Customer Success Team Structure: Four Best Practices


Your customer success team structure forms the organizational backbone supporting your CS strategy. A well-designed structure can help you streamline your operations for greater efficiency to deliver your customers better results.

In this blog, we’ll share some of the most important keys to effective CS team organization:

  1. We’ll look at what we mean by customer success and CS team structure. Then we’ll examine how a customer success team is organized and how different customer success roles fit into your organizational chart.
  2. We’ll share four essential keys to structuring a customer success team.
  3. We’ll answer three of the most frequently asked customer success team structure questions.

What Is Customer Success?

Customer success occurs when your clients achieve the goals they hoped to attain when they purchased your product. Customer success teams are members of your organization tasked with making this happen through automated and manual CS management strategies. Effective CS management is critical for building strong relationships with your customers by delivering outcomes that make them want to continue purchasing your products. In this way, achieving your customers’ success is the key to realizing your company’s success.

What Is Customer Success Team Structure?

The customer success organizational structure is divided into customer-facing team members, known as customer success managers (CSMs), mid-level management personnel who supervise CSMs, and higher-level managers who oversee the department. CSMs may be divided into groups based on segmentation factors such as customer types, customer income levels, or geographical regions. This customer success org structure allows teams to leverage the strengths of individual members while remaining coordinated as a unit.

How Is a Customer Success Team Structured?

Customer success teams consist of three main functional tiers:

  • Executives who set CS department goals and policies and coordinate with other parts of your company
  • Team Leaders who report to executives and supervise customer-facing team members
  • Customer-facing CSMs who interact directly with customers and supervise customer accounts

The number of personnel occupying each level of this hierarchy depends on the size of your CS department and the complexity of your operations.

What Roles Are on a Customer Success Team?

The tiers of a SaaS company’s customer success team structure may have a variety of roles. Customer success roles may include:

  • Chief Customer Officer: The highest-ranking member of the CS team, the CCO works with the executive board to create and implement CS strategies, champion a customer-centered mindset within the company, and unify customer data to develop a comprehensive, 360-degree view of customers accessible to all team members.
  • VP of Customer Success: This person oversees the development and implementation of CS strategies, manages the existing customer base, and handles the management and growth of the CS team.
  • Director of Customer Success: The director helps to build and maintain customer relations by anticipating and advocating for customer needs and oversees the management and support of internal team members.
  • CS Operations Manager: This person manages team workflow and internal processes to ensure efficiency, supports team members in improving the individual impact and goal progress and establishes an early warning system.
  • Customer Success Manager: A CSM works one-on-one with customers, guiding them through the customer journey and fostering a positive connection. They also advocate for customers’ business goals and anticipate how to meet them and how they will change over time.
  • Customer Success Management Team Lead: The CSM team lead oversees customer success teams by tracking team performance and helping individual CSMs achieve performance goals.
  • Account Managers: These are CSMs assigned to individual customer accounts.
  • Digital Success Manager: This is a specialized hybrid CS and IT role responsible for maintaining your customer success software, integrating it with your customer journey, and managing software functions such as tracking customer data.
  • Customer Success Analyst: This specialist is responsible for applying analytics to track, evaluate, and optimize CS performance.

Not all teams will have all these roles on their customer success org chart. When companies build their CS team, they often start with a sole CS lead. As the department grows, the CS team’s structure will begin to fill out one by one. Customer success job titles for the same functions also may vary from one company’s customer success department structure to another. 

How to Structure a Customer Success Team: Four Best Practices

Customer success organizations will enjoy an optimal performance by following some established best practices. Here are four of the most critical guidelines for CS success:

1. Build Customer Loyalty

When you have a dedicated customer success team, you are empowered to focus on building one-on-one relationships with customers. You can engage them in conversations that guide them through the sales process, answer questions, and help them use your product best. Going the extra mile to guide your customer and engage them throughout their journey with your product will undoubtedly increase customer engagement and loyalty. Your customers will feel their best interests are being cared for, which, in turn, helps you achieve an improved customer retention rate. 

2. Cultivate a Customer-centric Brand Image

A well-organized CS team helps you build a brand reputation for being customer-centric. Your customer success team frequently serves as your customers’ initial point of contact. When their first experience of your brand is marked by quality service, empathy, and honesty, customers will share their experience with others, giving you word-of-mouth referrals that build your reputation and attract business.

3. Leverage CS to Increase Sales

You can use your CS team to support your sales process. When you use your CS data to track buyer behavior, you can apply this valuable intelligence to increase customer satisfaction in a way that helps identify upsell or cross-sell opportunities. For example, you can use individual customer CRM data to segment your sales offers and create personalized offerings for your clients. For best results, coordinate your CS team with your marketing and sales team to develop an integrated expansion plan.

4. Prioritize Reducing Churn

Another way your CS team can increase your sales is by promoting churn reduction. A solid customer success strategy coupled with good support positions you to increase customer satisfaction and retention, resulting in more repeat sales. This support is vital in the early stages of customer onboarding and product adoption when customers form their initial impressions of your product.

Customer Success FAQs

What Is a Customer Success Group?

A customer success group is a department dedicated to helping clients achieve their goals or a team within your CS department tasked with a specific function, such as improving your onboarding process.

What Is the Customer Success Team’s Main Goal?

A customer success team’s primary goal is to deliver customers outcomes that align with their expectations from your product and encourage long-term loyalty, repeat business, and referrals.

Who Do Customer Success Managers Report To?

Customer success managers report to mid-level management personnel such as CS operations managers.

Scaling Customer Success: What Technology Does a CS Team Need?

The 2022 State of Customer Success Industry and Salary Report found that CS teams are a crucial driver of value for businesses. Customer success teams are no longer small, niche departments but have become critical pillars of business functions. Still, though the growth of CS teams is trending upward, we found that 34% of respondents cited “lack of customer success tools” as a challenge. In fact, 92% of CS teams use more than one tool to cover gaps in their CS processes. When several different, disconnected systems are used, it can be difficult for CS teams to determine the root cause of issues like customer churn or engagement. But when a CS platform like Totango is implemented, teams can pull key customer metrics across all data platforms into a single dashboard to gain a holistic understanding of customers and seamlessly integrate customer and operational processes.

Consider adding a quality CS platform like Totango to the squad regardless of how many people make up your CS team. Totango’s robust CS platform is results-oriented and goal-focused, giving CS teams the power to set goals, create actionable steps, and get results. Plus, it’s free to start! Learn more about how Totango can help your team reach its CS goals, and sign up for free today!

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