In a world where work from home is fast becoming the norm, Customer Success Managers have always faced this dilemma – to travel or not to travel to meet their customers.
There is no black and white answer. In most situations, a hybrid model, i.e., a combination of on-ground and remote success, works best.
But say, you can’t travel and have to work remotely, what can you do to make your customers feel that you are a part of their team without being face to face?
Over the past 2 years, we have talked to hundreds if not thousands of customer success leaders. So, from our experience with our own customers and the learnings from those conversations, we have jotted down 6 alternative ways in which you can be a lot closer to your customers.
1. Real-time collaboration:
I know what you’re thinking. Nilesh, you just said we can’t travel. What if the customer is not in my time zone and it’s difficult to find common time for collaboration?
Well, what I mean by real-time collaboration here is trying to treat every customer conversation, be it email or support tickets, like your WhatsApp or iMessage.
Whenever feasible, reply immediately to a customer query. Even if you don’t have a ready message, just acknowledging the email with a simple “I will get back asap” goes a long way in building customer trust.
Just being responsive can make customers feel that you are sitting right next to them.
Don’t try to automate this process. That might not work in the same way. The more responsive and personal you can get with replies, the better the results.
2. Recurring calls:
Set up a weekly or monthly call or whatever periodicity works for each customer.
Especially when a customer is being onboarded, you want to have a weekly call to ensure a smooth process and put all doubts to rest. Because a customer is at the highest risk of churn in the first 90 days.
Also a recurring call ensures that you are not out of sight, out of mind for the customer.
So, when the time comes for that renewal or upsell, you have built the relation to bring it up without any awkwardness.
For accounts where weekly or even monthly calls don’t make sense, quarterly business reviews (QBRs) can be a great way to maintain the customer relationship.
3. Join internal meetings:
One of the best ways to not travel and yet be close to your customers is by becoming part of their internal customer success meetings related to your product.
CustomerSuccessBox CSMs have started doing that and it’s a great way to know more about your customer’s challenges while adopting your product.
So, request your customers to be a part of their internal discussions around your product even if it means you will just be listening in or observing.
Suggested Read: Covid-19 is increasing the risk of churn: What should customer success do?
4. Live chat:
Join a real-time channel your customers use on a daily basis. You can request your customers to add you to a private internal channel, e.g., a private Slack channel.
This will mean you are available real-time on their own communication channel and makes you feel closer to them.
5. Invite them to your chat:
If you can’t be a part of their internal chat, invite them to your internal slack or equivalent channel. That will give them access to you and other relevant people in the organization whenever they need help.
This will go a long way in building a great rapport with your customers and helping them adopt and use your product without any roadblocks.
6. Video calls:
We live in the age of Zoom, Google Hangouts and Webex. So you have no excuses for not doing a video call with your customers.
Make sure all your meetings, business reviews are via video so that you are virtually present in the room and that makes a great substitute for not being able to travel.
So what are you waiting for? Adopt either of the six ways and be closer to your customers.
Should customer success managers travel? What are your thoughts? If you have any other alternatives that you have used or can think of, write to us on Twitter and we will retweet the best ones.