Customer Success & Chutes and Ladders

Trust and goodwill.  The foundation of a healthy relationship.  In the IT services business, we strive to find, build and maintain Long Term Mutually Beneficial Relationships (LTMBR).  These are the relationship in which all stakeholders win.

Customers Win – they get their required outcome and appropriate experiences at a fair price
Employees Win – they get to ply their trade, advance their career, and a supportive culture
Vendors Win – their products and services are represented well
Community Win – it gets positive contributors and good neighbors
Principles Win – they get a return on their investment and fulfilling mission

The path to finding and collecting LTMBR’s starts in the sales process.  Having a great understanding of your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is the filter in which all prospective customers are considered.  Not every customer is an ideal customer.

In a successful, mutually beneficial sales process, the customer will give you a small amount of trust and goodwill to start.  This trust and goodwill is the base, and what you do with it from here is up to you.  Firms who are successful at building and maintaining LTMBR’s will add a little bit to their trust and goodwill with every interaction with their customers.  This is a slow and steady process and is not unlike the children’s game Chutes and Ladders.  Climbing takes many interactions and there are many pitfalls along the way.  Interestingly, a buildup of trust and goodwill over a long period of time will soften the damage when an issue arises.  Too many or too serious issues can consume all the trust and goodwill.  This is called Customer Decay and it leads to all sorts of business issues.

Taking the initial trust and goodwill and building upon it takes thoughtful, disciplined and consistent attention.  It is not particularly hard.  However, destroying trust and goodwill is extremely easy and can happen very quickly.  The relentless pursuit of Customer Success creates an environment to build and foster LTMBR’s which is good for everyone.

How are you doing at Customer Success Chutes and Ladders?


Bonus – email me at for a Customer Success Scorecard that you can use with your customers.