Top 5 Influencers For Customer Success

…it by implementing effective customer success strategies. These pioneers push boundaries and make customer success a force to be reckoned with. What Is Customer Success? Customer success entails predicting customers’…

Zight | October 19, 2021 | 6 min read time

Article Last Updated: October 03, 2023

Top 5 Influencers For Customer Success

99% of businesses don’t focus on customer success. The remaining 1% often get their strategy wrong at first. So, here are five top influencers in customer success who are killing it by implementing effective customer success strategies. These pioneers push boundaries and make customer success a force to be reckoned with.

What Is Customer Success?

Customer success entails predicting customers’ questions and needs and proactively providing valuable answers and solutions. Customer success can help your customer support team boost customer satisfaction and customer retention, thus increasing your company’s profit margins and customer loyalty.

Thus, any business with customers must invest in customer success. Recently, it has become costly for companies to gain new customers. That’s why businesses need to focus on keeping existing customers delighted and engaged. This is because satisfied customers can become your loyal advocates.

Some of the most successful companies today are already focusing on customer success. Research shows that successful startups and growing businesses are 21% more likely than stagnant businesses to invest in customer success.

These successful emerging and growing businesses understand that the most effective way to run a business today is by making sure customers are satisfied and successful, which are both products of an effective customer success strategy.

Top 5 Influencers in Customer Success

1. Kristi Faltorusso

Kristi is an award-winning Customer Success Executive with decades of experience in transforming, building, and taking hyper-growth B2B SaaS organizations to the next level. In the past decade, Kristi has helped many businesses redefine their customer success strategy, resulting in improved customer advocacy, customer retention, and long-term profits growth.

She has managed customer success teams and customer experience teams at organizations, such as IntelliShift, Sisense, BetterCloud, and BrightEdge and she has covered customers in all segment levels, including small and midsize business (SMB), enterprise, and mid-market. Today, she is the Vice President of Customer Success at ClientSuccess. At ClientSuccess, Kristi leads and manages consulting, technical support, and customer success teams. Kristi is also the founder of CS Real Simple, a company that focuses primarily on content experience while supporting the simplification of customer success for CS leaders and executives.

Kristi believes that in order for companies to run proper customer success programs consistently and effectively, they must focus on the most important and core insights they have about their customers. She encourages her customer success teams to look at these 7 points when they’re managing customer partnerships:

  • Days since a customer’s last engagement
  • Product usage data
  • Sentiment insights and NPS
  • Customer pulse
  • Days into the contract
  • Open and recently closed customer support tickets
  • Customer relationship management

2. Keri Keeling

Keri’s passion for helping customers helped her build and deliver first-ever customer success processes and industry best practices for top global technology companies, such as Oracle, Juniper Networks, Host Analytics, VMware, Bluenose Analytics, HumanConcepts, and Maxymiser. Her experience in customer success companies stretches to domestic and global companies, including startups and well-established businesses across the private sector, public sector, and venture-held companies. She is a customer success expert and strategic thought leader who can uncover and leverage existing opportunities and implement effective customer success strategies that can drive successful and sustained contributions to business growth, revenues, margins, and customer outcomes.

Currently, Keri is the global head of customer success innovation and intelligence at VMware. At VMware, she has pioneered a strategy to measure customer sentiments at crucial engagement points across the customer journey. Also, she revamped the company’s legacy Net Promoter Score (NPS) program.

Keri believes that an effective customer success approach should 1) be grounded in customer health, and 2) put customer experience at the forefront of everything you do.

3. Jay Nathan

Jay is the founder and managing partner of Customer Imperative, a company that’s focused on helping B2B SaaS companies retain their existing customers, grow their revenues, and scale customer success. Jay is also the founder of the Gain Grow Retain and a respected personality in the customer success world. Jay also shares customer-centric growth ideas with industry leaders and executives on his podcast, targeting tech and B2B SaaS leaders.

Currently, he is the Chief Customer Officer at High Logic, a company that focuses on changing how businesses engage with their customers—through communities. Jay believes that community can play a significant role in your strategy, especially if you’re looking to improve brand awareness, create advocates, drive sales and renewals, lower the cost of customer support, and gain market insights.

After serving in several functional executive roles in customer success, services, product, and account management over the years, Jay has developed an effective method for leading, building, and scaling SaaS businesses serving a wide range of customer sizes and end markets.

Jay Nathan notes that to develop and implement an effective customer success strategy, “you have to be humble, hungry, and smart. These characteristics translate into someone who is authentic, growth-minded, and good with people.” He believes that SaaS executives must do everything to prevent their customer success managers from introducing customers as customer support resources or a point of escalation for customer service issues. Otherwise, they’ll find they have an expensive and unsustainable extension of their customer support team. However, by giving customer success a revenue of its own, you can give your customer success managers and their team a purpose while aligning them to your business.

4. Jaden Trujillo

Jaden is a University of Utah MBA candidate with a solid customer success management background. Also, Jaden is a recipient of a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Utah Valley University. He has exceptional customer outreach expansion, customer retention, SaaS, customer strategy, innovation, investment properties, teamwork, and customer management skills.

Currently, Jaden is serving as a senior customer success manager at Impartner Software, a company that delivers SaaS-based PRM solutions. Jaden believes that in today’s highly “consumerized” digital world, your customers expect that you’ll provide them a tailored experience they need, online and offline. He helps companies personalize every aspect of their customer relationship program based on performance metrics.

5. Chad Horenfeldt

Chad is a customer success executive with decades of experience building and managing customer success teams. He has helped businesses implement customer success strategies that led to exceptional growth rates, customer satisfaction, and customer retention. He has a solid track record as a creative, driven, and outcome-focused leader who specializes in hiring the best talent, building strong customer relationships based on trust, leveraging technology to improve productivity, and developing a customer-centric business culture.

Currently, Chad serves as a customer success director at Kustomer. At Kustomer, Chad leads exemplary customer success teams, including technical account managers and customer success managers.

He believes that customer success teams must provide the best experience possible to customers, making customers successful and creating loyal customers for life. To turn new customers into loyal advocates, you must:

  • Be responsive. As a business owner, you’re very busy and you have many competing priorities; however, you must respond to your customers. If you can’t respond to customer queries immediately, send a quick note and let them know when you’ll respond to their complaints and questions.
  • Be accountable. If you dropped the ball on a follow-up or your product has issues, take responsibility for it. Alternatively, you must have systems and processes in place to keep yourself and your customers on track.
  • Show value at all levels—especially early. It’s not enough to communicate with your customers and make sure they’re using the product properly. You must also ensure they’re deriving value from your product. Also, you must inform the customer executive and your primary point of contact about the value your product provides to customers. And if your customer isn’t getting value from your product, ask your customer executive and customer success team to explain the steps the customer needs to take to get value from your product.

Chad believes turning these three tips into a structured onboarding process can pay big returns. Not only will your customers be more likely to use your products, but this strategy can significantly boost the customer experience.

Final Thoughts

Customer success is truly a fascinating world because the only secret is proactivity. Typically, customer success is a long-term strategy that primarily focuses on identifying and leveraging new opportunities to help customers succeed.

The data you get from digital tools, such as predictive analytics and tech solutions, only supports an effective strategy. We hope that these influencers’ advice will maximize value from your customer success efforts.

Zight (formerly CloudApp) is a powerful customer support tool that can help your customer success team quickly provide better customer service. Companies like Basecamp use Zight (formerly CloudApp) to save time on customer support training. By using Zight (formerly CloudApp), Basecamp saves over 80 minutes per week by reducing customer support training time.

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