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  • Kuba Płonka

Success takes care of itself…collaboration between the CS and SD teams

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Today’s article and the next one will form a whole. For a change, instead of focusing on customer relations, I would like to touch on cooperation with internal teams, without which Customer Success work is challenging. Today’s post will be devoted to the collaboration with the Service Desk team, while the next one will be dedicated to cooperation with the product team. Enjoy your reading!

A word of introduction about the SD team

Some of you may not be familiar with what a Service Desk (SD) is and its tasks, so let me say a few words about the role of this team before we talk about cooperation.

In a nutshell, the Service Desk is a support team or the first line of support. All customer requests go to the Service Desk team and are either resolved by it or forwarded to the next lines, e.g. to the Customer Success team or even further to the product team. This whole structure is defined by the ITSM (Information Technology Service Management) model. One of the most widespread sets of standards and good practices within this model is ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library). I don’t want to go into detail, as this article is not about the functioning of the support team or ITIL, but there are a few key elements I need to cover for the collaboration issue at hand.

The topics that come to the SD team are incidents or problems. They vary in complexity, recurrence and scale. Significantly, the Service Desk team operates based on a service catalogue, which is a crucial issue from the point of view of both SD and CS team members.

The SD team is, therefore, the de facto first point of contact for many customer requests. Of course, this will differ in the low-touch and high-touch models I described some time ago, but if we want to unleash the full potential of the Customer Success role, creating a Service Desk team seems essential.

Cooperation on the line of CS <-> SD teams

It is a rule of thumb that both of these teams operate within the broad framework of Customer Success, with the difference that they focus on different types of tasks. Ideally, an effectively functioning Service Desk relieves Customer Success of most repetitive ererror-handlingopics.

This structure allows CSMs to focus on proactive activities, analysing needs and opportunities to increase customer satisfaction. At the same time, Service Desk specialists, in addition to dealing with tickets, can work on creating shared knowledge sources and tools for customers to solve problems themselves, e.g. creating a public knowledge base or an in-team wiki.

The Customer Success team can move from reactive to proactive with a Service Desk team.

With the increasing scale of the number of users and the complexity of the product, every member of the CS team will be more involved in solving current user problems, which will take time away from improving proactive processes.

Communication between teams is crucial for success. Both teams should use the same set of tools. I suggest creating joint meetings or some other type of space for discussion and conversation so that members of both teams have the same knowledge about the product and customers. In addition, for many people on the SD team, growing into the Customer Success role will be a natural step, so a large number of interactions and, for example, delegating some tasks such as organising training can make the position change a natural process in your companies.

Metrics and tasks

Those are for the CS team I described in the previous article, so I want to avoid repeating them here. What is worth mentioning, however, is that the metrics should also change with the separation of the SD team.

For CSMs, I would focus on metrics such as MAU/WAU, Churn, CSAT, and Customer Effort. Also, if there has yet to be time, could you create a customer journey and personal archetypes of the customer roles you interact with?

The SD team can track more technical things like the number of requests or turnaround time. In addition, they should focus on creating tools for self-service troubleshooting or developing and implementing internal solutions to streamline processes, such as implementing a ticket management platform or automation tools.

Separately, I would touch on NPS and CSAT metrics, as they can reflect the entire support process, and from the customer’s perspective, it is not essential whether the ticket is handled by the SD or CS team. What matters is the experience we offer. In joint meetings between the two groups, I would discuss the level of these metrics and the feedback that comes from customers so that together we can think about possible improvements.


The title and the inspiration for this, and a future article, is a quote that brilliantly captures the relationship between all the teams creating a product for a customer.

"If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself"

Henry Ford

Collaboration between the two teams is crucial for customer success. In a week, I’ll tell you how the CS team fits into product development, closing the process from the first customer contact through the needs analysis to working on new functionalities.

If you’d like to read more about the differences and collaboration, there are some interesting blog articles:

What is your opinion? Do you have separate both of these teams in your companies? Or have you implemented yet another division? Let us know in the comments!


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