What kind of process would be effective in using customers as multiple resources for your organizati

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Effie Mansdorf
Effie Mansdorf Member Posts: 76 Expert
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edited August 2023 in Customer Journey

I'm eager to get all my fellow peers’, opinion on the best process to approaching customers as and internal resource for your organization. Often times, when we have a successful customer, or a customer who is eager to partner in product design, or testimonials all teams are eager to contact them. 

 

This results in getting approached multiple times within a short window by too many of our team members from different departments. The willing customer can get annoyed and effect the great relationship the CSM has been working on building. 

 

Curious to hear how you balance this within your CS org and what process you have put in place to manage it. Looking forward to your input!

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  • Scott Morgan
    Scott Morgan Member Posts: 24 Expert
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    edited June 2020
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    Our process is all CAB, partner requests, testimonials, and the like go through the CSM. PD or PM will reach out to the CSM group with an initiative to get design partners for a new tech or feature. The CSM will identify some accounts and then reach out to the champion to see if they are willing. Then we move from there. Keep in mind the CSM always coordinates activities with the Account Executive. This way we always sound like one voice to the customer.

  • Kristi Faltorusso
    Kristi Faltorusso Member Posts: 45 Expert
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    edited June 2020
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    Hi Effie-

    I currently have this managed with our Customer Marketing and Operations Manager; she is responsible for all customer advocy programs and works alongside the CSM. We make sure that we are tracking this in Gainsight to monitor customer eligibility (it's the CSMs job to keep this current) but we also look at the Health Score details before reaching out. We then use the Customer Advocacy activity type in Timeline to denote when that customer last participated in some event - Reference, testimonial, case study, speaking engagement etc. We try not to use any 1 customer contact more than 2 times per quarter as our rule of thumb (sometimes we need to and we make a big ask). Everything we do lives in our systems so we can effectively track, manage and measure all of the good work we do in partnership with our customers. Also, having one person manage this, they have a holistic view over the entire customer base and can help advise the best customer to leverage for different engagements. This approach has been a win/win and also differsifies the relationships we are building with our customers. I like to avoid the CSM having the sole relationship as we know people come and go and this presents risk long term. I hope this helps.

  • Effie Mansdorf
    Effie Mansdorf Member Posts: 76 Expert
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    edited June 2020
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    Very helpful - thanks!

  • Andreas Knoefel
    Andreas Knoefel Member Posts: 73 Expert
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    edited June 2020
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    I establish a baseline customer journey by reviewing our existing customers and how they got to where they are right now. Those who rise above the rest are our Champions and we treasure them: Fast adoption, exceptional ROI, deep penetration, innovative use cases are a few of the reasons they shine. Here are some further details on this approach from a LinkedIn blog post:https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/leverage-your-champions-andreas-knoefel/

    1. We celebrate our Champions as often and publicly as possible. It makes their key stakeholders look good, and promotes their personal brand inside their company and publicly
    2. For each of them I define a campaign with either my in-house marketer (belonging to CS) or Marketing and include, Product and Sales in our RACI chart for the campaign in whatever involvement makes sense:
      1. Solution Brief
      2. Webinar
      3. Speaking at a conference
      4. Innovation awards
      5. Press release

    Now I have already a strong selection of success stories to share with not as successful customers, prospects, etc,...

    If someone wants to go further and initiate a reference call, they have to show that the account is already sufficiently qualified and coordinate with the CSM to prevent over-use.

    For other special projects, like co-development, the CSM stays informed, but may not drive the initiative.

     

  • Effie Mansdorf
    Effie Mansdorf Member Posts: 76 Expert
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    edited June 2020
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    I'm happy to share ( with some edits to remove specific information of my organization) what I came up with. Again - the purpose is to avoid "overusing" customer's good will for providing feedback and advocacy:

    A. In CRM check/uncheck the customers who are available to be contacted by other internal teams ( product, marketing,sales)

     Contact can mean:

    1. Emailed directly
    2. Emailed surveys or questionnaires
    3. Meeting with customer - Zoom, phone or in person

    B. Checking customers as partner ready by confirming that the customer is not in any of the following situations:

    1. Low health score
    2. Yellow or red pulse
    3. In a sales cycle
    4. Customer has been approached more than twice in the last quarter (use judgement). Allow for sufficient buffers of time between contacts. 

    C. Requester will access CRM, filter for the checked “Partner Ready” field and review any other relevant information. They will then see which customer is available to be contacted and who fits their criteria.  

    D. Requests to communicate with customer will come in the slack channel, accompanied by details. 

    E. CSM and CS Manager to approve the communication.

    1. Review the request. Make sure the customer receives value out of the request. 
    2. Confirm that the reason for the request is clear to the customers, with sufficient background and description of what is expected from them with clear outcomes.
    3. Confirm that the requester is asking to approach the appropriate contact within your customer team.

    F. CSM must be included in meetings or CC’d in email communication.  CSM can also choose to be the one initiating the request. 

    G. Once meeting has been arranged and completed document it in the following areas within CRM:

    1. Summary - In this area, document the date communication type, subject matter and all parties involved. 
    2. Engagement Area - document all necessary information regarding the communication.
  • Anna Alley
    Anna Alley Member, CS Leader Posts: 70 Expert
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    edited June 2020
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    We have a similar process to what's been outlined, however without a tool like Gainsight, we rely primarily on our Salesforce interactions. We use ReferenceEdge for formal reference requests from sales. Other internal teams have to reach out directly to Customer Success before contacting the customers. Where we run into a bit more of a challenge is with out Tech Touch customers that don't have a designated CSM assigned. If any of those customers are requested, we have to look at recent cases, past contact, etc. and use our best judgement to determine if they're a good option as a reference. I'm also hoping once we complete the build out of our Health Score, we'll be able to streamline the process further and rely primarily on the health score and number of past contacts to determine eligibility.