Vitally’s “Scale or Fail: Unlock a Winning Support & Success Partnership” is the latest webinar in our collection, and we’re here to share some of the high-level takeaways from this insightful panel discussion. The webinar hosted a panel of industry experts to discuss best practices for creating and building a strong partnership between Technical Support and Customer Success teams. Our webinar panelists included:
- Laura Bedoya, Technical Support Manager at Vitally
- Lisa Winberg, Strategic Customer Success & People Leader
- Fahmida Yasmin-Monium, Solutions Architect at Vitally
- Brent Fox, RVP at Mattermost at Mattermost
Each panelist brought a unique perspective and expertise to the discussion, sharing their advice on building effective product support processes, crafting a customer-first support experience, prioritizing and managing support requests, and so much more. This webinar recap blog will give you a peek at some of the highlights from the webinar, so be sure to watch the on-demand recording to get the full effect. So with that, let’s get into the recap!
Question #1: How would you define the role of Customer Success and the role of Support?
Customer Success and Technical Support teams may have different goals and responsibilities, but their ultimate goal is the same: to help customers achieve their desired outcomes. Collaboration between Customer Success and Support teams is essential for ensuring customers have a positive experience with your company's product or service.
Laura: “The biggest difference in a support role is that we are more reactive, while customer success is more proactive. With [Customer Success], they ask the customer what their goals are and [develop a] strategy, really sitting down and getting to know them. Support [already] knows what [the customer] goal is. [Support focuses] on how to get you there and how to use the product to get [the customer to] whatever it is that they’re trying to achieve.”
Question #2: How can a deep partnership between Customer Success and Technical Support teams enhance the customer journey? In what ways can this partnership lead to improved customer retention, product development, and revenue growth?
There are several ways Customer Success and Technical Support teams play crucial roles in ensuring customer satisfaction, retention, and revenue growth. But to get there, these two teams need to learn how to seamlessly work together, create mutual goals, and clearly define parts of the customer journey to provide a comprehensive and impactful experience while positively impacting retention and revenue growth.
Lisa: "Ensuring the customer has a point of contact for whatever they need [is key]. They need to know there is somebody on the team at your company that's going to be able to help them with [anything], whether it's a fire [that needs] reactive support, or trusting their Customer Success Manager has the bandwidth to help them with more proactive and strategic work."
Brent: There is an "inflection point where you start to realize just being good and responsiveness isn't enough. You need a more proactive element, and that's where the Customer Support piece starts to come into play [and can] really provide a customer with what they need."
Question #3: Are there any challenges or common pitfalls that should be avoided to ensure this partnership remains productive and successful?
Teams will face challenges; it's inevitable. But one big recommendation from our panelists is to define team roles clearly. Vagueness around team responsibilities can lead to decreased productivity and negatively impact the customer experience, while clarity ensures seamless and efficient handling of customer needs.
Lisa: "The most important challenge that needs to get addressed from the get-go is understanding who's accountable for what, right...where most challenges come down to is that there's not a clear definition between these roles…[and that can make] customers feel like they're being bounced around between multiple people within your organization."
Lisa: "Regardless of how you're structured [and] where you report, it doesn't really matter to the customer. You're one team. So [for instance], the three people on a call [with the customer], you're all vital to your customer. It doesn't matter what department you're in [because] ultimately you are customer-facing. All of you are dedicated to ensuring that you're optimizing for the customer's experience."
Question #4: How can customer success and technical support teams work together to identify and address recurring customer issues?
Having these teams tackle challenges together as one unit will alleviate issues quicker, keeping the customer satisfied and having a positive experience with your product and service. Creating effective communication channels for information and data sharing is critical for these teams to excel in problem-solving and can help streamline efforts to improve customer satisfaction.
Fahmida: "The most important aspect in helping to identify these kinds of recurring instances is having an open dialogue between both support and success; that is really important, just establishing that communication channel. Typically, that would be a joint call between CSM support to discuss those product priorities from both team's perspectives."
Fahmida: Having a "data-driven approach coupled with fostering a strong relationship with CSM support, and having those open lines of communication, can really impact on those top-level OKRs of retention goals."
Brent: "Supports job is not done when a customer's [present] issue is resolved. [The job is done] when we've solved the whole problem so that this next wave of customers who would otherwise have encountered that will no longer encounter that because the product has been fixed, documentation has been clarified, or sales is setting product expectations. That's where you get to a whole other level of efficiency for [these teams] and deliver a whole other level of value to the business."
Question #5: What are the pros and cons of giving the customer access to resources and the materials they need to find solutions on their own?
Providing self-service resources to customers can be a double-edged sword. Self-service resources can help customers be more proactive with your product to avoid similar challenges or problems. Still, it can also slow time to value for those customers who need extra help understanding the product on top of the documentation or resources provided. Therefore, considering both sides before implementing self-service as part of your support strategy is a must!
Lisa: "The more proactive a customer is, and the more that they have access to information if they actually use it, they're more likely to be more engaged with your product and with your company."
Fahmida: "I definitely think it's a pro to self-serve because of that saving time aspect. But it depends on how you structure the content, [because] if it's not easily findable, then that's not going to appeal to the customer."
Laura: "If I can't control F and find something easily, there's no way I'm going to sit here and read through an entire [documentation] article. [Customers are] trying to work fast and be efficient."
Brent: "I prefer outreach for certain materials like roadmaps. Rather than just emailing customers to check it out, I want to talk to them and convey excitement about what's coming next. It's harder to deliver that sizzle in a self-serve way, but if we've helped them help themselves, we can have forward-looking conversations."
Bonus Question from Live Q&A: How can Support partner with CS to reach non-responsive clients?
Brent: "I think it's a Customer Success function to reach out and do the sleuthing for the non-responsive clients. I'm always thinking about the customers that we don't hear from; you can get a certain snapshot of Support data, but I wouldn't expect Support to necessarily have their eye on that one because they're so focused on what's coming in."
Fahmida: "One tip that's really helpful, and I know some previous systems used to do this, but if [teams] weren't hearing back from a client, they will just book a meeting straight into their calendar. And if they accepted it, and they did most of the time, they did so and had that one call. So that's a good tip — just book a call.
There are so many valuable takeaways from the webinar, but it's clear that a strong Technical Support and Customer Success partnership can be a powerful tool for scaling your business and providing an excellent customer experience for each and every customer. As the panelists discussed, partnering with your customer support team not only gives you invaluable insights into customer behavior and needs but also leaves customers feeling confident in their interactions with your brand. So, what are you waiting for? Check out the webinar recording to get all the extra advice we weren’t able to fit into the blog. We promise it’s worth the time!