engagement.” Jay has built his businesses around customer success with a razor-sharp focus on what’s most important.

Zight (formerly CloudApp): The Best Customer Success Software

CouldApp can help your customers and customer success teams significantly. This app can improve response times using visual communication and explanations. Using Zight (formerly CloudApp), you can transform how you respond to customer queries and provide your customers with the help they need by directing them to what you need to show them while keeping your conversations private. You can use GIFs as follows-up tutorials, an annotated screen capture with circles and arrows to highlight important details, and a webcam recording that walks your customers through the ideal solution to their problem.

However, Zight (formerly CloudApp) isn’t only effective in customer success. Sales teams can also leverage this app to improve revenue. Learn how G2 Crowd’s sales team generated over $7 million in sales using Zight (formerly CloudApp) to create personalized videos.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes, it’s all about finding the hidden insights about how customer success works, how others think and act, and what really resonates with customers.

Sometimes it takes getting valuable insights from leaders and experts in the customer success domain.

Other times, you just need to watch how your customers behave instead of taking them at their word. And sometimes you need to learn from successful leaders and experts about how they have achieved success.

Ready to chat with us about how to save time, money and help your team communicate better?