Communication Tips & Tools for Customer Success Managers

In Customer Success, communication with accounts can make or break the job. Upping your skills—and having the right tools to make the back and forth efficient—can help you win customers for life.  

Wootric has gathered some tips and tools to help you communicate with your customers at scale.

In the first part of this three-part series, we gave you tips and tools to help with time management. Use the time you saved to improve your customer relationships and communication processes.

Communicating with Customers

Tips:

  • Nail down specific measurable criteria/objectives in onboarding

When you start building a relationship with the client, the most important part of ensuring client success is establishing what success means to them. Oftentimes, clients come to you with large, lofty, general goals like “improve customer experience”. Create SMART goals with your customers during onboarding and establish a baseline so that you can prove to them, objectively, that your company is delivering value.

“You can focus on adoption, retention, expansion, or advocacy; or you can focus on the customers’ Desired Outcome and get all of those things.” Lincoln Murphy, co-author of Customer Success: How Innovative Companies Are Reducing Churn and Growing Recurring Revenue

  • Master telling a client “no” with grace

Nobody likes to hear “no”, not toddlers, not teenagers, and especially not adults. When you are dealing with customers, you will inevitably run into requests that you cannot and should not fulfill. It’s an unpleasant part of the job.

You can deal with this situation in a multitude of ways, and prior experience with your customer can guide you to the best method. It might be suggesting the closest alternative, or it might be providing a detailed explanation. Regardless of how you choose to tell them no, it is key to maintain your relationship with them, and maintain your position on their team, as their advocate, the whole time.

  • Listen for the “silently churning”

All too often CSMs default to listening to the clients who shout the loudest. This is a natural human response, but leaves you vulnerable to neglecting your clients who are less vocal. Just because someone isn’t complaining to you in an email or over the phone, doesn’t mean they’ll renew when the contract is up.

Maintain a pulse on your client portfolio with the help of metrics like NPS, CES, and CSAT. Surveying customers after interactions and a couple times a year will provide invaluable insight into the health of your accounts. Survey feedback and analysis helps focus on the “silently churning”, the customers who are simply disengaging instead of yelling, and helps to narrow down what actually drives their lack of enthusiasm.

Tools:

Boomerang:

Boomerang is a free email extension that lets you schedule emails to be sent, remind yourself if you don’t hear back, and take messages out of your inbox until you actually need them. Boomerang will archive your message, then bring it back to your inbox at a time you choose, marked unread, starred or at the top of your message list. You can use Boomerang as an automation tool for following up or checking in with clients, especially when you don’t hear back from them.

Text expansion apps like Text Expander:

Text expansion applications use a few basic mechanisms to make typing faster. Abbreviate blocks of text that you use often and the app will replace it with the full block of text that you assign to the abbreviation. For example, you could have the app insert “Customer Success Manager” everytime you type “csm”.

Grammarly:

Grammarly uses AI to detect grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice, and style mistakes in your writing, offering you alternatives in real-time. Grammarly has recently been detecting micro-aggression and intent in emails, offering alternatives to help maintain professional relationships. It can also offer vocabulary enhancement suggestions for people using English as a second or third language.

Note: if you regularly use the Google suite of software, like Documents or Slides, you’ll have to stick with their autocorrect algorithms or take the extra step to upload documents into Grammarly’s own dashboard for corrections.

Doodle:

Doodle is a straightforward scheduler that helps you coordinate a time for meetings. You suggest a few dates and times for your participants. Doodle then creates a polling calendar that can be sent to them for feedback. As each person selects the dates and times they are free, Doodle aggregates the responses to tell you which option works best for everyone.

Calendly:

Calendly is also a scheduler that helps you schedule meetings without the back-and-forth emails. It has many more integrations and features than Doodle, which means it takes more getting used to, but is much more robust. Calendly takes time zones into account for each invitee and even allows you to request payments via Paypal and Stripe.

Retain more customers. Sign up today for free Net Promoter Score feedback with InMoment.

Why You Should Abandon Long Customer Surveys (and Use Always-On Microsurveys Instead)

When was the last time you completed the long survey you ask your customers to fill out? This is a painfully obvious (and obviously painful) exercise you can do to assess the customer experience of your surveys.  If the survey is long, you will probably find it a boring, tedious task to parse and answer the questions. Impatience grows as you face a seemingly endless list of attributes to assess. 

Elaine eyeroll

If this is what you are subjecting your customers to, know that you aren’t alone. Many companies are content with the status quo of traditional, bi-annual, 10+ question surveys, or they simply aren’t aware of alternatives.

But times have changed — and your customers aren’t having it.

Traditional, long surveys are a lose-lose situation

Not only do multi-question surveys have the potential to irritate customers, they have disadvantages for business as well.

 You are not hearing from enough customers.  Completion rates are abysmal. Studies show that the longer a survey is, the higher the chance of decreased, delayed, hasty or slapdash responses. So, the information you are getting from customers who are willing to run this gauntlet may not be thoughtful.  

Not hearing from customers often enough. Surveying once or twice a year means you can only react to feedback once or twice a year! In a quickly changing market, this is unacceptable. More agile competitors are going to leave you in the dust.

What can you do to solve this lose-lose situation? Modernize your feedback methodology with microsurveys.

What is a microsurvey?

Microsurveys take a well established, standardized question and use it as the first in a two-step survey. This first question can be used to measure Net Promoter Score, Customer Satisfaction Score, and Customer Effort Score, providing you with quantitative feedback. The second step then provides a way for respondents to give open-ended feedback explaining their score.

Here is an example using an NPS microsurvey shown to a customer who is logged into a SaaS application. A similar microsurvey can also be delivered via email, mobile, or SMS.

Two-step Net Promoter Score survey from Wootric

Your first reaction might be “How can I possibly get all the information I need with such a short, open-ended survey?  And, how can I make sense of all of the qualitative responses?

Let us walk you through how you can get what you need — and more.

Advantages of always-on microsurveys 

Microsurvey design looks at feedback collection from the customer’s point of view — it should be easy, fast, and relevant. The results are a significantly improved customer experience. Microsurveys provide three key benefits to you:

  • Real-time trends
  • High response rates
  • Better insights

Real time so you never miss a trend:

With support of a customer experience software platform, it becomes easy to survey customers throughout the customer journey.  You can forgo your annual survey campaign and get a on-going pulse of real-time feedback on journey points.  Shortening your surveys allows you to ask customers for feedback more often. By asking the right question at the right time, you increase the chance that an individual will respond to your surveys. Deploying microsurveys across the entire customer journey will bring you both a bird’s eye view of the health of your account and detailed, actionable insights at each touchpoint.

High response rates means you hear from more customers:

Response rates can be as high as 60% for microsurveys, and typically exceed 25%. These numbers can seem miraculous compared to the significantly lower rates that long-form surveys attain. By asking a single question in the right channel at the right time, customer are more willing to give feedback.

Better insights:

Microsurvey responses will reflect what is important and relevant to your customers. Because you are no longer leading the respondent, you will learn things you wouldn’t otherwise learn. The qualitative feedback you receive is rich with context and potential to drive your business priorities.

Now, all of this may sound good but there are still barriers to making the switch, right?

Reasons why you are still using long form surveys

I can’t aggregate survey results when feedback is open-ended!

The advantage of endless Likert scale questions is that responses on a wide range of topics and attributes can be tallied and metricized.   This makes things easier for you on the back end. However, every time a customer must chose a response from a range of values, you are putting the onus of quantification on him or her. You risk asking them to evaluate something they do not know or care about.  Response quality, completion rates, and customer experience all suffer.

A modern approach is to save your scale questions for established CX metric questions like Net Promoter Score, “How likely are you to recommend [business] to friends and colleagues?”, and take the support of machine learning technology to quantify opened survey responses.   

