Six steps to level up your digital CS Image

Six steps to level up your digital CS

Customer success (CS) is on fire.

With the ups and downs of the economy, companies continue to increase their investment in CS. At the same time, they struggle to hire enough Customer Success Managers (CSM) to cover their entire client base, leading to the need to do more with less. 

The answer, of course, is digital customer success—also referred to as one-to-many customer success or customer success at scale or tech touch. Easy, right?

Digital customer success conundrum

The challenge is that digital CS represents a panoply of strategies and entails a myriad of questions about where to start:

  • Which customers (e.g., SMB segment) to start with?
  • Which user personas (e.g., admin users) to start with?
  • Which customer journey stages (e.g., onboarding) to start with?
  • Which channels (e.g., email, in-app) to start with?
  • What does success look like?

Because of the maze of decisions, many companies get stuck at the starting line.

Given our experience working with thousands of SaaS businesses at Gainsight, we put this guide together to help companies understand how to move forward.

That’s why we’ve created the Digital Customer Success Maturity Model, which outlines 6 steps to evolve your digital CS strategy from rookie status to the major leagues.

1. Basic self service

Every user wants the ability to do things on their own. And it’s simply not possible for a CSM to guide every user to every answer. 

Digital CS starts by empowering users to help themselves by providing basic self-service resources, such as in-app knowledge centers, support chat, and online communities

Nearly every company has implemented—or is furiously catching up to implement—a foundational set of self-service offerings. Ultimately, these offerings enable users to help themselves and each other with the guidance needed to learn and use your product, empowering you to serve more customers with fewer people.

2. Scaled customer messaging 

CSMs are often seen as the primary channel to effectively reach the customer, always tasked with bringing up that “one important thing” for every account. But CSMs have to manage tens or hundreds of customers and trying to remember which accounts or customers need to receive which message isn’t sustainable.  

Over the last decade, SaaS companies realized that the most powerful digital tool to reach product users was right in front of them—customer data and their own product as the communication channel. 

Automating messages or announcements targeted at large cohorts of customers or users takes the burden off your CSM team and ensures the right messages are delivered every time based on your customer data.

3. Pooled CSM


A new team model is emerging to fuel efficient, digital-led growth: Pooled CS. CS organizations can support smaller customers via a pool of CSMs that collectively work across a large set of customers to provide a more personalized experience that scales.

In this team structure, individual CSMs can focus on becoming subject matter experts in different topics and apply those learnings across accounts. A Pooled CS team can divide and conquer, creating templated resources that address common customer needs. 

4. Basic user journey 

The product isn’t just a channel to communicate messages to users—you can also guide specific user types through common journeys by instructing them to act in the product.

Starting with simple email or in-app automation to guide user journeys can be a powerful tool. Users want a straightforward experience, and notifications that guide them through every step of their session empower them to reap value from your product fasting, all while boosting adoption and unburdening your CSMs.  

5: Multistep journeys


After establishing a foundation with Basic User Journeys, develop digital approaches for more sophisticated processes that require multiple steps and/or people to complete. These steps typically build on each other with the need to collect and/or bring data from one step to the next.

6. Product-led growth

In many ways, all of digital success is about leveraging the product experience to drive growth. You have identified and supported the common paths for users or companies to achieve value with your product. How can these experiences be built directly into the product? Answering that question will put your organization ahead of the game. 

Customer success is a make-or-break investment for companies to grow in today’s market. But that growth has to be efficient and durable, which challenges a high-touch CS model as it scales.

Want to learn more? Download the full ebook today

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