We all know that the human touch is pretty essential to customer success. But in the modern world, it’s up to customer success folks to bring that personal touch into the tech age.

Tech and customer-centricity probably seem like opposites. Most people think of working in tech as sieving through mountains of cold hard data. But CSMs are empathetic, positive, people-first professionals. How does this balance work?

In this article, I’m going to show you how you can combine the two.

But first, I’m gonna break it down into a few key talking points:

Tech and the human touch: finding the right balance

Today, this is a pretty hot topic. And you’ve probably heard CS folks talk about the importance of segmenting your customers. I know what you’re thinking. Sounds pretty dehumanizing, right? But it’s the opposite.

It’s about dividing your customers by specific criteria so that you can accurately assess their own unique needs. The simplest and maybe most obvious criteria would be small business vs large business. When you think about it, small businesses and large businesses are unlikely to have exactly the same needs, right?

You can also segment by other criteria, i.e., geographical location, industry, etc. The golden rule is that you segment in a way that suits your business.

Again, this might sound like the opposite of human touch but think about it this way. Customers come to you for the unique pain point that you are able to address. If your segmentation isn’t aligned with your business needs, it’s unlikely they’re aligned with your customer needs.

Onboarding: put yourself in your customer’s shoes

Imagine yourself in the onboarding process before you design your tech-touch approach. It might sound like a cliche, but a good rule of thumb is generally: If I wouldn’t want to go through it myself, why would my customers? Or, of course, you could even ask customers yourself, and form a survey to highlight those needs.

The most important thing to remember is that your customers are still human; humans are still buying from humans. And although it might seem like big tech isn’t going anywhere– and it definitely isn’t– we’re still figuring it out, the human touch has been around a whole lot longer.

In today's world, I don't see that changing anytime soon. So, for example, if we introduce a TikTok model into our onboarding process, we want to make sure that we get as close to a human experience as possible. Make sure that your customers are getting what they want out of the app, and that they are getting from the app what you want them to get out of the app.

I'd suggest you go through the onboarding process yourself before you design your tech-touch approach.

Now for the technical stuff

When scaling the onboarding process, it’s about making sure that you have the capability and ability to build the resources and the assets. That can come through different platforms that are available on the market.

When you think about building your onboarding process, you want to make sure that you're not only building what the customer is going to interact with, but you're building a total environment and ecosystem for getting feedback and data from your customers.

As I said, this might sound like the cold, boring part, but it’s ultimately about ensuring you can keep the communication channel open between you and your customers!

Key examples of the human touch

It’s the little touches that really matter! You arrive at a stranger's house and there’s a welcome mat laid out at the door. Similarly, you can log in to a piece of software and there’s a welcome message set up to greet you!

Welcome messages

When a user logs in for the first time, there’s a simple pop-up that shows them either who the CSM is or a place where they can quickly get to somebody if they have a question.

It might be your CSM, or it might be your support team, but the important thing is that you give them a place to go if they get stuck. That’s the purpose of this particular message. At UserIQ this includes a picture and an email address, as well as the support path they can go down.

I think the task in 2024 is to think of how can we personalize this further. Maybe this could be a video of a CSM welcoming you, letting you know how happy we are to have you on board. Those are pretty straightforward to implement nowadays.

Guided product tours

This is basically a feature that tours your product. The key here is to make those tours short and sweet, and perhaps even use videos in those tours.

When you make a tour too long, it does two things:

  1. It causes a great potential to lose your end customers' attention.
  2. There's more room for error with the guided tour itself when you're setting up.

Challenges and roadblocks

There were two major challenges we faced when we started implementing this

1. Creating something from scratch

When we first started our customer success program, we didn't know what would work well in the eyes of the customer. We didn't know if something was too much, or if it was maybe too little. If you're trying to do this for the first time, particularly if you're a small company, it’s really just a case of trial and error.

It’s okay if you don’t have it figured out, but be open to ideas from other sources, like competitors, other software platforms, vendors, etc.

2. Lack of experience

If you've never built or had the opportunity to build a tech touch model, then again, you’re starting from scratch, and there’s no playbook for that.

Our method is to humanize it. We try to imagine what we as customers would want from a product starting out.

Getting started

First and foremost, recognize that technology for CS leaders should be thought of as our ally and not as a foe. I don't believe personally that technology can replace what CS practitioners do. Until the day when computers are simply buying from computers, I think CS will have a big role in many different facets of a business

The role of technology is not to replace human beings but to augment what they begin. You want to optimize your onboarding process, and technology to help you get objective information. That’s how utilizing technology can help you.

Don’t delay

Don't delay getting something out there. This is particularly important in small to midsize businesses. Set the purpose of what you want to do in your onboarding, have a couple of folks look at it, and agree on a strategy to put it in place.

Don’t let fear of imperfection delay you. It doesn't have to be perfect the first time. You can tweak it over time.

Remember that your customers’ needs aren’t necessarily static, they can change over time, so continuous tweaking is going to be a natural part of the process. But don't delay that launch. Get out there and let it run for your customers.

Key takeaways

1. Technology can only get us so far, in today's world, and that will evolve over time as well. Because of this CS has to be vigilant and adaptable. We have an absolutely pivotal role to play.

2. Understand what technology can do for you. Once you understand that, you can look at what technology can't do for you today and effectively utilize the human touch.

3. Think about ways that you can think two or three steps ahead of where your customer is. Think about how you can help them get to where they want to be.

4. Continue to ask questions and be curious about your customers. As I said, your customer needs are unlikely to stay static, so curiosity is really key to adapting to their needs and adapting the technology around this.

Don’t work for the technology, make the technology work for you.