2023 tested customer success. As new business and client budgets continue draw to a halt for many, Customer Success Managers (CSMs) face soaring pressure to retain increasingly cost-wary clients.

Demonstrating value became imperative with each renewal now scrutinized. Meanwhile stretched CSM capacity risked service quality for remaining portfolio breadth.

Still, the supportive community united against adversity, showcasing the heart behind the function. To gauge expectations, we spoke to Customer Success Collective’s 24 in 2024 – the 24 people who we’ve recognized as CS trailblazers – to decipher what lies ahead for the customer success community in 2024.

With clients cutting costs, how do CSMs spotlight value to protect renewals? Can automation improve strained capacity without losing loyal connections? This year you can expect to see...

Buckle up for a front-row seat to see where the hot new trends in customer success will take us next year. Here’s what our maestros predicted. 💫

Greater focus on revenue impact and outcomes

With the global economy in a precarious position, there’s a near-universal agreement that driving revenue will be a priority for customer success teams in 2024. 

Customers demand more bang for their buck, and with purse strings on the tighter side, ensuring a stable stream of revenue will be top of the bill. 

Customer success leaders foresee the function taking on greater fiscal responsibility and accountability in 2024. With the global economy in a precarious position, there will be tighter alignment to revenue goals and clearer attribution of CS impact on retention and expansion. 

Your guide to driving revenue growth with customer success
In this article, I’m going to be talking about customer success as a growth driver. I hope that what I share is going to be relevant to your daily lives and that it sparks some interesting discussions.

But we don't want to beat around the bush! We went straight to the horses' mouth to find out the real deal. 👇

There are a lot of changes on the horizon for customer success, due to the economic climate and ever-changing tech landscape, according to Samantha Blum, Director of Customer Success at data.ai:

“My biggest prediction is that CSMs will be required to be more commercially minded than they have in the past due to the extra scrutiny on budget, renewal, and upsell cycles.”

This sentiment is echoed by Marco Carrubba, Director of Customer Success Account Management at Microsoft, who predicts a revenue-led approach for the coming year:

“In 2024, we’re going to see customer success taking a greater commercial focus. CS teams will need to protect and grow revenue sustainably while getting recognized for owning business outcomes.”

For Robert Dean, Head of Client Success at ProCircular, we're likely to see organizational realignment whereby customer success will gain greater strategic precedence:

“I see a trend of more CS teams starting to report through Chief Revenue Officers (CRO). This shift underscores the need for CS leaders to effectively demonstrate their team’s contributions and the daily efforts made in customer growth and retention, highlighting the value they bring to the organization.”

2024 is set to be "transformative" for customer success, as commented by Chris Dishman, SVP of Global Customer Success at Totango:

The tech recession hit CS as a function very hard in 2023. Unfortunately, I feel this was largely due to a lack of cross-functional alignment and under-reporting on the value CS contributes to revenue retention and growth. 

“In 2024, I expect CS teams to be better aligned with revenue goals as well as take on a stronger discipline of quantifying and measuring their impact and financial success to their organizations. 

“Whether or not CS owns a revenue target or quota is dependent on the dynamics of each organization, but the attribution of revenue retention and expansion to the CS function will be critical across the board.”   

Kristi Faltorusso, Chief Customer Officer at ClientSuccess, sees customer success roles diversifying entirely:

“We’re going to see a movement away from the full-stack CSM and a shift toward specialty roles, and more division of responsibilities to increase performance and efficiency.  

“Teams will have renewal managers,
customer success operations roles, onboarding specialists, scaled CSMs, traditional CSMs and more to deliver a better experience for customers and employees while businesses focus on building sustainable success models.”

Renewals and a reassessment of segmentation are set to be the onus for businesses going into 2024, according to Matthew Gardner, Co-Founder & Director of Customer Advocacy at RouteThis:

“For SMB customers, I foresee a shift towards lower-touch models like one-to-many and pooled customer success. There will also be wider adoption of tools enabling more efficient management of lower ARR customers. The goal is to provide good experiences while optimizing resources.

