When to remove a CSM from a churning account?

System HLAdmin Posts: 7 Gain Grow Retain Staff
edited October 2020 in CS Org Conversations
While not an ideal scenario, at times we may find ourselves in a situation where a member of our team is managing an account that is slowly churning. The pace causes a negative QoQ impact as usage drops and eventually a renewal impact as well. I'm curious how others handle these situations and what your policy is for when a CSM can be removed from an account that is definitely churning. 


  • Craig Jackson
    Craig Jackson Member Posts: 23 Thought Leader
    edited October 2020
    Hi JW

    Perhaps not the ideal response, or a popular one but I never would remove a CSM until the account has churned out. Not knowing your business model, my personal opinion on the situation is that the experience through exit is equally as valuable as the duration of the lifecycle. 

    The last experience you have with a supplier in my mind is usually the one your remember, could also have a great impact on future referrals, public feedback and a potential return. 

    I have a never say die attitude when it comes to this and have retained customers in the 11th hour during the transfer out.

    That said, I do get the issue of resource challenges, and why spend time on a customer that is potentially leaving when you can give a better service to those who are staying. Ultimately, in the past I have encouraged sensible prioritisation of workload and juggled work to ensure that when needed the customers staying are bumped to the top. 

    Not sure if this helps at all, but don't give up on your accounts 
  • Shari Srebnick
    Shari Srebnick Member Posts: 111 Expert
    First Comment First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited October 2020
    Hi JW,

    Initially I had a response, but after reading Craig's, I realized he summed it up perfectly.  

    Offboarding is just as important as onboarding.  Unless this customer is churning because of a terrible experience with your company, there is always the possibility that they could recommend you. They might not have been a great fit, but someone else could be.

    There is a quote that comes to mind here (and I am paraphrasing a bit), "People may not remember what you said, but they'll remember how you made them feel."

    I'd have the CSM de-prioritize this account, but ensure that the customer knows they're there to help should they need anything before the contract ends.
  • James LaRiviere
    James LaRiviere Member Posts: 7 Seeker
    First Anniversary
    edited October 2020

    Hey JW,

    Is the account churning due to the CSM? We've all dealt with inevitable churn at times whether it be a change in the client's business model, weren't sold the right solution, company restructuring etc. At this point I would prioritize solving what the reason for churn is and gameplan with the CSM.

    Now if the reason for churn is based on a bad CS experience like lack of follow through, radio silence etc then I would work on a performance plan with the CSM and have regular check ins as this could drip down to other accounts in their book.

    I agree with Craig and Shari on the offboarding. Even if it's time to move on from your product, you could still leave them with a great feeling which can lead to referrals, advocates bringing you to a new org, etc. From personal experience, there's always a chance they can come back some point down the road.

  • Jeffrey Nadeau
    Jeffrey Nadeau Member Posts: 28 Thought Leader
    First Anniversary
    edited October 2020
    +1 to what Craig shared -- I would never remove a CSM because an account is churning. First impression AND Last impression matters. I will coach my CSM to make sure they help the customer and set realistic expectations on when they can help them. If the customer is no longer adopting, I coach the CSM to help the customer off-board properly and make sure they have a great experience when leaving us. 

    The scenario where I have removed a CSM is when a customer was not professional and disrespectful to the CSM in which I stepped in and let the customer know that this is not a way in which we conduct business and they no longer had access to a CSM. It was only one-time and it showed my team that I will always have their back when it's the right thing to do.