For CSMs, acting as the bridge between customers and a SaaS product organization sometimes requires a tricky balance. While your main goal is to always go above and beyond for customers, some things may be happening internally that may not be in your customer’s best interest.
As we enter the back half of 2021, there is truly something to be said for preaching – and practicing – radical transparency with customers. The average organization has dozens of SaaS vendor partnerships, and companies can stick out from the crowd by being open with customers, staying on top of product notices, and keeping key customer stakeholders in the loop when needed.
Here are five ways to practice radical transparency with customers:
1. Set the tone from day one.
From that first kick-off meeting, set the tone that transparency on both sides will be required for a successful working relationship. Ask open-ended questions, provide data-filled answers, and if you don’t know something, be honest and tell the customer you’ll figure it out. Setting the tone of transparency from day one will raise the bar for the relationship moving forward.
2. If there is a product issue that’s impacting your customer project, tell them.
It can be tempting to sweep product issues under the rug or try to fix something before it gets too out of hand and you have to tell a customer. As part of your radical transparency initiative, get into the habit of informing customers of a platform issue as soon as it happens. This way, they can plan ahead if needed.
3. Ensure other team members are keeping customers in the loop.
As a CSM, you maintain the majority of back-and-forth customer communication, but you are not the only person involved from your side. Make sure your other team members are aware of your team’s transparency goals (hopefully, they are also striving for this goal!) and keep your customers informed.
4. Tell your customers (and prospects!) that transparency is part of your business.
While it may seem as though practicing radical transparency should be a no-brainer for 2021, this is still a huge benefit for customers. Ensure you promote that this is a foundational pillar of your customer success strategy, both with current and prospective customers. Who knows – transparency with customers could help your sales team close new deals!
5. Make transparency a core corporate goal.
To encompass all of the above tips and tricks, transparency should be a key corporate goal. This means transparency with customers, of course, but also internally, from the top down. If your executives are dedicated to being transparent with your team, it makes it easier to be transparent with customers when it matters.
Want to learn more?
Radical transparency goes above and beyond keeping your customers informed of what’s going on. It means establishing a mutual relationship based on two-way trust and communication. From the beginning of a customer relationship, CSMs should look for every opportunity to develop this kind of partnership to always feel trusted and respected.
You can learn more about establishing value-based customer relationships with these additional resources from ClientSuccess: