Defining the Client's goals: Do you categorise or allow them to freestyle, or both?

Jack Choppin
Jack Choppin Member Posts: 3 Navigator
edited October 2023 in Customer Journey
Hey guys, 

I'm interested in how you utilise client's goals in your actions, and whether you categorise them or allow the client to define them uniquely on a case by case basis. 

I can see the benefit of having several categories that you assign a client's 'goals' to, but I can also see the downside of not knowing their specific personal goal when helping them achieve that or looking to see if you have been successful. 

When it comes to collecting and recording your client's goals, how do you guys do it? Assign it to a more generic category, allow them to define it in a bespoke manner, or both? 


  • Riccardo Mirto
    Riccardo Mirto Member Posts: 1 Navigator
    edited January 2021
    Hi @Jack Choppin

    Based on my personal experience so far, we need to keep goals specific to each customer and allow them to define as better fits to them, but we need to categorize them to make them actionable with consistent and repeatable approaches, which will evolve as we learn or improve.  While goal definition can be driven by customer words, category should be defined by us/our organization. CSM will match the two and 1 Goal should go into 1 Category only, as a rule.

    Categories will give subset of internal actions, tools, etc. that we can leverage to help our customers success with their goals, in some case, depending on how flexible or open they are, these resources need to be instantiated (or tailored) to make it actionable for the actual goals & KPIs of that customer.

    Having a compact list of categories at first, will avoid you to make it too complicated. Categories should help to find consistent approaches and give you a framework to work on 

  • Jack Choppin
    Jack Choppin Member Posts: 3 Navigator
    edited January 2021
    That's really helpful thank you Riccardo. Do you have a generic example of a category and the internal action you might drive off that? I appreciate this may be confidential so no worries if not!
  • Jason Myers
    Jason Myers Member Posts: 4 Seeker
    edited January 2021
    Piggy Backing on this useful info from Riccardo - I've found thats its useful to tie your categorization to the existing playbooks/set of processes that you have in place to drive valuable customer actions (assuming you have some customizable playbooks for various churn risks, expansion opportunities, etc.). The categorization is most useful when it indicates to your CSMs the types of actions they should take, the types of opportunities they should pursue. But i found it useful to keep them broad enough that we allow our CSMs to use judgement to pick and choose the elements of the playbook that will work best (we hired them to deeply understand their clients and act in their best interest, don't want to take all judgement out of their hands).

    As a vague (for the company's sake), anecdotal example from my last org (chatbot company) - clients primarily received value from our platform either from saving on support costs, or driving more sales revenue through chat. These were simple buckets for goals that lead to expansion opportunities; each opportunity has corresponding product features to sell, best practices to educate customers on, and success metrics for our CSMs to focus on to drive results. For example, a client who has a goal of decreasing call centre volume by X% and/or increasing CSAT by Y% would get bucketed into "support savings" categorization for their goal. Within this categorization we had a suite of product features purpose designed for this result, we had analytics integrations to measure call centre volume driven through our products (to measure reduction/deflection), we had best practices for how to build out chatbots to drive these results.  By categorizing their goals, it told the CSMs which playbook to use. But they still use their judgement to work with the client, understand how to build a purposeful design for their needs, and what features and best practices make the most sense. The success measurement was fairly automated so a lot of this happened just by categorization. Depending on the maturity of your org and products, you can further subcategorize from there. 

    Hope this is helpful!
  • Nicholas Ciambrello
    Nicholas Ciambrello Member Posts: 27 Expert
    First Anniversary
    edited January 2021

    So we def capture the specific goals of the clients. We are a transactional sale but our product is very robust. So we created a framework to help us understand the customer. WHAT HOW WHY

    What do they want to do?
    How do they want to do it?
    Why do they want to do it?

    This allows us to clearly document what they want to do and we can figure out a plan for that account to both renew and expand. We categorize the opportunity to expand or renew based off the goal... Categorize like, misplaced product, good product fit etc. This way we know how we want to engage with them as they become at risk or ready to upgrade. We capture the goals in our CRM adhoc though we dont categorize the actual goals just the outcome that we think will be best fit for them.

    I think its very important to have the clients give you their goals, however, a lot of times the customer doesnt actually know what their goals are or what they bought your software to truly accomplish. The WHAT HOW WHY framework allows us to isolate what they want to accomplish. We then do this Understanding the customer tactic in which we do the following;

    - Play back the user's exact words
    - summarize it in 1 sentence
    - gain confirmation that we understand

    This gives the customer time to rethink what theyre trying to do and allows us to dig a little deeper on specific areas since we know the questions we need answered. The WHAT HOW WHY.

    Hope this helps!