Customer Engagement Touch Points w/ CSM Office Hours

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This is a podcast episode titled, Customer Engagement Touch Points w/ CSM Office Hours. The summary for this episode is: <p>This week we are discussing Customer Engagement Touch Points.</p><p><br></p><p>A weekly segment:</p><p>CSM Office Hours</p><p>Every Tuesday. 11:30am ET.</p><p><a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>--</p><p>If you want to join the discussion with thousands of other customer success leaders, join Gain Grow Retain: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p><br></p><p>This podcast is brought to you by Jay Nathan and Jeff Breunsbach...</p><p>Jay Nathan: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>Jeff Breunsbach: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p>
Three Key Touch Points
01:27 MIN
Change Management and Training as Touch Points
03:27 MIN
Does NPS Response Belong in a Must Have Customer Engagement
02:57 MIN

Jeremy: So I know in the breakout groups, we were talking about those must have customer engagement test points. I hope everybody got to have a good discussion, maybe even share a few examples of how that looks and works. As I shared at the beginning of the call, we're going to use this as the top probably three or four themes that come out of the discussion, so we're going to build a series and do a little bit of a deeper dive into those things in subsequent weeks. But today, I would like to have a quick round robin around the different groups and just share maybe the top themes coming out of your group, and then I'd like to maybe come back to a few of the themes and maybe dig a little bit deeper around how you're using that, what's been successful and what's not? So last week, I went in reverse room order. This week, I'm going to go in numeric order so I'm going to start with group one, which would have been Vignesh, Rob, Emily, Janine, and Josh Rosenthal. So Emily or Josh, I will call on either of you because you know me all too well, but if either of you would like to maybe share a little bit about what you guys discussed in your group and share with the group, I would appreciate it.

Emily: Sure, absolutely. So I think Josh was in and out a little bit. He was having some internet troubles so I guess I'll jump in. We had some good discussion about segmenting our clients and using different data points to determine who would get our attention and when. Rob was also talking about how he has been using different techniques to try and get in touch with clients that have disengaged a little bit, and we were discussing some back and forth there on how he could jump back in there and maybe trying a different period whenever their clients weren't as busy, maybe during the off season. But we also were really talking, I think we had good consensus on how the first 30 to 60 days was pretty important to get in the door and have pretty frequent, I think we heard biweekly, calls from a couple of individuals from our group.

Jeremy: Talking about people talking to mute and here I'm talking on mute, but so it sounds like you touched on a few areas, the onboarding period being super critical. What do you do and how do you really engage with customers who maybe have fallen off the wagon a little bit, gone dark and then how do you use data available to build out more strategic engagement that's more specific to customer use cases or how they fit into the products and portfolio. So appreciate that Rob, and Rob may come back to you on the disengaged customer piece here in a minute. Josh, is there something you wanted to add before I call on, I want to do a quick round robin with the other groups and see what else they had to discuss.

Josh: Sure. One of the points, maybe to put too fine a point on it, is one of the things is that we had this concept of cattle and pets, but I want to provoke the discussion in the area that they can transition between the two, right? And you can be watching the herd going one way and using your metrics to figure out which cattle becomes temporarily that head? Pay attention to, bring them into that next engagement and get them back into the herd, figure out who to tend to later.

Jeremy: That's a new one for me, Josh. I haven't heard the cattle to pet metric. I'm thinking it makes sense, but I'm thinking about cows and pigs and I'm like, I wouldn't have that. Pets are what live in my house, cattle is on a farm, so, you know, city boy.

Josh: That's exactly it.

Jeremy: It's a great analogy though. I can't see the similarities, right? The cattle is your macro attention versus your pet is going to get your micro attention. And a lot of that, I think to what maybe you were driving to is there's turnaround points. If that customer needs that extra attention because of growth, maybe there's risk, that sort of thing, so yeah. So thank you Jessica for clarifying right now inaudible. Again, I may have grown up around farms but it doesn't mean I know anything about farming and ranching and any of that so don't ask me those questions because I'm not the expert in the room on that. So Jessica, since you corrected me and I appreciate that, I was inaudible so what else did your group discuss around inaudible journey and engagement touch points?

