One of the most common issues that customer service teams have is maintaining communication with customers. Working with customer service teams, we’ve found that mid-touch and high-touch customers tend to stop reaching out to customer service teams after onboarding. So what tips can we use to re-establish communication and avoid customer churn?
In general, SaaS companies have two types of pricing models, freemium and tiered pricing. Regardless of the pricing model customers sign up for, SaaS companies aim to provide the best support experience for all their customers. However, ensuring that all customers receive high-quality service can be difficult, especially when there are differences in size and the level of service they pay for.
To make sure that all customers receive top-notch service, customer service teams can take advantage of technology and processes that can be used for all types of customers. For instance, the number of unresponsive customers at the freemium level signifies that the customer has not retained interest or value from the product. Further, non-touch engagement levels with paid customers may signal issues with customer churn.
Fortunately, we have created playbooks for customer service teams to use in these situations:
Build Multiple Levels of Relationships Across the Two Companies
One of the most effective ways to improve customer communication and the feedback loop is by fostering multiple relationships between the customer service team and the customer. However, some relationships are more important than others, and finding the right people is crucial to mitigating churn and improving customer satisfaction. These are the 3 relationships customer service teams should focus on fostering.
1. Customer Service Manager to Customer Service Manager
Customer Service Managers are the people in charge of understanding and perfecting the user experience. As a Customer Service Manager, you should be reaching out to your counterpart on the client’s side. Opening this channel of communication will ensure that your client can feel comfortable reporting any issues or requests that may prevent the client from leaving in the future. You always want to build trust and transparent communication channels with the client.
2. Support Admins and Heavy Users
Arguably the most important people to build relationships with are the admins and heavy users of your software. These people will be your champions in client meetings and can ultimately decide whether your client stays or goes. If the people in charge of the budget or the people that use your software the most aren’t satisfied, there is little chance they will stay on.
Not only does good communication with these stakeholders mitigate churn, but they also are the best people to ask for product improvements and feedback. As the main stakeholders, these clients generally have an in-depth understanding of your product and which areas need the most improvement. Remember, when you have good transparent communication with your clients, that can become an incredible resource.
3. Marketing to Marketing
Another area that customer service teams should focus on creating relationships is with client marketing departments. Because marketing departments are in charge of outward communications, this is the best opportunity for customer service teams to collaborate on events, reviews, videos, and training. Marketing teams are also a great target for clients who are likely to become heavy users when managed correctly by the customer service team.
Set Up Regular Touchpoints with Customer Leadership
A great strategy to ensure consistent, transparent customer communication is to set up regular touchpoints with the customer. Regular touchpoints such as Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs) are a value-add that most customers will usually agree to. Hosting QBRs and other recurring touch points with main stakeholders will provide customer service teams with plenty of opportunities to gain feedback, understand client usage, and review customer usage as a whole.
When conducting QBRs or other recurring touch points, here are a few items customer service teams can focus on.
1. Joint Goals
Establishing joint goals is a great way to assess progress over time. While joint goals can be added or changed over time, they provide a foundation for what are the customer’s expectations.
2. Identify Open Items that Require Higher Visibility
Every touch point should include a time when clients can identify and discuss items that have recently become important. This can include SLAs, new features, and other items that need to be addressed. Make sure you are transparent with items that did not go well or are not expected to go well. Transparency in features that cannot be fixed, reasons behind escalations, and missed SLAs do need to be summarized. Make sure to share mistakes, and plans to fix or avoid in the future is shared with the team so the customer feels that you have their success behind their back. Be proactive whenever possible.
3. Open the Feedback Loop
Your customers are your best R&D asset because they use your product in the real world compared to in-house developers. By asking for feedback, customer service teams can build trust with their clients while gaining valuable information that can improve the product overall. We look at the sentiment of each interaction and bubble up with excitement!
Always remember to encourage your clients to share any feedback and thank them when they do!
4. Summary of Product Updates
It’s always good practice to share with your customers any new features that may be coming down the pipeline. This reminds customers that there is more value to be added to your product and gives customer service teams a chance to gain initial feedback on the upcoming changes. This is also a great opportunity to test out any new marketing for the product or features by sharing videos, photos, or even demos with the client.
5. Outline New Collaborative Opportunities
Discussing collaboration opportunities with clients should be done at least on an annual basis. Joining forces in activities like marketing, sales, and more can be a great way to build relationships and create client dependency on your product.
6. Drive Actions for Next Touchpoint
The last item on every touch point should be setting up the next touch point. Customer service teams should summarize action items and the agenda for the next touch point. Customer service teams should get clients to agree to the action items, so everyone is on the same page. Sending out a page memo that summarizes the highlights of the touch point and the agenda for the next touch point will ensure expectations are understood by all parties.
7. Reaching out to the flywheel
Bring in other representatives from the Product, Marketing, and Infrastructure teams. Be ready to show customers that you are pulling in resources across your company to make them successful. At Ascendo, we aim to use data to improve customer relationships by providing and making constant, transparent communication easy for all parties. An AI-driven tool brings out all of the above collaborative touch points so customer teams can focus on what they do best – building relationships!