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CS: Called for the Very First Time

Posted on January 29, 2015 , by Sabrina Bozek

There was a great discussion this week on the Customer Success Forum group page on LinkedIn that got me thinking about how companies approach speaking with customers about customer success (CS) for the first time.
The original posting had to do with how to drive customer participation is discussing CS. The enquirer wondered why “cold-calling” customers to set up a customer success check-in was so difficult, only yielding a small response rate. What could be done to alleviate this for maximum engagement?

customer success questions tip of iceberg

CS questions are often the tip of the iceberg

There are so many things that come to mind when thinking about a solution, but like many brilliant CX professionals pointed out, this really shouldn’t be considered a “cold call.” This practice should be part of a program and one that has been announced and ideally socialized before these meetings are set up.
BUT if your onboarding process is lacking or your customer success team is spread too thin to reach out to all customers, you might find yourself in a position cold-calling on an account before a renewal.

So, if you’re trying to increase account engagement, some things to consider:

Who are these calls targeting?

The size of the accounts:

  • Are they large companies where dozens of people overlap in a role?
  • Or are they small and limited on resources like time and human capital?

The contact’s role:

  • Are they C-level or are they front-line employees who interact with your product everyday?

The answers will dictate how you position the conversation. Think about the motivations and goals for the person and what they would be most interested in when discussing success. (Digression Alert: What does “success” even mean to them? Maybe that’s what this “cold” conversation should begin with if your company has never addressed the topic with customers!)
The bottom line is that to get engagement, you’ve got to prove the value to the customer that spending time discussing how they use your product and what’s working/what’s not is all about improving their experience – not your bottom line. It’s got to be a “help me, help you” situation and communicated as much.
How to do that? The group discussed subject lines that can be used to garner interest and drive action to start the conversation via email. Some of the ones I suggested were:
– Shape the future of [our product / company name]
– Looking forward to collaborating on [insert product name/company objective]
– Let’s talk Customer Success this week

What do you think is an effective subject line to send to customers to schedule a CS call?

Certainly, the considerations list above (company size and role) will play into this, but what have you used to get customer’s attention?