Customer Management

Humans of CS vol. 01: Chad Horenfeldt | why CS needs to prove itself in 2024

Lauren Davis
Product Marketing Manager
December 14, 2023

Welcome to Humans of CS, a weekly column where we catalogue the opinions, perspectives, tips and tricks from todays’ top CS leaders.

Our guest this week is Chad Horenfeldt is an award-winning customer success & customer experience leader with 18+ years of experience. He is currently the VP of Customer Experience at PathFactory. Chad started his journey as a CSM on the front lines and then moved into building, developing, and leading high-performing Customer Success teams at high-growth companies. His track record includes playing an integral part as a CS leader in two successful exits: Eloqua (IPO and then acquired by Oracle for $1 billion) and Kustomer (acquired by Meta). 

Toughest moments from 2030? Toughest lesson from 2023?  

The toughest moment from 2023 was seeing talented CS/CX leaders laid off and finding it challenging to find new roles. The toughest lesson for CS in general is that a strong relationship with your customer isn't enough. You need to deliver tangible value and ensure that this is recognized by your client's decision-maker.

CS has seen quite an evolution over the past few years; what does CS look like in a typical org in today’s world?

The importance of CS has grown over time as it can be the differentiator between one company and its competitors. It should be the voice of the customer and ensure the customer is represented in every conversation. Where it's changed the most is that it has become much more data driven. There is more data to capture and better tooling to act on that data. With the growth off more CS operations, there is a greater focus on analyzing and leveraging that data. 

What should the key metrics be for CS, apart from broadly applicable retention and growth?

Beyond retention and growth, the key metrics should focus on engagement and product adoption. You should be engaging your customers in some way - through support, your community, directly by a CSM, or via your content delivery mechanisms. You should also be able to track key adoption metrics that can demonstrate that your client is taking the right actions to achieve their business outcomes.  

Predictions for CS in 2024? How will it look for CS teams; general trends; tools, etc?

In 2024, CS will be under pressure to prove its value. CS will need to measure everything - all the activities, campaigns, initiatives etc... CS will need to demonstrate how its actions impacted retention and growth. Tools facilitating team efficiency amidst elevated workloads and unlocking insights from previously challenging data sources will garner increased attention.

In addition, tools that can improve the customer experience without increasing headcount will also be beneficial. Lastly, there will be a greater focus on generating revenue from existing customers as new business revenue will still be hard to come by. Tools like PathFactory that leverage AI to uncover potential buyers based on their content consumption can be extremely beneficial in determining which customers are ripe for expansion.

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