Author – Ashley Harpp 4/25/2021
If you have done Customer Success for any period of time, you have had the experience of a customer go silent. It’s happened to me for sure. You did everything right (as far as you could tell at least) but for some reason the customer is completely unresponsive. You could see that they clicked your email but still nothing.
“Did I do something wrong?”
“Are they looking into competitors?”
“How’d that last QBR go?”
Thoughts like these may race through your mind as you wonder if you’ll ever hear from your customer again. This article is not about how to engage disengaged customers. That topic is for another day. Instead, I’ll offer 4 tips that will hopefully help you get ahead of this and avoid this situation completely.
During the kickoff call, let the customer know that you’re there to provide value and be their advocate. Try to gauge what situations might prevent you from reaching them directly. Is there seasonality in the business? What communication method do they prefer? Are you sending emails when they expect you to call them directly? Understand and set expectations early to anticipate future blockers.
Questions like this have worked for me in the past, “Are there any times during the year where you’re more busy than others? If so, what’s the best way to engage with you? I want to make sure that we reach X, Y, Z goals that we discussed so if we ever veer away from that, I want to be honest about where we are and let you know.”
Change it up
Use videos to keep things engaging. Loom and BombBomb are great resources to work with customers async and provide value without consuming a full 30 minutes of your customer’s time. Show that you value their time by only scheduling calls when absolutely necessary. This is a great time to remind the customer of a mutual success plan and the plan you mutually agreed upon at the outset of the relationship.
Pro tip: Keep videos short and simple. Here’s the framework I use:
- Quick intro stating the contact’s name
- Why I reaching out
- Value Prop
- Next Step / The Ask
I try to keep this under 1 minute and a half. If I send a video, I use as little text as possible in the email to make sure they actually watch it. If recording yourself gives you anxiety, you're not alone. There are a few articles that speak to how to overcome this challenge.
It’s great to have a go-to person but it's even better when you have backup contacts. Vacation, sick days and new employment opportunities happen to everyone. You need to have more than one contact to engage to ensure they stay on track.
Quick example of how you could ask for this, “So in the event you're out on vacation, who should I ring the alarm to if anything happens? Is there someone else in a similar role to you that I could engage?”
If you want customers to be responsive, do your best to set the example. This is true with escalations or simple questions that don’t require an immediate response.
Be responsive and available. Such qualities never go unnoticed by the customer no matter how busy they are. It shows that you care about their success even when it may not be a convenient time for you. When it is finally time for you to schedule an important and meaningful call, they will likely recall your responsiveness and return the favor.