There are plenty of unexpected challenges in SaaS right now, as the looming recession becomes a reality, but Customer Success (CS) organizations in particular are adopting digital tactics to overcome and endure these challenges.
Digital Customer Success (DCS) is becoming table stakes, as SaaS organizations of all sizes look to their own customer base to build an efficient, durable growth engine that can withstand this market and position them for future success.
To help you on this journey, we recently compiled a comprehensive guide to digital tactics along the customer journey, The Big Book of Digital Customer Success. Here are our top 5 recommendations to empower your CSMs with an efficient, scalable digital-led strategy.
1. Make your welcome email do serious work
Set your customers up for success from day zero with a welcome email that does serious work. The important thing here is to provide a decision tree that helps users navigate who to go to for which answers—cutting down the touch points your CSMs have to handle. In this way, DCS is a CSM’s best friend, because it allows them to focus on the moments where their personal involvement matters most, leaving the most tedious tasks to digital, one-to-many communications.
For example, an effective welcome email will include links to self-service tools, your user community, best practice articles, and a calendar to easily book a meeting with the CSM on the account. Ask your customers to save this email and refer to it for a list of resources as they onboard … it will make their life (and yours) so much easier!
2. Be available during adoption through one-to-many tactics
Adoption is a make-or-break aspect of the customer journey. It’s not easy to implement a new software offering, whether your customer is a flexible startup or an enterprise with legacy systems. There’s a lot for every user to learn and buy into as part of their day-to-day operations. It’s the job of CS to make that process as painless as possible and guide customers to value through the solution quickly.
As your business grows, it can be hard for your CS team to stay on top of every user’s adoption experience. Instead of adding CSM headcount, which may not be possible, empower your CSMs to work smarter. One-to-many communication channels like office hours and Ask Me Anything sessions (AMAs) provide an avenue to feature expert advice on common adoption topics that your users face. This way, you can reach hundreds of people or more with an hour of helpful content, and then post the recording on your user community or service hub.
3. Let user behavior guide expansion offers
At Gainsight, we’re always looking for ways to help our customers get the most value that they possibly can out of our platforms. This often means guiding users to grow into features that they aren’t currently utilizing, through a variety of tactics.
This is where Product-Led Growth (PLG) comes into play. Are your customers hitting a paywall, trying to access a feature they haven’t yet adopted? Are they maxed out on seats for their users, while their company grows? These are all expansion opportunities that could be missed if your CS team isn’t leveraging DCS. By implementing in-app engagements at these key moments, you’re not only ensuring you capitalize on every expansion opportunity, but you’re also converting in a way that will scale.
4. Leverage automation to never miss a renewal opportunity
Renewal conversations should never sneak up on you. Successful CS teams are in constant communication with customers to understand what their challenges are and how they’re meeting their goals. Of course, that is time-consuming in a one-to-one relationship. Digital CS makes it possible with one-to-many tactics.
At Gainsight, we developed a semi-automated renewal process for our low-touch accounts that capitalizes on every possible opportunity to win the renewal. We’ve operationalized our outreach using digital tools that prompt both emails and in-app engagements leading up to the renewal. For example, 180 days before the renewal deadline, we send a likelihood-to-renew survey. Then, 120 days prior, we send an email detailing what’s in the customer’s current contract. The outreach sequence takes a few different paths from there, depending on the customer’s response. You can read how to implement a strategy like this in your own team in our Big Book of Digital Customer Success.
5. Make advocacy easy with a strong community
Customers should be excited to advocate for your platform because of the value it’s driven for their company. Give them every opportunity to rave about your product with peers in a user community.
Community fosters both innovation and advocacy. Users from across the globe can come together and share what aspects of your solution worked for them to achieve their goals. What surprised them, what delighted them, what they pushed to the limit to perform an unusual use case … these community conversations can lead to your best case studies and partnerships. They can even influence your product roadmap, as customers find unexpected ways to use your product to solve their problems.
Right now, it’s more important than ever to support your customers with the solutions they need to solve pressing problems, making your product sticky and mission-critical in the process. But CSMs can’t do it on their own human willpower—they need automation, one-to-many communications, product experience analytics, and community.
Learn how to implement your Digital Customer Success strategy
To learn more about Digital Customer Success tactics throughout the customer journey, read the Big Book of Digital Customer Success.