Today, you can take the burden of quantification off of customers and place it squarely on machine learning software. In the past, getting insights from large quantities of qualitative data has been hard, if not impossible. Technology is now available to auto-categorize all of that rich, qualitative feedback. Auto-tagging and sentiment analysis have come a long way!

For example, this dashboard screenshot shows an analysis of auto-categorized NPS feedback. Auto-tagging reveals themes in qualitative comments so you can know what promoters, passives and detractors are talking about in real time.  

Wootric Dashboard
Wootric Dashboard – Auto-categorization of qualitative feedback

I need to ask a series of questions to get important information from our customers.

Every question you add is less likely to be answered with your respondent’s full attention and engagement. Asking a single scale question and an open ended question captures high quality data that is both qualitative and quantitative.

It feels counterintuitive to open up feedback to be a free-for-all; however, customers want to tell you what’s on their mind at the time you survey them. Asking exclusively about what is important to you is frustrating for the customer. Like the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

Getting the information you want is less obtrusive if you send customers a short survey at the right time. For example, you can send an microsurvey asking about how easy a transaction was to complete or how easy a feature was to use. Customers no longer have to reach into the depths of their memory to retrieve their impressions because they just completed the task you are asking about.

Asking for feedback at touch points over time, in the right context, creates a story of your customers’ journey and allows you to see trends, just like how thousands of photos can be combined to create beautiful stop-motion animation.

Beware of using incentives to make up for poor response rates, you will find a higher percentage of “satisficers”, or respondents who select answer options quickly and thoughtlessly to get to the incentive you promised them for “completing” their survey.

Of course, there is a time and place for long surveys.

There is nothing wrong with using a lengthy survey when you really need to — and there will be times when an in-depth questionnaire is appropriate. Here are two examples:

Annual “Brand” survey. Our customers use microsurveys to keep a finger on the pulse of their entire customer base throughout the year for customer journey feedback. Some also use an annual brand survey that supplements by asking many in-depth questions. Even though response rates for this survey may be low, they know they will hear from their most engaged customers on a variety of topics. And, with their microsurvey program,  they still get feedback from everyone else.

User interviews. Product teams may conduct focus groups or interviews to get more sophisticated feedback on feature use, build out an understanding of use cases, and create detailed personas. Microsurveys such as NPS help narrow down who should be included in these focus groups and who would be open to being interviewed.

How to start? Shift your Net Promoter Score program to microsurveys.

If you want to try real-time microsurveys as a baby step towards modernizing your feedback program, use always-on NPS microsurveys as one component of your feedback strategy. You’ll still send out your long, in-depth survey to decision makers like you always have, but now with an early warning system to help you proactively keep your most important accounts.

Entelo was able to double their survey response rate with this method, using NPS microsurveys for a better understanding of customer health. The real-time feedback also meant fewer surprises and easier prioritization when it came to addressing customers’ problems.

Get the ebook, The Modern Guide to Winning Customers with Net Promoter Score. Learn how to modernize your feedback program for growth and higher loyalty.

Dashboard and Reporting Techniques to Visually Communicate Complex Data

Editor’s note: This is a chapter from the ebook, Unlock the Value of CX. You can download the entire book here.

In a world in which more and more data is available from a wide variety of channels, many different information sources are being bundled to form the basis for obtaining new and more detailed insights. Effective data visualization gives users a comprehensive overview and the ability to drill down on relevant details, thus supporting evaluation of all information provided. The faster decision-makers are able to recognize opportunities and risks, the better aligned their decisions.

Visually Communicating Complex Data

In essence, data visualization is mapping out data in a way that delivers explanations and exploration possibilities, making it easier for users to “read” and process data-based information. The following design aspects must be addressed to facilitate the reading flow for the user:

• Targeted use of pre-attentive attributes, i.e. characteristics which are perceived and evaluated subconsciously and prior to conscious processing as information

• The organizing of functionalities (e.g. navigation) in learned structures

• Consistent utilization of recurring visualization elements

Visualization Elements for Reporting Systems

The principle of infographics is often drawn upon in developing systemic reporting solutions for visualization aspects, but the limitations of this approach soon become evident. Users not only require flexible and practical usage, which means a high level of accuracy and uncomplicated visualization, but also the following as checklist criteria:

• User-specific detail depth

• Updated data

• Interactivity

The information requirements and selected mode of analysis thus determine the choice of visualization graphics. As a rule, it must be carefully reviewed which chart type is optimally suitable for conveying the desired information. Ideally, a chart should display no more than six values (i.e. elements to be read). The three sample charts below illustrate how this can be accomplished:

1. Structure-creating image elements provide orientation within the content for dependable reading. Additionally, these image elements can themselves be used for navigation, as buttons, for example, opening a Touchpoint Detail Report.

touchpoint website

2. Individual values can prominently be visualized using Big Number Boxes. Additional information such as trend versus the preceding month can be integrated via a simple icon.

Score

3. Icons with pre-attentive attributes which have corresponding significance (e.g. smileys, traffic lights, stars) enable color-blind people as well to intuitively process summarized and evaluated data.

Smiley Face

The Path to Reporting

Users today want to see only the information that is relevant to them, enabling more effective and proactive response. This requires a reporting concept for identifying different user types and groups and creating profiles or ‘personas’.

User profiles document differing information needs in terms of content, structure, level of detail and mode of usage and display as well as activation potential, responsibilities, bonus-relevant information elements and scope of action.

At the end of each user profile is a ‘story’ containing the parameters for reporting (i.e. the set of dashboards) specifically configured for the user group.

Proceeding step by step from the starting report, users are shown the information relevant to them and the interrelationships therein. In addition, a dashboard shows possibilities for more in-depth views and further analysis available to the user, providing insights into where action needs to be or could be taken. A well-designed reporting concept integrates advanced analysis capabilities and facilitates interactivity, making it easier to take action based on perceived action relevance.

Comprehensive Overview

Example: Emilia Schmitz is a brand communication executive. To oversee corporation-wide brand cohesion, she and her team require an overview of the entire array of communication channels and touchpoints. Within the customer lifecycle, her customers have contact with various people and departments within the firm. These contact points can influence how the customer perceives the company and brand in both positive and negative ways. She and her team thus are focused on improving their support for the individual touchpoint managers in providing action plans, ideas and concepts. She requires touchpoint monitoring that ties all of the necessary information together in the background so that she and her team have an overview displayed at all times of the most important KPIs for each touchpoint.

dashboard

Ms. Schmitz and her team rely on the touchpoint dashboard as an overarching monitoring and leading indicator system. Quick indicators in the header of the dashboard enable her to see immediately where support is most urgently needed.

The dashboard is specifically designed to deliver core information. Only a very limited range of colors are utilized, as the metrics are prominently displayed and partially formatted (red, green etc.), already bundling a lot of information.

Integrated Analytic Capabilities and Easy Interactivity

System users today more than ever insist on the capability to edit data relevant to them. Current online-based solutions meet these needs, providing export functionalities for independent further processing of data.

In addition, modern reporting systems are increasingly being utilized as an analysis tool, having functionalities going beyond the typical, standard filtering options that allow object-based content linking by users.

At the start screen showing information defined as being of the highest priority for the user group, a detailed view of the top level shows the selected NPS® over time and per market, possible ordering channels, the customer groups and strengths and weaknesses in the ordering process, among other things.

Every chart allows interactive drill-down by users. In addition to the usual filter settings, users can drag and drop graphic elements like the “telephone” bar in the ordering channels chart into the report filter. By clicking on the more detailed view for the ordering channel “telephone” the user is navigated to an overview of strengths and weaknesses or the distribution of customer segments for that order channel, for example.

