I recently read a question posed on LinkedIn by Jeff Breunsbach, Director of Customer Experience at Higher Logic. He asked why building customer marketing programs is becoming harder by the minute. He correctly concluded that it’s because everyone (from your implementation team to Marketing, to Product, Support, and on and on) has something to say to the customer.
Throughout the customer’s lifecycle, they are getting inundated with messages from all corners of your organization. This is especially true at the beginning of the relationship when training and onboarding are on the agenda. Jeff believes that this means we need to “become great at prioritization and consolidation” when it comes to customer messaging. He ends the post asking, “How do you make sure that you communicate the right things to your customers?”
Well, those of us in Customer Success, specifically those in the Digital or Scaled CS space, are very familiar with this dilemma. We are always trying to consolidate customer communications, working with other departments to optimize engagement without flooding everyone with too many messages. It’s not easy. Ideally, ownership of all these missives would fall under the CS umbrella, but that isn’t always the reality.
Often, interdepartmental silos prevent CS leaders and CSMs from even knowing everything being said to their customers, let alone being able to synthesize all communication into a single, relationship-building strategy. In order for any department to build a comprehensive blueprint for customer engagement, the whole organization needs to work together and cooperate to make it happen.
Too many cooks in your kitchen: collaborate to consolidate
Getting all your departments to cooperate in prioritizing and consolidating customer communications should be, as Ryan George says in his hilarious Screen Rant Pitch Meetings, super easy, barely an inconvenience.
I’ll wait till the laughter dies down.
Every department owns their own piece of the customer lifecycle pie. But I’d say that Customer Success is the only department with the singular goal of actively engaging customers on a deep level through every phase of the customer lifecycle. (If this isn’t the case for your CS organization, it’s definitely a goal for you to keep in mind as you mature.)
Salesforce’s report, State of the Connected Customer, found that 76% of customers expect consistent interactions across departments. Yet, 54% say that it feels like Sales, Service, and Marketing don’t share information enough to build a unified experience. Customer Success is in a unique position to be that unifying point of contact for customers. CS leaders can and should take the reins to identify a single point of contact to own overall customer communications strategy and build the unified experience your customers crave.
This individual should then work cross-functionally with other departments to understand everyone’s needs and desires when it comes to interacting with your customers, and critically, own and manage a company-wide customer communication calendar. Customer Success can even help by breaking out messaging best practices by customer segment and enhancing the overall customer experience by employing a dynamic engagement approach.
Like I said, super simple!
Okay, I admit it, it’s not even a little bit simple, but it can be done…
…with a little help from our friends – digital Customer Success and automation
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how critical automation is to reach this goal. Digital Customer Success is on the rise as CS organizations scale and grow because once you’ve done the work we outlined above, you need tools that will make these long-term, value-adding conversations work. With Every. Single. One. of your customers.
Digital Customer Success is a long-term goal that you can accomplish in stages. For example, community platforms like Higher Logic can help you build streamlined member communications schedules to align and coordinate relevant information to each department’s target audiences. In-app engagement software automates engagement during that oh-so crucial onboarding and adoption process.
No matter where you begin, technology platforms can help as you work to integrate customer communications for your organization. There are so many CS-aligned tools out there to assist on your path to digitizing Customer Success.
The easiest way to consolidate customer communications is…
Well, we know that the truth is that it’s not actually that simple to get everyone on the same page when it comes to customer communications. The first step is convincing your colleagues that ownership of those communications should live with Customer Success. Or, if not directly owned by CS, CS should at least be tapped to create an overarching methodology for customer engagement that everyone can agree upon.
This is so important because Customer Success knows what it takes to strike a balance between what each department wants to say versus what the customer actually wants to hear. Customer Success can lead the charge, work with Sales, Marketing, Finance, Product, Support, etc. to compile their individual desires, and build a comprehensive plan that keeps the customers’ needs as priority number one.