Using Technology to Automate Customer Engagement ft. Tips from CS Leaders

(And What To Do When Technology Is Not Enough)

SaaS customers tend to be highly independent; they relish purchasing cloud-based products that they can use without assistance. They also conduct loads of research before making a purchase; by the time one of these buyers engages with a SaaS Company, they're already 60% through the buying process.

This type of customer can be great for your bottom line; their low-maintenance tendencies mean you expend less on customer support hours. However, there is also a significant con; this independent customer type is less likely to reach out for help, and by the time you discover they're having an issue, they may already be on the cusp of churning.

Below we are sharing some best practices for engaging this customer type, particularly when they become unresponsive.

The Power of 1-to-Many Automated Engagement

SaaS Companies are able to offer their products and services to a large, global user base. By leveraging automation, Customer Success teams are able to deploy a 1-to-many support structure where a relatively high number of customers can be assigned to a single manager without negatively affecting the customer experience. 

1-to-many support relies on a low-touch model where customer engagement is handled by sophisticated, well-timed automated processes. Some examples of low-touch support include:

  • Automated messages
  • Dripped email campaigns
  • Support chatbots
  • Account assignment
  • Risk and opportunity indicators

However, using a low-touch support model does not mean that the "humanity" in customer engagement should be ignored. The best automated engagement does everything it can to mirror human behavior, and when a customer needs more profound assistance, they can easily request human help. A few examples of what humanized low-touch can look like include personalized emails or pushed messages, using friendly, helpful, casual language, and checking in at timed intervals to see if all is going well with the customer experience. 

Vitally's full-featured Conversations Solution and automation capabilities provides a suite of robust automated customer engagement tools that help Customer Success managers interact with customers in meaningful and timely ways.

When a Customer Goes Silent

If your Customer Success team has done their homework, you should have a set of automated processes that are triggered at specific points along the customer journey to keep customers engaged and happily using your products. Automated outreach should be balanced between not reaching out too frequently or being too spaced apart so that your customers are not dismayed when you contact them.

Suppose you notice a change in customer behavior, such as a customer who was previously engaging with your team suddenly going silent, or logging into your product significantly less. In such a case, this is a good opportunity to switch from low-touch to high-touch support. Make a phone call or send an email invite to schedule a one-on-one session with a Customer Success team member.

Many SaaS Companies offer products that are sold at different price points with scaling features. High-touch support can be added as a regular feature of a customer engagement strategy in instances where you have a particularly sophisticated or expensive product since it significantly reduces customer churn. Use customer segmentation to determine where high-touch will produce the greatest ROI.

Below we share some further insights from leaders in Customer Success. 

Don't Be Afraid to Call

"I think the easiest thing to do is to pick up the phone and call unresponsive customers that aren't responding to emails. I literally did that yesterday. I called a customer. He hadn't responded to any of my emails in the past month or so, and he was like, "Hey, Celine, it's so good to hear from you!"
"The other thing that I've found really helpful is jumping in on support tickets and getting your name in front of the customer; that makes them familiar with you, and it makes them feel like you're trying to solve their problems."

Read more from Celine

Be Preemptive And Intentional 

"… when a customer becomes a customer for the first time, you should have that conversation about what they think the relationship should look like. What do they want the Customer Success relationship to look like? Do they want to have calls every month? Every quarter? Do they just want to do it over email? Sometimes customers don't actually want to be booked all the time, constantly being asked how things are going and for feedback."
"I think if you have that conversation in the beginning, it's less likely you're going to have unresponsive customers. For example, I had one customer say, 'you know what, Chris, I really don't like these calls in general,' before we'd ever had one. 'I'll let you know if I need to have one if I need to talk to you.' "
"If I hadn't had that conversation with the customer, I could have been emailing that person every month and being frustrated that they're not responding. So I think that's the key. Having the conversation first-hand to preemptively prevent that from happening. "

Read more from Chris

Well-timed customer engagement is the heart of a solid Customer Success strategy. Execute perfectly timed customer engagement and master proactive Customer Success using Vitally's robust CS solution for SaaS Companies. The use of automation and the selective application of high-touch support in a low-touch model adds rocket fuel to your CS Operations. Request a demo today!

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