This allows combining different content from the displayed charts in an intuitive, object-based way to create complex filters.

complex filters

Text Analytics in Touchpoint Monitoring

Text analytic results can also be integrated into touchpoint monitoring, enhancing analysis capability. In addition to keyword search, standard elements for ongoing systematic evaluation of unstructured text are available, including:

• Basic comment sentiment, classified as positive, neutral or negative

• Application of a scheme for comment categorization

The left side of the first text analytics dashboard is focused on overall mood, as indicated by the sentiment and positive or negative evaluations from the top 5 text categories. The second dashboard, on the right, provides a visual view of a specific customer group. An infographic shows the criteria applied for customer segmentation. Sentiment thus reflects a segment-specific value determined by the results of automated text analysis, combined with survey data or CRM data for customer segmentation.

Generating Actionable Information

Modern dashboards and reporting systems have to be usable as a springboard for action, facilitating or suggesting necessary follow-up action steps. There are differing approaches to realizing such capability, such as

• Single sign-on (one-time authentication via central access point to all systems relevant for the user), which allows combined usage of different existing systems

• Processing into a single system, allowing users to switch between various modules at any time

• Custom buttons can be integrated into the respective reports at relevant places which launch action planning or individual case management

Challenges

Comprehensive touchpoint management requires a solid base of data. The very best visualization cannot bring success if relevant information is missing. This means that the necessary data from the various departments and communication channels has to be structured and compiled in an appropriate way.

The Right Data

Most companies utilize dedicated systems, which in many cases are deeply embedded within company structures and provide information to a defined group of users. It is important when creating personas to identify and link to the relevant information sources. Modern software can interface with established enterprise systems via standard formats (Excel, SSPS, etc.) or interfaces (e.g. API for Salesforce) in largely automated fashion. This ensures that users start out with the data relevant and important to them. In addition, all content and information generated on the reporting platform can be exported in standard formats (Excel, CSV, SPSS, PowerPoint or PDF) and processed outside the system and re-imported back into company systems.

Changes at Touchpoints

Digitalization has brought many innovations to the market, especially in the areas of data communication. The shift toward new media and technologies has created additional touchpoints which generate new data streams requiring different modes of analysis and display. The content focus at existing touchpoints is changing as well. The challenge is to promptly recognize such changes and render these measurable and useful for touchpoint management. Systemic solutions must be designed to afford maximum flexibility, allowing rapid integration of new information sources and adaptation of reports to meet the changing information needs or the needs of newly added user groups. The present trend is toward configurable solutions offering on-the-fly calculation affording the flexibility required to quickly compile reports and content, including self-service reporting if desired.

self service reporting

Success Factors

Very few enterprises have comprehensive touchpoint management in place. Intuitive reporting systems are required to ensure transparency regarding risks and opportunities across all touchpoints, but also certain resources must be available as well in order to utilize such systems. Pioneering enterprises that invest in comprehensive touchpoint management will face the upfront challenges outlined above.

There will be few if any overnight success stories to tell, as sustained effort, patience, persistence and perseverance will be critical, along with solid phased implementation planning taking account of both system and personnel resources required. Then as the “low hanging fruit” is harvested, efforts can proceed to plan the next steps and prepare for wider rollout.

The Joy of Net Promoter Score: Sharing Customer Praise

Gathering Net Promoter Score feedback isn’t just about receiving critique and feature requests. An important growth component of an NPS customer feedback program is identifying your promoters, then engaging and activating them for upsell, referral or advocacy. But there is another benefit to identifying promoters — the feelings you get from their verbatim comments–gratification, inspiration, motivation, and satisfaction!

Promoters that are finding value in your brand can give some incredibly uplifting compliments that boost morale and provide a sense of pride for employees.

We’ve gathered some example comments from SaaS companies that use Wootric software to measure Net Promoter Score, analyze trends, and close the loop with their customers. Each company provided a screenshot of a favorite promoter comment from their InMoment dashboard.

Imagine how the team at presentation software Slidebean felt when this NPS survey response appeared:Slidebean NPS Promoter Comment

The stellar customer service at point-of-sale software Revel Systems is what got this promoter excited:

The team at video coaching platform Sibme was stoked when they read this:

This NPS response gives mortgage software company Maxwell props for their customer-centric culture:
Maxwell NPS promoter response

This kind of feedback contributes to feelings of accomplishment and meaning for employees, leading to more engagement and a happier work environment. Research done for the UK government showed that companies with a highly engaged workforce see a 19.2 % growth in operating income over a 12-month period. Additionally, companies with an engaged workforce grow profits up to 3X faster than their competitors.

With this comment, the whole team at e-signature software Signable can see the value they are creating for their customers:

Make sharing customer comments part of your NPS program

To get the most out of your NPS program, share your NPS along with select verbatim feedback across your entire organization. This provides context to your metric. Sharing customer requests and frustrations is a great way to create urgency around service and product improvement. It makes the problem less abstract and gives employees an emotional connection to the work that needs to be done.

In the same way that you would share constructive critique, make it a habit to share promoter comments. This provides you and your employees with the opportunity to celebrate the things you’re doing right and makes it real. When specific teams or individuals get mentioned, reach out to them and share. It is a great way to let them know they did an awesome job! It’s always great to feel appreciated and acknowledged.

Make sharing promoter comments easy by:

  1. Sharing it on a Slack channel – with Wootric’s free integration with Slack, you’ve got an easy way to spread the joy from reading promoter comments. Tag folks who were involved with different steps that culminated in the customer’s compliment and give them a pat on the back!
  2. Gathering the superstar comments to share at an all-hands meeting or Board meetings, along with your NPS score. This not only gives people the numbers they want to see, but also provides the story behind the number.
  3. Featuring promoter comments in your newsletter – whether it’s an employee newsletter or a customer newsletter.  Sharing positivity from customers makes everyone feel listened to and appreciated.

Having comments feed into Slack here at Wootric has helped us to monitor customer sentiment in real-time and keep everyone in the company close to our customers’ experience. Any issues are dealt with quickly, and promoter comments like these get everyone excited.

Promoter comments are a win for everyone

The Net Promoter Score system is a proven way to drive growth, and it is a delight when you get comments like the ones above. It is a positive feedback loop that creates more value and positive experiences for customers and a supportive, enjoyable work environment that encourages engagement for employees.

And to our own customers, know that we truly appreciate the time and thought that goes into every survey response you give us! We are listening. 

Build an army of promoters.
Sign up for free in-app NPS with InMoment.

Time Management for Customer Success Managers

How many times have you wished for another pair of hands or a couple more hours in the day to get through your work as a Customer Success Manager?

Between onboarding clients, liaising for customer support, and negotiating an upsell, CSMs juggle many essential functions.

We’ve gathered some tips and tools to help you be more productive with less stress.

Tips:

  • Create a calendar-prep sandwich

Having some quiet time before the day starts to strategize and prioritize will allow you to go through your day with less need to juggle. This time at the beginning of the day can be a time to review events from the previous day, catch up on emails, or prep for your meetings, but most importantly, set aside about 15 minutes to prep your calendar and to-do list for the day and look ahead to the rest of the week.

Set aside another 15 minutes at the end of your day for another calendar and to-do list prep session, during which you can update everything based on your notes from calls and meetings you had. Making this prep-session sandwich a habit will improve your organization and help you transition between meetings and calls more confidently.

  • Schedule “buffer” time between meetings/calls

As you schedule your meetings and calls, be sure to include a buffer zone of time in case something takes longer than you had anticipated. Include travel time between meetings if you have to physically be somewhere else and add some time for traffic or delays. Even if everything goes according to schedule, having that buffer gives you time to take down notes on the call, expand on any thoughts you had, as well as create and schedule tasks based on your prior meeting or call.

