After an eventful year like 2021, there are bound to be fundamental changes to the world of customer success.

Old paradigms have been challenged and, as a result, have evolved. Many of the trends I wrote about last year didn’t just come to fruition this year, they’ve evolved and shifted along with the customer success space.

With over 90% of organizations having a dedicated CS position in their company (The State of Customer Success 2021, report by TSIA), it’s clear that businesses around the world have adapted to include both CS mentality and personnel into their ranks.

Now comes the most pressing question on our minds: how will the 2022 customer success trends look?

1. Customer Success Teams Will Grow

I knew from last year’s customer success trends that CS teams will grow and that people to occupy those positions will be in high demand. However, nobody could anticipate just how many CSM jobs would enter the market.

Back in August, the CS world was taken by surprise by the announcement that IBM & subsidiaries would be adding upwards of 700 customer success manager jobs by the end of the year.

It doesn’t take a visionary to predict that this growth will continue exponentially & that those who don’t have any customer success initiatives will be left out to dry.

2. DX Will Bring Smarter Integrations

Digital Transformation (DX) is on a steep upward trend, with predictions placing the DX market at $1.2 trillion by 2026.

The race is on to integrate new and exciting SaaS into customer success workflows. This will kick the data coming from CS into overdrive. More valuable, more actionable, and easier to obtain – the quality of insights gathered by CSMs will be the differentiating factor to stand out in the SaaS world of 2022.

3. Playbooks Will Become More Advanced

Let’s consider the next logical step beyond these integrations. Building upon the new and exciting data, CS teams will undoubtedly optimize their playbooks to be even more customer-focused.

Gone are the days when you didn’t know anything about how your customers use your product. In 2022, there will be a renewed focus on customer data, going as far as possible to understand common behaviors and act proactively to support them, as is the mantra of customer success.

Of course, this means onboarding new CS people, making them understand the highly-customized playbooks is going to take a lot of time for customer success teams. You might want to prioritize writing down clear-cut internal processes.

4. Onboarding & Offboarding Processes Will Be Better-Defined

Onboarding is traditionally the CSM’s job, and it will forever be an area of improvement for the entire department. For 2022, a survey of 113 customer onboarding & implementation professionals found that the focus will be on:

  • Seeing insights & patterns across projects
  • Making customers more accountable for their work
  • Improving overall customer experience
  • Automate & control templates for project plans & documents

Offboarding, however, is slowly turning out to be equally important, if not more in some cases. After all, how will you ever know why churn happens unless you gather data from customers that are leaving or thinking about leaving.

We’ve seen this with our customers & have firsthand experience into how to perfect offboarding:

  • Implement surveys for churned customers.
  • Gather data from your customer success software.
  • See friction points & areas that lead to churn.
  • Divide churned accounts into categories, sorted by what you can do to help them.
  • Have counter proposals ready for each category (discounts, reactivating trials, etc)
  • Improve & optimize both the product and all other customer touchpoints based on the feedback you gather from offboarding surveys.

5. Customer Success Budgets Will Increase Exponentially and Around the World

As teams, processes, and tasks related to customer success increase, so will the spend on customer success. This will probably lead to better resource allotment for the entire department come January – when CFOs will have learned how to better divvy up the budget based on how the CS departments spent their money over this past year.

Customer success improves retention & loyalty. And the financial value of customer retention & loyalty over acquisition has been proven time and again & from many different angles:

  • it’s 25 times cheaper to keep customers than get new ones
  • a 5% increase in retention drives profits up anywhere from 25% to 95%
  • existing customers are 50% more likely to buy new products or services
  • plus a lot more stats that all serve to prove the same idea

The more executives understand these already tried and tested statistics, the more budgeting for customer success will trend upwards.

Not only that, but it’s clear from a recent South-East Asia Customer Success Survey that C-level people are prioritizing Customer Success across the globe. And it’s fair to say budget increases will undoubtedly follow suit.

6. One-on-one Video Calls Are Becoming the Preferred Method of Support

It’s no surprise that video calls for customer support are growing at an increasing pace. After videoconferencing has been normalized by the pandemic, more and more customers started to accept video calls as normal for support.

Between March and May 2020, there were reports of a 500% increase in video calls with customers in the Banking sector, and a 365% increase in video calls in B2B account management. Over the whole year, we saw video calls for customer service increase by 70% in Europe.

That growth has likely stabilized over 2021, but one thing’s for sure: we’re not going back. Customer interactions have fundamentally shifted towards video & customer success has already done the same. All that’s left to do now is for all the CS managers & their departments to catch up and prioritize video interactions over phone calls, chats, or emails.

7. The Power Will Reside in the Metrics

All the trends mentioned up to this point have some connection with customer success data:

  • Teams will grow because account data will showcase the need for more people
  • DX will rely on existing data & itself produce innovative types of account metrics
  • Playbooks are built upon data
  • Onboarding will require good data to support the focus on seeing insights and patterns
  • Good budgeting is reliant on good data

This only serves to emphasize the need for good CS metric trackers & highly-relevant customer health scores. Dependable customer success dashboards with customizable KPIs & layouts could very well be the difference between a SaaS that survives and one that thrives.

8. SaaS that Don’t Do Customer Success Will Suffer

With SaaS customer churn rising constantly and 67% of customers confessing to high standards for good CX, it seems those without a serious customer success effort will be struggling in 2022 and onwards. aren’t looking too good in 2022.

So unless you already have a well-defined CS department, you need to place more effort into creating one:

  • If you don’t have any customer success initiative, now is the time to start
  • If you have a customer success manager, invest in a good customer success tool
  • If your CSM is overwhelmed, consider expanding the customer success team
  • If you already have a customer success team, focus on optimizing your customer success process & write down tasks, procedures, and roles

Thought 2021 was a big year for customer success? Wait until you see 2022!

I believe customer success has claimed its domain in the business world, and is now essential to the healthy development of any company – even non-SaaS.

Everyone knows the pandemic has increased customer expectations. It’s something that continues to hold true as we go into 2022. And customer success will continue to support & nurture those expectations.

What are your predictions for 2022? It’s always interesting to see what true CSMs think, so share this on LinkedIn & don’t forget to tag me in your posts!


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