Jessica: As a Nebraskan, I couldn't let that one go, sorry. So we really thought of three main meeting at least touch points that were the most important in our group's mind, the first one being that partnership or alignment or kickoff call. Just really be able to set expectations, align goals, understand roles about this is support, this is not support. Just laying the foundation we found was definitely important. We talked about a business review, strategic business review meeting. We all agreed that quarterly, annually, whatever makes sense, but not just making it be quarterly to be quarterly. Making that review call either right before or right after renewal, 30 to 60 days would be important. And then also an adoption check- in call that after onboarding has been happening, say okay, where are they? How can we move them to the next step? We've really focused I think mostly on meetings, and I don't know if that was what you wanted, Jeremy, but I think there are lots of points that are important that may not be meetings as well. We all... Not, we, all. Many of us talked about using a Churn or a Gainsight or something like that to help with that, and maybe that's an interaction that's not an actual meeting.

Jeremy: Yeah. No, and this is for you, by you, right? So I don't have necessarily an expectation of to take it one way or another, so let's open it up to maybe group three, Elana, Josh, Stephanie, Niraj. Did you all talk about any non- meeting touchpoints within the customer journey that you want to share with the group?

Josh: Somewhat? So let me take a step back and then I can get to that. So our group was kind of interesting as well. Not all of us are in SaaS, not all of us are in traditional customer success roles but there's a lot of overlap and alignment. So we talked a lot about the way that we try to engage with customers and frankly, in some cases, you can't have regular meetings. So the meetings themselves become somewhat secondary, especially if you're in a region that doesn't necessarily support meetings very well. I think Tripti was talking about that a little bit. Trying to get access to people when they're not necessarily interested in speaking with us, creates a whole separate set of problems and a slew of complications with how you're trying to build out a formal engagement plan. Elana had some really good examples of what an engagement model might look like, but then that doesn't always fit because sometimes customers just don't want to meet with us. So we did talk about the underlying reason to have the meetings, and this goes to the question that you asked, Jeremy, right? You can't just have a meeting for the sake of having a meeting, you have to have some sort of value conversation. And some of the things that I spoke about with Service Now is we don't always meet with customers. We explicitly make an effort to not meet with certain customers because there's really no reason to meet with them if we're just going to have a meeting, so what we'll do is we'll send them key metrics, key performance indicators, things that they can see that they're making progress but not necessarily have to schedule a meeting at that point in time. And then that information could potentially feed into a quarterly business review, an executive business, review something that's a little bit higher level with people that can make decisions about what's next, because then it's about who the key makers are rather than just the tactics of trying to get through the day- to- day work. So that was the biggest part of our conversation for group three. Did I miss anything Stephanie or Elana or Tripti? I'm sure I did, but-

Speaker 5: No, that was a really good summary.

Jeremy: That's awesome. Now, Josh, I'm actually surprised you didn't have a whiteboard for your discussion.

Josh: It's there, crosstalk.

Jeremy: So I was thinking, I'm sure he's got it mapped out on a whiteboard behind his office, behind the camera, so to speak, but no, I think you're right. Every part of the journey, whether it's in front of the customer or behind the scenes so to speak will have some impact on the customer journey and being intentional, that's really what we're trying to frame up in this discussion, being intentional with, stop sending blanket emails to your customers and getting more specific in how you want to engage. So I think that's spot on so thanks for sharing. Last but certainly not least, group four, which would be Amy, Eileen, Marcus and Paul. Anything that your group discussed that you want to add to the discussion?

