Voice of Digital Customer Success

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Aynot2000
Aynot2000 Member Posts: 4 Navigator
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As we begin to build our digital CS model, moving away from a named CSM, we need to establish a cohesive brand and DCS voice across channels that is personal. I'm wondering what other companies are doing when sending post-purchase CS comms without a named CSM. Specifically, what are you using as the from/sender and/or signature? With the rise of creating fictitious characters or a fictional CSM, are you moving away from generic "XYZ Customer Success" or "Your Customer Success Team"?

Examples:

  • Success Team
  • A fictional CSM
  • CCO
  • A fictional character (dog, donkey, etc.)

Would love to hear what others are doing and any learnings along the way!

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  • Brian O'Keeffe
    Brian O'Keeffe Member Posts: 205 Expert
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    edited March 2023
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    I advise assigning a real person to all message signatures. I also advise writing the message as if it were from that person. Never use "The Team", it smells like spam. A fictional character smells fake and undermines the value of that message and all that follow.

  • Amanda Watson
    Amanda Watson Member, CS Leader Posts: 31 Expert
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    I agree! We use the CS Lead's name and photo! I think it means more coming from a real person.

  • Javed Maqsood
    Javed Maqsood Member Posts: 31 Contributor
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    It also depends on what expectation you have set about the support that these customers will receive. It may be okay to use a generic name like a success team, if your customer(s) are expecting that.

    If no expectation has been set, you could use a placeholder name. Operationally a team handles those requests coming in.

    Javed Maqsood
    Advisor, Mentor
  • Marc Phillips
    Marc Phillips Member Posts: 13 Contributor
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    Curious how you plan to handle response to the digital outreach. Is your model going to be completely pooled (similar to many Support teams where whoever has the shortest queue grabs the next incoming issue) or still somewhat 'named' but mostly for internal purposes (i.e. specific people will still tend to respond to queries from pre-defined sets of customers). If you use a specific person for outbound, it can seem weird to the customer if someone different responds (unless the person is high enough at the company that customers weren't expecting that person to respond to them). But if one CSM is on the outreach to a customer, it can be off-putting if a different CSM responds to resulting questions. If it really will be pooled response, it might make sense to not have a CSM as the face of the outreach.

  • Brian O'Keeffe
    Brian O'Keeffe Member Posts: 205 Expert
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    edited March 2023
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    I am responding directly to this: If you use a specific person for outbound, it can seem weird to the customer if someone different responds

    That comes up all the time. Along with the concern that the recipient will track down the signer or, internally everyone will see the signer as owner and that person will be overwhelmed. Both are internal concerns that are false and should not be factored into the decision. Here's why:

    1) Customers care about outcomes, not individuals. It might hurt the ego of a CSM, but generally customers want a return on investment and that the software is achieving stated business objectives. Getting a response, or follow up, from someone other than the signee? THEY RARELY EVEN NOTICE and NEVER HAVE SAID A WORD ABOUT IT. They got the response/action they needed when they expected it. That's what counts.

    2) Open rates and interaction rates go up when signed by a real person. Especially compared to "The Team" or something else that stinks of spam.

    3) Position your team, not the individual signer as who your customers have as a CSM. This is key and sets the right expectations and explains why someone other than the signee is following up. This is harder to position internally than with customers. All resistance, and virtually all complaints, about this come from internal stakeholders, not customers. (Example: As we moved to a pooled model CSMs or others would position the team CSM approach as less than, or somehow a downgrade. Managers especially, who see this as a threat to their fiefdom.)

    Then pooled approach, along with Community, is how to scale and how to turn your CS team into a powerhouse, cost effective solution. When done right, pooled customer meet all the key business objectives and will meet, or even exceed, other approaches and make it possible to more, a lot more, WITH A LOT LESS.

    Change is hard. Good luck!

  • Marc Phillips
    Marc Phillips Member Posts: 13 Contributor
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    That makes a ton of sense @Brian O'Keeffe. I think #3 gives the best of both worlds - the personal touch highlighted in #2, combined with setting the expectations in the content of the message the there's a whole team and company eager to help the customer achieve their outcomes as you call out correctly as the critical point in #1. Thanks for bringing that all together.