  • Prioritize ruthlessly, batch related tasks together

A large part of managing your time is mercilessly prioritizing your tasks and following through on the important tasks first, rather than the easily completed ones. Be sure to take on projects that will pay dividends in time-saved and customer retention in the future, like mapping the customer journey, or periodically reviewing the onboarding process. These are tasks that you have got to schedule with high priority or else they won’t get done.

Once you’ve prioritized, group together tasks that are related, whether they are for the same client, or they are on the same web application. This will allow you to complete more tasks without having to break your workflow to switch gears too often.

“Do not try and make every customer happy all the time. Prioritize programs that generate tangible business outcomes for their team. When you focus on making the customer successful with your product or service, things like retention and renewal become an easy conversation.”

– Omer Gotlieb, Co-Founder & Chief Customer Officer, Totango

  • Micro-breaks: Do something to clear your mind between meetings or tasks

Once you’ve completed a set of tasks, get ready to switch gears to another set of tasks by doing something quick to clear your mind, preparing your brain to use a whole new set of neural connections. For you, that might mean getting up to walk around the office, having a little stretch, or meditating at your desk. Check out this website for some more mind-clearing methods for between batches of tasks.

For a more comprehensive guide to time management check out this article!

Tools:

ToDoist:

ToDoist is a to-do list application available on nearly every platform or device you can think of. It uses natural language processing to make entering tasks incredibly fast. Advanced users will appreciate paid features like custom labels and filters, location-based reminders, templates for recurring projects, as well as the ability to collaborate with co-workers. Even if you use this app for its most basic functions, it is straightforward and clean to use for task organization.

Google Calendar:

You’ve heard of this one, and may even be using it already for your time management. But are you using all of Google Calendar’s features to their fullest extent? For example, you can create an event and ask Google calendar to “find a time” or give you “suggested times”. Before you use either, be sure you have added everyone who needs to attend the event. Then click the “suggested times” below all of your names and a pop-up will show you some options for times you can meet.

While you are at it, calendar your 15 minute prep sandwich as a recurring event and schedule buffer time you need between major calls.

For more features you may not be using in Google Calendar, click here.

SmartDay:

SmartDay is a hybrid calendar and to-do list. You can add events, tasks, and notes, and then share them with others. SmartDay’s prime value is its focus on collaboration. Comments can be added to any shared event or task, and tasks can be delegated to different team members, which automatically schedules them in the individual’s calendar. The star feature is SmartDay’s automatic task scheduling. When you add tasks for your various projects into your list, SmartDay places them on your calendar in the free time between your appointments.

RescueTime:

RescueTime is an app that tracks the time you spend on applications and websites during your day. It informs you both when and how you are productive or distracted. RescueTime helps you be aware of where your time goes and more intentional with how you use your time.

Retain more customers. Sign up today for free Net Promoter Score feedback with InMoment.

How to Use Webhooks to Turn Your Software Platforms into a Digital Relay Team

Bang!

The starter pistol has fired for the relay race and you’re sprinting to get the baton to the next runner. As soon as you pass them the baton, they’re off to the next runner, and then the next, until the last runner crosses the finish line.

Using webhooks is like a digital relay race, with a trigger in one web application starting a sequence of events that passes data from one platform to the next, optionally triggering an event in each as the baton gets passed through the relay sequence.

You’ve got a team of software platforms that you use, like Zendesk or Intercom for support requests, Wootric for customer feedback, Salesforce as your system of record for Sales & Customer Success, and Tableau for analytics. With webhooks, you can create a digital relay of data. Once these systems are passing info to each other you can accomplish all kinds of workflows that streamline data collection, analysis and action. 

To skip the technical definition to get to the uses of webhooks, click here!

What Exactly are Webhooks?

Webhooks are “user defined” notifications that allow a web application — a.k.a. a cloud-based software platform or software system — to provide or receive real-time information to or from another web application about an event’s completion.

Webhooks can be incoming, i.e. the app is getting notified when something happens along with context around that event, or they can be outbound, i.e. the app is sending notifications out to other apps about events that occur within its services, along with context around that event.

It is inefficient to constantly request data from another network (a.k.a. polling for new data at regular time intervals in engineer-speak) and many internet browsers cannot support having an open connection between two web applications. Webhooks are an efficient, flexible, and convenient way to bring up-to-date data into the web applications you use regularly.

Compared to hiring a developer to create a native integration of one application on another, webhooks are a tech-lite method to sync data and trigger workflows across multiple applications. This also has the benefit of letting you work mainly on the software systems that you are most familiar with.

What are Webhooks Used For?

Webhooks’ capabilities allow you to:

  • Know that a specified event took place — e.g. a support ticket closed, a payment method was added, a survey was completed (a.k.a an incoming webhook)
  • Let another software platform know that the event took place (a.k.a. an outbound webhook)
  • Ensure that data is synced across all platforms
  • Set off an automatic relay of data and workflow for a network of software platforms

All of these can be combined to create “relays” for insight in a customer feedback program. Here are a couple of common use cases:

Improving Customer Support

Use Case: Zendesk Support Ticket Closure Triggers Email Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Survey

One prevalent use case for webhooks is triggering a survey after the closure of a support ticket in Zendesk or a customer conversation in Intercom.

Let’s take the support ticket example. Zendesk tickets are loaded with information, like ticket ID # and ticket requester email, that can be sent via a webhook to Wootric to trigger a Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) survey.

This additional information, or properties, allow you to customize the title and body of the email survey that gets sent to your customer.

Having CSAT feedback after support cases are closed can help inform the training and organization of your support teams. You’ll have a better understanding of your customer’s expectations of interactions with the Support team. CSAT feedback at this journey point can help you identify any gaps in your support experience.

Keep the Relay Going: Follow-up with Dissatisfied Customers

Use Case: Salesforce Workflows or Zapier webhook triggers a new case open or follow-up task

Using Salesforce workflows and our outbound webhook, you can close the loop with unhappy customers by triggering a new case to open for Support or Success when a poor CSAT score comes in, or assign a task of follow up to specific individuals. This will show your customers that you are actively listening to their feedback and value it, making it more likely for them to stick with you. It can also clear up any potential miscommunication that may have occurred during the original interaction.

As you plan out your webhooks, be wary of survey fatigue. Wootric has built in protection from sending surveys too frequently to customers so you don’t have to worry about accidentally bombarding customer inboxes.

Take Action or Test a New Strategy with One Segment of Customers

Use Case: Mixpanel Event in Specific Segment Triggers an In-App Customer Survey

Another useful way to use webhooks is to have Mixpanel events, such as a customer creating their first report with your app or completing their first order, trigger a survey for specific segments of users.

Let’s say you are a meal kit delivery app, like Blue Apron or HelloFresh, and you want to test a new dinner party kit.

You can use a webhook to survey the dinner party kit customers the next time they log in your meal kit app. That survey might be a Customer Effort Score (CES) survey (” How easy was it for you to cook your dinner party meal?”), or it might be a CSAT survey, depending on what kind of feedback you are looking for.

This feedback would identify improvements that need to be made to the new dinner party meal kit. It will also identify people who love it. Another webhook can trigger a task be assigned to a marketing team member to reach out to those promoters for testimonials or a potential interview.

Incorporate CX Metrics into Business Analytics

Use Case: Send Wootric Net Promoter Score Survey Data into Tableau or Chartio

Compiling all of your data from multiple web applications for correlating analysis can be tedious and frustrating. Sometimes it can feel like your data is trapped in one app or another with no way of importing that data in real time.

Webhooks allow you to bring data from multiple sources for consolidated, holistic reporting. This helps you create beautiful reports, rich with context, and connect all of your various analyses to guide organizational action.

