A Lower Cost Hybrid Approach to Customer Success

As a Customer Success & Services leader, I have often been challenged with what to do with the long-tail, set/forget portfolio accounts. These might be your lower ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue) or even dormant accounts. Surely, you will also find those accounts who log in once in a while, have a single user or champion, or accounts that, quite frankly, forgot they are even paying you.

You need to be paying attention to this segment of your business.

In the past, the Customer Success model saw organizations bring on junior team members with minimal experience to manage lower contract value accounts. The expectation being they will breathe life into those accounts. Using junior team members still remains cost-prohibitive for lower MRR accounts. Often, we see such accounts passed around numerous times, and 9 times out of 10, they still remained stagnant. In all reality, this method of segmentation is flawed because it is doesn't scale. The 'long tail' portion of your business needs a better strategy.

The 'long tail' portion of your business needs a better strategy.

With Cast, I see the path to uplifting the touch model using human-like and personal automation. Customer Success teams present insights to managed high-value customer accounts. Similarly, Cast's technology enables Customer Success teams to surface and deliver insights and drive actions for the lower contract value accounts. From experience, the insights highlighted and presented automatically via Cast often are better than those manually put together by CSMs. There are several reasons why.

  • Automatically surfaced insights are not susceptible to human error. Typos, copy-paste errors because of grunt work is embarrassing. And we have way better things to do.
  • Insights are prioritized by relevance, not only for the account but also for the person you are sending them to. What is vital to a user of your product usually is different from what is essential to the person who writes the check, i.e., the executive buyer (EB).
  • My favorite is that it does not require having a champion or EB to sit through a 45-minute QBR / MBR presentation!
  • You can continuously provide value at a cadence that a customer prefers, i.e., monthly for directors (e.g., via email), quarterly for C-level execs (via text, for instance), and every time the primary user uses your product (hosted in your dashboard or sent via email), and
  • Presents support and user adoption metrics in the most easy-to-understand and digestible fashion, i.e., video and slides.

In the past, so much time in the traditional Quarterly Business Review (QBR) had been spent reviewing metrics, showing cramped static visuals loaded with a massive amount of data. I believe the days of conventional QBRs have ended. I really love the Executive Business Review spin, where you focus on listening to your accounts' executives about their goals. Learning their important objectives, their pain points, where they see their business evolving is of utmost importance for you and your organization to understand. If you are instead spending the EBR time presenting a 20-page deck that you could have sent beforehand as a 3-min Cast, you are not utilizing that precious time as well as you could be. Besides, you should still proactively reach out to customers regularly to whom you cannot send QBRs. Why? Remember, you are providing customer success, not customer service. Cast can help you do that at scale.

In the time you take to create and present a EBR to one customer, you can create and present EBRs for all customers. You can update then every month if you want or continue to updates your customers at works for them.

I envision utilizing a lower-cost hybrid "technology-human" approach to supplement the Customer Success Touch Model. CSMs can leverage Cast in their ever-expanding proactive approach. The lower half of a portfolio can grow significantly if the right mix of strategy and tools are combined. Success & Services groups can bridge the gap between Product-Led-Growth (PLG) and your current Tech-Touch strategy for interacting with accounts. At the end of the day, we are all looking to deliver ROI and value. We are underutilizing technology's power to provide tech-touch customers a more personal and curated experience to help grow and retain your account base.

Graham Gill is the Vice President of Customer Success & Services at Accent technologies. He leads implementation, Training, Customer Success management, and Support groups for it’s global client base. He is a customer-centric senior leader with over 20 years of experience developing and leading high-performing teams.

He is passionate about driving client adoption and customer loyalty and skilled at building customer experience strategies and services resulting in increased revenue and retention. Connect with him on Linkedin.