The Role of Customer Success in the Subscription Business and How to Embrace It to Excel?

It has not been long that businesses have started understanding and acknowledging the role of customer success in customer retention, smooth business process management, and ultimately, business growth. In a decade only, the customer success job has evolved and gained traction from mere account management to a dedicated business process that streamlines the workflow for other business processes as well.

In our previous articles, we already have explored what customer success is, and have argued how important is it to prioritize customer success for the growth of your recurring revenue business. This article takes on the purpose of customer success and the key roles the customer success teams and managers play in keeping the customer base intact and profitable.

Also Read: What is Customer Success and why do You Need it for Your Subscription Business Model to Succeed

Understanding the Customer Success in Subscription Management

The world is rapidly moving towards the business model based on users. Borrowing, rentals, leasing, and subscriptions are the new ways to get access to the products or services. The availability of these on a recurring basis keeps the customer associated with a business for a longer period. As long as the customer is using the product or services, it is considered an alive and potential source of revenue earning in the process of subscription management.

This is why understanding the customer success in subscription management requires comprehending the sales funnel of the subscription business. It does not narrow down and end when the subscriber buys a subscription, in fact, it transforms into another downward funnel beginning with onboarding, proceeds to upsells or cross-sells, ensures customer retention in the end.


The role of customer success begins when the customer shows intent to become a part of your subscription ecosystem. From acquisition to onboarding to upgrading to retaining, it is the customer success department that shows its determination and commitment towards the interests of the customer for its success and aligns departments on the customer success strategies.

As we can see in the top and bottom funnels of the subscription business, it has a more crucial part to play in customer retention and extending the customer lifetime value. The role is not limited to nurturing the customer relationships and expectations and managing the sales accounts for their clients, it is more oriented towards providing a smooth customer experience from across the departments by streamlining communication, coordination, and collaboration at every interaction point of a business.

Customer success teams or managers would eye on some significant customer stats and analytics to make their moves, removes frictions from their customer’s subscription pathways, and ensure their success which includes:

  • The position of the member in a lifecycle
  • The phase progress of the customer lifecycle
  • The Cost of Acquisition (CAC) of a customer or their customer base in a quarter or year
  • The Average Revenue Per Unit or Per User
  • The interval between acquisition and profitability
  • Importance of referrals
  • The frictions in a subscription lifecycle that can cause churn
  • The extra mile support to make the most of the product
  • The upsell/ cross-sell opportunities
  • The likelihood of re-subscription and the approach
  • And more.

Also Read: Are You Prioritizing on Customer Success Management? DO IT NOW to Grow Your Subscription Ventures For Consistent Streaming of Recurring Revenue!

The Key Roles of Customer Success

The ultimate goal of customer success in the subscription management process is to become the advocate of the customer in order to keep the retention rate high and revenue streaming strong. And, the customer success managers ensure customer satisfaction, facilitate them with success in their requirements and needs, and bring more revenue from the retained clients by influencing them for upsells, cross-sells, or re-sells.

These goals can be achieved by defining the different roles of the customer success at different stages that include:

  • Taking customers on board by providing them all the tools and training to begin their journey with your product.
  • Providing customized training and tech. support helps to build personal relationships with them. Helping them with exclusively tailored business solutions related to your product convinces them to continue using your product.
  • Gathering and leveraging customer feedback is also an essential task customer success managers or teams do. It allows them to analyze the pain points, business opportunities, and insights for product development, sales, and marketing teams.
  • Strengthening the communications with customers is the key to keep them connected. Instant availability of support via any means adds value to your services.
  • Customer Success Managers or CSM is an advocate to the customer. Advocating for the customer interests makes him a valuable source to develop a customer-oriented approach.
  • Customer accounts management refers to the management of the sales, upsells, cross-sells, and resells opportunities associated with a customer. It also deals with recurring billing and payments management and the required guidance and support.
  • Customer success also has a role of a firefighter. It is the source of the extinguishment that resolves the customer disputes from the end of a company.
  • Keeping an eye on the subscription lifecycle and subscription analytics enables the customer success managers to detect anomalies in the health of a subscription. The CSM can detect the bottlenecks in the upgrade of a subscription, identify the revenue leakages and their reasons, and formulate strategies to mitigate them.
  • It is also the job of the customer success team to keep their customers updated for any of the latest development in the product or company related to customers, their billing or payment statuses, etc.

Also Read: 7 Secret Ingredients to Take Over the Market and Chase Stellar SaaS Customer Experience the Right Way

Embracing the Customer Success

Now, when we have understood the role of the customer success and customer success managers in providing success to the customers and company, it is more important to learn how to embrace the role and make it functional at every customer interaction points. Here are the simple ways that can help you to create and designate dedicated place and role for the customer success teams or managers:

  • Identifying and Defining the Objectives of Customer Success

The role of customer success seems to have coincided with many jobs for sales, marketing, support, finanaces, etc. However, the SaaS companies must know to differentiate between their roles by identifying and defining their objectives. From acquisition to retention, the customer success teams or managers coordinate and collaborate with different departments and communicate with customers as well. They are here to remove frictions from the processes.

  • Building a Robust Customer Success Team

Customer success can be established as a dedicated department or the role can be assigned in every department. Each company has to roll out its approach to build a team around customer success. In general, there are four different types of CSMs:

  • Domain Experts
  • Technical Experts
  • Consulting and processing Experts
  • Organization and Execution Management Experts.

Recruiting the right talent for customer success management requires having a propensity for customer success in the line with the success of the company. Moreover, equipping them with the right tools and training improves their tendency to deliver.

  • Segregating and Outlining the Customer Success Managers’ Roles

The broad categorization of the customer success goal is not enough. Segregating and outlining their roles in each department or at each stage enables them to gain insights into the customer needs and provide the solutions, accordingly.

  • Empowering the Customer Success Managers

Customer success manager is required to be equipped with necessary tools and training that include real-time access to the subscription management platform, sales and marketing pipelines, customer support and services, etc. Creating an onboarding process further streamlines their jobs. Above all, segmenting your customers and assign the segment to a customer manager brings more efficiency in customer success management and improves overall retention rates.

Also Read: Leverage Subscription Management Platform for One-Window Operations and Attain Business Excellence

Help Your Customers Succeed—Extend the Customer Lifetime Value

Business thrives when the customer successes. Striving for the success of the customer is the way to build a bigger and better subscription business with more revenue and customers. The more customers are satisfied, the better the reputation of the business will be.

Customers having a good experience at every stage of their lifecycle can become a great source of referral and advocacy for B2B as well as B2C businesses. It ultimately reduces the marketing and sales efforts and resources to acquire more customers and accelerates the revenue growth without expanding more resources into business processes or customers.

This is why your customer success manager is the chain that binds the success of customers with the success of your company. The CSMs make sure that every customer gets the most of your product and service and plays role in the success of your company, too.

Hire, equip, and retain the right talent for customer success and prepare them for wearing multiple hats and provide the best support, experience, and service and tap success for them.