Key Responsibilities: What Does a VP of Customer Success Do?
Being a VP of Customer Success in this day and age means having ownership of all customer success initiatives and, in many cases, constantly fighting for a customer-first approach to business.
Since CS is such a new business area, it’s the VP’s job to not just manage the department but prove its worth and showcase the value they bring to the customers, to the business, and the strategic, cost-efficient way in which they’re achieving it.
The VP is, therefore, one of the most challenging jobs in Customer Success. They ensure the long-term sustainability and profitability of the CS initiative, carefully watching each step of the customer journey to enable customer value-addition in any way they can and deliver the customers’ desired outcomes to the best of their ability.
- Managing the customer success department, including, in some cases, overseeing hundreds if not thousands of customer success representatives (depending on the size of the organization).
- Leading the customer success approach by establishing OKRs, KPIs, customer metrics to track, and every other measurable score that effectively gauges the performance of the entire department.
- Enabling desired customer success outcomes by aiding renewal managers and retention managers, helping to expand revenue, and contributing to the efforts to increase product adoption and other relevant CS metrics and health scores.
- Working with CS Ops to pin down customer lifecycles, correctly set the reach-out process, channels, and touchpoints, and helping the CS team work productively with these processes.
- Reviewing and adjusting all CS processes: onboarding, training, service and support, management, advocacy, upsell/cross-sell, renewals, and offboarding.
- Measuring, reporting, and analyzing others’ reports on the effectiveness of the CS initiatives.
- Recruiting, attracting, and onboarding new CS team members, helping them integrate with the team, and encouraging collaboration and learning within the group.
- Cross-functional team management, compensation management, and contributing to decisions regarding team structures.
- Approving and implementing compensation plans for the entire CS team with the goal of encouraging productivity and performance and rewarding customer-goal and business-goal achievement.
- Managing customer relationships across the entire CS team, helping others on the team maintain and improve the relationships under their purview.
- Implementing a customer-first approach throughout the organization and demonstrating the value of customer success from a business perspective
Skills and Competencies
Here are the necessary skills to be a good VP of Customer Success:
- Minimum 5 years of experience working as a Customer Success Manager, leading a customer success department with proven performance and specific revenue goal achievement (typically set by the company interviewing for such a position). Many businesses ask for 10+ years of management experience for this role.
- An MBA or related graduate or post-graduate degree is often required, with a technical undergrad degree being an added advantage. Customer success courses and certifications are nice-to-have, but experience in the field is much more important and often substitutes traditional education.
- Strong persuasion, argumentation, and diplomacy skills to manage and build consensus throughout the customer success department, its activities, and relevant stakeholders
- Expert empathy skills with high emotional intelligence, and experience in applying those skills in a business context.
- Deep understanding of software businesses, with knowledge of both the subscription and renewal models. In isolated cases, however, CS departments also exist for non-software products and services.
- Expert communication skills and the ability to hold C-level customer conversations that drive business for both parties and move the relationship forward.
- Business development knowledge and, ideally, experience growing a business.
- Strong analytical and goal-oriented mindset backed by expert-level people and project management knowledge and skillset.
- Advanced business experience and ability to create strategies, guidelines, and objectives and implement them while driving business growth and creating data-driven reports.
Advanced IT&C knowledge and capabilities and ability to learn new software tools on the job.