Your Customers Are Probably Working Too Hard

Use proactive communication to head off problems before they happen.
Written by Eva Roethler
July 30, 2021Updated: July 30, 2021

We all want things to be easy. This is especially true if we’re talking about a product or service that we paid for. 

In fact, the more customers have to work during a brand interaction, the worse their sentiments become. Gartner Research codified this into an equation of sorts, determining that customer effort during service interactions is an inverse function of loyalty.  Ninety-six percent of customers with a high-effort service interaction — experiences such as channel switching, repetition of information, generic service, transfers and repeat interaction — become more disloyal compared to just nine percent who have a low-effort experience. 

In other words, it pays to be proactive in customer communication and head off issues before they require a lot of effort to resolve. Being proactive saves the customer energy and minimizes the chance they are going to become frustrated (or even vengeful) and associate the brand with a bad experience. 

Built In Boston talked to local customer success managers about how they take a proactive approach to customer communications to help make things a little bit easier for everybody.

Jacqueline Marquez
Senior Customer Success Manager & Team Lead

 

Notarize is an online notary service and legaltech company that raised $130 million series D in 2021 after a year of 600 percent growth. 

 

What’s one habit you’ve adopted that’s helped you be more proactive in your communications with clients? 

After onboarding a new client I always set up a recurring meeting. I let the client know that we will be discussing the overall success plan, goals and metrics during these meetings. 

During that initial meeting, I set the expectation that an agenda will be sent out two to three days beforehand. This allows the client to add any topics or issues that they would like to cover. This way I can come prepared and bring data to facilitate some of those conversations.

Outside of the recurring meetings, I establish a quarterly business review for clients to get an overall look at the past, present and future state of their progress and growth. This is a great opportunity for me to bring in other teams within Notarize who have been engaged with the account. This could be a member from our product team coming to discuss new features, or support discussing a new service level agreement timeframe.

 

What role does data play in helping you and your team provide more proactive communications to customers?

Data plays a huge role in the team’s day-to-day. Having it at our fingertips on a dashboard allows us to proactively reach out to customers regarding trends we’re seeing. One of my favorite resources is the customer health score dashboard. It is updated in real time, which allows the team to get an idea of overall account health and detect any new trends. 

We proactively reach out to customers if we see any major outliers. This could be a decrease in volume or unusually long meeting times. As soon as we notice this trend, we reach out to customers to book time to ensure they are aware of these changes. Many times this serves as a starting off point for more strategic discussions on best practices, integrations and growth opportunities.

On the flip side, the team also reaches out to customers when there is a positive trend. If the client has one of their best days ever or just received an amazing review from their user, we love to share that and celebrate the wins alongside them. It helps strengthen our relationship with the customer by showing them we are staying on top of all data trends we see.

 

What’s a system or strategy you’ve put in place to get ahead of potential issues before they arise? What other teams, if any, help support this strategy? 

Customer onboarding is a crucial part of the life cycle. It is the start of a new relationship and it is important to get ahead of any potential issues before they arise. We do this by working together with the sales and solution engineering teams.

All teams utilize Salesforce to ensure a smooth customer hand-off. We accomplish this together by requiring customer transition fields to ensure we are all fully aware of conversations, requests and expectations so that the customer feels like they are on one smooth and continuous journey. 

Having customer data at our fingertips on a dashboard allows us to proactively reach out to customers regarding trends we’re seeing.”

 

Salesforce updates, along with very clearly defined swim lanes for each team, help ensure that everyone knows exactly when they should contact customers and why. This helps ensure that the customer doesn’t feel overwhelmed, and it helps avoid any missed expectations.  

We also use Salesforce to define clear onboarding objects with defined stages. This helps both the sales and customer success teams stay organized and on track as the customer gets closer to their go-live date. If a customer is in one stage for longer than expected, we have full visibility and can proactively reach out.

 

 

Michelle Winters
Customer Success Manager

 

Cybereason is an AI-powered security and defense platform. The company announced it secured $275 million in crossover financing in July 2021. 

 

What’s one habit you’ve adopted that’s helped you be more proactive in your communications with clients? 

I’ve found call follow-ups to be vitally important in setting expectations with my clients. Documenting follow-ups massively helps me track my actions and my clients, fostering a proactive mindset for both parties as goals are met. It also makes calculating my planning and time allocations for the week that much less of a headache. 

 

Michelle Winters’ Follow-Up Call Checklist

  • Recap of conversation
  • List clear action items or next steps as needed
  • Who is responsible for each action item
  • Timeframe for resolution

 

Following this process keeps me organized and up to date on all my account activities, offering a quick snapshot of where I stand and what pending items I might have missed. It also makes it easier to copy into any customer relationship management tool. It takes a little bit of discipline to get into the habit, but the payoff is worth it as it makes it so much easier in the long term. 

 

What role does data play in helping you and your team provide more proactive communications to customers?

Data plays a huge role in arming us with the right tools to be more proactive, from customizing Cybereason educational content to tailoring informational campaigns based on customer-specific areas of concern. Data has also allowed our team to offer a more personalized experience for our customers. Furthermore, it’s the most effective tool to monitor our team’s workload and ensure we can provide that work-life balance. The knowledge that data provides allows me to tie team efforts to financial results and, in turn, conversations around whatever need we might have.

 

What’s a system or strategy you’ve put in place to get ahead of potential issues before they arise? What other teams, if any, help support this strategy? 

My strategy is simple: continue learning and encouraging an environment where there is no fear of predicting risk and reminding the team that not everyone is an expert. We are stronger if we continue to learn and improve together. Efficient CSMs collaborate with all teams across support, research and development, sales, and legal. We are only as strong as the relationships we have with other groups. The more we know, the easier it is to predict risk. Likewise, the more we collaborate and interact positively with other teams, the earlier we can mitigate risk and win as one.

 

 

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