Tools and documentation

Tandiss Member Posts: 6 Navigator
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Hi all,

I am creating a CS team from scratch. I am also learning as I go and the curve is steep. So my question: What tools and documents do I need? What software or apps should I have? What communication channels should I set up? What I have created so far are:

CS process (excel)

Playbooks with triggers, and plays (powerpoint and word)

CS plan (excel)

Customer health assessment (excel)

MBR and QBRs (powerpoint)

Teams channel to hold all relevant documentation and communication about customer

Thank, Tandiss



  • Jeffrey Kushmerek
    Jeffrey Kushmerek Member Posts: 96 Expert
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    You have done a great job so far. I would add that you will most likely need to have your customer data all in one place. You most likely have this in a CRM, and at some point you will need to move to CSP's. From there, the playbooks, health scores and triggers will be more powerful.

    I would add: customers and their segments.

    Joint success plans (excel)

    How are you communicating with customers? Slack?

    Customer usage data

    Support ticket info

  • Ed Powers
    Ed Powers Member Posts: 180 Expert
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    @Tandiss, the more you know about your customers and their journey, the more your answers will become self-evident. Spend time talking with customers that renewed and those that churned. Ask them why they made the decisions they did. Then understand the journey from their perspective. Look upstream for the challenges and disconnects in your company's approach--your answers lie there. Let solving those challenges define the requirements for your processes, tools, staffing, metrics, etc. All too often people jump right to the how instead of first learning the what and the why--don't make that mistake!

  • Brandon Hemmelman
    Brandon Hemmelman Member, CS Leader Posts: 7 Navigator
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    Tandiss, this is very good start. I would encourage you to get the data into a CRM sooner than later. Until it is in there, you will be chasing down reporting manually and not able to give updates back to the organization effectively. Once you have proven out that the data points in the individual documents, make a push to get it into a shared location with the org. Also echoing Jeffery's comment- as you learn more about the different customers, you will want to start rough drafting segmentation. Also Ed's comment about customer journey mapping- that will be really important as you take this long term.

    Welcome to the club of building from scratch!

  • Tandiss
    Tandiss Member Posts: 6 Navigator
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    Thank you @Jeffrey Kushmerek, @Ed Powers, and @Brandon Hemmelman

    @Jeffrey Kushmerek, I must shamefully admit, that I have not looked into customer segmentation in great detail. To an extent, we have our enterprise customers who will be managed by a CSM, and our midmarket and SMB, will be managed by the AM, those will be low touch, with a lot of automation.

    @Ed Powers, what a great point you make, I might have spent enough time theorising and setting up process and it is time to engage my customers using the tools I have created and make adjustments as I see the need.

    @Brandon Hemmelman, CRM is something I do need to look into urgently as I am gathering data.

    Thank you all, Tandiss

  • pkelly38
    pkelly38 Member Posts: 5 Navigator
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    You will need to operationalize a few things. How do you collaborate with other internal groups. What are documented processes for transitions. What does the Voice of the Customer plan look like. I reemphasize the importance of CRM. This becomes the single source of truth of data on the customer not just for CS but for the entire org. @Brandon Hemmelman is absolutely right about the ability to pull reporting data and ultimately build dashboards for use by the CS team and then add dashboards about CS performance and activity that can be shared up the chain. It may be in the CS Plan but just in case it is not - what is the plan for enabling the CS team members so they are prepared to succeed.

  • colin-userlot
    colin-userlot Member Posts: 8 Navigator
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    I would second that as soon as practical, get your customer data into a CRM. Too early to look at a full-blown CSP for now, but if your sales team is using a CRM, see if you can set up specific pipelines for your active customers and start tracking data against them manually there.

    Avoid excel like the plague where you can :)

  • josephloria
    josephloria Member Posts: 3 Navigator
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    @Tandiss, I just want to second what @Ed Powers is saying. There's such a wealth of distraction in Customer Success, so many processes and tools and activities you can get lost in. You have a really great list of items to start, and you're certainly past where many are in getting off the ground. But what I see consistently missed are two things.

    One is an intense focus on really short time to first value. Know the initial use cases that are critical to customer value, know the risks that can derail the implementation of those, and then manage that process with its own dashboard and cadence and ownership.

    Second is, past first value, as Ed stated, learn the rest of their journey, where the value is, and what the risks are, so you can track those and get better with each customer and eventually hold customers accountable to their own success.

    Good luck!

  • Tandiss
    Tandiss Member Posts: 6 Navigator
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    Thank you @pkelly38, @colin-userlot and @josephloria for your input.

    Identifying what data I need and tracking them, is where I find myself right now.

    We use Dynamics as our CRM, and @colin-userlot I am already experiencing Excel fatigue. Dynamics doesn't have a CSM tool as such, I am sure I can make do, but are there any tools online (ideally free) that could assist?

    Again, thank you for your feedback. This is really valuable for me.

    Warm regards, Tandiss