Amy: Our group focused mostly around training and also change management, so how do you help train your users and how do you help the upper levels such as the executive buyers and the facility sponsors, how do you help them train their users and how do you help them enforce any sort of mandates that have been placed that people actually have to use a product? And so we talked about just little one minute snips that can be sent out on a regular basis from an educator, but the most important thing in doing that is explaining or answering the question, if I do this, how does it benefit me? And everyone wants to be able to answer that question. So whether we're talking about change management, always discussing the value of the conversation and the value of the education that's coming out from us. So that was the majority of what we discussed actually, is how to do that and giving some specifics and some details.

Jeremy: Change management is, I would say, an underrated touch point that doesn't get enough attention, right? We talk about listening, we talk about onboarding, we talk about adoption and growth, but the topic of change management doesn't always come up in these discussions of, if I move button X from the center of the page to the right page, what's the impact of that? That's a very simple example but we're talking about technology, we're talking about, may not even be SaaS services but whatever it is that we're selling and supporting into these customers does have an impact on their business case and their use case so I think that's really good. And actually, I think Jessica asked a really good question and maybe Amy, I'll start with you and then maybe we can go back to the group, but around change management and training, do you have any recommendations that have helped you frame up that conversation with customers?

Amy: I do not. Most of what I've been doing is actually just based on previous experience as a director of operations, and so I recently pivoted into the CSM management and directorial operational role and trying to build that out for the company that I work for now. So for me, it was just having been on the other side and what would I have appreciated as a director of operations? I don't have any particular recommendations on training materials but it was also just being able to answer that question from the perspective of the user, and I think that's what's really important too, is just being able to get those questions out there to your users, whether it's gatherings, something similar to what you're doing here, coffee hours, finding out from them specifically, what helps you? And then building your resources around that. Because for us in our company, it was being able to make things portable, making them accessible in very rural areas, and how do we build a training that's really short, easy, concise, gets people rolling, and then how do we put that in the hands of the directors of the organizations so that they can enforce the rules and the mandates that they've set forth for their organizations?

Jeremy: Well, that's good. Anybody else in the virtual room have anything that's going to help frame up that discussion? Josh, I saw you come off mute and Rob, I see you're off mute too. I don't know if there's something you wanted to add?

Josh: Yeah, my thing to add is I am a big fan of product led growth, even in high touch environments, especially when dealing and trying to crawl across the enterprise. Because though you've landed and gotten engagement in one area, going and crossing over into that second and third and successive of business units can be difficult, and that natural friction, the lubricant inside of that natural friction is the ability to self- serve, answer your own questions, get real short training like was just said, making these small little knowledge base articles and learning opportunities. Because let's face it, none of us want a RTFM, and so we need to have some way to get the piece of information we have to do the work we need to do, because that's our intended use is to get value from it, not learn the tool.

Jeremy: Yeah, thanks Josh, appreciate it. Rob, I know you were on mute and apology, but was there anything that you wanted to add to this? I know I wanted to come back to you on the disengagement touchpoint that we were talking about earlier, but don't want to skip over just this question if there was something else that somebody wanted to add.

Rob: No, this was a great conversation and I think the whole point is to help our customers be successful, and we need to feel successful doing our job as well. And so sometimes it can be frustrating when you're trying to engage with somebody but you're just not getting any feedback and so in our group, we were just talking about how I was going to focus this month on those difficult customers. And I don't know their situations, I just know that they don't reply or if they do, it's very short. And I know it's a busy season, it's been a busy year for home construction and so I'm just going to try some new techniques and see what I can accomplish. So yeah.

Jeremy: So I'm going to ask a controversial question of the group. Does the MPS response belong in a must have customer engagement? I'd love you thoughts either way. Josh, Zamora, what are your thoughts on this one?

