Customer Engagement & Business Review

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Abhishek B
Abhishek B Member Posts: 2 Navigator
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edited August 2023 in CS Conversations

I have recently joined a start-up as a CSM and have around 30 accounts assigned to me. From a business ops POV, CS has been reactive and somewhere couldn't articulate the value or the business growth our customers want to achieve. Now, I got the opportunity to reach out to my customers proactively and I dropped emails to my customers to schedule a 1:1 to review their business and discuss the next steps. 

Here's exactly my hiccups:

  • It's almost a week since I dropped the intro/business review emails but the response I received is around 2%. I want to personalise the follow-ups and I have a few thoughts which I want to run by you before I execute them.
  • Out of the response I received, I would want to review their business and this will be my first ever BR call, I need your input to make the call valuable, and insightful and ensure customer approaches me as their trusted advisor.

Any guidance will be extremely helpful.

Comments

  • Iain Russell
    Iain Russell Member Posts: 3 Navigator
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    Setting expectations, you're not going to be treated as a trusted advisor during your first call with them. That's earned after time and results. Maybe.

    My first thoughts cover two areas - what your starting position is around your knowledge of each customer and how you sold the value of the business review to each one.

    On the first point, have you spoken to every area in your company about each customer and built your understanding of the known unknowns (you know what is missing), known knowns (absolute facts on the engagement) and assumed knowns (things you think you know but can only be confirmed by speaking with the customer)? This should comprise both quantitive and qualitative data. This information is crucial for you to have a starting point for discussion with the customer in the review. Otherwise you're going from scratch and that's no fun for most people.

    Regarding the second point, if you did a blanket e-mail to people you're lucky to have any folk respond. Give them a reason to respond with a medium they want to use. Every customer likes to engage in their own way and one size does not fit all.

    For your call itself, make it personable and relevant. I'd probably take the approach that I'm using the call to challenge the assumptions you have from my first question, fill in any gaps and discuss what matters to them now. Also set expectations as to what happens next, why and when.

    Hopefully some of my initial musings have helped you.

  • Damien Duval
    Damien Duval Member Posts: 2 Navigator
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    I would suggest a very simple approach:

    1- To all your accounts: Send an email introducing yourself and letting them the possibility to book a call with you if they want to (using a tool such as Calendly for instance).

    2- After the summer (because your customers can be on vacation these days ;-): For the ones you know that there is a risk of churn or they have issues with your solution: Follow with a second email (whether they did not reply to your intro)

    3- Do a second email one month later to all no responders. Or, instead of sending a second email to all no responders one month later, you could try reaching out to them through a different channel such as Linkedin or Twitter. This would give you a chance to connect with them more informally and could lead to a more meaningful conversation about their needs and how your solution could help them.

    For now, try your best to gather as much information as possible about your customers from both your colleagues and the CRM. This will prevent you from asking obvious questions during your calls.

    Best,

    Damien

  • Ed Powers
    Ed Powers Member Posts: 186 Expert
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    What would motivate your customers to want to talk to you? It seems that if you can figure that out, you’ll solve the lack of response. 
  • Bob London
    Bob London Member Posts: 54 Expert
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    Hi...I have a template that I've shared on GGR before that gets a very high success rate. The key is to position it as just another typical vendor call that's all about the vendor. In my experience, customers respond better when the call sounds more strategic - sort of a "step back" call.

    I also agree with @Iain Russell's point above that there has to be some trust established - and also with @Ed Powers' perspective about asking yourself what would motivate customers to want to talk - basically put yourself in their shoes.

    Here's a link to the template:

    Happy to answer any questions.

  • BenB
    BenB Member Posts: 76 Expert
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    Thx for re-sharing the email template @Bob London

    Great questions @Abhishek B - and you're learning something that executive leadership often forget: How difficult and time consuming it is to get customers on the phone. They will often send simple request to you and the team "can you please tell all your customers about xyz" and then get frustrated when its not done yesterday. This is a critical and challenging part of the job so don't get discouraged.

    And as others have mentioned find something that will catch their attention - simple option is to start with renewal dates. Send emails to customer with renewal date in the next 2-3 months. Send a seperate email with renewals 6 months out. It won't catch everyone but should help.

    Also look at other contacts - if you have 30 accounts you'll be responsible for building relationships with more than just a primary - so getting your foot in the door with a user etc... could do the trick.

    Congrats on the new job!

  • Laurie Barlev
    Laurie Barlev Member Posts: 15 Thought Leader
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    Like the others said, learn as much as you can about each client before you speak with them. If you haven't met them yet, you might be able to get away without knowing much before you contact them.

    Use this opportunity/excuse to reach out and introduce yourself and ask for a meeting. Think of what might be compelling to them so they will setup time with you. It could be you want to introduce yourself and share updates on how you are there to help them.

    I encourage you to keep the email short and sweet. Have a catchy subject line that grabs attention. Assume they are getting 100 emails every day and will spend a minimal amount of time on most, especially ones where they don't know the sender.

    Normally, I wait 1 week for the first follow-up and 2 weeks after that for the 2nd follow-up. It will likely take a few weeks before they will be able to meet with you so I wouldn't delay too much on the follow-ups.

    It can take a baby 10 times of trying a food before they decide they like it--having nothing to do with the food. While email responses won't likely require that many tries -- having nothing to do with you, they will likely require more than 1.

    Good luck.

    Laurie Barlev

    Founder, Barlev Success

    www.linkedin.com/in/lauriebarlev

    laurie@stanfordalumni.org

  • Steve Bernstein
    Steve Bernstein Member Posts: 133 Expert
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    Yet another reason to have a proper Voice-of-Customer program supported by Joint Success Plans. Imagine you are the customer, dealing with multiple vendors' re-orgs and re-assignments, having to explain everything to the vendor each time. What a terrible idea, IMHO. Instead, replace the "catch me up" motion with a scalable, repeatable, and profitable process that engages customers (especially STAKEHODLERS) at the key moments-of-truth along THEIR journey (not yours). Now when there's a change the history is self-documented.

    Of course, I'm always happy to assist with templates and details if anyone wants...

    /Steve

  • Lovlyn Andawey
    Lovlyn Andawey Member Posts: 4 Navigator
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    Hiya @Abhishek B! I am so happy you started this thread. I am saving it because this has so much gold from this community already. Especially those templates - Thank you @Bob London

    Getting in touch with customers to have a strategic conversation can be a challenge. I found it tough when I had to take over legacy accounts compared to newly onboarded ones. If there is someone the legacy account is familiar with on your team, it would be helpful to have a joint call where someone can edify you. If that is not possible, that is okay. It would be best to take the opportunity to introduce yourself, share something that you noticed about their account (ex. a reduction in user login/new posts could indicate risk, or an uptake in user activity can indicate health), and let them know you are there to help them succeed😁