Transitioning Customers from a High touch to Low touch model

erica newell
erica newell Member Posts: 5 Seeker
Have you ever had to move clients from Strategic CSMs to a one-to-many or low-touch team?  We are needing to do this with a very large portion of our customer base. Some of our lowest ARR accounts and ICP accounts were previously receiving a weekly call, now, quarterly will be the maximum our team can support.

What communications did you send and/or best practices have you followed?


  • Ed Powers
    Ed Powers Member Posts: 180 Expert
    Photogenic 5 Insightfuls First Anniversary 5 Likes
    edited April 2021
    Change is difficult, especially when you're taking something away--we humans are 2x more sensitive to losses as we are to gains--so expect some blow-back. That assumes, of course, that customers see value in more frequent contact, which may not always be the case. Unless you can 'grandfather' some of your customers for a time or couch the change in terms of upside, I've learned that it's best to shoot straight, be firm, and have the 'adult conversation.' It will be tough, but you'll get through it. When 2008 hit at a company I co-founded, we had to double the annual costs to our customers in order for the company to survive, a change that did not play well in the midst of the worst recession in 80 years. Despite that, our customers trusted us and we were able to retain 80% of them. 

    I'm curious, have you heard of a company called Cast? They're doing some very cool stuff that could allow you to continue to deliver frequent updates, such as QBRs, to low ARR accounts at scale without always requiring humans in the loop. If you combine something like this with more efficient cohort-based onboarding and communities, I've found that you can deliver a warmer, human-centric experience at scale.
  • Salvador Lopez-Uribe
    Salvador Lopez-Uribe Member Posts: 1 Navigator
    edited April 2021
    Hi Ed, agree, change is difficult but customers migh appreciate an honest conversation were the reasons behind the change is explained.

    Btw, we are exploring Cast and working on a pilot...
  • Adam Pierce
    Adam Pierce Member Posts: 3 Seeker
    edited April 2021
    Hi @erica newell,

    We have recently been managing a similar transition. 

    The first step for us was to ensure we had a really robust plan for the 'low-touch / tech touch' audience. This included creating a communication series (using gainsight) which triggers an email based on where the client is in their contract (tackling typical questions / pain points), updating our customer support portal (better UX, adding live chat etc) and enhancing our onboarding training (offering open sessions, translating recorded versions) etc. 

    Once we were happy with the above, @Ed Powers made a great point which we considered in our communication strategy, which was to assess whether customers saw value in the approach they were moving away from. In our case this meant reviewing our project owner surveys. Wherever possible the transition was discussed via a call (especially those that valued/engaged with the prior approach) with their customer success manager and followed up by an email clarifying the new plan/resources they had.

    Now that the transition has been completed, we are reviewing/ comparing our key KPIs to see if there is any negative impact.

    Hope this helps and good luck!
  • Brian Hartley
    Brian Hartley Member Posts: 185 Expert
    First Comment First Anniversary
    edited April 2021
    Hey, Erica - we recently did this.  Admittedly we had to rush it a bit more than I would have liked but we essentially identified those who would be impacted and sent them this communication.  Some of these required a few follow-up conversations but for the most part it has worked ok.


    I am excited to announce a new customer service approach that we're rolling out today. It's designed to best support our fast-growing customer base, and as we get bigger, we want to ensure that everyone has access to the support they need.

    So we have added a new function on our team, which encompasses both support and education. This function will help you and your users get the most out of [platform].

    What does this mean for you?

    • Leverage [support information]as you always have in the past.  There's no need to worry about who your customer success manager was or is, as we will have more resources to help you in this new model.

    • Staff working in this new function will triage your inquiry, assist with technical questions, and help with importing, general adoption, education, contract terms, and so on.

      • While we will strive to address your topic as quickly as possible, we will ask for a 24-hour turnaround time for training-related inquiries.

    • This team also will send out proactive emails to alert you on new features, education pieces, webinars, office hours, and more.

    If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to me.