Strategies/Playbooks around Disengaged/lagging clients during implementations

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Yash Shah
Yash Shah Member Posts: 7 Contributor
edited February 2021 in Metrics & Analytics

Hello, Amazing community members!

I'm reaching out to understand and come up with creative ways to push lagging/disengaged customers resulting in delayed implementations. We have mapped CS counterparts at CSM, VP, and CEO levels. Even with exec sponsorship + Clear action items for clients, the resources assigned don't move the needle. How have you navigated through this challenge? 

Thank you very much in advance!
Yash


Comments

  • Srikrishnan Ganesan
    Srikrishnan Ganesan Member Posts: 26 Expert
    edited February 2021
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    Hi Yash,

    A few things I've seen working:


    1. Use the kick-off meeting really well to align on execution. 

        a. Ensure the goals and priority of the project are communicated to all in the kick-off, from the VP or exec sponsor on the customer side. Let them also share how it ties into strategic priorities for the company so everyone knows this is important and is energised. (Try to also get a sense of where it is among other priorities for the company even before kick-off - so you are truly aware if this is going to get the right attention and if it is indeed important for the customer)
        b. Set the rules of engagement right. Get agreement on how follow ups should happen and figure out what you should do if the resources are not making progress. Let the customer side leader tell you how they want to treat this project if things are going sideways. You can then be more confident about your follow ups and escalations because you have the customer's agreement on how you will do this.
        c. Set up a steering committee meeting at a cadence of once in 2-3 weeks, so that you have the audience of key stakeholders to bring up issues with resources on te project or other challenges.
        d. Ensure the assigned resources are giving their inputs on the timelines and mutual action plan at the kick-off or before that to ensure the plan is coming with their own inputs as well and hence they are more likely to adhere to it.

    2. Ideally have customer onboarding tooling in place that can throw light for everyone involved and automate sending out project reports and shining the spotlight on who is dropping the ball. The visibility creates accountability and the tool can also collect info on where/why they are blocked. I can help you this part - let's DM if you are interested.
        
    Thanks,

    Sri

  • Jeffrey Kushmerek
    Jeffrey Kushmerek Member Posts: 96 Expert
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    edited February 2021
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    These are great suggestions. The questions that I typically ask in this situation are:

    1- Is the customer paying for implementation? 9 times out of 10 the answer is no, or it's so low that they don't value the experience
    2- Is there an expiration date of resources? If you told the customer in presales that you had your implementation resource for 30,60,90 etc days, and then they turn into a pumpkin and disappear, they will make sure that they will focus on it. Combine that with #1 and there is even more focus.
    3- Get the salesperson involved, or whoever gets the commission on the renewal, or both. They will reach out to the contract signer.
    4- are you using a tool like Basecamp, Baton or Wrike? Do they know they have a set timeline that they are missing?
    5- Do you have a defined timeline and process that you can point them to and show them where they are in that ?

    Best
    Jeff
  • Naomi Aiken
    Naomi Aiken Member Posts: 6 Contributor
    edited February 2021
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    Hi everyone,

    Wonderful suggestions and I agree with them all! In general, communication is key. Tell the customer (and tell them often!) where they are in the process, and in addition to where they are currently, what the implications are going forward. If they are slacking in the timeline, tell them that - be honest and frank about it - and help them very clearly understand what this means in terms of the remainder of their contract, reaching ROI, how this compares to other customers in your community, etc. Do you have an implementation timeline benchmark you are evaluating them against? Tell them. And explain why.

    My biggest piece of advice: Remember, the customer doesn't know what they don't know. You see the forest from the trees. Explain that to them.

    These emails/conversations typically start with something like:

    "We have implemented hundreds of customers and from our experience we know that customers who do ABC in XYZ amount of time are most successful. When ABC is not completed in a timely manner, we risk not being able to [INSERT]. I'm concerned that this will jeopardize your time to seeing value with our tool, as well as the partnership between our two companies, and I don't want that to happen." 

    Another tip: Don't put yourself in a position where the customer is going to respond and say, "Why didn't you tell me this sooner?" Be proactive. Get in front of the problem. The moment the implementation begins slipping, tell them. 

    I've used a number of tools over the years to help manage implementations, timelines, and expectations with customers. Happy to elaborate more if you want. Hope this helps!

    Naomi

  • Yash Shah
    Yash Shah Member Posts: 7 Contributor
    edited February 2021
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    Thanks, @Srikrishnan Ganesan! Great points.

    The CSMs will be primarily focusing on the customer relationship and the implementation mgr would be doubling down on technical operations. I think following 1b would be a great practice to reduce potential friction/blame games within various teams. We follow the others and 1c, with a variation that weekly/bi-weekly updates go to members on the ground and milestone status updates go all the way up to the stakeholders.

    Your #2 sounds very interesting, will DM you for more information!

