how to build scaled customer success

A Framework presented by Higher Logic Vanilla and Gain Grow Retain

In our business, it’s easy to get trapped somewhere between technical, practical, and puzzling. Here’s the long and short of it: We all make software. We all want our customers to be successful.

Customer Success is charged with building and managing a relationship with customers that keeps them around. We know that better experiences can act like a step ladder, boosting
customers and their success so their potential is within reach.

The below framework serves as a thought starter. For each organization, the approach may
be a little different.

Customer Support to Customer Success to Scaled Success

The driving principle behind customer success programs is to provide a set of proactive
programs designed to drive outcomes - things like how to recognize time-to-value quickly,
increase product/feature adoption, and drive lifetime value for both you AND your customers.

The field is undergoing a transformation:



Not long ago (and for some, maybe still), software companies used customer support teams to attempt to address customer pain points. This reactive approach often saw customer support buried within the sales organization, or even outsourced, and by the time customers reached the support organization they were already unhappy.

Since moving to a proactive CSM-driven model, many software companies realized the pressure
mounting on a human-led model. This
is where scaled customer success comes into play: scaled customer success allows you to utilize digital programs to alleviate the need to add more CSMs for every X accounts you add.

These shifts create the opportunity to address potential customer pain points BEFORE they arise, and drive adoption of features based on customer needs. It’s not about automating everything, but rather maximizing how and when you utilize your CSM resources.

Deliver Consistent Customer Experience

The real advantage of a well-designed scaled customer success program is the opportunity to
deliver a consistent customer experience that doesn’t fluctuate as customer success staff come and go. The program becomes foundational to your business approach. In essence, scaled
customer success done right transitions you from a ‘vendor’ to a ‘partner’.



Scaled Customer Success RACI

Maybe you’ve already made the leap from customer support to customer success but are having difficulties scaling your team. Or maybe you find the costs of making that transition daunting.  

The good news is that in the scaled customer success model, the focus is on creating an integrated ecosystem that is not reliant on just throwing more CSMs at the problem. Even better, responsibilities are shared with other stakeholders inside and outside the Customer Success organization. And the best news is customer success can impact revenue by solidifying customer retention and creating upsell opportunities.

Download the Scaled Customer Success Workbook to access our RACI worksheet, which will help you  explore how the roles and responsibilities of scaled customer success may break out at your organization.

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Customer Success Technology

Customer success technology can support your organization in several areas, including:

  • Engagement (e.g. onboarding, community, video, LMS, in-product guides, scheduling, marketing automation, messaging, AI engagement, ABM, CX)
  • Productivity & Enablement (e.g. tools for project management, collaboration, workflow management, and internal knowledge) 
  • Analytics (e.g. project metrics, data visualization, data enrichment, AI analytics) Customer Intelligence (e.g. customer success platforms, stakeholder map, CRM, call recording & analytics, VOC, success plans, ticketing, knowledgebase)

Gain Grow Retain reviewed and summarized the complete landscape of customer success technology providers in our Scaled Customer Success Workbook. This comprehensive overview may seem, at first glance, somewhat overwhelming. But there’s a good chance you already have a number of these solutions in your existing tech stack.

Download the Scaled Customer Success Workbook

Identifying Critical Solutions

If you’re just starting out, there are some critical solutions you will need. Using the “Task to Tech” model in our Scaled Customer Success Workbook, you can identify the solution you have for each critical area and who owns them. Are any pieces missing? Once your solutions are identified, you will need to determine if your systems talk to each other. Integration is key.

Building Your Scaled Customer Success Battle Plan

For each step in the customer journey, there are milestones that will serve as bellwethers to show if your customer success program is working as designed.  A successful program must ensure that your customers know about it, that they participate and find value, and ultimately that they take the necessary call to action that you want them to.  

From onboarding new customers, to feature adoption, all the way through renewal (which serves as the ultimate indicator that you’ve established trust with your customer). What scaled programs are you putting in place to ensure success at each level of the customer journey?

Download the Scaled Customer Success Workbook to access the battle plan worksheet

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A Customer Success Strategy for You

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to building scaled customer success. It will be different for each organization. But the advantages of scaled customer success and the reasons to embark on this journey are consistent - drive true partnership with your customers so that their success is your success, and do it in an efficient manner that doesn’t require heavy investments in human capital.

Download the Scaled Customer
Success Workbook


If you would like to see how Higher Logic Vanilla’s community platform can be an integral part of your scaled customer success program, let us show you a few examples


If you would like to join a community of like-minded customer success leaders
who are defining the future of customer success

Schedule a DemoJoin the Community