Best Practices for CS approach with different customer types

slsteel Member Posts: 4 Navigator
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Hello !

I am in the process of laying down the foundation for a CS team within a new SaaS offering of a larger 3PL logistics corporation; it's complicated! We have direct customers, partners-as-customers, channel customers (what I'm calling the companies who come to us via a partner and the partner is key to the implementation) and straight up Partners.

Does anyone have examples and/or insights on how I could differentiate the CS approach for each of these categories?



  • Michaela Noe
    Michaela Noe Member Posts: 5 Seeker
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    We're going through the same thing! We'd gotten pretty close at defining our process for direct customers, but our company seems to be shifting to bringing in more & more "partners" and "channel customers" so I'm also wondering how our strategy should change and how our department should be CSMs split direct customers and partners? should they "specialize" in either partnerships/channel customers or directs?

    Would love to hear how folks approach this!

  • DavidSparrefors
    DavidSparrefors Member Posts: 2 Navigator
    First Comment Photogenic


    I am also in the logistics business and am facing similar issues.

    If I understand correctly, you have a segmentation based on how the customers were sold to?

    I would focus on developing the segmentation further in different aspects:

    • usage - how much will the customers be using the product
    • outcomes - what does the customers desired to achieve by using the product
    • values - what value does the different customers get from the product
    • company metrics - ARR, NRR
    • etc... there are many factors but I would focus on getting to know why the individual companies are using your product and then grouping them from there.

    Once you have segmented them further, you might see them in a different light - it might not be 'direct customers' vs. 'partners', it might actually be that they want the same outcome and should be treated the same.

    Next, I would suggest that you develop customer journeys for all segments - how did the customer come to you, where are you leading them next, what are their moments-of-truths, how do you assess the churn risk etc.

    I am happy to discuss this further since we are in the same boat - feel free to add me on LinkedIn.

    / David Sparrefors

  • slsteel
    slsteel Member Posts: 4 Navigator
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    @DavidSparrefors - We have started the work around identifying uses cases, next step is personas/types of users. I'll be sure to wrap this into our analysis.

  • Ed Powers
    Ed Powers Member Posts: 183 Expert
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    edited June 2023
    Good ideas here.

    I would add that it's extremely important to talk to customers in each segment and ideally observe their journey--from their perspective, not yours--from where they started without your solution to where they ended up with your solution. Identify what went well and what caused roadblocks. Your mission is to make the change process smoother and easier, and that will vary by segment. Without real customer input, you're operating in a vacuum. Don't make that mistake! 

  • Jay_Mohammed
    Jay_Mohammed Member Posts: 3 Navigator
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    One thing I'd add on to what others are saying regarding partners; a lot of partners vary on the amount of support they can/will provide during the customer journey. It's important to establish within the partner agreement what the partner will be responsible for and what your company will be responsible for around cs/account management/renewals. Sometimes your company can offer different tiers of a customer success engagement based on the margin the partner is taking (the less customer success resources your company needs to provide, the more margin for the partner - and vice versa). From there you can build out your engagement strategy. It also makes it a lot easier to plan headcount when you know the resources you're expected to provide through the various partnerships.

    This is not an easy task. You have to partner with the owners of channel and legal, and potentially re-work existing partner agreements, though it's well worth it once completed.