What tools do your CS team use?

Max Smith-Gee
Max Smith-Gee Member Posts: 13 Contributor
edited December 2020 in CS Technology
Hey GGR community, 

I am curious to know what tools everyone is using to engage with their customers? How are you communicating with your customers in-app and with what tools? Also, what tools are you using to manage customers (i.e. health scores, QBR records, etc)?

Thanks for the time!



  • Jarren Pinchuck
    Jarren Pinchuck Member Posts: 38 Expert
    edited December 2020
    Hey Max, there are so many platforms on the market now. All you need to do is Google depending on your need and you'll get many options.

    I've used Intercom for live chat, product updates, knowledge base and some robo-walkthroughs and it works well.

    I would suggest looking into a dedicated Customer Success platform for most of what your CSMs will need to run a successful operation. Again, there are many of them around. Have a look at Planhat (terrible name but excellent CSM platform). Ask to chat with Chris and mention my name, he'll look after you.

    Best of luck
  • Alissa Wilczynski
    Alissa Wilczynski Member Posts: 8 Seeker
    edited December 2020
    My product is desktop installation on-premise, so we don't have an in-product communication channel. We're planning to bring in ChurnZero for health scoring, personalized outreach, retention forecasting, ...

    I'm also pretty excited as we just purchased a new community platform (inSided) that I want to use to build a new communication channel with customers, as they can opt in and out of various topics/discussions/announcements. This would be more for 1:many customer success.
  • Farouq Aldori
    Farouq Aldori Member Posts: 5 Seeker
    First Comment First Anniversary
    edited December 2020

    Hey Max!

    I'm in this space, here is a list of tools you could start using today (in no particular order):

    • Vitally
    • ChurnZero
    • Totango
    • PlanHat
    • ClientSuccess
    • UserIq
    • GainSight
    • Customer.io
    Let me know if you want the full list. ?

    With that said, I'm developing a super simple but powerful software for smaller CS teams. Most of the focus will be on result-oriented in-app messaging.

    The tool is called Engageful, and the idea is the ability to send in-app experiences to the right person, at the right time. 

    Just today, I added this beautiful pop-up that makes it easy to perform CSAT surveys, and depending on the response you can configure different outcomes automatically. 


    If you'd like to try us out, just let me know! 

  • Max Smith-Gee
    Max Smith-Gee Member Posts: 13 Contributor
    edited December 2020
    Hey Jarren, 

    Thank you for the heads up on PlanHat. I will give them a look. It's interesting that you used intercom for all of those use cases. I am curious to know if Intercom was owned by your CS team, Sales team or Product team? Or was Intercom used equally across teams?
  • Max Smith-Gee
    Max Smith-Gee Member Posts: 13 Contributor
    edited December 2020
    Hey Alissa, 

    Thank you for the insights and response here. Really interesting how you are using your tech stack to empower your CSMs. 

  • Max Smith-Gee
    Max Smith-Gee Member Posts: 13 Contributor
    edited December 2020
    Hey Farouq

    Thank you for the thorough message! I'll definitely spend time looking through the some of the tools you listed. And definitely, super interesting idea you are pursuing with Engageful. I am plenty of my CSMs are always thinking about how to best engage with their customers in the right place and when they want to be contacted, and doing all of that at scale. Good luck!

  • Chris Williams
    Chris Williams Member Posts: 1 Navigator
    edited December 2020
    Along with the G-suite we use Gainsight which is great for tracking healthscores, tasks (CTAs), meeting notes, emails etc. The real value is ensuring you get the usage data from your platform into the tool. Of course work out what your customers version of success is verses the way they use your product as well.
  • Natalie Williams
    Natalie Williams Member Posts: 14 Contributor
    edited December 2020

    I've used Client Success and like it a lot. They are a great team and support their customers. The technology helps tracking pulses and customer health which has been very valuable to us. 

  • Erika Villarreal
    Erika Villarreal Member Posts: 41 Expert
    10 Comments Second Anniversary 5 Likes Name Dropper
    edited January 2021
    Hey Max, 

    Here is the list of my current Tech Stack, hope this helps.

