Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

Why customer success matters

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Think about a product you use regularly. Why do you use it? Why do you love it? What keeps you coming back?

When creating a product or service, you want your users and buyers to answer these questions with positive reactions. You hope they will get the full value of your offering and that they will have a positive experience as they use for their business. You want them to keep coming back for more.

Customer-Success-Matters

With technology companies, especially software companies, the most difficult positions to fill and keep filled are the engineers. You do not want them, or anyone else in your company, wasting time and effort on things that customers do not use.

In the 2019 Feature Adoption Report, Pendo determined that 80% of features in the average cloud software product are rarely or never used, and conversely, an average of 12% of features generate 80% of average daily usage volume. This is a stunning finding that maps with the 80/20 rule, or the Pareto principle. To put it in dollar terms, software companies in the $50 million revenue range might spend $8.4 million developing features customers rarely use. That’s too costly!

You solve this problem of creating the right features by focusing on your markets and learning why and how your customers are using your products.

With that under control, take a look at customer success. How happy are your customers? What value do your products bring to them? If they’re not happy, it’s possible that the dissatisfaction comes from using complicated, complex products with features they don’t need or care about.

In another report by Pendo, The State of Product Leadership, they found noteworthy gaps in product managers’ and product teams’ understanding of and focus on customer success. They found alignment gaps between product management and customer success teams, particularly around the shared goal of customer retention.

To improve your product success, it’s imperative that you understand how your products are affecting your customers, specifically the users; that feature requests and customer issues are surfaced and prioritized appropriately; that your company’s vendor and client goals are aligned. And most importantly, you need to ensure that your customers—once they’ve bought in to your products—get the help and support they need to stay happy and become advocates for your company.

With effort and focus, you can transform your organization to release products that are widely used by happy and successful customers. Making money on products that customers love…that’s why customer success matters!

Questions: Do customers use all or most of the features in your products? Why is customer success important to your company? Please leave a comment in the space below.


The Product Management Perspective: As the product manager you must understand your markets. Focus on building the features your customers need, and work with your success team to make your customers smile.

Note: Both reports referenced above require your name, company info and phone number. From my experience, Pendo will not abuse your information, and the articles are well worth your study.

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