7 Ways Customer Success Will Look Different in the New Digital Era

Expect customer success in the new digital era to integrate both human compassion and virtual efficiency.

Customers’ needs and expectations are evolving quickly in the new digital era. Our definition of customer success needs to evolve along with them. The COVID-19 pandemic shifted people’s lives online more than ever before. Customers are interacting with companies in new ways across a variety of devices. The expectation is that businesses will meet their customers where they are. Whether the interaction is in person, online or on the phone, the experience needs to be fluid and seamless.

To achieve customer success, businesses need to be agile in their service while providing exceptional customer experience. With rapid advances in technology, you can’t afford to miss a single moment with customers. The landscape has changed, and businesses must adapt or be left behind.

As customers carry out more activities online, risks rise as well – for both customers and businesses. Expect customer success in the new digital era to integrate both human compassion and virtual efficiency.

1. Bringing Empathy and Emotion to Virtual Customer Service

Empathy and subtle emotion: This is the foundation of every customer success strategy post-pandemic. Moving from a fully virtual customer service strategy towards a largely hybrid type will require slight emotional adjustments.

Copy translates differently than words spoken over the phone – and especially face-to-face. Create a list of bullet points with go-to words and words to avoid for each customer service platform.

2. An Influx of Customers Means an Overworked Customer Service Team

More customers shopping online and in store now means your customer success team will be swamped. What’s your strategy to handle the influx? Will you need more staff? A larger website server? More phone lines?

Ask your customer success staff what they would do if they had to manage another 10, 20, 30 or 100 customers tomorrow without warning. What’s the first thing they’d need? Focus on that first., then run through the rest of the to-do list.

How will you reward staff for meeting the increased demand? Extra time off? Bonuses? Workplace perks? Like the to-do list, find something everyone can agree on.

3. Customer Success Managers Will Need a Wider Range of Skill Sets

In the digital era, customer success managers will need to deal with the unique variety of managing a hybrid team. Optimal communication is key across hybrid teams. Your staff needs to communicate effectively both with customers and each other. A contact relationship management system is key here. Staff can share individual customer details, data visualizations and updates with each other as a customer calls into your service line or texts into your live chat.

Customer success managers will also need to understand how to dole out resources properly across hybrid teams and fluctuating environments. Customers expect a seamless handoff in between devices so managers should familiarize themselves with an omnichannel experience.

4. Customer Success Managers and Teams Serving as the Last Line of Defense

The customer service department is the last line of defense before a customer interaction goes from so-so to either 100% or down the tube.

Customers arrive at the live chat/email/phone call perturbed in most cases already. Your management and staff are the only ones who can talk customers back down to reality from enraged and even transform the interaction into a positive experience.

Your team’s ability to do that can make the difference between negative word-of-mouth spreading to dozens outside of your organization OR the opposite: sizable referrals.

How do you train your staff to handle the job? How do you keep them grounded with tact yet full of warm personality? That depends on the unique culture of the team.

5. Customer Success: The Job That Never Sleeps

Business runs 24/7 in 2021 and beyond – no matter where you live or operate. What is your customer success team doing to prepare for the influx of attention at all hours of the day and night?

For starters, customer success teams might adopt a new data analytics strategy to monitor trends and patterns around the globe or regions where they operate. This way, customer success teams can prepare themselves for daily or weekly surges in traffic without overdoing it on staff.

6. Customers Need Reassurance Their Data Is Safe from Infection

1 thousand million data breaches took place in 2020 – a stark drop from 1.5 thousand million in 2019. See where is this going in the post-pandemic world? Customer success departments should brace themselves now for the rise in data breaches and cyberattacks.

Data breaches cost the average company $3.86 million each. Despite the high cost, did you know it takes a whole 280 days on average for a company to identify a data breach? That can amount to millions upon millions in damage.

Customer success departments are particularly at risk due to the highly integrated environments.

Start with serious threat detection to plug up loopholes before the surge and run plenty of tests to keep it going beyond.

7. A Blend of Human and AI Chatbots for Customer Interactions

There’s no either/or between human live chats and chatbots – you need to run both simultaneously if you want to win at customer success in the digital era.

Start a customer out with a chatbot either across a social media platform, messenger service or website landing page. Once they’ve exceeded the prompts you’ve created for their unique need, seamlessly transfer the customer to a live chat with human support.

Even with the technology available, it’s still ideal to ensure customers are keen on when they’re speaking to a bot or live chat. Most customers are fine with using chatbot prompts for certain things but always give them the option to transfer their conversation and make them aware of who/what they’re “speaking” to.

Are You Prepared for Customer Success in the New Digital Era?

How did you define customer success last year? What will customer success look like in the years to come? Identify what is working and adapt with new tactics in the areas where you’re falling short.

The customer success landscape will continue to change, but your top priority remains the same: excellent customer experience. Take the actionable insights and evolve your customer success strategy for the new digital era.


  • Christopher Daniels is the chief revenue officer for Televerde, the preferred global revenue creation partner supporting marketing, sales and customer success for B2B businesses around the world.

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