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Stop the Check-InSanity: How to Make Ongoing Customer Interactions a Win-Win

Posted on January 16, 2019 , by Steve Bernstein
Stop the Check-InSanity: How to Make Ongoing Customer Interactions a Win-Win

“I’m just checking in to see how things are going. Is there anything I can be doing to help?”

Ever been confronted with a question like that one?  If so, I suspect you either ignored it or responded pithily, “Everything’s fine.” In other words, a waste of time.

Yet Customer Success Managers (CSMs) often communicate with their customers this way.

Are You Strengthening Your Relationships or Eroding Them?
We know that every interaction with a customer is an opportunity to strengthen relationships. And if they’re not strengthening relationships, then it’s likely that they may be eroding relationships.  After being asked the “check in” question, would your opinion of the CSM have improved? Everything may be “fine” but does that mean there’s no improvement to be had?

Don’t Check In – Add Value
Here’s a better way to “check in” with your primary customer contact (a.k.a. Champion or Coach), assuming you are willing to take action to strengthen the relationship:

  1. Remind your champion that you are dedicated to improving their experience and success (that’s the job of the CSM, right?).
  2. Ask, “If I send you a link, would you be able to make 3 to 5 minutes to answer a few targeted questions to help us understand what is working well and what needs to be improved? I’m committed to following up with you to address concerns or gaps. This process
    • Makes best use of your time,
    • Helps me understand where to focus, and
    • Enables me to amplify your voice across the company so my colleagues will also understand where our best improvement opportunities are.

Will you participate?”

I’ve never heard of a Customer Champion saying anything other than, “Yes.”

Of course, you will need an effective questionnaire and simple follow-up process.  Drop me a note: We have free templates for these that I’d be glad to provide (which are also in my book, Failure Sucks!).  And TopBox, our SaaS platform for B2B Customer Engagement, provides an efficient method to automate the end-to-end process.

Customers Need To Feel Heard
Oprah Winfrey said it well: “I’ve talked to nearly 30,000 people on this show, and all 30,000 had one thing in common: They all wanted validation.”

People want to feel like they’ve been heard. Customers are people.

And even if you already know what they are going to tell you, collecting the feedback (data) in a structured way allows you to engage with your customer, be 100% confident that you are optimally focused, and enable the rest of the company understand gaps that ought to be addressed in a more scalable manner.

So demonstrate that you care.  You may not be able to do everything that customers request, but successful CSMs capitalize on what’s working well and help their customers implement appropriate solutions to address gaps. What’s more, CSMs will equip their colleagues around the company with real data – evidence – from customers that help the rest of the company make good decisions.

I’ve only scratched the surface of tips and tricks that strengthen customer relationships. Ready to take action or learn more?

  1. Acquire the right templates: Drop me a note or schedule time so I can help you avoid reinventing the wheel. No selling here: It’s free!
  2. Get the book, Failure Sucks: More For Your Customers Than For You. A B2B Guide to Customer Success.
  3. Ready for something more advanced? Download our whitepaper to learn how to engage ALL of the right contacts in your key/strategic accounts AT SCALE (think Decision Makers, Budget Holders, Exec Sponsors, Key Influencers, Power Users, and more).  We all know that loss of an Executive Sponsor is one of the most common reasons for customer churn, so increase your footprint by using a simple technique to develop the relationships in the accounts that matter most by engaging the right people, in the right way, at the right time.
Image courtesy Mike Acton at