10 Note Templates Every CSM Needs (and When to Use Them)

“Customer Success isn’t a department; it’s a strategy.”

It’s easy to agree with that statement, but here’s the real question: How do we translate that pie-in-the-sky philosophy into tangible actions and processes that create satisfied customers?

Because let’s face it, there’s a fine line between order and chaos at work for Customer Success Managers (CSMs).

The difference hinges on each CSM’s ability to manage the constant calls, endless emails, and the growing list of customer expectations. The role of a CSM demands a strategic mindset, but also an arsenal of tools to streamline processes and enhance efficiency.

Mimi Marani, a Senior CSM at Vitally, deeply understands this — and she argues that the right set of Note templates is the difference between order and chaos. 

What are Note Templates?

Note templates are easily accessible documents designed to align a Customer Success organization. With the right templates, everything from hand-offs to EBRs to renewals are standardized across the team, which boosts productivity, alignment, and customer retention.

In this article, we explore 10 Note templates and blueprints every CSM should have in their back pocket (or more realistically, their Customer Success Platform), that Mimi uses every day.

But First, What Do Good Note Templates Do?

You may be wondering why these simple documents hold so much power. 

Simply put, they are the backbone of strategic customer interaction and management. Note templates do more than just guide conversations.

Here’s what they offer:

  • Clarity and direction: Using templates leads to clear and consistent conversations with customers.

  • A standardized customer experience: Note templates provide a structure for your team to work from to build trust and loyalty both internally and externally.

  • Strategic focus: They give CSMs the resources they need to think less about tactical meeting prep and more about strategic support.

  • Personnel management: They enable leaders to oversee and report on CSM activities. Not in a Big Brother way, but to help with people management, capacity planning, and more.

  • Valuable documentation: Creating a paper trail of what meetings are happening and what’s being discussed during those meetings is important. This helps with account management, transitions, and executive support.

As we look at Mimi’s 10 most useful scenarios for Notes, keep in mind that these templates do more than organize. They improve the way CSMs interact with their customers, which leads to better relationships, and a higher LTV.

To see what Notes look like in Vitally, browse through our interactive tour.

10 Predictable Customer Moments That Call for a Note Template 

1. The Sales-to-CS Transition

Transitioning a client from the sales process to onboarding and implementation with the Customer Success team is a pivotal moment in the customer journey. This hand-off sets the stage for the whole relationship and can significantly impact customer satisfaction and retention. Here’s a note hand-off template we use internally.

customer success note templates sales to cs handoff note

To ensure a collaborative, organized transition, be sure to establish a Note template with embeddable tasks and to-dos to make sure no details slip through the cracks.

2. The Implementation Call

We’ll keep this one short and sweet. For every implementation call with a new customer, there should be a standardized agenda with a customizable to-do list to keep everyone — CSMs, implementation specialists, and customers — aligned and on track for a successful rollout.

customer success implementation call template

3. A Training Call

Often CSMs find themselves presenting to a Zoom room full of brand new users (or recording videos for them). To simplify the preparation for these training calls, CSMs should lean on a Note that:

  • Covers the basics of your product or service. Make sure every customer has a clear understanding of what your product or service does, how it works, and why it will benefit them.
  • Answers all follow-up questions. Your responses to FAQs not only build trust because you come across as knowledgeable, but they also prove you’re prepared and committed to their success and satisfaction.
  • Provides additional resources as needed. Offering new users resources (like user guides, videos, and case studies) on training calls gives attendees something to refer to later once they have their footing and want to level up their use of your product. These serve as valuable tools for them to explore features at their own pace.

Remember: After each training session, include in your Note template a task for trainers to send an email follow-up (or have Vitally automatically send that message for you.)

4. Recurring Strategy Calls

During recurring strategy calls, most CSMs know it’s important to review progress and provide any additional training or guidance as needed. 

But the last thing you want to do is come across as scattered or unprepared. Instead, create a Note template to standardize the flow of these meetings. Here’s another Note template we use at Vitally to ensure that we maximize the time we have with clients during strategy calls:

5. Executive Business Reviews

While the primary purpose of these meetings is to review a client's account performance over the past quarter, it’s also a perfect time to re-align a client's business objectives with the services you provide and plan for future success. In short, these meetings are key to proving value to stakeholders.

Joe Peters, the Global Head of Customer Success at Duco, graciously shared his team’s EBR Blueprint (using Vitally Notes) to let us see how his CSM teammates prep for an EBR and easily record the most up-to-date customer information on the spot.

Here’s a look at what it looks like.

Related: How to Prepare for and Conduct an Effective QBR

6. A CSM-to-New-CSM Transition

Sometimes customers have big feelings about transitioning from one CSM to another, and other times, it’s not a problem. Regardless, you should have a standardized process for what these internal hand-offs look like. Here’s an internal Note we love (and use when this happens at Vitally).

7. Onboarding-to-CS Transition

onbarding to cs transition note template

An effective onboarding to CS handoff is crucial in ensuring that there is knowledge transfer from one team to another.

Moreover, an effective process ensures that the customer is not responsible for that knowledge transfer — the CSM should have everything they need to take the customer from one lifecycle stage to the next, and begin to nurture the relationship. A good handoff is a trust-building exercise.

8. A Renewal Call

Our very own Lauren Axworthy, the Founding Account Manager at Vitally, created this high-quality renewal Note template — and she shares more of her methodology in this Blueprint.

Renewal discussions should evaluate past achievements and align on future goals. Everyone should leave with a clear and enthusiastic path to renewal, emphasizing continued partnership and growth.

We’re a cards-on-the-table brand, so here’s a look at the actual Note template Lauren uses on renewal calls with Vitally customers.

9. A Call With the Product Team

Sometimes customers request these kinds of calls to zero in on a specific feature or component of the product, and the Product team can offer detailed insights and use cases. But often, these calls aren’t a common part of a Product leader or engineer’s day, so a template with what to say and how to structure the meeting can significantly boost product understanding and adoption.

10. A Churn Report

Last but not least, a Note template for churn documentation is essential for understanding the high-level details about why a customer decided to leave. It provides a chance for reflection and learning, and it also highlights areas for improvement. By analyzing completed churn report Notes, Customer Success leaders can understand the “why” behind churn and work to address that part of the customer experience.

Here’s what the Churn Report Note template Amelia Losciale, a Senior CSM at Vitally, uses to understand the story behind every customer churn. You can read more about why Amelia added these fields vs. others in her Blueprint

Use These Expert-Approved Note Templates and Watch Your CSAT Soar

Note templates aren't just handy tools; they're essential for working efficiently, keeping things clear, and making sure everyone's on the same page. 

These 10 Customer Success Note templates will improve the cohesion and operational excellence of your team. And the beautiful thing about templates is that they’re easy to adjust as you learn new information and as your customer’s collective needs evolve. 

Notes make your life easier and make customer interactions more meaningful.

If you like what you’ve been reading, you should know that at Vitally, we offer a free library of Blueprint templates for all Customer Success occasions, as well as access to experts like Mimi to help you build custom templates for your team. Take a free platform tour of Vitally, and start simplifying your busy days and back-to-back meetings. 

Because remember: “A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.”

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