Josh: I think absolutely, yes. And actually, it's not so much the NPS response as much as the power of the engagement that comes with the NPS. So I don't necessarily care, and we measure NPS for our teams, but I don't necessarily care what the score is in a lot of cases. I care, are we responding in a timely fashion and then using that opportunity to create some more engagement with the customer? And I think that's the underlying value of NPS in my mind. NPS, if it comes back as a nine or 10, that's awesome, that's fantastic. It comes back as a zero or one, that's awful but we have something to do with it. I worry more about those customers that don't respond at all, and what are we doing to engage with those customers at that point in time? The NPS is just an easy avenue towards engagement.

Jeremy: Yeah. What's the statistic? Isn't it like 93% of customers don't respond? I could be making this up on the spot but I remember reading something. One of our many LinkedIn customer success influencers posted out there a while back and it was that 93% should be what scares you, not the 7% that actually provide you that feedback, because that 93% could just up and leave tomorrow and you would have no idea, so that's a great call- out. Marcus, what would you like to add on the topic of NPS and it being a critical or not critical customer engagement?

Marcus: Yeah, I agree. NPS, it's not a critical tool but it is a extremely useful tool, and any responses you get is engagement with the customer. And that allows you to really understand who is willing to potentially talk to you. We're always trying to figure out, especially if you have a large account, let's say 500 users or 1, 000 users, it's really difficult to know, who's engaged, not engaged? And so any response I think is critical, and I agree that the score is not as relevant in the grand scheme and I always like to challenge the customer when I respond back to say, great, you gave us a five. Why didn't you give us a three or a seven. What would have driven that change? And this is great because a lot of times, the negative numbers, those low numbers are driven because they're upset at the moment and when you challenge them on why didn't you give us a lower number or a higher number? They'll come back and actually say, well, I'm just really frustrated with this one thing and it's really not the true number that they would give. It's just, that's what they're giving because that's what they're feeling at the moment. So it really helps to frame, where are they? If they're really unhappy, that's a great indication of potentially where the account is, especially if you haven't gotten a lot of that feedback.

Jeremy: I actually really appreciate that question. I haven't necessarily framed the NPS up in that light before saying, why did you give us score X versus score Y, or a score-

Josh: Or even just, what would it take for us to go from a five to a seven, or a seven to an eight or nine? It creates engagement versus just going, thanks for this, we'd love to talk to you or I'd love to hear more. It gives them a little bit of a challenge where they're more likely to respond.

Jeremy: Yeah. I think the other thing too, and you and Josh both kind of I think hit on this loosely, the score isn't necessarily the most important part, it's getting that feedback. I think one of the things that I've seen in working, starting off as one too many account managers, customer success manager, now being in a team leadership role, it's one of those things that I've seen is CSMs are often, we'll call it afraid of the score that comes back. It's not necessarily the feedback that comes back but it's the score of, hey, I'm supposed to be driving to get my customers to give us nine and tens, but in reality, my customer base is generally a six. And I know that so I'm not going to ask my customers because I don't want to get to six and then I have to sit in a meeting with whoever's above me. And I have to report, why are all your customers giving you a six? Are you're not doing your job? And that's not fair. So I also see a cultural aspect in the customer engagement internally with each of our businesses to say, we have to be able and provide forgiveness, especially for frontline CSMs, to say if we're going to ask you to solicit feedback from customers, I want the brutal, honest truth from the customer, from every customer, not just the ones that I think are going to give us a nine or a 10, or the ones that might give us an eight but we know that that feedback's going to be super deep. We want the sixes, we want the fives because that gives us the opportunity to provide a track record. So I don't know, I see heads nodding because I was at one point in my time with NPS, it was actually a metric. I got bonus on how my customers scored me and scored our company, and so you want to talk about PTSD on NPS when you can't control 90% of it, it's not a fun metric to be held to and I don't recommend it for any CSMs, but is getting past that like, hey, you're not the only one personally responsible for these customers and we want them to give us, even if it's a five, we want them to respond and give us a five and tell us why. Anyway, so there's my monologue on that. Josh, Zamora, was there anything else you want to add? I saw your hand go up.

