My name is Isabel Ruiz and I'm a Senior Customer Success Manager at Pluralsight based in Northern Ireland. I joined over two years ago and I can say time flies when you're having fun.
My SaaS journey started eight years ago in sales operations first, moving to renewals and I have worked for other great companies such as Intercom and Tableau.
If you're just starting your CSM journey, there are great resources and support out there and I'm not talking about just certifications, books, podcasts, rooms in Clubhouse, but also the opportunity to network is invaluable.
This article is not a paid promotion.
I'll be sharing my experience with a few apps available in the market right now. I know there are plenty of alternatives out there so see what works for you, and what's applicable at the end of the day.
In this article, I’ll share some of the tools I’m using to propel my role in customer success and better engage with customers in the wake of a new era post-covid. I’ll discuss how email isn’t dead, but how as a CS team you can more effectively communicate in the digital space and how personalization continues to be key.
What do you think this number means?
It's actually 300 million daily Zoom participants in 2020.
Microsoft Teams reported 200 million daily meeting participants. Not surprising I guess - we contributed to these stats.
But as with everything, there is a silver lining here, even in this current climate we were all thrown into.
State of Remote Work: Buffer
According to the State of Work by Buffer, there is a benefit to working remotely.
32% of people replied to the survey saying the ability to have a flexible schedule was the biggest benefit. We are seeing a benefit here.
There is a quote by Ginni Rometty that I believe applies to what we do in customer success: 'Your value will be not what you know, it will be what you share'.
Do you agree?
Picture this, you have 10 minutes prior to your customer’s meeting, you're ready to rock this presentation. Of course, you're a customer success manager.
Right now, we are not traveling to meet up with them. We actually get to see into their living rooms, bedrooms, kitchen counters, and we get to discover how creative they can be with backgrounds.
It's almost time, you check your video, audio, everything seems to be in order, except out of the corner of your eye you see an email coming in.
They canceled. There is no one on the other side.
Why? We know you have the skills, there is no question about it.
Right now we are looking at this new normal. We have seen it ourselves, homeschooling, bad internet connection, screen fatigue. There are many Zoom or Microsoft Teams meetings happening in our day-to-day. But you're probably wondering what to do then.
We are replying to their queries back and forth and that's fine. That's how it's always been done. It's all about that video call or that email, right?
But when you realize there might be a bit of a delay from their side, you start wondering, it's been a bit tricky to find time in each other's calendars to reschedule that meeting. Your QBR now starts to look more like an annual review.
And again, you carry on, continue, next customer. But you're still thinking about that canceled meeting.
Is it you?
It's not you
Well, actually, it's not only you.
When it comes to emails, we are fighting for the customer’s inbox. We are not the only vendor. We are not even their only contact at our organization that is sending them emails.
Email is not dead
35% of marketers send their customers three to five emails per week. Again, I don't know how many emails your organization is sending right now to your accounts, but you might want to have a quick look.
And don't get me wrong, email is a great tool. Email gurus can tell you all about it. 80% of business professionals believe that email marketing increases customer retention. There are after all 3.9 billion daily email users.
35% of business professionals check email on a mobile device. So you might want to keep your message concise but still informative.
Email is not dead. There are a lot of advantages to it and you will hear this too from your sales and marketing departments when it comes to lead conversion. But that's a topic for a different article.
We are resilient, that is a fact. That is why I want to share with you some of the tools I have been using so far.
Personalization will still be key
It is not surprising it's one of the 2021 additions to include in your customer success strategy according to Insight. You want to engage with customers.
Nowadays, CS teams communicate in a digital space. Companies will likely need to increase their efforts if they're not doing that already. Contacting customers in a digital way but still finding a balance between automated messages in a digital way and a personal one-to-one high touch approach.
Personalization done right can create a better onboarding experience, quicker product adoption, and increase retention. So no wonder CS leaders want to focus their efforts on creating the right personal experience in 2021.
You're probably thinking when it comes to adding that personalization, as I said before, there are quite a few tools out there. These are the ones I'm currently using.
Your company page is here, you're probably posting webinar links, sharing about upcoming releases, giving kudos to colleagues, you're adding customers to your network. It's great, isn't it?
For all of these tools I'll mention, the use case varies. It can be for that unresponsive customer or sending a quick message about an event you want to invite them to. But I think it's just simply about establishing a connection with them, which is the main goal here for all of us.
Instead of going back and forth on emails and without having to schedule a Zoom call, you can actually share your screen, provide suggestions and insights in just a few minutes by sending them a quick video, as in my example here.
Letting them know about new features, highlight their current accounts. What does that look like? I have done many business reviews and quick platform walkthroughs this way just to name a few examples.
And a customer can actually comment or react to the video too. So it is quick and simple.
3 & 4 - VideoAsk and Typeform
Actually, VideoAsk is part of Typeform so you'll see that right away from the user interface.
VideoAsk is a survey app with a twist, you can record yourself asking them a question or two, then the customer will get a chance to reply using video, audio, or text, so you're not putting them on the spot.
This app is known for the NPS feature so it might be handy to you if there's nothing currently implemented at your org.
Typeform is a web-based platform you can use to create anything from surveys to apps, without needing to write a single line of code. I'm sure you have filled out a survey to join a newsletter or attend a webinar that was using Typeform.
What I like the most are their templates for customer success stories, and voice of the customer.
But why video?
Going back to what I mentioned about video, you might be wondering why video?
- 39% of viewers want explainer videos, that is the current demand.
- 20% prefer entertainment concepts.
- 12% prefer product demo videos.
- 10% like video blogs.
- 9% want direct videos.
- While 6% want more software tutorials.
You might see this already with your sales teams utilizing these to reach out to prospects. So why not utilize that for us as well, for current customers, when we are trying to retain them.
Another app I was made aware of quite recently, thanks to a growth hacking course I took is Crystal. Crystal is an extremely useful app when you're trying to find out a bit more about your main point of contact.
I know we sometimes are kind of detectives. Your research has gone as far as their financial reports and social media posts.
Crystal can actually give you ideas on how to approach a point of contact via email or how to start a conversation based on their personality type.
The example here, go ahead, you want to contact Bill Gates, why not? You can actually just take a look at those quick data points. They have some quick templates for emails. And depending again, on the use case, you can just go ahead and have a look.
Don't be afraid to experiment. See what works for your customers, segments, and do a few test runs.
Personalization is and will be key
As I mentioned earlier about personalization, you are still engaging with your customers and even freeing up time for yourself and for them.
Relationship building in the era
We are building trust in a new way now.
Now is the time to share
Now it is time for sharing. Share with your colleagues your experiences with these apps.
What do you think would work? What wouldn't work? Depending on your customer, depending on the segment perhaps.
Have a quick brainstorming session and even, perhaps just take a step back, what are you doing right now? I know we're doing our best to add value to our customers, and we want to make them successful.