“On the enterprise side, I predict that CFOs and finance teams will likely continue wielding significant influence over renewals. Customer success teams will need to get better at demonstrating quantitative value and ROI that resonates with financial decision-makers. If you can't prove your worth through financial metrics the finance team understands, renewals will be at risk.”
How customer success can steer the ship in an economic downturn
If the turmoil and upheaval of the last two and a half years have made anything clear, it’s to expect the unexpected.

The current economic climate has been noted by many bastions of customer success, and is echoed by Dhia Hayouni, Principal Customer Success Manager at Hivebrite, who believes:

“Customer success will continue to focus on delivering exceptional customer experiences. This includes personalization, streamlined interactions, and a holistic approach to understanding and meeting customer needs. This has been and will continue to be a retention-focused emphasis – especially in today’s economic environment”

The spotlight is set to be shone on customer success in 2024, according to Danielle Martin, Head of Customer Success at TryHackMe:

“Customer success will continue to move more and more to a revenue-generating function. In my opinion, to have a seat at the table in 2024, customer success teams will need to showcase their contribution not only in retention but also in their ability to expand accounts.”

Revenue generation is the talk of the town – and for good reason, champions Mike Lee, Manager of Customer Success at Avalara:

“In 2024, I anticipate that customer success will evolve to include structured frameworks with a deliberate emphasis on revenue generation. 

“While customer success may not transform into a direct sales role, incorporating sales methodologies, particularly with existing accounts, will likely be integrated into training across customer success functions. 

“Demonstrating fiscal value through metrics like net revenue retention (NRR), gross revenue retention (GRR), and overall retention will be paramount, necessitating more revenue-oriented enablement for customer success teams as the field matures.”

“Let it be known that 2024 will be the year of revenue targets in customer success," says Minna Vaisenen, Head of Customer Success & Accounts at Thrive Partners:

“This idea has been talked about for a while, skirted around and pushed about in the CS community. However, I think the time to firmly adopt them is now. I'm a strong advocate of holding a number for the team to achieve and build on through upsells and expansions and thus, proving value internally similarly to how we prove value to customers.

"On that note, value-proof, outcomes, financial impact and ROI are terms that need to be included in the CSM’s vocabulary and conversation with the customer.” 

Achieving scale with AI and automation while retaining personalization

AI has been the hot topic for the past 12 months. It’s all business professionals can talk about – that, and the ramifications it’ll have on their day-to-day work. 

AI and automation are tipped to take on more repetitive tasks in 2024, freeing up human agents to focus on higher-value work. 

But while emerging tech can drive efficiency and support larger customer bases, our experts emphasize the continued importance of real human connections.

Robert Dean, Head of Client Success at ProCircular, doesn't see AI going anywhere:

“I believe CS teams will continue relying on tools that streamline efficiency in managing our customer relationships. This may involve the integration of AI, expanded automation, and enhanced CRM capabilities.” 

Similarly, Chinelo Diejomaoh, Customer Success Manager at NorthRow, thinks we're going to see more and more companies scale their CS functions with AI in 2024:

“Scaling customer success is a top goal for SaaS companies and I predict we'll see more companies embrace digital solutions to scale customer success. We've seen a couple of innovative solutions being rolled out into the market and the more time CSMs have to focus on what's really important, the more value-driven results they can share with their customers.” 

What's on the cards for 2024? According to Jenelle Friday, VP of Customer Success at Forecastable, it's the rise of AI in customer success:  

“It's ignited passionate debates: machines vs. humans, efficiency vs. empathy. But here's the truth: the future of CS belongs to the duet, not the solo act.

“AI shines in crunching data, automating tasks, and predicting needs. It frees up the human spirit – our creativity, empathy, and problem-solving prowess – to soar. We can delve deeper into customer stories, build genuine connections, and craft tailor-made solutions that leave a lasting impact.

