12 Steps to Conducting a Productive Customer Success Brainstorming Session
Automation is a game-changer for almost any department, but surprisingly Customer Success teams are a bit behind some of their counterparts (i.e. Marketing and Sales) when it comes to adopting technology to allow for automated workflows. This is especially surprising given the long customer lifecycles, Customer Success Managers are on tap to nurture and grow; from onboarding, to adoption, to renewal to advocacy.
So why is it that not all Customer Success teams have become pros when it comes to CS automation?
Maybe it’s because the idea of sitting down to think through opportunities to implement automation, and what that process might look like, seems a bit daunting?
Well, we are here to tell you, it’s doable and is so worth the effort! In fact, our own Customer Success team recently had a working session to look for more automation opportunities in our own day-to-day activities (yes, we drink our own champagne 🥂). And we wanted to share with you what that looked like so you can get inspired to do the same with your team.
Automated Plays Working Session
Let’s set the stage: You are in the midst of ChurnZero Admin Training Bootcamp. You recently learned about Segments and Alerts in Session #1, and already built out a few of each. It was easier than you thought – yeah!
Now it’s time for Admin Training Session #2: Plays. You learn about all the possibilities and your gears are turning with glee at all the processes your CS team will be able to automate with Plays. But where to start? How to begin?
Our recommendation: A CS team working session!
Remember, the ChurnZero CSMs are ChurnZero users just like you. We are you: busy CSMs who value efficiency and utilize ChurnZero on a daily basis to manage our books of business. To do this efficiently, we take the time to discuss our goals for using ChurnZero, plan out our configurations, and then execute them as a team.
Here are our tips we want to share with you.
A Dozen Do’s for a Successful Customer Success Team Working Session
- Make the time. It can be difficult to get your entire team together. We get it. All you need is a one-hour block of time. Choose a date and time in the coming weeks and stick to it.
- Get together. Some teams are all in one location and other teams are remote. It’s 2019 – this is normal. If it is possible to all physically get together for this session, do it! If not, then consider a video session. Order lunch for the group and make it a team bonding event.
- Hold hands. Just kidding. But wouldn’t this be cute?
- Plan ahead. Let’s make this session count! A week before the meeting, gather ideas from the team and narrow in on two or three Play ideas to work on during the session.
- Positivity. In our recent team session, we focused on positive reinforcement and using Plays to high five our customers who are using our system well. Sometimes as CSMs we are focused on looking for customers who are underutilizing the system. But what about congratulating the people who are consistently using your system to do great things?
- Tailor the message. If the goal of the Play is to communicate with your customer, you have some options. Think about which format will be most effective: an email or an in-app message? Which contacts should receive the message, and when?
- Stay focused. This is one hour of focused time. It’s easy to get sidetracked by emails, chats, and other colleagues. Turn off notifications for this hour (gasp!) so the team can tune out distractions.
- Talk it out. Have you ever created a Contact Segment and then thought, is this really right? Talk out loud as a team to determine the best Segment criteria to power your Play. And preview the results to make sure it’s reflective of the audience you seek.
- Draw it out. So many of us are visual learners. Grab a whiteboard (physical or virtual) and draw out your plan. This is especially helpful if you are planning multiple Plays that will work concurrently or sequentially.
- Allow for review. Your Play might not be perfect from the get-go. This is normal. If the Play is meant to automate an email or in-app message to your customer, set it up to require review from the CSM so your team can evaluate the people entering the Play, and the Play message, for the first two weeks the Play is live.
- Debrief. So, how did it go? Was this a productive team working session? Chat as a team about what went well and what could be improved upon, so your next team session is even better.
- Refine after two weeks. Circle back as a team (virtually, by email) to discuss any tweaks needed. Use the ChurnZero Play Report to see which contacts have run through the Play so far, if they have viewed the message, and/or clicked within it. Modify as needed.
So, what does a Customer Success team working session actually look like? Buckle up, because here is the ChurnZero CS team in our recent Plays working session.
Blog Author: Naomi Aiken, Customer Success Manager, ChurnZero
Naomi Aiken is a Customer Success Manager at ChurnZero. She joined ChurnZero in 2018 after a decade’s worth of experience in SaaS software implementation and consulting for higher education. When she’s not busy helping clients become rockstar CSMs she’s spending time with her husband, two beautiful kids and their rescue puggle, Ernie.
Customer Success Around the Web
- Does Customer Success Actually Impact the Growth of Your Company? – Many organizations aren’t prioritizing hiring CSMs. Why not? And should they?
- How Customer Success Teams Can Use ABM to Reduce Churn and Increase Expansion Revenue – ABM has the potential to act as a solution for a couple of key factors in SaaS performance: customer retention and churn.
- Beyond Email: Ideas for Tech-Touch Customer Success – Here are some alternatives to email for your one-to-many Customer Success program.