How to message that you won't have a CSM going forward

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Mary Rosberg
Mary Rosberg Member Posts: 14 Contributor
First Comment
edited February 2022 in Strategy & Planning
I have a tough one. In the past, we've provided a CSM at no charge to merchants above a certain Annual Contract Value. Going forward, due to a variety of growth-related factors, we are moving that minimum Annual Contract Value up. I wish I were in the position to say everyone would be legacy'd in to keep a CSM if they already had one. That is not the case. How would one message that? Our tech support team is strong and 24/7. They can also purchase a CSM for X. I've thought about including the option to retain a CSM for a discount off of X... 

Grateful for input,
Mary
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  • Gladys David
    Gladys David Member Posts: 2 Navigator
    edited February 2022
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    Hi,
    yes its a tough one. In order to not loose those customer account, you can start by mentioning  the change in the annual value contract. Then Lets them know what benefit they will get from it. 
    Perhaps a small additional services or has you said an discount purchase in order to retain them, From their point of vue they need to see the benefit of staying with your company and not going somewhere else. In short: What paying more will bring to them?
  • Amandeep B
    Amandeep B Member Posts: 6 Contributor
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    edited February 2022
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    Hello Mary,

    It is a tough one indeed. A few questions:

    1. Do the customers, by any chance, have a CSM SKU included in their agreement?
    2. Are the customers already aware that they were able to have a CSM assigned for their account because of meeting the ACV threshold?
    I think these missing pieces of info. will help shape the communication.

    Amandeep
  • Allastair Meffen
    Allastair Meffen Member Posts: 14 Thought Leader
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    edited February 2022
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    We made this move 2 years ago and have slowly moved the minimum threshold up as the company continues to grow.  We currently do not charge for Customer Success, so we don't give them an option to pay for a CSM.  When we have moved customers off of having a CSM we have communicated to them the great assets that they have access to in regards to our support and training teams.  In the message we make sure that they have the contact information for their Account Executive if they have any questions.  In the background, we tell the CSMs that were on the account to continue to support them if the customer reaches out and then point them to the support and training resources.  We have received very little pushback from these customers and if/when they grow above the threshold we will then reassign a CSM.

    This move has resulted in higher deal average coming from our new logo team and leveraging Customer Success as a differentor when the prospect is looking for a discount.
  • Jacques LeCour
    Jacques LeCour Member Posts: 2 Navigator
    edited February 2022
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    Hey Mary, 

    That is a tough one.  I have a few thoughts and then perhaps an idea. 

    1)  What's driving this direction?  Growth and unwillingness to invest more in CS bodies?  Maybe a misconception or perception from above on the value of CS?  Or other?   I ask because its important to let your Executive Team know the value that CS brings not only from an annual NRR or growth perspective but also through the relationship aspects.  This years Executive Champion at Mom and Pops Garage is next years Executive Champion at American Honda.  Specifically (and this stat may have changed) but CISO's move about every 2/3 years.  And building those relationships through CS springboards future growth.  I understand there are other variables and a hypothetical situation but its not a false statement either and I've personally seen a CISO bring our company in and displace existing solutions in 4 different stops.  He started at the mom and pop and wound up on the Wall Street.   And his number one response as to why?  "I trust your solutions, and your team gives me guidance on the things I'm needing and the things I haven't seen yet" CS all day long. 

    2)  What type of direct and indirect engagements do you have?  You want to off load some of those customers, I understand, but would it make sense to build out a Tier model where you have 1 CS person handle a large number of T3 accounts but is more or less directing indirect (Email, Newsletters, Protips, coffee talk) type engagements?  It's a scenario where you aren't spending a ton of cycles and resources but still showing some love and building value in customers' accounts.


    3)  I think you should look at a phase approach send a note out to all customers who would be affected letting them know of the decision.  Let them know that they will still have full access to support teams, KA, Product Tours and will be receiving the same Newsletters etc but that at the time of renewal they will have the option to add a CS leader to their renewal who'll be responsible for X (Because you'll want to associate the value).  And if they don't again, they'll receive the same great service they've known to love and trust. 

  • Gladys David
    Gladys David Member Posts: 2 Navigator
    edited February 2022
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    I totally agree, specially with the 3rd point
  • Mary Rosberg
    Mary Rosberg Member Posts: 14 Contributor
    First Comment
    edited February 2022
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    Amandeep:
    1. Do the customers, by any chance, have a CSM SKU included in their agreement? ANSWER: No. But believe me, that's where we're headed, even if it lists it as 100% discounted.
    2. Are the customers already aware that they were able to have a CSM assigned for their account because of meeting the ACV threshold?  ANSWER: Some yes, some no.
    1. Do the customers, by any chance, have a CSM SKU included in their agreement?
    2. Are the customers already aware that they were able to have a CSM assigned for their account because of meeting the ACV threshold?
    I think these missing pieces of info. will help shape the communication.

