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How to Bolster Your Customer Success Process to Properly Respond to a Crisis

For those of us keeping up with the recent news cycle, the questions surrounding COVID-19 and the impact this crisis will have on the economy keep coming. Outside of the obvious questions surrounding the health risks of your friends and family, there are new reports coming out daily on how industries are coping with this unprecedented crisis.

For SaaS organizations, there are a few things to consider when thinking about the lasting repercussions of COVID-19. First, because many SaaS workforces are well connected and are inherently set up for remote work, many have been able to readily adapt to the new ‘stay at home’ regulations that many states have passed. Additionally, depending on your industry, this crisis situation could feel like ‘business as usual’ for many people – until something drastic happens to change things. And, finally, there is the preparedness question. This last one is especially important for SaaS-based customer success managers. After all, we don’t really know what we need for a crisis until one is upon us, right?

For CSMs, being prepared to respond to a crisis means being able to quickly adapt your workflows, processes, milestones, and goals based on your customer’s needs. In a situation like our current COVID-19 scare, many CSMs are being forced to scramble to find solutions reactively, instead of being prepped and ready for something like this to happen.

Here are three ways your customer success team can be prepared to proactively respond to a crisis:

#1: Regular Customer Check-ins

The best possible thing a CSM can do to stay on top of a potential crisis is to stay in regular communication with customers. Your customers will have the most up-to-date information and details about how they need to change things. If you don’t currently have regular checkpoints with customers, get something on the calendar asap. Depending on the account, you could meet once a week, every other week, or even once a month. The cadence doesn’t matter as much as the regular check-ins to make sure everyone is one the same page and well informed.

#2: Account Mitigation

While it’s easy to stay optimistic in a crisis, it’s important to keep your eyes open and realize that, unfortunately, not all businesses are going to come out on the other end unscathed. Take the current COVID-19 crisis, for example. For businesses in the most at-risk industries (hospitality, food services, etc.), cutting back on expenses is a real situation. CSMs should be prepared for some accounts – even those that seemed to be running exceptionally smoothly – to churn during a crisis. Working in tandem with sales, customer success teams can have a mitigation plan in place to ensure the pipeline of new customers can help backfill any unplanned attrition.  

#3: Flexibility

And, finally, flexibility is key across the board when it comes to dealing with crises. While your team might have worked long and hard on a customer project plan or deliverable, you must be able to quickly pivot to something else if it requires immediate attention. The same goes for your technology. Customer needs are constantly changing, and the onslaught of a crisis means new deliverables, new deadlines, and new workflows. With a flexible solution, your team can easily manage these new projects without dropping the ball.

How is your team handling the current COVID-19 crisis? If you have any questions about how to prep your customer success team for a crisis, ClientSuccess is here to help!

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