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  • Writer's pictureLinda Wittich

Client Success: What it is. What it isn't.

As a #fintech startup I know, you're lean during your early days, and everyone chips in whenever you have a client issue. It feels good; you created an amazing culture. Then your business starts to grow and you hire a few rockstars out of college to be your Customer Service Agents. Then it happens, someone perhaps on your board or just a friend in the industry uses the phrase "Customer Success". Oh, it sounds so much more eloquent than "Customer Service", so you change the name of your department. What you didn't realize is you changed the job description.

Customer Service is a literal term; it's about servicing your customers. You are there to address complaints, answer questions, and manage issues. The primary goal of Customer Service is to ensure your users are not dissatisfied. It's a critical role in your organization and protects your reputation, but it is not Client Success.

The role of Client Success is to ensure your clients, specifically, the decision-makers, realize value from your solution. It's best to think of them as an extension of your client's team, not as one of your employees. Of course, you're paying them so I'm going to infer your solution adds value and there is a direct correlation between clients' success and your success. Deploying a great Client Success strategy will grow user adoption (a/k/a revenue) and ensure resigns. Inferring that Customer Service is the same as Client Success will put your revenue at risk.

The role is actually pretty easy once you get the client to agree on success metrics. The challenge is getting clients to articulate, and then help you measure, their expected results. Success factors vary by stage: Setup, Pilot, Launch, and Success.

As CEO, you need to educate your team on the definition of Client Success and provide a roadmap for the team. I find that most start-ups prefer a one-pager versus a 50-page playbook, so think about creating something like this:

Most organizations under 100 FTEs will combine Client Success with Client Services, and that's ok. Just be sure you have the right skill set on your team, and they understand your expectations.

To personalize this primer for your solutions, email me at, and I will send you an editable template.

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