  • Aynot2000
    Aynot2000 Member Posts: 4 Navigator
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    @Marc Phillips Great questions and I'd welcome you input at we as beginning to build. Right now, shifting to a paid CS model where named CSM will come with paid services. There will be a segment allocated to a pooled team who will work as you noted (round robin answering questions via queue, data triggered CTAs, etc.). But, we will also have a segment without any access to a CSM. They will be digital only and potentially no-reply to outbound comms. Instead, the goal is to drive them to the self-service resource available. This is the stumper. Without a CSM in the picture, and to ensure a "personalized" experience, what voice/person/thing is best to leverage in these comms.

  • Aynot2000
    Aynot2000 Member Posts: 4 Navigator
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    @Javed Maqsood Excellent point about the expectation setting! I think that is key! There will be a subset of customers who will be digital only, so the expectation is that they leverage the included self-service resources for adoption and troubleshooting. But, we still want the outbound comms to feel personalized.

  • Chitra Madhwacharyula
    Chitra Madhwacharyula Member Posts: 20 Contributor
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    When we implemented automated scaled CS onboarding for all our customers (irrespective of tier), we started by sending a couple of automated emails to welcome the new customers and walk them through the on-boarding process. We used to sign these emails as "Your Customer Success Team" and the email address was customersuccess@companyname.com. It was received very well and we heard no complaints. Customers used to respond to "CS Team" as needed when they ran into difficulties.

    In addition to the emails, all customers used to get a quick onboarding check-in call with a member of the CS team to give them a taste of CS and also make sure that their first post-win experience with the company is optimal. After that call, they were either handed back to the account team (if they did not qualify for full fledged CS engagement) or continued engaging with their assigned CSM.

    Chitra Madhwacharyula

    Customer and Partner Success Executive

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/chitramadhwacharyula

    Author of 'Scaling Customer Success': https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-1-4842-9192-4

  • Brian O'Keeffe
    Brian O'Keeffe Member Posts: 205 Expert
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    What responses did you get? I find that type of messaging to be very ineffective and saw jumps in engagement and open rates when we flipped to a more personalized message. (They are all written from the persona of a CSM who is part of the CSM team.) We started getting direct responses, written back to that person. Six months in and we see renewal rates, NPS, expansion rates and retention rates all creeping up.

  • Chitra Madhwacharyula
    Chitra Madhwacharyula Member Posts: 20 Contributor
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    We received a range of responses. Simple acknowledgements like "Thank You", "Excited to get started" to specific asks like "The information in the email does not look right, we also purchased X" to "How do I set up Y". Not all customers responded although most of them opened the email. But some of them did, especially when they had questions about next steps etc. Sometimes they responded to the email days/weeks later when they were running into issues with some setups. Overall, not having a named CSM in this first automated welcome message was not a hurdle, especially since we followed up this email with a quick live onboarding session for all customers with a CSM. Many of these customers did not have access to the CS team beyond onboarding (due to their tier). So it made sense for us to keep this first email interaction more generic (like interaction with Support team).

    Also, the formatting of the message might have helped. It was visual and easy to read with clear directions on how to proceed and next steps.

    Chitra Madhwacharyula

    Customer and Partner Success Executive

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/chitramadhwacharyula

    Author of 'Scaling Customer Success': https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-1-4842-9192-4

  • Brian O'Keeffe
    Brian O'Keeffe Member Posts: 205 Expert
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    I have had very similar responses and it has helped us meet a key objective: Creating a touchpoint that allow us to catch an issue, or problem that may not be break/fix that is lingering, that they do not know how to address, or is minor enough to left to linger. Responses are often directed to our signee too, and we follow up directly to each, with plans to further automate and add personalized, automated responses. It has also helped us swell our advocates pool, using each response or interaction to gauge candidacy and nurture, over time (and this can take years), into joining our advocacy pool. (All follow ups are personalized and very specific that are over periods of time that result in either more nurturing needed, not a candidate, or enrolling in the advocacy program.)

    We do not have the capacity to follow up with live onboarding and only provide that for a very select few. I like how you describe the visual style of the message and wonder if you have thought of using video? I would like to take some messages and turn them into all video interactions two minutes or less directly from the CSM team member.

  • Chitra Madhwacharyula
    Chitra Madhwacharyula Member Posts: 20 Contributor
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    Yes, we have considered using video, especially for the welcome message and to walk customers through some of the common on-boarding steps that might be confusing.

    Chitra Madhwacharyula

    Customer and Partner Success Executive

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/chitramadhwacharyula

    Author of 'Scaling Customer Success': https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-1-4842-9192-4