How to Scale Customer Success Without Losing the Human Touch

June 26, 2020
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Sometimes, helping a customer requires hanging up the phone and equipping them with your best automation and self-service technology.

When clients want quick answers fast, customer success managers from Austin tech companies FloSports and Khoros said they use automation tools like chatbots and self-educational resources like video tutorials and articles.

But these tools don’t render the customer success team unnecessary. Instead, the CSMs said the extra time allows them to analyze data and determine the most important times to reach out to customers and employ the human touch. This technology also frees teams up to think about another business-critical task: scaling. Workflow tools like Salesforce and Gainsight come in handy with juggling a growing list of customers, giving CS teams access to reporting tools, usage activity and touchpoint reminders. 

The most significant takeaway the following CS leaders had for Built In? Automation tools are supposed to assist the customer and keep them engaged with the product. If the client isn’t seeing results from that technology, or has a situation too complex for the computer to solve, it’s time for the customer success team to step in. 

 

Sandy Zepeda
Director of Customer Support

Sandy Zepeda, director of customer support, knows the main objective of her customers is simple: they want to watch live sports. Therefore, at sports streaming platform FloSports, sometimes an in-depth conversation about customer goals and pain points is unnecessary. Automated tools, like chatbots, sometimes do a better job at helping customers reach solutions quickly. If automation tools risk a positive experience, however, Zepeda said her team is always available for more complex questions.

 

When it comes to scaling your customer success team, what are the most important considerations and why?  

One of my early areas of focus was to make sure we could scale the team successfully when live sports returned. Top of mind is always the customer service experience. In some cases, you can automate a process, but it may not be the best solution for a customer or the business in the long run. We want to balance experience, value and risk to revenue. 

It makes sense to automate a process or provide a self-service option and limit human interaction when it does not risk customer experience and retention. It is also important to consistently measure the effectiveness of any scaling efforts and pivot as customer needs or business goals change. 
 

We want to interact with our customers when it makes the most sense for them.”

 

What tools or technologies do you use to make customer success more scalable?  

One of the guiding principles we look at when implementing new tools and technology is how it will support the team and make their lives easier. At the beginning of this year, we moved our customer support team over to Salesforce, which refined our workflows, provided a better view of the customer, offered improved reporting and made it much easier for our team to get things done. This allowed us to integrate several of our other tools into one interface and streamline processes that were once cumbersome to one-click. 

We are now looking to implement chatbots, more self-service account management features, one-click ticket reporting for technical issues and streaming issues, as well as a more robust support knowledge base, giving customers access to better tools and information. This allows our team to be more available for complex or sensitive issues where we want to spend more time working with the customer one-on-one.

 

How are you striking the right balance of automation and the human touch?

We want to interact with our customers when it makes the most sense for them. Most customers want a quick resolution to their questions so they can get back to watching sports. With that in mind, one of our recent endeavors was to measure how many contacts it takes to resolve each type of issue and then review which ones could be resolved with a knowledge-base article, a few easy troubleshooting steps or a new self-service feature.  

We also love to run experiments. Most new ideas are run through A/B testing, so we can measure outcomes with different approaches before we roll something out completely. In some cases, this is testing an automated solution versus a human interaction to see which has the best outcome for both the customer and FloSports. 

 

Martín La Rocca
Senior Manager, Customer Success

Senior CSM Martín La Rocca said scaling means focusing on business outcomes rather than customer growth at customer engagement platform Khoros. In order to accomplish this goal, CSMs provide customers with resources like articles and tutorials so they can best use the platform. 

 

When it comes to scaling your customer success team, what are the most important considerations and why?

There are a few ways to think about “scaling.” We always want to have more people available and grow a team, but when considering the cost for our business, we’ve focused on scaling the most critical strengths of the team. Khoros is committed to a partnership without customers.

CSMs are particularly focused on business outcomes, so we scale this by making sure users have profound resources for more fundamental things in an easily accessible format, including hands-on product help. 

 

What tools or technologies do you use to make customer success more scalable?

We utilize workflow tools like Gainsight. Additionally, a robust and easily accessible (e.g. in-app) knowledge base helps keep CS conversations focused on business outcomes, rather than on feature functions.

One unique way we scale strategic business outcomes is by having a complimentary team of product experts who help individual users in hands-on sessions. 
 

The highest-value live conversations tend to be around strategic business outcomes.” 

 

How are you striking the right balance of automation and the human touch? 

Khoros operates with an information experience team that complements and empowers the work of customer success. This is the backbone of highly accessible self-service that is on-demand for users and accounts.

Our choice to automate versus have a live conversation hinges on creating an information experience where the conversation isn’t a requirement, but rather an additional resource. The highest-value live conversations tend to be around strategic business outcomes. 

 

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