“Imagine this: AI flags a potential churn risk. Instead of firing off generic emails, a CSM uses this insight to have a heartfelt conversation, uncovering the real issue (a forgotten training session) and proactively resolving it. AI personalizes content and recommendations. But it's a human touch – a phone call, a handwritten note – that turns a satisfied customer into a loyal advocate. AI analyzes customer sentiment. Yet, it's human intuition that reads between the lines, detects subtle frustrations, and offers a reassuring voice or a thoughtful gesture.

“Sure, AI is a powerful tool, but it's the human spirit that breathes life into customer success. It's the warmth in our voices, the understanding in our eyes, and the genuine care that builds trust and loyalty. It's the unexpected gesture, the insightful conversation, the extra mile that turns transactions into relationships.

“In a world driven by algorithms, the human spirit in CS is not a relic – it's a superpower! Embrace AI, yes, but never forget: it's the human duet that makes the music of customer success truly sing. As Robert Ingersoll once said, ‘We rise by lifting others.’” 
ChatGPT vs. Bard: The impact of AI on customer success
Since November 2022, the world hasn’t quite been the same. For months, ChatGPT was peerless. This changed in March 2023 when the world’s largest search engine entered the game: Google released Bard.

Mo Gorman, Customer Success Department Manager at Wilson Language Training, shares this sentiment:

"As CS teams face pressure to support growing customer bases with constrained resources, AI tools will be crucial for scaling.

“I anticipate that the most transformative AI capabilities for CS will center on data analysis. By quickly surfacing patterns, anomalies, and insights from vast volumes of customer data, AI will enhance understanding of usage trends, behavior shifts, and satisfaction signals.”

Customer behaviors are ever-changing, according to Dhia Hayouni, Principal Customer Success Manager at Hivebrite. If businesses don't get ahead of the game and really take feedback on board with the use of new technology, they're seriously missing a trick:

“Gathering and acting upon customer feedback will continue to be a central aspect of customer success strategies. Real-time feedback mechanisms and agile responses to customer input will be critical in adapting to changing customer expectations.”

For Haig Kingston, Head of Customer Success at OpenBlend, AI will change the game, but it's not something to be feared:

“I expect customer success teams will introduce AI into their processes; it won’t replace the customer success role but support CS teams in strategic decision-making.”

Scalability is the name of the game for Danielle Martin, Head of Customer Success at TryHackMe:

“The use of AI tools and embedding AI into existing CS processes will become more and more prevalent in 2024 with a focus on reaching more clients at scale, whilst still retaining as much personalization as possible.”

For Ashish Mehta, Customer Success Manager at Cornerstone OnDemand:

“The role of customer success teams will be more important than ever for many large conglomerates. Therefore, user data and predictive and generative AI will need to be judiciously leveraged to make key decisions and increase efficiencies.”

AI is no trend, says Sam Morris, Customer Success Operations Specialist at Juniper Networks:

“It sounds lazy, but AI feels less like a trend and more like a foundational aspect of CS stacks. I’ve received so many emails from platforms in the last three months that are showcasing their latest updated 'now includes AI.'

“I believe that customer success can’t shy away from leveraging some aspects of AI. However, I’ll stop short of saying it will replace CSMs or the amazing work this function does, but it will play a huge part in how we conduct business going forward.”
CS + AI = ? Artificial intelligence in customer success
You don’t have to look far in science fiction, be it in books, TV, or film, to find dystopian depictions of artificial intelligence, commonly abbreviated as AI.

2024 is set to be the year everyone's talk about AI finally comes to fruition, comments Debbie Ooi, Senior Customer Success Manager at Nitro:

“Hyper personalization in customer success will become a reality. Advancements in technologies like AI and machine learning will finally be implemented in real-time use cases that will drive customer experience to the next level. 

“Companies will be able to harness their data in order to better anticipate customer needs and execute on tailored interactions that drive towards retention, expansion and customer advocacy
KPIs, significantly improving customer satisfaction and loyalty will ultimately reduce churn.”

