Preflight Conversations

Where in the org chart should you place Customer Support?

Members of the Preflight community discuss the ideal reporting structure for Customer Support teams.
November 20, 2022
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Mukundh Krishna

Customer support is one of the most critical functions inside your company. When you have superstar support teams, customers will stick with you for longer.

Support teams contribute to the success of the larger Customer Success org in a company. That said, not all support teams might be reporting to the same function. 

Preflighters weigh in on org structure regarding Customer Support. They discuss questions including:

  1. Does Customer Support report to Customer Success, Finance, or IT?
  2. Does anyone have Customer Support and Customer Success teams report to the same leader? If so, who is that leader?

Karen Tanker

Support, Implementation, and Customer Success, including Account Managers, all report to the senior VP of Customer Success, but we call our team Client Experience. The designation of someone overseeing all these functions could be senior VP of Client Experience. Titles get changed and updated a lot within our organization.

Charles F 

The Chief Customer Officer is an executive that oversees all things post-sales! They are responsible for everything: customer onboarding, implementations, success, renewals, and retention; they find solutions to all the problems of larger customer experience, lifetime value, and profitability.  This title is at the top of our Support, Services, and Success reporting structure. Other titles interchangeable or under whom the support org might fall are: 

  1. Chief Global Customer Officer 
  2. Chief Experience Officer
  3. Head of client/customer experience 
  4. Executive Vice President of customer experience
  5. Chief Client Officer 
  6. Head of support for larger organizations

It’s not ideal for Support to report to Sales; the CCO would be the ideal candidate for that if there is one, else it could be a Chief of Success.  That goes for Customer Success and Support—even when/if a significant component of the CSM role is upselling/expansion.

Mikael Blaisdell 

My research over the years has shown that in most cases, Support is a component of the Customer Success org, reporting to the VP of Success or the CCO if that’s where Success reports.  And that is how I recommend it be done for the best usage of data, communications channels, and Support quality.

See also: Customer onboarding and the organizational chart (video)

Becki Henry

At Recast, we have a Director of Customer Success who leads the following teams: 

  1. Customer Success Managers
  2. Onboarding Managers
  3. Tech Support Managers
  4. Tech Enablement
  5. Operations

We're growing consistently, and some of these teams have their team leads overseeing the work of the managers. 

Miles Goldstein

As a Support leader, over the years, I have reported to the following people inside a company, and my opinion of reporting to each:

  1. VP of Customer Success - The best person to report to for a support org
  2. VP of Engineering - Doable
  3. VP of Operations - Doable
  4. VP of Sales - Not recommended 
  5. CCO can mean either VP of CS or VP of Sales, so beware! 

I prefer when Customer Success and Technical Support are sister orgs under a common VP. If that can't happen, being under Engineering has its own benefits when negotiating for bug fixes and supportability items. Operations is a peaceful parking spot where they leave you alone! Sales org is NOT the place for Support as you will always be fighting for budget. 

Jeff Kushmerek 

I’d say it depends for many orgs, but a good rule to follow is to have all customer-facing, post-sale groups report to the CCO.

Do you have the same org structure, or does your support org report to a different function? How has this impacted its outcomes? Join Preflight and tell us!

Join Preflight, our private, invite-only Slack community, and join conversations like this. You will also gain access to peers and share knowledge on customer onboarding, implementation, and customer success.

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Usha Kalva
Community & Partnerships @ Rocketlane

Usha is a Community Manager at Preflight. She's been an EIR, runs a successful restaurant, and is inclined toward the social sciences. In a parallel universe, she'd have been a wildlife photographer.

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