Josh: Yeah, and honestly, the point that you just made is really important. You are not responsible for the overall score as a CS resource. It's something that we've had to reinforce multiple times, is that there's a lot of things that we can control in the CS world and so much less of the CS, of the NPS score is within our control that we don't make that a key component of the measurement. What we do track is response rates and overall trends, but then also, another factor that goes into this as what questions are you asking in the NPS survey itself? So if there is a component of the NPS survey that is, like in our case, we have how does my account team, which includes CS, include sales, includes support, how does your account team partner with me? That's one question that we can actually dig into a little bit more and say, okay, there's some direct correlation between the work that you do as a CS resource and the response that we give you as an NPS score, that's something that we can dig into a little bit more. And then finally, the only other thing I was going to add to that is the fact that NPS surveys themselves don't go out to every customer every quarter. So you may have some really bad quarters depending on who the customer base is that is going out to, so just being aware of the mechanics of the NPS survey itself is really important as well.

Jeremy: Yeah, we could have a whole debate on... I think we could have a whole dialogue, not debate, just a whole dialogue on this so I might have to earmark this for one of our customer engagement strategies, because I'm thinking about that follow up question, that's certainly there but I think there's a better way to ask that question than just blanket surveying everybody. Get somebody from your leadership team to actually reach out to that customer and say, hey, you've got so-and- so on your account, right? Tell me, be candid, they're not in the room. Tell me how you actually like working with them and get that feedback that way, but that might be a matter of preference more than anything else. But anyway, I digress. Hailey, I want to call on you real quick as we wrap up here because I saw you post a little bit in the chat around the change management so I want to come back to that real quick. Maybe share a little bit of your thoughts on what you were sharing since Jessica had asked that question earlier?

Hailey: There we go. Sorry, I'm back in office today and I'm getting used to having a headset again, but I've really liked [ Pro Si's 00:24: 53 ] approach with the ad car model, having awareness, desire, knowledge. Oh, I forget specifically what it stands for. Awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and reinforcement around change, and that's their approach, and so that's something that we've been trying to bring to the table so that there is overall project management, sponsoring of change and reinforcement, and that's really the center of success. So we've been trying to build some resources internally with that approach in mind from P ro Si, but when it comes to change management, that's been a really good knowledge level set for me, to listen in on some of the webinars to understand how some of these enterprise clients have taken this approach and their success stories, and really sponsoring the change has been a huge factor in leading to success. So I had dropped in one of the webinars that I had listened in on around change management with a project management approach, but they have a list of on demand webinars that they've published and it's all around change.

Jeremy: That's awesome. This is great. I'll make sure, I'll post that link that you shared in my recap. Probably be tomorrow at this point but I'll make sure I'll capture that, so thank you for sharing that. So with time, it's been great. I appreciate all the feedback and it sounds like everybody had a really great discussion. We talked about onboarding, we talked about adoption, we talked about the customers ghosting us, product led adoption, training, change management, NPS, so we're certainly going to have a lot to dive into over the next few weeks. I encourage you, you all are going to get a follow- up survey speaking of NPS. We have automated, please continue to send in your feedback and if you ever want to be a host, just let us know in there and be happy to have you and get you trained up on that. But thank you all for the feedback and your time today. I wish you all a great rest of your short week, at least for those in the states, and I will catch up with you all next Tuesday.

Speaker 11: Hey guys, thanks so much for taking the time to listen to the Gain Grow Retain Podcast. If you liked what you heard, please take a moment and share the podcast with your friends and colleagues and subscribe. We really appreciate it. Talk to you soon.


This week we are discussing Customer Engagement Touch Points.

A weekly segment:

CSM Office Hours

Every Tuesday. 11:30am ET.


If you want to join the discussion with thousands of other customer success leaders, join Gain Grow Retain:

This podcast is brought to you by Jay Nathan and Jeff Breunsbach...

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