    Amandeep
  • Mary Rosberg
    Mary Rosberg Member Posts: 14 Contributor
    First Comment
    edited February 2022
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     Allastair-
    Thanks for sharing. When you made the move, what did you tell customers who had CSM's as to why they were losing their CSM? (I do like the softening of the blow re: emphasizing the great support team, etc.)
    And of course, 100% love that outcome of higher deal average and Sales using CSM as a differentiator.
    Best,
    Mary



  • Mary Rosberg
    Mary Rosberg Member Posts: 14 Contributor
    First Comment
    edited February 2022
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    Jacques,
    Thanks for your thoughts and ideas. 
    1)  What's driving this direction?  Growth and unwillingness to invest more in CS bodies? ---- the CS team grew 40% last year. We're investing in other parts of the company for H1 2022. Exec team is very aware of the value of CS and our NRR.  Love the Mom&Pop => Honda example. Indeed, those stories are ingrained in the execs here as well.  What a glowing quote too!  "I trust your solutions, and your team gives me guidance on the things I'm needing and the things I haven't seen yet" CS all day long. 

    2)  Re: building out a 1 to many -- yep. That's something we want to kick off (again) towards H2.  Meanwhile, all customers are part of marketing's flows of blog posts, webinars, and the like. 

    3)  "I think you should look at a phase approach send a note out to all customers who would be affected letting them know of the decision.  Let them know that they will still have full access to support teams, KA, Product Tours and will be receiving the same Newsletters etc but that at the time of renewal they will have the option to add a CS leader to their renewal who'll be responsible for X (Because you'll want to associate the value)." Love it. Thank you. 

    2)  What type of direct and indirect engagements do you have?  You want to off load some of those customers, I understand, but would it make sense to build out a Tier model where you have 1 CS person handle a large number of T3 accounts but is more or less directing indirect (Email, Newsletters, Protips, coffee talk) type engagements?  It's a scenario where you aren't spending a ton of cycles and resources but still showing some love and building value in customers' accounts.


    3)  I think you should look at a phase approach send a note out to all customers who would be affected letting them know of the decision.  Let them know that they will still have full access to support teams, KA, Product Tours and will be receiving the same Newsletters etc but that at the time of renewal they will have the option to add a CS leader to their renewal who'll be responsible for X (Because you'll want to associate the value).  And if they don't again, they'll receive the same great service they've known to love and trust. 

  • Allastair Meffen
    Allastair Meffen Member Posts: 14 Thought Leader
    First Anniversary Photogenic Name Dropper
    edited February 2022
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    Hi Mary,

    We did not explicitly tell them that they were losing their CSM. We communicated how they could access to support and training and if they had questions made sure they had their AEs contact information.

    Allastair

    Sent from my iPhone
  • Kaylee Hamar
    Kaylee Hamar Member Posts: 1 Navigator
    edited February 2022
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    Great discussion. This is, as already mentioned, a difficult one. I will share what I have done at my organization, which may or may not work as a possible solution depending on the size of your org and how many customers are impacted by the change: 

    To lay a little background-  the reason we considered a change was because we noticed a lot of customers no-showing cadence calls, not having enough to cover in calls because of lack of resources on their end, and in the end, they were using the product, happy, and only really needed help with how-to's (in their mind). Additionally, we needed to be nurturing these customers even more, but on their own terms/time- not on a set cadence call. Plus, we are growing, and it was time to consider breaking off a segment for a more automated experience. 

    I battled with the same question- how to approach the change with customers. I decided I would run a test. I selected a portion of the customers and set up calls with as many of them as possible- 15-20 min was really enough time. I had a "pitch" of the idea and the why and let them know it was a feedback call and it was a choice. 


    I was pretty amazed that around 99% of all customers I spoke with were very excited about the idea to move to a model that fit their needs better. The few others that pushed back remained with their CSM and I am monitoring the engagement. 

    For the next group of customers, I am testing another approach- we will be sending communications from our Success@(company).com email reminding them of the resources and team they have available. This will be followed by invitations to group workshops and other ways to learn and engage. 

    The key now is to continue to build out programming and touchpoints that really do nurture these customers without those 1:1 relationships. 

    I will mention that we still have 1:1 high touch implementation and onboarding for all customers, but based on a set contract engagement threshold, certain customers go into the growth model from there. 

    I still have a lot to learn and a lot of data gathering to do before I really know if one approach was/is better than the other. 