If you’ve already been surveying customers with Wootric, our dashboard has been helping you manage your customer feedback program. We often see our customers’ business analysts use webhooks to report customer experience metrics, like Net Promoter Score, alongside other KPIs, such as churn or expansion revenue.

Webhooks allow you to take all of the raw data from Wootric and send it to interactive data visualization applications like Tableau, Chart.io, or Looker as the feedback comes in, in real time. The information reflected in charts is updated every time new survey feedback comes in.

Tableau Example
Example of real-time data visualization in Tableau

Create a Holistic View of Account Health
Use case: Send Wootric CX Data to Salesforce or other CRM

Gathering customer feedback to understand the health of your organization often relies on both relationship monitoring through drip/cadence Net Promoter Score (NPS) and journey point monitoring through transactional CSAT/CES surveys.

Example of Account Level CX data in Salesforce

Using all three of these CX surveys at appropriate journey points can provide a bird’s eye view of your customers’ journey, with each survey score reflecting different parts of the entire journey. Wootric offers a native integration to accomplish this in Salesforce, but you can use a webhook service like Zapier to move Wootric data to any CRM. 

Custom Insight Through Creative Webhook Use

Webhooks enable you to customize the segments you survey, the events that trigger a survey, as well as the title and survey question itself. With some creativity and planning, webhooks and CX surveys can get the exact information you want into your preferred web application for insight and analysis.  

Measure and improve customer experience. Sign up today for free Net Promoter Score, CSAT or Customer Effort Score feedback with InMoment.

Blended AI will Improve Customer Experience (CX), But Keep It Human

“We believe that in 2018, the use of blended AI will help improve sales outcomes and reduce customer servicing costs. But, there are implications.” – Forrester

When it comes to delivering prompt, effective service to customers, human customer support agents have their limitations. For example, for all but the biggest multinational companies, customer service isn’t available 24/7. And even during regular working hours, the supply of sales people, customer success managers and support agents is finite, causing wait times, call abandonment, and dissatisfaction (in other words: bad customer experience).

Artificial Intelligence-powered technology is even more limited – even though it’s available 24/7, even the swiftest systems can’t handle anything more than simple or common inquiries (yet). And when was the last time you called customer service with a simple problem? Too many situations are unique. Try to have your problem solved by an algorithm, and even worse CX ensues.

But do you see what I see?

I see two puzzle pieces coming together. Two halves of a potential whole. Two wrongs making a right.

What if we blend them together?

Blended AI, but which path to take?

Forrester qualifies their prediction that blended AI is in our near future by also speculating that it will result in dropping customer satisfaction levels, “as companies drive more traffic to chatbots, self-service, and chat that are not fully optimized to engage customers effectively.”

Essentially, if you use AI/chatbots to replace human interaction, your customers won’t appreciate it.

But, if you use AI/chatbots to facilitate human interaction… well, that’s another story altogether.

There tends to be two camps of thought when it comes to AI interactions with customers and it boils down to whether or not you want your customers to know they are interacting with a bot.

Avoiding Smoke & Mirrors in CX

Lisa Abbott, VP of Marketing at Wootric, believes in transparency in CX and particularly in customer interactions.

“I value brands that I can trust. If I find out your sales development rep is really a bot, I feel foolish for having wished “her” a good day. And, I have to wonder what else you are comfortable hiding from me. It is no way to begin an authentic customer relationship.”

It is important to remember that the customer’s priority is achieving their goals efficiently. If AI can help you get them there faster, customers will be delighted. However, passing a email sender or chatbot off as “Amanda” does nothing to meet customer needs and can risk alienating them if the bot gets caught.

The good news is that there is no need for a charade.

Intercom’s Operator bot was designed knowing that consumers are tired of chatbots that “try to answer questions they shouldn’t and pretend to be human which leads to bad customer experiences.”

Another good example of transparency is Drift’s chatbot — their bot’s language is breezy and human, but it is clear that sales leads are interacting with a bot. It’s fun to interact with their bot, rather than falling into the “uncanny valley” of creepy by trying to pass a bot off as human. Think Wall-E rather than Commander Shepard from Mass Effect 3.

For a good example of B2C interactions, take a look at Levi’s Virtual Stylist. It quickly guides customers through a decision tree to narrow down the broad range of style options offered by Levi’s and adds a human element with a “see it styled” option, which shows customers how other folks have styled the suggested jeans.

In each of these cases, a bot does a masterful job of building customer relationships — as a bot!

Passing the Turing Test

Arri Bagah is the head of chatbots at BAMF media, a growth hacking agency for B2B businesses.

He agrees that chatbots can work well as a customer service tool “especially to help people make purchase decisions faster and more conveniently, answering questions on the fly so people don’t have to wait to get their answers.”

But he believes brands can also use these conversations to start building relationships.

He says, “You can use bots at the top of the funnel to teach, build the relationship, and sell.”

“One thing I’m doing on my own website is to ask visitors if I can walk them through a few strategies to help them reduce their Facebook ads cost. ‘Can I teach you about…[whatever it is]?’ You can put people through that sequence and, at the end, recommend a product that would help them move forward to the next steps. And people can ask questions. I’ve set it up to where the bot notifies me to answer specific questions live.”

Bagah works specifically with Facebook Messenger, but his advice can apply to any AI messaging app. When you start to think of messaging as a relationship-building, educational tool, whole new avenues of interaction open up.

But – according to Arri, it has to sound like a human being.

And there’s a trick to that.

“If you look at how people use messaging apps, they use images and gifs, not just text. That’s what you need to use with a chatbot to make it feel personal and engaging.”

He says he designs his clients’ Facebook chatbots to have personalities.

“They’re funny. They send you GIFs that make you smile. When you nail down that personality, you’ll see people asking ‘is this a person?’ I love those questions!”

According to Arri, when customers can’t tell whether a bot is AI or a human being, you’re getting it right – especially when the bot can pass warmed-up leads to a real sales agent.

Customer Expectations Will Make the Choice for You

If you intend to incorporate AI into your customer experience, you will need to make the decision of whether to disclose the robot nature of specific interactions or not. If you are not sure, it may be wise to gauge your customers’ sentiments around bot interactions, or deploy some testing with both methods and determine which is better suited to your company’s need.

Service is a good start, but blended AI can deliver so much more

It’s not just about quality of service – it’s about quality of data (qualitative data, that is). Website designers and optimizers have traditionally used click analytics to determine the performance of a website, landing page, or SaaS product engagement. But one of Forrester’s predictions for 2018 is that 25 percent of enterprises will supplement click analytics with conversational interfaces that deliver voice-of-customer data.

Conversational interfaces, bots, chats – whatever you want to call them – are treasure troves of voice-of-customer data that can tell you why something doesn’t work (click analytics just tell you something is wrong, and it’s up to you to figure out what). But troubleshooting is just the tip of the iceberg, because once you have a customer talking to you, you can ask them to tell you what they want, need, wish they had, and plain don’t like.

Forget about optimizing your CTA button – you can optimize your business for the best possible CX.

Of course, it’s not quite that simple, because you’ll have hundreds and thousands of conversations coming through.

When you’re working at scale, sifting through qualitative data to come up with business-changing insights is another challenge altogether. And this is where AI can really shine.

One example is InMoment’s CXInsight™ , AI-powered text and sentiment analysis tool that can categorize unstructured feedback based on what matters most to you. Millions of Wootric survey responses pre-train the algorithm to look for important themes, which can be further segmented by buyer persona, user group, sentiment, or even individual. Like the best examples of blended AI, the AI does the tedious, time consuming work of categorizing massive quantities of qualitative data, letting the humans spend their time digging into the insights and taking action.