    CS tool - ChurnZero
    Intercomm for Customer Service
    Hubspot CRM
    Slack (of course)
    Product Board for Product roadmap
    Todoist for project management

  • Kate Persons
    Kate Persons Member Posts: 5 Seeker
    edited January 2021

    We use:

    • Salesforce
    • Strikedeck - CS software
    • Chorus - call intelligence and coaching
    • Gsuite
    • Slack - internal communications plus some client community work we're just starting
    • Zoom - for client calls

    Other teams at our company use these product that our customers might interact with:

    • Zendesk - Support
    • Pendo - Product and Sales Enablement (customers see pop-ups, announcements, walkthrough, etc.)
    • Thought Industries (LMS) - Product Education
    • Aha - Product enhancement requests
    • Jira - Support & Product

  • Jung Kim
    Jung Kim Member Posts: 20 Thought Leader
    edited January 2021
    Hi Max, 

    The ever-changing and essential question!

    for internal communications: 
    • Hubspot
    • Gsuite (although some folks on the sales side like Microsoft Outlook)
    • asana - project management
    • Slack
    • Zoom
    • MS office
    Some customers prefer to utilize: 
    • Skype
    • Webex
    • MS Project

    For our B2B and B2C communications (we're a B2B2C company): 

    • Zendesk - Support
    • inline Manual - walkthroughs, in-product onboarding, etc. -- limited in some of these options because of HIPAA-compliance
    • SurveyMonkey as installed in the mobile app for end-user feedback
    • Jira
    • LaunchDarkly 
    • Flatfile
  • Ido Barnoam
    Ido Barnoam Member Posts: 22 Thought Leader
    10 Comments Second Anniversary Office Hours Host 2022 Name Dropper
    edited January 2021
    Hi Max

    I've not a lot to add to the tools that were already mentioned but the tools we use are:
    • Gainsight 
    • Zendesk for support (we also use their Knowledge base platform for public knowledge base articles)
    • Intercom for 1-to-many connections and interactions
    • Mailchimp for mail interactions
    What I can add is that our CS ops team member does an amazing job connecting and integrating these tools together, so it's super easy for our CSM's to have relevant data at the fingertips (having support ticket information in Gainsight for example or updating the information directly from Slack) which really supercharges the work and makes it a lot easier.
  • Max Smith-Gee
    Max Smith-Gee Member Posts: 13 Contributor
    edited January 2021
    Erika, thanks for the response and information. Definitely some great tools there. Do yo use Intercom for in-app communication and engagement with your customers?
  • Max Smith-Gee
    Max Smith-Gee Member Posts: 13 Contributor
    edited January 2021
    Hey Kate, thanks for the insights. I'd be curious to know how you are planning on managing and organizing the slack client community. We have direct slack channels with individual customers, but are thinking through a community slack space as well. How long have you been had the client community up? Any major lessons from the launch?
  • Max Smith-Gee
    Max Smith-Gee Member Posts: 13 Contributor
    edited January 2021
    Hey Jung, thanks for segmenting out your stack. Definitely looks like you guys have your bases covered. I'd be curious to know how you integrate your solutions to get a full understanding of your customers' usage data from your platform.  For example, I am guessing your inline manual, zendesk, surveymonkey, jira, etc all have some customer data stored in them, but how are you managing to develop a full 'picture' of customer? Do you manage that through an internally developed tool or simple spreadsheets? 
  • Max Smith-Gee
    Max Smith-Gee Member Posts: 13 Contributor
    edited January 2021
    Ido, this is great insights here, and we are building a similar echo-system of tools here which connect together and help empower our CSMs with the most relevant data needed. Whether they are hosting a QBR or having a weekly touchbase, I want my CSMs to be able to get any data point on a customer from a singular source of truth. I'd be curious to know how permissioning works for each tool, do each of your CSMs have access to each tool you listed out? Or is there a centralized control or specialized Admin l for each tool?
  • Jung Kim
    Jung Kim Member Posts: 20 Thought Leader
    edited January 2021
    Hi @Max Smith-Gee - ah, the last part of the question! Forgot to mention our BI platform (metabase) that we use in tandem with excel sheets for some manual scoring as it pertains to our SMB segment. Still in the process of developing out our roadmaps and a more consistent way to monitor for enterprise customers, but it's been working nicely with the slack integration for triggers and monitoring customer journey milestones. Not totally sustainable long-term, but finding it a really great way to justify budget for spending funds on a CS platform. Hope this helps! If you're building out a scoring system from scratch (aka a glorified, but worthwhile excel sheet), happy to help you think through that as well. Feel free to DM me!
  • Kate Persons
    Kate Persons Member Posts: 5 Seeker
    edited January 2021
    The concept is similar to the Customer Success Leadership Network slack workspace, if you're familiar with that one. https://app.slack.com/client/T010HA8PDSB/C010RQW2R08
    But our launch was, honestly, not a success. We need to relaunch/restart. The key learning was how important it is to have some designated moderators to get conversations started.
  • Katie Baker
    Katie Baker Member Posts: 9 Seeker
    edited January 2021
    Our CS/ops teams currently uses the following: 
    • Gainsight - health scores, surveys, customer communications, dashboards
    • Slack - mostly internal communication/resources, but we do have some using channels with their customers
    • Zendesk - support platform and houses our community
    • Pendo - in app messaging and data - officially managed by our product/education teams, but impacts CS
    • Google Meet/Zoom/Go To Meeting depending on our customer preference/requirements
    • Confluence Wiki - internal informational resource, defined processes, how-to's, etc
    • Dialpad
    If you open this up company wide, the list gets ridiculously long (something we're working on), but focusing on CS....this pretty much covers everything they'd be in on a regular basis. I'd say 70% or more of our CSM's time is spent in Gainsight as we've built that out as our go-to place for customer information. Slack, Zendesk and Pendo all integrate or we use S3 buckets to push data where we need it to go for easy access.
  • Luke Cullimore
    Luke Cullimore Member Posts: 6 Seeker
    First Anniversary
    edited February 2021

