For startups especially, finding the time and resources to fully engage with every customer at every stage can be a real struggle.

According to Gallup, fully engaged customers offer 23% more revenue on average, but getting the balance right between newer, lower-tier customers and more established big spenders can often feel like you’re borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.

Luckily Matt O’Boyle, Customer Success Manager at Intercom is on hand to talk us through setting expectations, measuring customer success at scale, and the company’s focus for 2022.

In this Q&A, we asked Matt:


Q: How do you measure customer success at scale, and what key metrics do you track?

A: We're still kind of teasing that out and figuring out how we measure that scale.

The thing I want to track is touchpoints. For example, if a customer is having issues, you can go back and say, well how many touchpoints did we have with them? How many times have we offered them the opportunity to speak with a Customer Success Manager?

The key KPIs for us is team retention and how well our team is getting by.

For me, I'm looking at the small business team - we have roughly three relationship managers that I work with, over 500 accounts.


Q: How do you police the online customer forum?

A: I don't actually run the customer forum, that would be the customer engagement team.

We have moderators on that forum, and it’s very visible to users, so everyone is accountable.

There’s a picture of them, their name, and their business.

We do reward customers who are very engaged on that platform, so if they’re a customer who's answering a lot of questions, or doing a lot of really cool peer-to-peer stuff, we’ll reward them with a point system, and they'll get gifts from Intercom.

When we first launched it, we allowed customers in our small segment who weren't annual customers to get some engineering time that they previously would not have been allowed.

So that was a nice thing for them and encourages people to be a bit better, and a bit nicer than before.


Q: Many teams struggle to divide and conquer scale motions between customer success organizations and product marketing. Has Intercom faced this problem?

A: Yes, so this is exactly what I'm tackling at the moment. We have a lifecycle management team that delivers similar content to what I want to deliver. So the content is there, but it's built by someone else. Finding it can be a problem, so as a solution, I'm going to do it with them, I'm going to liaise with them, and see about the possibility of taking over the communications for the sales-owned accounts in my name.

Even if they aren't delivering fantastic content, but they're doing it at the right time, that's half the work done for me already. If I can put my name on that, I think it's a bit more comfortable for the customers to see that familiar face coming through.

It’s easy for me with a tool like Intercom, because we can change the dynamic owner of the messaging and who can control where the messaging comes from, where the replies go back to, and it's easy for us to do so.

My advice would be to make sure you have an excellent communications tool where you can swap the owner of messages from product marketing to CSM ownership.


Q: What can you do when you're in charge of the lowest tier of clients, and you don't have enough time to really engage with everyone?

A: If you don't have time to really engage with everyone, that is very tricky.

What we did to solve this was to build out a tiered system, so I've split my 500 customers into three tiers, those who are spending the most, those who are spending, and those who are spending the least. Then we can at least set expectations with them at the start to say, “Hey, you're a brand-new customer, you sit-in this segment, and you're going to get two hours of onboarding time with the CSM, and then you might get one hour of onboarding of ongoing time every month.”

That's when we can send them the right content and the right videos at the right time.

I really recommend Loom for those smaller customers, because you can record your screen super quickly, and just pop it across to them if they're having success or support issues.


Q: What will be your focus in 2022?

A: 2022 will be about looking back over the numbers on the behavioral messaging side of things we’ve focused on in 2021 to see exactly where the difference was made, then A/B testing to see if we can improve that. A lot of it is going to be reviewing numbers, churn is a huge focus for this customer messaging. I think the more we engage the customers, the less likely they are to leave, and the more comfortable they feel in the Intercom family.