Customer Success: Why is it essential during a crisis?

Customer Success durante a crise

Do you know what a Customer Success team does? This article will help you stay up to date on the importance of CS management for a company.

What is Customer Success?

According to world-renowned Lincoln Murphy, considered the father of the field:

“Customer Success is when your customers achieve the desired results through interactions with your company.”

Research shows that a new customer costs 7 times more than retaining an account that is already yours. And the cost to acquire a new customer (or CAC) is usually high. Knowing this, companies realized that it is much cheaper to generate value and retain customers than to invest more in sales.

It is not about closing the door to new customers. 

Maintaining a balance between getting new ones and taking good care of the ones you have is the key. Just like a machine: the Sales team works hard to bring in new clients, while the CS team retains and engages customers that are already there.

This raises another possibility. Your customers can also be a source of new consumers. How? It happens through referrals. As well as giving weight to your portfolio.

How did this strategy emerge?

The Customer Success tactic emerged, initially, as a Saas (Software as a Service) strategy. The goal was to keep customers in portfolios for a longer period, providing a more robust and secure revenue base.

To be able to achieve this, it is necessary to engage consumers. You need to support them so they feel satisfied with the product or service offered. They need to see value in your solution and the results it can provide.

The consumers need (a lot of) help before they notice these results. From the beginning to the end of their journey, they need to be guided, and you need to show them the path to success.

Yes, some customers stand out, have incredible autonomy, and do not need as much monitoring. But they will still need you; they all do. Among other things, you can:

  • answer questions and doubts
  • offer training
  • help with metrics 
  • help them map specific results

All of these (and other) actions are even more important in times of crisis because that’s when your customers need to draw more value from the tool they’re investing in. 

Or worse, that’s when people and companies tend to cut spending on services that seem superfluous, and it’s your job to prevent them from feeling that way about your product/service.

Why is Customer Success essential?

Check out 4 reasons why Customer Success is a key team during periods of crisis:

  1.   A drop in sales

One of the first things that happen in a crisis, such as the one we’re experiencing right now with COVID-19, is the drop in products and services sales. Consumers become more cautious in their spending and make slower investment decisions. They compare every new investment to other expenses, such as team salaries, for example.

  1.     More demanding customers

Your customers will be very critical of your solution, like never before. They will judge the experience and will analyze the relationship and results.

  1.     Clients will need (more) help from you

Customers need to see that you are there to help them succeed. They will surely remember this support. So you should understand your clients’ needs and have a detailed plan to help them.

  1.     Expenses review

Customers are keeping an eye on every tool and solution they use. So they will analyze closely the value and cost of each one. That is why it’s so important to show how much they can get from your tool. Show that your product is far above average. 

Retention should be the watchword 

According to research by the North American company Gainsight, CEOs and CFOs from different companies believe that the request for account cancellation (churn) will get to, at least, 3%. And may reach up to 20% of their projects’ monthly revenue.

Also, 85% of them plan to increase their Customer Success teams quickly to mitigate such risks.

How to strengthen the Customer Success team (and retain your customers)

Leverage communication through automation and tech-touch

During a crisis, teams need to do more with fewer resources. So the more you automate, the easier it will be to keep priorities running at full speed:

  • create a journey for your customer
  • write accountability emails
  • call to make personal contact
  • schedule online meetings

Review and boost NPS (Net Promoter Score)

Use health scores to identify what your team should focus on. If you don’t have enough resources for your CS team to assist all your customers right now, focus on those who are at risk, such as:

  • customers that you anticipate may not renew the service
  • customers who are not adopting or prioritizing your tool
  • customers who are complaining about your product or service

If you don’t have a health score yet, it’s time to start thinking about getting one.

Build strategies for renewals and discount negotiations

Use all the information you have to create strategies and playbooks. Communicate with customers, whether proactively or reactively, and make sure that the process you set is being followed consistently by your entire team. 


Now it’s time to get in touch with your clients, understand what they’re going through, and if the crisis is hitting them negatively, or even positively. Use emails and personalized messages, but don’t communicate exclusively via email. 

Use SMS, Slack, WhatsApp; nowadays we have a lot of tools to work with. You can also promote training, forums, or webinars. What you need to do is develop a closer relationship with your consumer.

Written by
Isabelle Wuilleumier Salemme
Head of Customer Support @Pipefy. She uses her extensive Pipefy knowledge to help users make the best of Pipefy via support and writing informative content pieces. Besides being in charge of support, she's an avid reader, a coffee lover, and a professional photographer.

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