    Hey Erika,

    Awesome to read - that is a Tech Stack similar to my own! Except we don't use Churn Zero or any CS Platform.

    How well does Intercom push data into Churn Zero? Is Support data easily available to you in your CS platform?

    I have concerns that Live Chat systems typically won't integrate as well but would be great to hear how it works for you!

    I am debating whether to switch from Intercom to Zendesk for that very reason - however I want to avoid changing if possible!

  • Anna Alley
    Anna Alley Member Posts: 72 Expert
    Third Anniversary 10 Comments Photogenic Name Dropper
    edited February 2021
    You've already got a lot of great responses, but I figured I'd add as we are attempting to use a few not listed here. Similar to Intercom, we are rolling out Chameleon for in-app communication, tours, etc. We're also connecting that with a calendar scheduling tool (Chili Piper) to allow customers to schedule time with their CSM directly from the application (and be prompted to do so). 

    A lot of our health scoring, etc. is home grown at the moment, but we're in the middle of switching to try to utilize the Salesforce platform, establishing the support community forum, etc. as well as their CS modules.
  • Laura Beavin-Yates
    Laura Beavin-Yates Member Posts: 5 Seeker
    First Comment First Anniversary
    edited April 2021
    @Luke Cullimore I'm in a similar position where we've not yet adopted a CS platform. I'm curious since it's been a few months since your post - have you adopted any platforms? Are you still using Intercom or did you end up making a shift? We have Intercom and are moving to a product-led model, where I anticipate we'll need to adopt a CS platform soon!
  • Erika Villarreal
    Erika Villarreal Member Posts: 41 Expert
    10 Comments Second Anniversary 5 Likes Name Dropper
    edited April 2021
    Hello Luc!!

    I missed your reply and I'm just seeing your message.

    To answer your questions, yes. I feel there is a pretty good integration. ChurnZero is able to pull all of the chats from Intercomm in an easy way for anyone to review. Here is a print screen of how it looks. If you click on the binoculars you can see the whole conversation on Intercomm, who contacted support, and all the information from the contact. 

    When  you click on the binoculars, here is an example of how this looks. 
    Its super helpful. You are able to tell when was the last support contact, what the conversation was, who assisted them, etc
    Hope this helps. I do not think you need to change to Zendesk. You can reach out to me, I can show you around If that makes you feel more comfortable! Shoot me a DM.

  • Erika Villarreal
    Erika Villarreal Member Posts: 41 Expert
    10 Comments Second Anniversary 5 Likes Name Dropper
    edited April 2021
    We have not tried this yet. We are using it only for Support as of now, but we are looking into Intercomm series down the road.
  • Keishla Ceaser-Jones
    Keishla Ceaser-Jones Member Posts: 15 Thought Leader
    Photogenic First Anniversary
    edited May 2021
    We use:
    Outlook-Office 365

    Keishla Ceaser-Jones

    Senior Director, Partner Success

    Digital Immersion Technologies, EAB

  • Dominic Manning
    Dominic Manning Member Posts: 1 Navigator
    edited May 2021
    In this tech stack, do you have anything that does your feedback and VoC analytics?
  • Laurie Barlev
    Laurie Barlev Member Posts: 17 Thought Leader
    10 Comments Second Anniversary Photogenic Name Dropper
    edited May 2021
    Any suggestions for cs platforms for those of us without a CS Ops and with a very small budget? The team is small but needs to be nimble.


    Laurie Barlev

    Founder, Barlev Success


    [email protected]

  • Melissa Flygare
    Melissa Flygare Member Posts: 17 Thought Leader
    Third Anniversary 10 Comments Photogenic
    edited August 2021
    Hi Laurie,

    I realize it's been a while since your post, so I'm a bit late to the game here.  If you are still interested in a cs platform for a smaller team with no CS Ops, ClientSuccess may be a good option.  I'd be happy to get you more info, if you'd like - just let me know!  :)