CXInsight- Instant-AI-categorization

Are you ready to power your CX with AI in 2018?

From customer service to warming up sales leads, from educating consumers to helping derive insights from massive amount of data, AI can do so much to improve customer experience.

But as Forrester predicts, “Having a successful AI-driven customer service or sales program will depend on the processes that support a blended AI approach.”

Our prediction is this: Companies that have the processes in place to support AI and understand what AI tools can accomplish – and their limitations – will be poised to grow exponentially in 2018.

Are you one of them?

Get insights from qualitative data. Learn more about InMoment CXInsight™.

How to Choose the Best Net Promoter Score Software for Your Business

You’ve decided to implement an NPS program to increase customer loyalty, but now you’ve got to wade through the pool of NPS software service providers to find the best value and match for your company. All of them allow you to ask that all important question, “On a scale of 0 -10, how likely are you to recommend this product?”, but the similarities end there.

Two Step in-app NPS Survey by Wootric

Round Up a List of Prospects

Ask around about the NPS software other companies are using. Resources like Quora can give you ideas to add to you list and oftentimes, you can read reviews of companies. If you come across a survey that you like, reach out to the company to ask who they use. This list of prospects can be as long or short as you want, but we recommend you keep this list to around 5 companies.

What is your goal?

It is vital for you to establish the goals you want to achieve through implementing an NPS program. Are you looking to move your company towards a customer-centric culture? Are you trying to improve your retention rates? Are you looking for growth?

Maybe you’ve used an NPS platform before and now you’re looking for something that’s faster, better, stronger! You’re probably looking for a platform that’s more efficient, easier to use, offers a more modern approach (like in-app messaging), or is more aligned with your stage of growth.

Whatever your goals are, have them handy as you answer these next three questions and have the peripheral conversations for each, guiding you toward the NPS software with a Cinderella fit for your company.

Get all 8 questions and a handy vendor evaluation spreadsheet with our free e-book!

Questions

  1. What is the best way to survey your customers?

You probably communicate with your customers in a number of ways – on your website, through your web or mobile app, via email, social media accounts and possibly even through text. Each segment of your customer base will prefer one or two of these methods over the others, and very rarely will they use all of them.

Some conversations to have around this question include: Who are your stakeholders? Who are the decision-makers, and are they the same people using your product on a daily basis? Depending on your answers, you will want to choose different channels to send your NPS survey.

  1. Which channel do you want to start with?

Everyday, we have people come to us asking about email NPS surveys, unaware that there are other option available to them. If you’ve answered the first question, then you now know that email isn’t always going to be the best fit. Follow-up the conversations you had with the previous question by weighing the pros and cons of each channel. Keep your short and long term goals in mind, as well as the customer segments you wish to reach out to.

There’s no shame in starting small – it’s not easy to take on a huge customer feedback program if you’re just starting out. Choose a channel, pick a customer base and start getting feedback. You’ll eventually find that different customer segments or journey points benefit from different channels, and your NPS program will evolve accordingly.

Expect your Net Promoter Score program to mature over time and select a vendor able to support the increasing sophistication you’ll likely need.

  1. When will you survey your customers?

When it comes to deploying your NPS surveys, there are two primary approaches:

Relationship Monitoring

This approach sends NPS surveys at regular intervals overtime to assess your customer’s overall loyalty to your brand — rather than just their satisfaction with their last interaction.

Checking in at Journey Points

In this case, often called “transactional NPS”, surveys are sent after a customer has an interaction or completes a transaction with your company. This approach works well when you’ve mapped out your customer journey and can find logical points at which to check in with your customers via a survey.

NPS software platforms that can integrate with Mixpanel, Intercom, Salesforce, Zendesk and other systems of record work especially well for this type of timing.

Once you know the approach you need, dig in and see if vendors can deploy surveys the way you prefer. Each vendor has different capabilities. For example, if you are sending email surveys, do you want to do so from your own platform like Marketo or MailChimp? Or do you prefer to upload a list of customers and have the vendor’s software send the surveys?

Is NPS the right question to ask at this journey point? In some contexts, a Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) or Customer Effort (CES) question is more relevant than Net Promoter Score. Learn more.

More to Consider

These three questions will get you started on your decision process. For a deeper look into the questions to answer that will narrow down your list to your perfect NPS software, download our free e-book, We’ve also included a link to a handy vendor evaluation spreadsheet to keep track of everything in this process. Once you’ve established your company’s needs and had the conversations to narrow down your list, request a product demo from two or three vendors who make the cut. You can tell a lot about a company through their demo, including how customer-centric they really are and how they will treat you in the future.

Find out if Wootric is the right NPS software for you. Sign up for a free trial or talk with an expert.

B2C Influence on B2B Customer Expectations

There are obvious differences in the way B2C and B2B companies engage, interact with, and serve their respective customer bases.  Traditionally, this was appropriately based on significant differences in expectations from those customer groups.  However, recent research is indicating that this expectation gap is evaporating at an alarming rate.

This should not come as a surprise.  At the end of the day, the B2B buyer is a consumer too.  As such, they have become accustomed to dealing with B2C brands that provide intuitive, interconnected, accessible, real time, personalized experiences.  It would be unreasonable to think these same consumers readily change hats when entering their B2B buyer roles, and not expect to interact with their vendors in the same way.

Customer Expectations are Evolving

Recently, a client of ours shared a quote from one of their largest customers that perfectly describes the convergence of B2C expectations on the B2B world:

“Shouldn’t I expect the same level of service when I spend $50M with you, as I do when I buy a $50 pair of shoes?”

The truth is, the proliferation of digital capabilities in our everyday lives has established completely new standards and expectations for:

  • Ease of engagement
  • Access to information
  • Response time
  • Seamless experiences
  • Knowledge of interaction history
  • Capture of profile details (even needs, wants, preferences)

Thanks to disrupters like Google, Amazon, Uber, Netflix, and apps for daily banking and grocery ordering, we see lots of examples of how customer expectations are evolving.  In studies conducted by Salesforce and McKinsey, the importance of modern customer experience technology capabilities on customer expectations is glaringly evident:

  • 70 percent of consumers say technology has enabled them to easily take their business elsewhere for an experience that matches their expectations.
  • 75 percent of consumers expect a consistent experience whether mobile, in-person or social

These studies further demonstrate how these changing B2C expectations are impacting the B2B environment at an accelerated rate.

  • While 64 percent of B2C consumers expect companies to interact with them without delay, 80 percent of B2B customers expect companies to interact with them in real time
  • And while 72 percent of B2C consumers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations, that number is 89 percent for B2B customers

But before investing heavily in next generation CX capabilities to create an “Amazon like experience”, it is critical to understand what your specific customers value.  In other words, what improvements will result in them buying more, buying more often, staying longer, and referring others.

Understanding and Prioritizing Customers’ Needs is Critical

That is another reason Voice of Customer (VoC) is so important.  Without proper understanding of your specific customers’ requirements, the significant cost, time, and potential disruption associated with major technology enhancements, may not even deliver the change in customer experience or buying behavior you expected.  We should start by validating what customers need, value, and are willing to pay for as they interact with your specific product or services.

In addition to selecting the right customer experience capabilities, prioritization is also critical.  Your specific customer base may not be interested in certain B2C type engagement models, or may not be ready for them based on a variety of factors like their own internal limitations, complexity or employee demographic.

Only with a detailed understanding of the specific expectations and values of your customers can we establish the right process improvements, technology road maps, metrics, communication and action plans that will have the greatest potential impact on customer experience and your business performance.

About CCS:

Customer Centered Strategies (CCS) helps companies to remove internal process barriers to providing great customer experiences.  Voice of the Customer (VoC) is used to understand the moments in the customer journey that matter the most, and to prioritize those high-value Business Process Improvements (BPI) that will drive customer experience, loyalty, and revenue growth.