The big prediction from Akash Singh, Head of Customer Success (APJ) at Software AG, is how AI will revolutionize efficiency:

“I fully expect that generative AI will accelerate the customer success industry's digital transformation. We already see digital and human techniques intertwining in customer engagements, a convergence that AI will rapidly catalyze.

“As AI makes digital tools more intuitive and responsive, resembling human interactions, customers will be empowered to resolve more issues within products without relying on live support. This will free up CSM capacity to scale support across larger customer bases.

“In essence, AI-enabled self-service and automation will drive efficiency while allowing CSMs to focus their efforts on the highest-value areas. Teams leveraging AI will better personalize engagements, proactively address needs, and strengthen relationships.

“The future of customer success will involve the seamless blending of digital and human connections. Generative AI sits at the epicenter, elevating self-service tools and augmenting CSMs to jointly provide exceptional, scalable experiences. Companies not tapping into AI do so at their own peril.”

“Newsflash! Digital CS and white-glove CS are going to make a baby in 2024: it’ll be a trend of hyper-personalized customer experiences and a customer-centric approach," according to Stijn Smet, Head of Customer Success at Whale:

"Companies are gearing up to invest more in understanding individual customer needs, tailoring their strategies to make each customer feel like they're getting the VIP treatment everywhere they are in the product.” 

Driving tangible customer outcomes and value realization

Demonstrating tangible impact and outcomes looks set to become the new CS battleground according to our panel. This likely means structuring initiatives around metrics quantifying business performance lift, rather than vanity KPIs.

With access to spending increasingly scrutinized, customer success teams must validate ROI claims through precise measurement frameworks tied to executive's top priorities. Those unable to spotlight data linking activities to commercial progress risk perception as nice-to-haves rather than strategic imperatives.

Debbie Ooi, Senior Customer Success Manager at Nitro, believes that value realization is the only way businesses can brave the challenging global economthe

“CSM teams will need to double down on value realization and ensure that their products and services are geared towards solving top strategic challenges at the executive level. CIOs will need to balance the need for innovation and security while maintaining stability and operational efficiency. Cost reduction will continue to be a key theme in 2024.”
Customer success: Building cross-functional relationships
Connection is important – it stems from a desire to understand one another. Learning your colleagues’ goals, how they’re measured, and what’s most important to them is going to be key to getting what you want. And the same applies to you.

Cross-functional alignment and integration

Our experts indicate that 2024 may finally see customer success functions receive their due strategic influence across the business. There is an expectation of tighter collaboration with sales, marketing, product and other departments to drive customer-centric coordination.

But without further ado, let’s hear what the pros have to say about this all-important strategy:

For Claudia Belardo, VP of Customer Success at Red Sift, cross-functionality is the only thing for 2024:

“Customer success teams will need to be more cross-functional and be recognized for the true skills that they have ensuring that every customer-associated action grows trust and earns the right to deepen and expand upon relationships with customers.”  

Collaboration to heighten customer experiences is the golden ticket for Marco Carrubba, Director of Customer Success Account Management at Microsoft:

“I see customer success supporting a better product-market fit. CS will collaborate with product leaders to quickly deliver value, not just features. I envisage customer success integrating across go-to-market; CS will partner with sales and marketing in a tougher market. CS owns post-sale, freeing sales to hunt. I predict CSQLs will drive expansion."

Eyes will be on customer success teams in 2024, according to Danielle Martin, Head of Customer Success at TryHackMe, with the wider business clocking on to its transformative powers of retention and growth:

“As the spotlight on customer success grows, business leaders will increasingly begin to see the value in having a CS department in their organization, especially given that it is more cost-effective to retain existing business than bring in new business.” 

