Customer Success seems very straightforward. You want to ensure that a customer reaches their desired goals while using your product or service. Simple enough. But when you start to unravel it, you see just how much effort you can pour into it in the wrong places.

A great analogy that gets passed around online is that of the spaceship. I believe that it was Brian Connell who first mentioned this to me and it has since been the only way I can visualize the customer journey.

T-minus 10, 9, 8…

Your customer is an astronaut, ready to climb aboard the shiny rocket that is your service or product. You are Ground Control thinking about everything that could go wrong and everything you will need to get them into that rocket ship, light that candle, and ensure that it reaches a safe orbit. Now you could really drag this analogy out and talk about the construction of the rocket, the selection of its crew, etc, but I want to just focus on what happens after a successful launch. So lets go.

…3, 2, 1. We have liftoff.

You have done it! Your customer is now orbiting in the spaceship that is your product. They have been trained on the basics and are pretty excited to be up there. So what do you do now? Do you shut down Mission Control? Do you leave a skeleton crew there to wait and listen for when they might have a problem? If you do, the radio is going to get quieter and quieter, then before you know it. Your astronauts are asking to bring the spaceship back down to earth, or even worse it comes crashing down.

You try and figure out what happened, but your astronauts are silent? Are they okay? How did the spaceship fail?

Even if you are great at handling the landing, it is still a landing, and those astronauts are about to walk away. Is it to find a shiny new spaceship somewhere else? Or perhaps they have decided to try a submarine next? Either way, you now have one less astronaut/customer, and you will probably never see them again.

You want that spaceship to be in orbit as long as possible and the way you do that is to have Mission Control continue to actively give advice, to monitor the state of the ship, and to give advice on how to pilot it. If they do their job right, they will extend the life of the mission and just as importantly make the astronaut more willing to take on future missions

This is Customer Success.

This is on my mind a lot lately, as I think about the state of blogging and LexBlog’s place in it. We need to make sure that we are not just giving people a spaceship, but are showing them how to use it. Because anyone can give someone a blog, the internet is full of solutions, but not everyone can make someone a blogger. So if someone has the right stuff, we need to be able to help them slip the surly bonds of earth, and dance the skies on laughter-silvered wings.