In today’s complicated and competitive customer success landscape, delivering value is more important than ever. Clients want more than just adoption; they expect their investments to lead to tangible outcomes and value. Meeting such demands requires overcoming myriad obstacles like unexpected churn, a shortage of customer insights, poor product adoption, and a disconnected customer experience. Another pressing problem plaguing customer success? How to manage and operationalize scale.
The challenge of scaling customer success was a topic in our recent Gamechanger webinar series. At this event, Gainsight’s Kellie Capote, VP of Client Outcomes, speaks with Kristi Faltorusso, VP of Customer Success at IntelliShift. A division of VTS, IntelliShift helps organizations leverage the power of IoT telematics through modular solutions designed for connected vehicle and asset management operations.
Kellie and Kristi discuss how IntelliShift scaled its approach to customer success by implementing new processes and tools to redefine how the company thinks about customer success.
IntelliShift’s CS transformation in 4 steps
Figuring out how to scale customer success is a common business conundrum, especially given most teams have reduced resources. The pandemic-driven shift to remote work means teams have even more to juggle. So, how did IntelliShift do it?
To answer that burning question, Kristi describes the state of customer success when she joined the company in January 2020. Back then, the account management team was charged with supporting customers despite not having a solid CS infrastructure or strategy. That had to change, so Kristi initiated a step-by-step transformation process based on four clear objectives.
1. Define and design the customer journey. As a customer success leader, Kristi says that understanding the customer journey and figuring out how to execute it is her superpower. After carefully assessing the company, the customer, and the products on hand, Kristi identified five phases of the CS journey:
- Segments. Create customer segments based on strategic opportunities such as company size, the way a customer consumes products and tools today, and how they might use them in the future.
- Journey. Design a comprehensive customer journey focused on goals, adoption, and advocacy.
- Engagement. Ditch the cookie-cutter definition to “success” and construct a recommended engagement model for each customer segment.
- Outcomes. Create a model for successful outcomes that are highly focused and tied to specific product-use cases, outcomes, and goals.
- Experience. Build out a comprehensive RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) model to identify experience enhancements based on accountability and ownership to ensure meaningful customer support
2. Train and enable. Kristi says that if teams don’t understand the why and the how of a product, they can’t help customers be successful. So how can we build a team with comprehensive knowledge and insights? What are the gaps, and how can they be filled? To ensure consistent, high levels of knowledge across the teams, IntelliShift now creates and records virtual trainings; documents and updates all processes, and requires all CSMs to earn a certification through the LMS. The company also gives new hires 30 days to complete a thorough onboarding program.
CS tip: For business leaders augmenting or building a whole new customer success team, Kristi recommends hiring the customer operations manager first, followed by customer marketing.
3. Scale with technology. Kristi has led four Gainsight deployments at various companies, and she believes the platform is essential for customer success. The Gainsight tools she feels drive the most value for her teams and their customers are:
- Playbooks. IntelliShift CS teams access 30+ custom, editable Playbooks. Features and tools include manual and automatic deployment based on triggers or lifecycle events; pre-built emails to boost efficiency and eliminate redundancy; orchestrated timelines and due dates; and Cockpit for managing tasks.
- Success plans. Collaborate with customers on partnerships and product outcomes; collaboratively manage timelines and accountability; create preset success plans templates that map back to product use cases; set clear business objectives to help support and drive ROI.
- Surveys. Access and leverage the “voice of the customer” through surveys and “pulse checks” that can be automatically or manually triggered; launch and manage NPS survey program; integrate surveys with Journey Orchestrator for easy course correction if needed.
- Reports. Manage engagement across segments and CSMs; track customers by stage, risk, and opportunity; share customer data and insights with cross-functional teams.
- Journey Orchestrator. Automate customer surveys and feedback; leverage digital engagement to support long-tail customer segment; increase customer touchpoints with minimal effort.
- Gainsight PX. Access a wealth of in-app tools for engaging and communicating with customers; get feedback about product features and requests; link customer knowledge base to support inquiries; integrate with Zendesk for customer support.
Worth noting: Kristi reports that Gainsight PX’s Engagement Modules drive a whopping 90-95% of customer engagement with webinars, product vignettes, release notes, and the knowledge base. “With Gainsight PX, we’re reaching customers we’ve never reached before,” she says.
4. Grow your team
This last point is certainly not the least. Since she’s been at IntelliShift, Kristi has seen the CS team nearly double from Q2 to Q3, and she projects continued, significant growth through 2021. These numbers reflect an industry trend that shows that most business leaders—87.5%—are either keeping CS headcount steady or actively growing the team. In the long term, team expansion is essential for saving both time and money, provided, of course, that the right technology infrastructure is in place.
Kristi wraps up the webinar by sharing her three critical takeaways for transforming Customer Success.
- Build your plan and strategy before deploying the technology. “Tools like Gainsight are intended to scale your strategy, not be your strategy.”
- Invest the time to train and enable your team on your processes and help them understand the “why” behind the work. This will drive alignment and ensure execution.
- Map your journey and identify opportunities for automation. Automate redundant tasks to optimize time for CSMs.
In a world when everyone is trying to do more with less, scaling the customer success journey is a smart investment of time and money. The payoff for your team? Less work, more efficiency, and a strategic, 360-degree approach to customer success. Register for our next GameChanger webinar here. If you’re ready to scale your customer success, let us give you a tour of Gainsight.