    I guess my point is- maybe it doesn't have to be one way- test! test! test! talk to your customers. They will tell you the answer most likely. What I heard from the first group was that it made so much sense that my second test was validated. Now, to find out if the more bulk communication of the change is successful/well-received....

    Hope this helps or at least sparks other ideas! 

    Kaylee
    Dir. Customer Operations

  • Ashley Hendrix
    Ashley Hendrix Member Posts: 1 Navigator
    edited February 2022
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    Mary,

    We just did a mass movement like this during Q2-Q3 last year after we decided to create a tech touch program.  Below is the exact messaging we sent to customers.  I wanted to point out the 2nd sentence about them being managed by a team of Customer Success professionals which is ultimately a combination of our support team and 1 person in tech touch. 





    As discussed, we have implemented some changes to the methodology for the alignment of the account assignments at JLLT/Corrigo. Your account will now be managed by a team of Customer Success professionals instead of by an individual CSE.  Your first point of contact will be the JLLT OneServiceCenter, previously named the Support Team.  If your request is something outside of a standard request (i.e. additional training, consulting, custom reporting, configuration work required, etc.), OSC will escalate the request to the Customer Success Team.

     

    Please be assured that our team is committed to your success, and we will do everything we can to make sure that you are informed about product updates, best practices, and new features and functionality. I do want to point out that JLLT University has been updated with new content including recorded webinars, new release presentations, and surveys, so please review at your convenience: https://university.jllt.com/

     

    Contacting the OneServiceCenter 

     

    If you include the following information in any messages sent to the OneServiceCenter, it will expedite you getting a resolution

     

    • Company Name and a keyword or two in the subject line
      • Ex: ABC Holdings – Adding a new asset
      • Note: if your question or issue is regarding an integration, include "IFS" in the email subject also
    • Provide as many details as possible
      • If you just have a question (how-to, where to find, etc.)
        • What module are you working in (Work Orders, Reports, Configuration, etc.)?
        • What are you trying to achieve?
      • If you are experiencing an issue
        • Are you working on mobile or desktop?
          • If mobile, are you using an Apple or Android device?
        • If you are receiving an error, what does it say?
          • Providing a screenshot is helpful when possible
        • What steps did you take that caused the error?
        • Overall, what are you trying to achieve?
    • Contact information
      • If not included in your email signature, include your full name, title, ph#, and the best time to contact you, including your time zone

     

    If you have any questions or concerns regarding this change, please let me know. It has been a pleasure working with you! I have really enjoyed getting to know you. Thank you for your partnership. Please don't hesitate to reach out if I can assist you with anything.

     

  • Amandeep B
    Amandeep B Member Posts: 6 Contributor
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    edited February 2022
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    Great discussions in this thread so thank you for bringing this topic up. I believe you have received a lot of different options to explore.

    My concern was whether you had a contractual obligation of any sort which I am glad to hear is not the case in this situation, and for the customers that are aware of the ACV threshold, I am sure they will understand......for the ones that didn't, with the right message/approach (like the one Ashley described), this should be a relatively less painful transition.

  • Harsh Shah
    Harsh Shah Member Posts: 40 Expert
    Name Dropper First Comment
    edited February 2022
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    Hi Mary,

    I hope you had a relaxing weekend!

    I'm a bit late to join this discussion but indeed it's a great question and I really find the responses helpful!

    Probably there are a few things which might be helpful to answer this question. 

    1) The customers are well aware of the current model and benefits they are getting from a dedicated CSM?
    2) If yes, then you could prepare the list of benefits and showcase what similar values they will get once the account is transferred to the success or support team
    3) Once they start with this model and you feel that their concerns are a bit complex to address by the support team or they will get more value if a dedicated CSM is assigned to their account then share those reasons with them.
    4) Once they feel that a dedicated CSM can be more useful for their business needs then they will surely opt for this.
    5) And if the customers are not aware of this model then you can gradually transfer the communication by making sure that they get the same level of dedication.

    Best Regards,

    Harsh Shah

    Customer Success Manager, Woliba

    Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/harshshah-15/

    Email: hcshah15.hs@gmail.com

  • Chad Horenfeldt
    Chad Horenfeldt Member Posts: 57 Expert
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    edited February 2022
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    Hi Mary!
    We're in the process of working through this too. I'm launching a pooled CS model for our SMB clients so we will provide them with options:
    • Support
    • Community
    • Training University 
    • Access to a team of CSMs via Support
    I like Ashley's email below. Are you able to phase this or created a pooled CS model for that SMB segment?
  • Brian O'Keeffe
    Brian O'Keeffe Member Posts: 204 Expert
    First Anniversary Photogenic 5 Insightfuls First Comment
    edited February 2022
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    I love your approach.

