Customer Success

Like software products, consulting products need “customer success” treatment

In Lost and Founder, Rand Fishkin tells the story of the “Customer Success” role at Moz. For Moz, it was an answer to long-seated problems caused by direct marketing-style customer acquisition, which cajoles and manipulates people from your audience into becoming customers before they’re ready.
According to, US companies are hiring 2000 Customer Success Manager positions today – even while gun and forest fires traumatize half the country.
According to Rand, Customer Success – which combines support, training, and even solutions consulting delivered soon after signup – reduces long-term churn.
That what matters to company growth isn’t new customer acquisition but new customer retention.
That if customers don’t understand exactly how to apply your subscription product to the solution of their problems, that they will eventually cancel the subscription.
This is less obvious than it seems. Because of the present-day ubiquity of SaaS subscriptions, your product now competes with dozens of others for the attention of each of your customers.
I had a client who tried to pay customers to use his product – they were too busy (not the best pricing model, by the way).
It was different when Jason and DHH launched Basecamp in 2004. For me and most of their customers, it was their only paid subscription software. There was time to learn it, to talk about it with colleagues. Now my colleagues and I use 100 products between us.

Consulting Products & Customer Success Management 

Take note if you productize your expertise-based services: your customers have to learn to use them.
I encourage you all to productize your audits, your training, your “WhatYouDo-as-a-Service”. But don’t be lulled into, “set it and forget it” thinking. The value of productized expertise is no-surprise pricing and low-friction contracting and delivery. But as with a custom consulting engagement, you still have to be creative.
Part of your creativity during month 1 of delivering your productized expertise you will allot to Customer Success Management. Maybe it’s an orientation manual and video. Or a special training call. Or extra time during your initial consulting call towards process and workflow. Whatever it is, it ensures your customer knows how to use your consulting product better than the other products in their labyrinth of books, subscriptions, courses, workshops, and seminars.
To your success,