GenderGraphics: Are Auto Retailers Delivering “Gender Savvy” Experiences to “Every Customer”?

GenderGraphics: The study of differences between men and women according to their psychological makeup…how their attitudes, values, fears, etc. differ from each other. In retail auto, how the genders differ in their wants, needs and desires when buying or servicing a vehicle.

It’s 2018, and some are saying that this might very well be the “year of the woman”.  But in automotive, that moment arrived a few years back. And it arrived in the form of the SUV, where women, both young and mature, single and otherwise, either make the decision to buy entirely on their own or have “veto power” over final decisions to buy.  Research also reveals that women are less satisfied than men with the “experience” they receive when buying or servicing their vehicle.

A Sales Force Still in First Gear

In the past, the typical, mostly male sales force, relied on the same old “meet and greet” word track that’s been around for decades.  And I guess it worked OK, because, in my opinion, past customers, especially women, had to lower their expectations when it came to car shopping and servicing. Those expectations will dramatically rise in the future for all dealership customers, but especially for women.

In the future, the old multi-step process of developing rapport, presenting features/benefits, handling objections, etc. will need to be boosted to a higher-level skill set that include more subtleties and nuances in order to connect more with the customer’s feelings.

And I believe that new sales process will also include a healthy dose of GenderGraphic awareness, that will create for women a culture of care. Women car customers don’t want to be treated equal to men, they want the salesperson to show a level of “care” not so highly valued by men.

Even if some present-day salespeople are skeptical that women need to be sold differently, I’m pretty sure they do realize the power of women to “veto” any car transaction with as little as the look on their face.  That “veto power” is just as critical as the amount of influence women have in closing that sale. 

“Memorable Experiences” Become Just as Important as Price

I spoke of the behavior change needed in retail auto in a letter published recently in Automotive News, “Train to Adjust to the New Customer”. Here is a quote from that letter:

“Before retailers do anything, they need to answer this question: What is the profile of my existing and future customer base, and how is that reflected in both the demographics and communication styles of my front-line staff?”

And that profile of the future customer base will include women decision makers more and more—buying on their own or using their “veto power” to determine if the decision to buy goes forward.

A Message for Dealers About Hiring/Training/Retaining Gen Y Sales Staffs

Integrate GenderGraphics more into your training plans, especially when it comes to SUVs.  Again, from my article in Automotive News:

“By educating your front line about the needs and communication styles of the new customer, you’ll get more business. Plus, the fact that you can show potential millennial and female hires that you are proactively training to adjust to their needs as customers will aid in the recruitment of those two groups for employment.”

GenderGraphics and Millennials

The entire retail arena is intoxicated with Millennials, including automotive. But auto retailers might want to consider digging a little deeper into the GenderGraphics of Gen Y, especially when it comes to driving. See the graph below? Millennial women not only retain twice the number of drivers licenses as young men, but they also outnumber men significantly in purchasing the hottest category besides trucks, small SUVs. Check out this recent article that featured research done by MaritzCX:

“There’s a group of single, professional females out there that need vehicles, and you need to be attentive to them,” said James Mulcrone, director of research services in MaritzCX’s Michigan office, who has studied trends among female car buyers. “They’re going to make money, they’re going to make their own decisions, and they can be very loyal consumers.”

This graph from that same MaritzCX data supports the fact that women virtually own the compact SUV market.

Graph showing license ownership by gender

And this graph compares the number of Gen Y female driver’s license holders compared to young men.

A graph showing the number of Gen Y driver's license holders

My prediction is that GenderGraphics will play just as important role as demographics and Psychographics in retail auto.  Especially in the hottest category of vehicle next to trucks, compact SUVs.

Get the “Trifecta View” of the SaaS Customer Journey using CX Surveys in Salesforce

Congratulations! Another customer is starting their journey with your company.

They’ll go through the various stages in the sales funnel, across departments from marketing to sales to product to customer success and customer service. All of these departments will be using your company’s system of record, perhaps Salesforce, as the one common source of truth. They’ll document each interaction with this customer, each touch point, and then pass the customer along to continue the journey.

The Three Touchpoints and Their Matching CX Surveys

Among the touchpoints in your customer’s journey, there are three vital ones that warrant focus: Onboarding completion, support interactions, and renewal. 

Gathering CX feedback at the right time gives you a pulse on customer happiness along the journey. You can act on this insight and boost your ability to retain customers.

Wootric customer, MindTouch, has implemented the Trifecta View.

See how they do it.

Benefits of Collecting Customer Experience Feedback in Salesforce

Your CRM is the best system to trigger journey point surveys because it knows where your customer is at. When feedback resides in CRM records, it is easy for Sales, Support and Customer Success to follow up and take action. It can also be a morale boost when customers sing praises after an interaction.

Most importantly, having feedback recorded in your CRM after these three touch points creates a holistic, birds-eye, trifecta view of the customer experience that is measurable and tracked over time. This is vital business intelligence that will better prepare Success for QBRs and prepare Sales for renewal conversations. 

An Account Level Report Provides the Trifecta View

Use an account level report to get a holistic view of your customers’ journey, with each survey score reflecting different parts of the entire journey. Account level NPS, for example, is valuable intel for the Sales team. See how better training for Support can boost CSAT scores, or watch your churn numbers go down as Success team members reach out to customers with poor NPS before the renewal is up. Wootric offers account level survey data in Salesforce, by month and quarter.

The Trifecta View can reveal your strengths and weaknesses, as they exist, across the entire customer journey. Drilling into each journey point’s feedback can guide decisions to improve the weak spots, smoothing out the entire customer experience from a roller coaster to a gentle upward journey into Customer Nirvana.

“Trifecta view”: term coined by Aric Martinez, Director of Sales at InMoment, for the customer intelligence view that enterprise SaaS companies are seeking in Salesforce. Contact Sales to learn more.

Here, we’ll show you how the Wootric-Salesforce two-way integration can help you trigger a feedback survey using workflows. Responses loop back into your contact and account records to create this view of your customer experience.

#1 Onboarding Completion: Customer Effort Score Survey (CES)

Post-onboarding is a prime time to get customer feedback on that process. This is the critical first phase of the SaaS relationship. The customer’s emotions and first impressions of your company are fresh in their minds.

You can get valuable insight into how easy the process of onboarding is by triggering a Customer Effort Score survey (CES). You may learn about how helpful documentation and Customer Success team members were in teaching your users how to use your product, or you may expose aspects of your product with a high learning curve.

Overall, you will learn what makes the process of learning your product as easy as possible, getting your relationship with the customer started on the right foot.

To automatically gather feedback on the onboarding process, Wootric’s Salesforce integration enables companies to set up a workflow to trigger a CES survey 90 days (or any time period) after an Opportunity is closed.

#2 Support Interaction: Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSAT)

Now that you’ve made your first impressions, and your customers have gotten to know your company and product a bit better, there are bound to be times when they will need your Support team. After the case has been addressed, triggering a Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) survey will get you important feedback about their interactions with Support.

Having CSAT feedback can inform the training and organization of your Support teams and help you better understand your customer’s expectations of interactions with the Support team. It can help you identify any gaps in your support coverage. CSAT feedback at this journey point may even reveal potential new services and offerings when there are multiple similar feature or service requests. It may also reveal bugs that were undetected.

When CSAT scores are recorded in Salesforce, it pairs with other meaningful factors, like account age or company size, to create more context for you as you analyze this journey point. 

Wootric’s Salesforce integration enables companies to automatically gather feedback on Support interactions by setting up a workflow to trigger a CSAT survey after a Case is closed.

