Getting customers technical help that doesn't fall under Support (break/fix) or PS (pay for help)

AshleyGarza123 Member, CS Leader Posts: 8 Navigator
Name Dropper First Comment Photogenic


I am helping build out our Digital CS at my company. An issue we see time to time on lower-tier customers is they don't have money to buy PS to help build/enable something and it's not a break/fix issue that Support can help with.

What are resources and material you have in place besides product training that help teach customers how to build things own their own without hopping on a call to actually help them? For reference we are aiming at each Digital CS to have 80-100+ accounts and are not requiring these people to meet on calls with customers.

Thank you!


  • Brian O'Keeffe
    Brian O'Keeffe Member Posts: 199 Expert
    First Anniversary Photogenic 5 Insightfuls First Comment
    edited November 2023

    Hi Ashley! I strongly advise working in some way to respond and follow up. A big mistake is the no-touch mentality; digital is never talking to or interacting with a human. It is a surefire way to fail.

    Myth: The team will get loaded down or become the customer's direct contact forever.

    Reality: This is always the fear, but it's our fear, not fact.

    In my experience, customers get stuck on little things that they cannot figure out and cannot solve via self-serve. Most are SUPER SIMPLE and resolved in seconds, versus the slow burn of never being able to resolve it. It avoids the slow drip of creating a detractor and low adoption customer probability. Over time, you will learn what the common issues are and, improve your training tools, and reduce the inability to self-serve.

    I used the pooled approach, where the team owns responses and aims to provide a digital response but engages directly when necessary. A clear escalation path is critical for this to work. A tiny percentage will need it, and are complicated. (failed deployments, serious misconfiguration, etc...)

    The customer who looks for that team member they last spoke with? Skillfully redirect or always have another team member reply. Always use the team concept (I am part of your team of Customer Success Managers)

    By building this in, you will manage to solve a lot of simple issues, identify gaps in training and tools, and generate loyalty and goodwill from a lot of customers. All of it pays off in the end.

    Who you hire on this team is critical. They must be superstar CSMs, skillfully navigate digital tools, be super sensitive to the customer journey, and can pivot between digital, direct engagements, and combinations.

    I advise avoiding the terms low tier, low value, etc... and instead, smallest customers. When you label them with terminology that includes low, you will convey to your org they are less than, not as worthy, or less valuable, and it will seep right down to the customer. In one example, I heard someone say to a customer, you are getting moved to the low touch tier, terminology that was commonly used internally. How you make people feel is everything in CS.

    I am happy to share more about my experience directly anytime!

  • Felix
    Felix Member Posts: 14 Navigator
    5 Likes First Comment Name Dropper Photogenic

    I agree with Brian. It's not good for organizations to separate paying customers based on value and put lower-value customers in self-serve situations. This can harm their reputation. As a CSM, I always talk to all paying customers to understand their problems and find solutions. I then update our processes to prevent similar problems for future customers.

  • Amanda Regan
    Amanda Regan Member, CS Leader Posts: 3 Navigator
    First Anniversary Photogenic First Comment

    We currently use a pooled CS model, like the previous post, as a front line. We are also training an AI bot to run interference before customers get to CS or Support eventually. If the bot cannot help them, we are asking a question that helps determine if CS or Support should be the next tier. We are seeing positive results.

  • Andrew Shoaff
    Andrew Shoaff Member Posts: 25 Thought Leader
    5 Likes 5 Insightfuls First Anniversary Photogenic


    From a tactical perspective, think about how you can get a lot of folks together live to review/discuss a single topic. Essentially it's the webinar model. Figure out the 80/20 of the most critical strategies/issues/whatever customers face and then build quick hit live webinars. Get customers to actually help lead those sessions. It takes time to build out the right marketing, formats, etc, but it gets results so be patient and iterate frequently. We made 1:M live webinars a critical part of our digital team execution (5 CSMs, 13,000 customers, 50M ARR) and it was extremely successful on many levels. Once you get your model worked out it becomes highly scalable and infinitely repeatable across lots of topics. Also becomes a great place to get references, case studies, and upsell opportunities from smaller customers. Happy to chat anytime to discuss how we did this and how we measured results.