So far, we've only seen customer success teams collaborate closely with sales and support, according to Debbie Ooi, Senior Customer Success Manager at Nitro. This has to change for businesses to tackle the challenges of the current macroeconomic climate: 

“In 2024, I hope to see CSMs further integrate with various departments beyond sales and customer support. I want to see CSMs extend their influence into product development, marketing strategies and overall business growth. 
“A cross-functional, collaborative and holistic modus operandi will result in stronger strategic alignment throughout the entire organization, allowing the business to deliver real results and tangible value for its customers.” 
AI and automation in customer success
The thoughtful implementation of automation-enabled customer success platforms can greatly enhance Customer Success Managers’ (CSM) ability to maximize the value of customer data and ultimately help reduce churn and improve the overall health of client relationships.

Human authenticity amidst the rise of AI

AI promises to augment efficiency, but our panel unanimously declares the ongoing need for the human touch in customer success. While bots may handle repetitive tasks, it seems cultivating loyalty necessitates understanding people and forging authentic connections.

Here’s what Jasmine Collins, Customer Success Manager at Lunio, had to say on the matter:

“We can see automation and AI already streamlining processes, freeing up time for strategic thinking and personalized engagement. With this, companies will be seeking and encouraging authenticity, uniqueness, and personality. As technology handles the routine, human connection becomes the focus point. 

“I believe the genuine, unique voice of a brand and its individuals will stand out in a landscape dominated by efficiency. It’s important to create a synergy between technology and authentic human touch, this enhances customer experiences but also defines the character and identity of businesses.

"Getting this balance right will set companies apart, creating lasting connections and brand loyalty.”

Sure, AI will automate some of the more routine processes in a CSM's arsenal, but for Simone O’Donnell, Head of Customer Success at GoJoe, 2024 is going to show the dance between AI and human touch to be more of a balancing act:

“I believe a big focus will be on striking the right balance between using AI for automation and keeping those all-important personal connections with clients. 

“While I'm all for embracing AI to make our jobs more efficient and to tailor experiences for our customers, I also firmly believe that nothing beats the human touch in building strong, lasting relationships.

“AI's going to help sift through data, spot trends, and even predict what our customers might need next. But when it comes to solving the really tricky problems, having heartfelt chats, and just connecting on a human level, that's where we, the customer success pros, step in.

“I see AI tools taking care of the routine and repetitive elements of our role while giving us the time and freedom to build out that key relationship with our clients. I predict it will be a year of finding that middle ground between high-tech and high-touch relationships.” 

Advocacy will be an essential tactic

Driving advocacy and referrals from enthusiastic customers emerges as a potential top priority next year. While economic conditions seem uncertain, our leaders suggest referral growth could offer more predictable expansion in turbulent times.

According to Haig Kingston, Head of Customer Success at OpenBlend:

“I predict that advocacy will be huge in 2024. It’ll be one of the leading initiatives for all CS teams across the globe. In challenging economic climates, advocating for our customers will be imperative to success.”

Stijn Smet, Head of Customer Success at Whale, is also in agreement. If you're not showcasing your cream of the crop, the customers who are your golden geese, then what are you playing at?

“What I see in my little 2024 crystal ball is that companies are putting a spotlight on creating a community of brand advocates. They're diving into the customer-led growth method, really focusing on building a strong network of satisfied customers who become the biggest fans, shouting from the rooftops about how awesome the product is.”

And there you have it! No one has a crystal ball, but having spoken to two dozen celebrated customer success professionals, we can see several patterns emerging in their wisdom. 

Have you adapted the way you approach customer success in 2024? Share your learnings, ask for advice, or just network with your peers in our Slack community of over 6,000 members just like you.

If you want to tap into 44 more razor-sharp insights that'll help you formulate your 2024 customer success strategy, you can download the full version of Customer Success Collective's 24 in 2024.

P.S. If you want to know what CSC's 23 in 2023 predicted last year, you can read our 2023 trends prediction article to see how it stood the test of time.

10 trends that will shape customer success in 2023
Customer success is an ever-evolving business strategy that is at the mercy of one thing: whether or not your customers get the most value from your product. In other words, are they successful? In line with this overarching ethos, it’s fair to say CS is a proactive, outcomes-based function.