Bonus: You might choose to trigger a new case to open for Support or Success when a poor CSAT score comes in, or assign a task of follow up to specific individuals. This will show your customers that you are actively listening to their feedback and value it, making it more likely for them to continue giving it to you. It can also clear up any potential miscommunication that may have occurred during the original interaction.

#3 Renewal Conversation: Net Promoter Score Survey (NPS)

As the year passes and your customer has more experience working with your company and product, inevitably, the time for the renewal conversation comes. You’ve got an idea of how things are going, based on the CSAT scores coming in, but that mostly tells you how satisfied they are with the Support team, rather than your company overall. Arm yourself with more relevant feedback before you talk renewal by triggering an NPS survey 90 days in advance of the renewal date.

Leverage workflow rules by having poor NPS scores trigger a task assigned for a CSM to reach out and talk to detractors to try to prevent them from churning. The feedback from your customers can be brought up during the renewal conversation to show them you take their feedback to heart. Bringing up the comments they’ve left you my open up opportunities to show product or service improvement, provide additional training and for upselling or cross-selling. It may also prevent customers who churn from being resentful of your company. If you’ve listened to them and tried to work with them, most customers will appreciate that effort, even if they choose not to renew.

By creating a Salesforce workflow based on the Opportunity or Account object, Wootric customers can trigger an NPS survey in advance of account renewal date.

Get Creative

Wootric integrates with Salesforce to enable you to ask the right questions to get the information you need, at just the right time. Our surveys can be triggered on any object in Salesforce, including Activities. That’s a lot of options.

Your company may have other customer journey points that warrant feedback. You may want to ask a slightly different question than the examples we’ve chosen, depending on your circumstances. You can tailor your Salesforce workflow rules to integrate with Wootric surveys in the way that best serves your needs.

Want to trigger & track CX metrics in Salesforce? Book a demo.

Who Should Own Renewal? Customer Success Experts Share the Pros & Cons of 3 Different Models

A year has gone by, and it’s time for SaaS subscription renewal. Who reaches out to close the renewal, the Account Executive, CSM or Account Manager?

In two words, it depends. In five words, it depends and will change.

In order to ensure your company’s growth and reputation, you need a harmonious ecosystem of teams with proper compensation and incentives to fit the size and nature of your company. Upsells and renewals come as a natural result of successful adoption. Making sure your CSMs can perform optimally results in an easier job for whoever you chose to own the “commercial” aspects of the customer relationship.

During August’s Customer Success Meetup in San Francisco, Dave Blake, founder and CEO of ClientSuccess, Angeline Felix, Customer Success Manager at New Relic, and Sylvia Kuyel, Customer Success Strategic & International Lead at Cloudflare, discussed the different facets of three ownership models at their own organizations and from previous experience. Most SaaS companies will fall under one of three models: the account executive owning the renewal, the CSM owning the renewal, or an account manager owning the renewal, and all three have their perks and problems.

Model 1: The Account Executive/ Sales owns the expansion and renewal

The first model they discussed was the model where the account executive owns the renewal and all the “commercial” parts of the client relationship. Dave Blake, who has seen all three models, says that organizations where the renewal process is complex, or where you’re dealing with large accounts with labor and resource intense negotiations would do best under this model. The key to making this model work is fostering a strong, collaborative relationship between the AE and the CSM. He has seen teams fall into the trap of the AE treating the CSM like a secretary or administrator, which creates resentment and does not add any value for the organization’s customers.

A problem that can happen within this model is that AEs, in their sales mindsets, can start neglecting their current client base in order to pursue the next potential customer. At New Relic, Angeline Felix has a system where if a customer downgrades, a “spot-back” is on their record, meaning AEs “get dinged…it’s in their best interest to stay engaged, continuing the relationship through the entire customer life cycle, and through the adoption phase.”

In Sylvia Kuyel’s experience at Cloudflare, “in our early stages we were one bundled product, which means there’s not a lot of upsell. AEs will naturally be interested in large accounts because they see one business unit and then they want the ins to the additional ones.”

You can also run into the opposite problem, where AEs have an easier job expanding in their existing customer base, focus too much on them, and stop going after new logos, which is what happened at ClientSuccess. They fixed this by changing the comp plan for the AEs to push them to hunt new logos.

Model 2: The Customer Success Manager owns expansion and renewal

Discussion then led to the second model, where the CSM owns all of the relationship, including expansion and renewal. Dave Blake has been seeing this model across the industry more and more and this is the model that Cloudflare follows. Coming from a venture capitalist background, Sylvia knows that when valuing a company, people look at how risky their recurring revenue is and the heavy influence customer success has on this. She emphasized that the main reason this works for Cloudflare is that all their customers are on auto-renew contracts with a 60-day notice period.

“ The key to success here is fairly straightforward renewals that aren’t high maintenance, and the experience and maturity of your CS team. Some teams don’t have the negotiating experience or want that pressure.” Dave Blake, founder and CEO of ClientSuccess

Even though this is the majority of their customers, she says that when dealing with large accounts with long complex initial negotiations, it makes sense to bring in the AE because they have all the contacts, and they negotiate every day. They have a long standing relationship with the AE, even though renewal is truly a customer success number.

“As long as you’ve done a good job of driving the adoption along the way, the renewal itself is not a negotiation process.” Sylvia Kuyel, Customer Success Strategic & International Lead at Cloudflare

All three CSMs in the latest panel for the Customer Success Meetup felt strong ownership over expansion and renewal. According to Erica Pearson from Periscope Data, “ I own it all; it is my relationship with the client. I am their partner.” Their job is to get their clients value, with renewal being part of the CSM’s reward for doing the job right. Cloudflare recognizes the heavy workload that is involved when CSMs own everything. They set a global CS team goal that contributes to their comp but it is not individual. They do not want CSMs getting possessive over their accounts, and this encourages them to help each other out when one CSM has a particularly heavy day or week.

Many are hesitant to have CSMs own expansion and renewal because they fear that CSMs will lose the “trusted adviser” role, but Dave, Angeline and Sylvia all disagree with this based on experience. Customers tend to prefer having the trusted adviser to talk to about the commercial aspects, rather than bringing in a sales rep. They want someone who knows their business and if the commercial interactions are done right, CSMs can actually gain more trust as an adviser.

Model 3: A separate sales team of Account Managers own expansion and renewal

This last model brings in a third party into the organization’s ecosystem, a dedicated team of Account Managers who specialize in expansion and renewal. There is an undeniable benefit of specialization that comes with this model, letting AEs focus on new logos and CSMs focus on adoption. However, none of the experts at August’s Meetup were keen on this model, even having seen other companies successfully use it.  Dave and Angeline found that customers are overwhelmed, having so many introductions and relationships to maintain. Sylvia suggested that if there is noticeable tension between the trusted adviser role and the commercial duties, then this is the model for you. It’s important to clearly delineate the duties among these three roles, with appropriate comp and incentives to drive the individuals in these roles.

Lana Pucket, a CSM at WalkMe gave insight into her experience with this model and relationship during the most recent Customer Success Meetup, saying that she executes the entire lead up to the renewal, but the AM comes in to handle the renewal contract. She noted that 20% of her salary is based on renewals, tying her salary to a number that she does not own according to the roles within her organization.

Having previously managed an AM team, Angeline says this model worked at that unnamed company, but you have to think about the type of person you are hiring for each role. The AM needs a balance between the CSM mindset of customer care and the AE mindset of making the sale. To learn more about the traits you should look for in a CSM, check out this article.

Tailoring it for you

Depending on the product you’re selling, the maturity of your organization, and the size of your customers, you may need to switch from one ownership model to another. Through this transition, remember to define the roles clearly to your customers, aligning to their needs. All of this will result in high expansion and successful renewals.

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