There is no doubt that the first half of 2020 didn’t pan out quite as planned. Nearly every single SaaS organization was forced to switch to fully remote operations over the last few months, moving everything from product to sales to, yes, customer success online. These changes have been jarring in a few ways:
- First, many SaaS organizations pride themselves on (and sell their employees on) in-office perks and benefits that prioritize professional in-person connections.
- Next, modern vendor organizations are now often focused on delivering personalized, high-touch services to customers in order to differentiate themselves from the competition.
- And finally, because customer success teams are on the front lines of delivering this amazing service, CSMs are often tasked with both delivering great service and making customers feel as though they are personally connected to a vendor organization.
Simply put, this is a lot to handle for customer success teams at any time, but the first half of 2020 has magnified these challenges in many ways. With many customer success leaders and customers alike spending months in social quarantine, human connection in any form is now looked upon as ‘precious’ in a way that it hasn’t been in previous years.
Here are a few important things that 2020 has taught us so far about the power of human connection in customer success:
- You don’t always have to be in the same room to be connected. Although team tools like Zoom and Slack may be more synonymous with memes in the last few months than actual meetings, these kinds of tools have made it possible for teams – and customers – to stay in touch even when in-person meetings aren’t possible. If your team isn’t already taking advantage of video meetings with customers, we encourage you to give it a try. Even virtual face-to-face communication can provide an extra boost of personalized service these days.
- Just because customer priorities may have shifted doesn’t mean your processes have to change. In the first few months of 2020, many SaaS customers may have completely shifted priorities, needs, or even product lines. This has meant that vendor organizations – customer success teams included – have had to pivot to meet these new customer goals. But, as your team may have already seen, just because you’re changing focus to meet customers where they need you to be doesn’t mean your internal processes need to change.
- Organization and accountability have become more important than ever before. With everyone (and everything) moved online, keeping track of customer needs, to-do’s, and agenda items is more critical than ever. If something slips through the cracks, you can’t just lean over to your office neighbor and talk through the issue in person. Having a single source of truth for all of your customer information, from NPS and SuccessScore™ to adoption and engagement, can help your team better manage customers whether you’re remote or back in the office.
As federal and state governments start to ‘reopen’ and business (hopefully) resumes a more normal pattern, it will be important for customer success teams to keep these points in mind as a way to stay connected and in sync with customers in the future.