    I am a big proponent of moving customers who are not responsive to the tech touch tier. Sometimes they don't see the value. or any reason to meet with the CSM, sometimes they are self-service oriented and have a go it alone approach, and sometimes they just don't want yet another meeting! Why fight it?

    In my last gig we had a team who managed tech touch and were available when needed. If something came up, a direct engagement was possible. We had customers with an ARR of $10,000 and others with $2,000,000. Guess who we were prepared to move back and was watched just a little more closely?

    It scaled very nicely and the fear of the tech touch team being overwhelmed never came to fruition. As an added bonus, I took delight in turning as many high value tech touch or scale customers and enrolling them in our advocacy program. No one contributed more to the advocacy program then our scale team! It was a great achievement that few inside the org thought possible. 

  • Mary Rosberg
    Mary Rosberg Member Posts: 14 Contributor
    First Comment
    edited February 2022
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    "I am a big proponent of moving customers who are not responsive to the tech touch tier. " -- They're very responsive, actually....  

    I am a big proponent of moving customers who are not responsive to the tech touch tier. Sometimes they don't see the value. or any reason to meet with the CSM, sometimes they are self-service oriented and have a go it alone approach, and sometimes they just don't want yet another meeting! Why fight it?

    In my last gig we had a team who managed tech touch and were available when needed. If something came up, a direct engagement was possible. We had customers with an ARR of $10,000 and others with $2,000,000. Guess who we were prepared to move back and was watched just a little more closely?

    It scaled very nicely and the fear of the tech touch team being overwhelmed never came to fruition. As an added bonus, I took delight in turning as many high value tech touch or scale customers and enrolling them in our advocacy program. No one contributed more to the advocacy program then our scale team! It was a great achievement that few inside the org thought possible. 

  • mikes somers
    mikes somers Member Posts: 6 Contributor
    edited February 2022
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    In addition to generating high-quality leads, a

    flowstate marketing [Belkins' review] needs to know how to convert those leads into clients. While quantity is essential, it is not the most important thing. Just increasing the number of leads does not necessarily mean boosting the income of the business. 85% of B2B marketers consider lead generation their top challenge. By generating quality leads, you can make the most out of your marketing efforts. A B2B sales lead company will also offer you the opportunity to introduce your product or service to potential customers. By using relevant content, you can show that you know what your customers are looking for. Whether it's information about a recent trend in the industry, or an answer to a burning question, creating relevant content can help you stand out amongst your competitors. And last but not least, social proof can help you create trust with your potential clients. Adding client testimonials to your landing pages or social media sites can help you build trust with prospects.
    • Support
    • Community
    • Training University 
    • Access to a team of CSMs via Support
    I like Ashley's email below. Are you able to phase this or created a pooled CS model for that SMB segment?
  • Brian O'Keeffe
    Brian O'Keeffe Member Posts: 204 Expert
    First Anniversary Photogenic 5 Insightfuls First Comment
    edited February 2022
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    I like the team part and the difference is you introduce the team to the contacts, VS an individual. Do you segment by ARR? 

    How do you manage escalations, or other feedback that the team gets from the pooled customers? I have seen it handled various ways, sometimes redirected to support by default. Does messaging that the pooled customers get  (Totango/Gainsight campaigns etc...) have an individual's signature, a generic team signature, a a persona or other? I am in the process of defining all of this. 

  • Brian O'Keeffe
    Brian O'Keeffe Member Posts: 204 Expert
    First Anniversary Photogenic 5 Insightfuls First Comment
    edited February 2022
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    I would leave off the "instead of by an individual." Why include it? It is something we all know and define clearly inside the org but the customer only needs to know that they now have a team. If they have a relationship with a CSM I might have the assigned CSM deliver the message and have them address any feedback. 


    The biggest battle internally is not defining tech touch as less than, inferior to, or a second rate experience to the one to one model. It isn't but if you message that, it is what internal partners will pick up (and often assume) and create a perception where tech touch is "the bottom" of the CSM hierarchy. When done well, Tech Touch is every bit as successful as one to one and can meet all the same objectives. (I took great pride in being the top performer among all CSMs in every metric possible in my days a tech touch CSM! Beating every single CSM from every other tier, almost every time!)

  • Christie Anderson
    Christie Anderson Member, CS Leader Posts: 12 Thought Leader
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    edited February 2022
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    We just went through this recently when we resegmented customers. We were moving some customers to a tech touch. In the email, we had a section that said What does this mean for you?  with a few things listed out like (not worded exactly like this, but you get the point):
    • We're going to be more proactive with sending usage data, relevant resources, and new features
    • If you ever have questions you can reach out to our support team or take advantage of live chat 
    • We included links to resources within the product so customers can begin to self serve 
    Hope this helps!