Curious - do you survey your CS team? For what purpose? How often?

Backstory: I was approached by a CS director about working with their team on having more strategic customer convos. During the back and forth, he asked me some really tangible questions about how my program will help their team overcome challenges in this area, including:

  • My customers don't want to discuss strategy
  • I'm not sure who to speak with
  • Trouble getting to the right stakeholder
  • I don't get quality responses
  • What do I do with this information once I have it
  • Lack of ownership from my customers

When I asked (being a curious soul and professional question-asker) where those challenges came from, he said they had surveyed CSMs on this specific topic:

The intent of the Strategic Conversation Challenge Survey is to understand the top challenges CSMs have engaging their customers in strategic conversations so that we know where to focus our effort to remove them and empower the team.

I don't know how common it is to use CSM surveys to identify granular challenges like this, but I love it. Do you and your teams use surveys this way?


BTW, if you're curious about the results, see the attachment.

I have to say, I love the fact that 0% said they don't see the value or don't need help in this area!


  • Renee Murphy
    Renee Murphy Member Posts: 18 Thought Leader
    Third Anniversary 5 Comments

    I love this because often introverts and those that are not comfortable raising concerns can be heard. We assume everyone will raise their hands and discuss. Employee sat == customer sat and employee sat comes from feeling good about what you do. We would also have anonymous Q&A as part of team meetings too!

  • Bob London
    Bob London Member Posts: 50 Expert
    Third Anniversary 10 Comments 5 Insightfuls

    Great point - hadn't considered that, Renee. Perhaps because I'm an ambivert (forced by circumstances to be an occasional extrovert). Thanks for the reply.

  • Jeffrey Kushmerek
    Jeffrey Kushmerek Member Posts: 96 Expert
    Third Anniversary 10 Comments Photogenic 5 Insightfuls


    When I have seen these types of responses, I am reminded that many will want to live in the reactive world vs the proactive. It's much easier to respond to that TICKET ON FIRE and CHASE DEV and MEET WITH PRODUCT than being strategic and proactive.

    The fix?

    Provide training and best practices and set KPI's around. If they self select out of these activities, perhaps they need to be in a different role (support, implementation)

  • Bob London
    Bob London Member Posts: 50 Expert
    Third Anniversary 10 Comments 5 Insightfuls

    I love this, @Jeffrey Kushmerek - thanks so much for sharing your insight.

  • Bob London
    Bob London Member Posts: 50 Expert
    Third Anniversary 10 Comments 5 Insightfuls

    Quick follow on:

    Someone asked if I'd post my responses to the some of the challenges.


    1.    My customers don't want to discuss strategy.   

    At the beginning of the training, I’ll explain the word strategy. In reality, customers aren’t discussing strategy! They’re actually revealing their problems, priorities and perceptions, at the company (impact), business (value) and operational (outcome) levels. They are very comfortable opening up about these topics; in fact you (the CSM) don’t have to react much…just prompt them to continue and go deeper. The result is that they’ll talk 85% or more of the time.

    2.    I'm not sure who to speak with.

    Ideally, you’ll speak with the person who has an understanding of the broader business objectives as well as familiarity with the value of your solution. In other words, it is better to talk to a decision-maker/buyer vs. a user. If you don’t have access to the buyer, you can start with your day-to-day contact and then work your way up in subsequent conversations.

    3.    Trouble getting to the right stakeholder.

    Similar answer to “b” above. The email template I will provide will help the customer understand that you are looking to learn about their company/business priorities and problems. So it appeals to the higher level stakeholders who may not normally engage with you.


    4.    I don't get quality responses.    

    Once in a great while you might get a customer who “keeps their distance” on the call and gives short answers. However, in my experience (nearly 2,600 customer convos), 99.9% of customers have happily opened up. Often, they provide such in-depth answers that the meetings go longer than scheduled!


    5.    What do I do with this information once I have it?

    This is an important question. To answer it effectively, I would first want to know how the team currently, gathers, synthesizes and shares customer input today. Based on the answer, I can share a framework/process during the training that will address this.