3 Customer Success Best Practices to Scale People & Automation

April 24, 2018

Marley Wagner

Category: Customer Segmentation Strategy, Customer Success as a Service, Customer Success Strategy, Virtual Customer Success Management

In a fast-paced, resource-strapped world, solving problems through automation is a no-brainer. Auto-delivering customer communications through technology can cost less and is often faster. Plus, hurried customers who just need answers love real-time, no hassle responses.

What customers don’t love is never having the option of human engagement — even when they don’t realize they’re missing it. Forcing customers to find their own way often leads to low product adoption and high churn — shorting companies of potentially loyal customers to fuel greater revenue growth over time.

A lot of that isn’t new to Customer Success (CS) leaders. They know full automation isn’t ideal, but what they don’t know is how to resolve it. That topic is a focus of our white paper, “Customer Success at Scale: To Automate or Not,” which explores how to assess automation with three key considerations for customer success best practices.

1) People-powered automation

Many rely on the idea of using automation in a Customer Success program to auto-deliver value without human interaction. Yet over reliance on tech enabled touch points can negatively impact customer experience. While everyone can appreciate the time savings that technology provides, it doesn’t support a customer’s need for human-to-human contact. CSMs play an important, ‘human-centric’ role in the customer lifecycle. They build relationships that empower customers to reach their goals with your products and services.

Technology should enable the CSM to help customers achieve their outcomes faster and more efficiently. It should not be a means to handle customers the CSM doesn’t have the time or desire to talk to.

2) Recognize your customer tiers

Take a look at your customer tiers when attempting to strike a balance between automated outreach and human engagement. You know your top-tier customers are experiencing top-level service. You’re ensuring success at every step of their respective lifecycles. Where things often breakdown is the mid- to low-level tiers, which for most of our clients, actually make up about 80% of their customer base — a volume many CS team structures aren’t equipped to manage.

Although it may seem difficult, extending your Customer Success strategy to these underserved segments offers many rewards. Moving customers from a tech-touch only model to a low-touch cadence with occasional, proactive phone calls from a CSM has proven to increase renewal rate and improve upsell/cross-sell within accounts.

3) A solution that scales

It’s not impossible to find scalable solutions that meet your needs and don’t leave your customers out in the cold. We recommend starting with these three questions to assess your options:

  1. Are you maxed out on your CS team headcount but have the strategic need for more human interaction across your customer base?
  2. Do you have CS best practices that are already effective with your largest customers?
  3. What would your business look like if you extended those practices into the lower segments of your customer base?

After answering those questions, our clients typically find the most success by:

  • Finding ways to make customer conversations more informed, personalized and meaningful
  • Leaning on experienced partners who can extend proven Customer Success strategies into underserved segments of your install base
  • Seamlessly accelerating execution with a reliable playbook

For a more in-depth perspective on using automation as a customer retention solution, download our white paper, Customer Success at Scale: To Automate or Not?

Learn more – Are you maxed out on your Customer Success (CS) headcount but have the strategic need for more human interaction across your customer base? Striking the right balance between human interaction and tech-touch automation is possible, if you take the right approach. This guide shows you how.