Optimize An Underutilized CSM: Your Product Image

Optimize An Underutilized CSM: Your Product

By Gainsight Team

Efficient scale is a must-have when it comes to creating durable growth in your Saas-modeled business.

Customer success is fuel to create that efficiency, and can be the key driver of your modern growth engine. But, it doesn’t just happen. You need to have the right CS strategy, plan and systematically work priority by priority to create resilience in your business.

At a time when it’s imperative for CS leaders to be creative in support of doing more with less, there is one CSM that may not be pulling its weight. Your product. Product experience is a primary driver of customer experience. You need to require more of your product to be your most productive, and most efficient CSM. 

This product experience imperative was the exact topic of the Catapult webinar with Morgan Redwine from Dealerware

Putting product experience at the top of your to-do list

More and more companies are getting up to speed on product-led growth (PLG). For many, they are working to retrofit this strategy into their product and CS strategy. For those organizations that are still early in their customer success journey, there is no better time to put PLG as your primary driver of efficiency. 

Creating a case for making your product a more productive member of your CS team is pretty straightforward. If you’re lacking visibility into product usage data, or if you don’t have the ability to guide and support how your customers engage with your product in valuable ways, there is a giant gap in your ability to fulfill your CS objectives. 

In the case of Dealerware, they were proactive in filling that gap so that they could collect that usage data, and then connect it to both individual users and to accounts, which in-turn drove efficiency through all aspects of their customer success program.

Let your product handle the mundane so your CSMs can be human

With product usage data in place, you’ll have the ability to see macro-level and micro-level product metrics that could in-turn trigger timely customer communications and CTAs. It also enables you to drill down and analyze behaviors of specific users and accounts to escalate situations for higher touch human intervention when needed. 

Dealerware shared several examples where PLG automation has helped balance and scale their customer success motions: 

  • Get Users Unstuck: Visibility into product usage allows you to see where users are getting hung up in your product. With the right product experience strategy in place, you can then use the product to communicate to those users in context. For example, a stuck user can be served in-app guides or best practices that allow them to complete the task at hand. 
  • Capture Timely Feedback: Most CS leaders are on board with the importance of collecting regular NPS and CSAT data. For many, that means triggering email communications at regular intervals or key milestones of the customer journey. That approach has limitations, generally because of low response rates. Dealerware increased NPS response rates 2700% by serving an NPS survey to users inside of their product. The strategy also enables instant CTA triggers within their CS platform for both issue escalations OR when there is opportunity for advocacy and positive customer reviews. 
  • Streamline Onboarding and Training: CS teams often spend countless hours training and retraining users. Configuring your product with tools that help orient and guide users to key product features is an essential part of scaling your CS strategy. Those guides can provide high-level direction, or link out to more in-depth training with context for specific features the user is interacting with in the moment.
    Beyond engaging users with training you have, PLG tactics can also let you gain insight on how you continue to refine and expand your training and user resources. For Dealerware, the product launches a three-question customer effort survey that asks customers if they feel prepared to use the product, and collects feedback on how to improve the experience.  
  • Customer Check-ins: Regardless of whether you’re running high-touch and/or digital-led segments in your business, it’s imperative to have a regular cadence of customer pulse-checks. This can be more easily handled in a high-touch model with a balanced CSM:customer ratio. In digital segments, scaling efficiency is critical, and it’s easy to CTA your CSMs to exhaustion if they are responsible for a large number of customers in their digital segment. 

Dealerware was able to address this exact issue leveraging a simple in-app widget which had customers indicate their overall satisfaction with the tool at regular intervals with a simple thumbs up or thumbs down widget. A negative response triggers an automated email to that user from a CSM offering consultation.. Responses can also be integrated into health score so that product engagement can filter into your overall CS strategy. 

Product experience strategies can align your entire company around CS

Customer Success is most powerful when it becomes a company-wide initiative. When your product becomes your most powerful CSM, usage data and customer feedback can easily get shared and actioned by other teams in your organization. 

Product usage data has obvious benefits for product teams who are constantly working to prioritize roadmap and understand how to create features customers love to use. Product teams can also leverage surveys and NPS responses. 

At Dealerware, their use of Gainsight PX also enables them to compare experiences of different groups of users at different times. They can easily pull that data into charts and graphs to monitor changes in those metrics over time. They are also extending visibility to critical data and feedback to the entire company through Slack integration. This spurs on cross-functional discussion and collaboration that keeps everyone on the same page with how to deliver the best outcomes for customers. 

It’s amazing how much impact your product can have in driving CS outcomes

The Catapult webinar series was created to help inform, guide and inspire how CS teams at all levels can build a strong foundation, and then expand the sophistication and investment in CS over time. Dealerware’s PLG use cases are great examples of how powerful your product can be if you structure your strategy to make it a critical member of the team. 

In Dealerware’s case, the results speak for themselves: 

  • 1300 customer accounts handled by two managers
  • Reduction of ‘check-in’ CTAs to only two per month per CSM
  • 75% decrease in Time to Value meaning customers are realizing value much more quickly
  • 17% drop in customer effort – customers find it easier to onboard
  • 92% of users in 2022 feel prepared to start using Dealerware after training

PLG growth and the idea of ‘bionic customer success’ that uses technology to really help your customer success organization operate at peak efficiency has become an accelerated imperative for many. Don’t be hesitant to enrich human interaction with robust digital engagement so your CSMs can spend time where it matters most. 

Get started sooner than later by identifying areas where you’re struggling the most to get insights and feedback you can take action on. Then find a way to build that into your software or app and it won’t be long before you see what’s possible when it comes to scaling efficiently.

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