The Hard Truth About Customer Success

In this article, we understand and addressing the challenge of managing "bad fit" customers in the realm of Customer Success.


In the world of customer success, we frequently discuss the concept of "bad fit customers"—those clients who drain more energy than the revenue they generate. We're often advised to steer clear of these bad fit customers.

First, Why is it Important to Manage Bad Fit Customers?

Managing customer success is crucial for the long-term sustainability of any SaaS business. Ensuring that customers are a good fit for the company's offerings is vital for several reasons:

  • Resource Allocation: "Bad fit" customers can drain significant time and resources that could be better spent on more suitable clients.

  • Customer Satisfaction: Poorly fitting customers often lead to dissatisfaction, which can tarnish the company's reputation.

  • Revenue Efficiency: Ensuring customers fit well with the product maximizes revenue potential and minimizes churn.

  • Strategic Alignment: Aligning customers with the company's Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) ensures a coherent and efficient business strategy.

Practical Steps to Address this

  1. Clearly Define Your ICP: Spend time refining and defining your Ideal Customer Profile based on data and successful customer interactions.

  2. Collaborate Internally: Foster strong communication between sales and customer success teams to ensure alignment on customer fit criteria.

  3. Implement Assessment Tools: Use tools and metrics to assess customer fit during the sales process.

  4. Set Clear Guidelines: Develop guidelines for when and how to handle "bad fit" customers, including potential offboarding processes.

  5. Regular Reviews: Conduct regular reviews of the ICP and customer base to ensure ongoing alignment and adjustments as needed.

Our Personal Opinion:

From our perspective, the reluctance to let go of "bad fit" customers often stems from a fear of losing potential revenue and a lack of confidence in the ICP. However, in our experience, addressing this issue head-on by clearly defining and adhering to the ICP can lead to a healthier, more sustainable business in the long run. It's about shifting the mindset from short-term gains to long-term success, ensuring that both the company and its customers can thrive.

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