    Best,
    Yash

    -------------------------------------------
    Original Message:
    Sent: 02-10-2021 01:55
    From: Srikrishnan Ganesan
    Subject: Strategies/Playbooks around Disengaged/lagging clients during implementations

    Hi Yash,

    A few things I've seen working:


    1. Use the kick-off meeting really well to align on execution. 

        a. Ensure the goals and priority of the project are communicated to all in the kick-off, from the VP or exec sponsor on the customer side. Let them also share how it ties into strategic priorities for the company so everyone knows this is important and is energised. (Try to also get a sense of where it is among other priorities for the company even before kick-off - so you are truly aware if this is going to get the right attention and if it is indeed important for the customer)
        b. Set the rules of engagement right. Get agreement on how follow ups should happen and figure out what you should do if the resources are not making progress. Let the customer side leader tell you how they want to treat this project if things are going sideways. You can then be more confident about your follow ups and escalations because you have the customer's agreement on how you will do this.
        c. Set up a steering committee meeting at a cadence of once in 2-3 weeks, so that you have the audience of key stakeholders to bring up issues with resources on te project or other challenges.
        d. Ensure the assigned resources are giving their inputs on the timelines and mutual action plan at the kick-off or before that to ensure the plan is coming with their own inputs as well and hence they are more likely to adhere to it.

    2. Ideally have customer onboarding tooling in place that can throw light for everyone involved and automate sending out project reports and shining the spotlight on who is dropping the ball. The visibility creates accountability and the tool can also collect info on where/why they are blocked. I can help you this part - let's DM if you are interested.
        
    Thanks,

    Sri

  • Yash Shah
    Yash Shah Member Posts: 7 Contributor
    edited February 2021
    Options
    Hi Jeff,

    Thanks a lot for your inputs! Interesting questions!

    1. Yes and No! Implementation cost is covered as part of the SaaS offering. 
    2. This is a great point!! 
    3. Sales team/person involved during the kick-off and escalations.
    4,5. We are improving tools and processes where they can see the status on-demand. 

    Best,
    Yash-------------------------------------------
    Original Message:
    Sent: 02-10-2021 08:46
    From: Jeffrey Kushmerek
    Subject: Strategies/Playbooks around Disengaged/lagging clients during implementations

    These are great suggestions. The questions that I typically ask in this situation are:

    1- Is the customer paying for implementation? 9 times out of 10 the answer is no, or it's so low that they don't value the experience
    2- Is there an expiration date of resources? If you told the customer in presales that you had your implementation resource for 30,60,90 etc days, and then they turn into a pumpkin and disappear, they will make sure that they will focus on it. Combine that with #1 and there is even more focus.
    3- Get the salesperson involved, or whoever gets the commission on the renewal, or both. They will reach out to the contract signer.
    4- are you using a tool like Basecamp, Baton or Wrike? Do they know they have a set timeline that they are missing?
    5- Do you have a defined timeline and process that you can point them to and show them where they are in that ?

    Best
    Jeff
  • Yash Shah
    Yash Shah Member Posts: 7 Contributor
    edited February 2021
    Options
    Hi @Naomi Aiken,

    So True! We have our internal benchmarks set for the timelines, level of efforts on each implementation so, we can effectively scale and improvise. While we share these during sales pitches, repeating them would only help and customers know they are starting to fall behind.

    Appreciate your response!

    Best,
    Yash-------------------------------------------
    Original Message:
    Sent: 02-10-2021 09:33
    From: Naomi Aiken
    Subject: Strategies/Playbooks around Disengaged/lagging clients during implementations

    Hi everyone,

    Wonderful suggestions and I agree with them all! In general, communication is key. Tell the customer (and tell them often!) where they are in the process, and in addition to where they are currently, what the implications are going forward. If they are slacking in the timeline, tell them that - be honest and frank about it - and help them very clearly understand what this means in terms of the remainder of their contract, reaching ROI, how this compares to other customers in your community, etc. Do you have an implementation timeline benchmark you are evaluating them against? Tell them. And explain why.

    My biggest piece of advice: Remember, the customer doesn't know what they don't know. You see the forest from the trees. Explain that to them.

    These emails/conversations typically start with something like:

    "We have implemented hundreds of customers and from our experience we know that customers who do ABC in XYZ amount of time are most successful. When ABC is not completed in a timely manner, we risk not being able to [INSERT]. I'm concerned that this will jeopardize your time to seeing value with our tool, as well as the partnership between our two companies, and I don't want that to happen." 

    Another tip: Don't put yourself in a position where the customer is going to respond and say, "Why didn't you tell me this sooner?" Be proactive. Get in front of the problem. The moment the implementation begins slipping, tell them. 

    I've used a number of tools over the years to help manage implementations, timelines, and expectations with customers. Happy to elaborate more if you want. Hope this helps!

    Naomi