Customer Success for Large Enterprises

It was around 10 pm on a cold Saturday night, I received a rather shocking call from the point of contact of one of our clients (if you are following our earlier posts, you would know that when I say ‘clients’, I mean some of the largest BFSI enterprises of India).

The call went as badly as any Saturday night client call could go. I had handled some brutal escalations before. This one was different. I had been asked to prove how we are better than our competitors before. But the call I just got was not one of those discussions either.

On that obvious sleepless night, after a few hours of contemplating, it dawned on me: I had just received the first real churn threat of my life - and it hurt.

The Ground Rules

I will finish the story of that phone call at the end of this post. Meanwhile let me explain how we ensured that none of our team members ever receive such a phone call, and how that led us to achieve a consistent negative churn rate.

Enterprises care a lot about the experience and the value that we are delivering. More often they are not worried about how much they are spending. They are concerned about the justification and outcome of what they are spending on.

Based on this learning, we set some ground rules:

  1. Know Your Client: As obvious as it might sound, knowing your client is not quite that easy in enterprises. You might be interacting with the IT points of contact throughout the project, whereas your solution’s ROI can be best judged only by a specific business team. Sometimes, the opposite can hold true. It is entirely possible that the ROI of your solution is under the P&L of the company’s Digital Transformation Team.
  2. Accountability of Adoption: In Enterprises, the accountability of product adoption fully lies on us. We have to push the stakeholders to increase usage, come up with creative solutions to drive the adoption, and even escalate to senior management when necessary.
  3. Proactive Introspections: In most cases, enterprise clients won’t be chasing you to schedule review or feedback calls. Until it’s the time of renewal, you might not even hear them evaluating the ROI or usage of your solutions, which is fair. The decision-makers of enterprises have a lot of other core functions to take care of. Hence the feedback sessions and review calls have to be scheduled by you, proactively (sometimes scheduling a Quarterly Business Review can be tougher than getting a meeting with a new client).
  4. Deliver the need, not the demand: If your experience tells you that a use case does not deliver the expected ROI in any case, stick to your gut and politely refuse to implement it, no matter how high the demand is (trust me it would bite back later as your worst nightmare). 

Reminds me of a quote by Mr. Henry Ford:

“Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants, so long as it is black.”

The Plan until The Punch

Now that we had set the ground rules, with confidence, we developed a plan - an elaborate plan. I was certain if we follow this ‘Success plan’, we will never ever have to worry about churn or a bad NRR.

Let me show a basic outline of that plan.

[Just to give a quick context, Pre-implementation is the period when a project is finalized by the Sales team and passed over to the Operations/Delivery and Customer Success team. In our case, the Operations team leads the project implementation, and once the project is live, the Hyper care phase is initiated and the CS team takes ownership of the project from thereon.]


Success Activities


Consultation on the Use case

Consultation on implementation channels

Consultation on chatbot flows and user experience

Demo of reporting and analytics structure


Post Implementation, before go-live

User testing and experience optimization


Hyper care (30 - 45 days from go live)

Onboarding session

Training session

Stabilization catch-ups

User manual Management

Chatbot unanswered queries retraining

Unanswered queries insights gathering

Review and feedback meet - One month of go-live


Steady State

Assistance with using the Chatbot console

Business outcome demonstration

Chatbot enhancement suggestion

Consultation on best practices

Infosec related updates

Fortnightly Review meets

Product upgrade related assistance

Usage and accuracy tracking

Chatbot CSAT tracking

Consultation in case of adoption issues

New requirement gathering

Product expansion/scale-up

Product feedback tracking and resolution

Successful Renewal


The idea was, if we take care of the client throughout the year, renewal and upselling/cross-selling should be easy right? How can a happy and satisfied client not give us more business! This was a flawless plan, how could it not be!

Well, as Mike Tyson once said - everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.

Fail Again, Fail Better

Our punch in the mouth was when we realized that ‘Client Happiness’ cannot just be measured through CSAT and NPS. The outcome of CSM can not be just a happy customer on paper, it has to be a measurable metric that contributes to the company’s overall growth - Revenue.

Customer Success is not just a glorified Customer Support team. It’s a team that can enable the whole organization to achieve exponential growth. How can the Customer Success Team bring in exponential revenue?

  1. Generating Cross-sell Leads within the same client: Take the example of Acme Bank. The bank has a market cap of over 50 billion. Acme Bank has at least 200 separate products/business teams. And each one of those business teams has problem statements of their own. What we have for them, is a trusted product and team, with solid referrals from other Bank teams, ready to address those problem statements. It’s the CSM teams’ job to bring in those leads and therefore expand the account MRR.
  2. Trends and Suggestions for Better ROI: The Customer Success team is a trusted ally for the customer, and they know what would work best for a particular client. Integrating live chat to chatbot might not prove valuable for one client, while for another client it might be the best way to increase ROI. This way CS team not only increases the ROI for the client but also brings in revenue for the company through upselling.
  3. External Referrals and Testimonials: When you are working with clients in a closely knitted industry such as BFSI, referrals and testimonials can bring you lots of new business. The Customer Success team has to ensure good referrals and bring in amazing testimonials.

The best part of the revenue-focused approach is, if we aim for these outputs, client happiness would not just be a KPI anymore, it would be a necessity.

We cannot afford a single unhappy client - because that would cause us a revenue loss worth millions in the foreseeable future.


Customer Success for large enterprises is a never-ending learning curve. It’s a roller coaster ride where you never stop fighting to ensure value for and from your clients. Sometimes it is greeted with an appreciation for going the extra mile. Sometimes it receives a few harsh words on how what you did was not enough.

It has its sweet moments - every new delightful testimonial, every Quarterly Business Review where you feel proud to show a monster ROI, every new referral that tells you how much you are trusted.

Euphoria is, making the client the hero of the story (borrowing this quote from Ann Handley), and eventually, your clients start telling the story of your brand.

What happened after that Saturday night phone call? I don’t know, maybe the client did not churn in the end. Maybe they trusted us and then became one of our anchor clients, co-creating an industry-famous product with us.

Well, it does not matter, because that’s not my story to tell, after all.