Enterprise Touch Points

Posted on:
December 11, 2018
Useful Reading For:

Make sure you are using the full array of potential touch points to build relationships with your High-Touch Customers.

Meeting and talking with clients is a vital component of managing a client's account.  If you don't engage in any form of communication it's impossible to nurture a client and truly deliver the business outcomes they have signed up for.

As with any good relationship, communication is two-way. In the one direction you need to hear the client's business challenges and in the other it's important you show the client how you are solving their problems and delivering on your promise. In general, it's also a good idea to build relationships with your clients, this helps you to understand what motivates them, what's important to them, and how you can personally help them.

As a consequence, you should be creating a number of opportunities that allow you to speak to a client in-person over the course of the year which reach beyond your standard operational conversations.

No doubt you already have a number of interactions with a client mapped out in a customer journey with defined milestones from the initial on boarding through to the ongoing lifecycle of an account.  However, there are even more touch points beyond QBRs and status meetings which are available to you. These are the strategic conversations you should be having above and beyond that of the day-to-day back-and-forth:

Kick-Off  


This is a fantastic opportunity to make introductions and set the exceptions, not just for the short-term, but also for the length of the contract. You should also be capturing 'what success looks like' from the client. i.e. what do you need to deliver to ensure success and secure a renewal.

Ideally you would hold this meeting before you start the tactical on boarding process and you should also have someone from the on boarding team present if this is not managed by the CSM.

Be careful not to cover the same ground the client went through as part of the sales cycle though.  This is both an inefficient use of time and can potentially annoy the client as they will feel they are repeating themselves.  It also looks like your internal departments don't talk to each other. Make sure you have had a full handover from Sales prior to the kick-off.

Who should attend?
Internal - Sales, CSM and CS Leader, Onboarding Manager
Client - Budget Holder, Decision Maker, Key Advocate, End User

Show & Tell  


The format here is to have the client show you how they are using your platform, and also tell you the things the like and the things they don't. It's most useful once the client has had some time to get fully hands-on with your platform.  Arrange it too soon and they won't have had enough time to be able to fully asses you. The meeting should be led by Customer Success and joined by Product, Sales and also Marketing.

Sales need to be there to understand if there are any gaps between what they sold the client and their current perception.  

Marketing need to be there to understand if there are any new use-cases the client is using your product for. They can also ask if the client is willing to do a case-study with you.

Product need to be there to listen to the feedback on the platform. What features are useful? What else would they like to see developed?

The Show & Tell is also a great tool to use to keep the post on-boarding lull to a minimum.  

Internal - Sales, Product, Marketing, CSM and CS Leader
Client - Decision Maker, Key Advocate, End User

Quarterly Business Review


A common meeting in any business. The Quarterly Business Review is a formal session that allows you to  present the client with evidence of the ROI they have had from using your product in that quarter, and the opportunities that are present for the next.

A QBR should be very strategic meeting.  DO NOT talk about the number of tickets opened and closed, or issues with certain features.  It should be a very business focused conversation. If the agenda covers tactical items, you will lose the attention of the Senior Stakeholders at the client and they will decline further QBRs.

You should also ask your client want information they want to see in a QBR. Never run QBRs just because you feel it's the right thing to be doing.  

We're written in more depth about QBR Meetings previously, so read that article too if you've haven't already.

Internal - Sales, CSM and CS Leader
Client - Budget Holder, Decision Maker, Key Advocate, End User

On-site Hours


This is basically working in the client's office alongside some of the day-to-day users for a good number of hours, if not most of the day.  At its most basic, on-site hours allow you to answer some immediate tactical questions the team might have, but you should be using it more strategically:  

a. understand the broader workflow of how they use your product and where does it fit in their 'tool-stack'  

b. learn what other platforms they use on a daily basis. Is there an opportunity to build a technical integration to help make their work more efficient?  

c. get a feel for what a day-in-the-life of your user is like  

d. uncover some new use-cases and even potential case studies by listening to how the team makes use of your platform.

All of the above provide great intelligence to take back to the office and share your colleagues. Create a process to ensure its being captured and distributed properly.

Internal - CSM
Client - Key Advocate, End User

Product Roadmap


Any decent product should be shaped by client feedback.  A lot of companies will say this is the case, but the reality is not always true. If you are designing a product based on your internal ideas or responding to competitors, then you will have higher levels of churn.  The best way to increase adoption and retention is to make sure your roadmap is designed to solve your clients' challenges and to do this you need to let them shape your plans through regular feedback.  Clients really appreciate meeting your Product team face-to-face so in a high-touch environment you should be prepared to have your Product team on-site with the client at least two times a year for your top tier.

Internal - Product, CSM and CS Leader
Client - Decision Maker, Key Advocate, End User

Customer Advisory Board


Building on from roadmap sessions, the objective with Customer Advisory Boards should be to get an understanding of the broader mid to long term challenges in your sector and what your clients' hopes and fears are. You should select a handful of your key clients to be a part of the board, inviting those who will give constructive and engaging views.

Internal - Sales, Product, Marketing, CS Leader
Client - Decision Maker, Key Advocate


Hospitality  


You can only develop a personal relationship so much across a boardroom table. To get to know people well, it helps to have informal events where you can chat a little more freely. Lunches, dinners and corporate entertainment are all useful tools for this.  Not only will you learn more about your clients as individual people, but you often get candid feedback in a more relaxed environment.

Internal - Sales, CSM and CS Leader
Client - Decision Maker, Key Advocate, End User

Thought Leadership Events  


Sharing knowledge, experience and insights are all key factors in establishing yourself as a leader in your field. Alongside your other marketing efforts, thought leadership events are a great way to do this.  Events are often in the format of panel discussions or breakfast sessions where you might not only have individuals from your own organisation speaking but invite influencers from your sector.

Internal - Sales, CS Leader
Client - Decision Maker, Key Advocate, End User

On-site Immersion  


This is the ultimate high-touch tool.  Inviting clients to your offices to take a look behind the curtain builds a lot of trust and fosters much deeper relationships.  These events can be expensive from both budget and resources perspectives, so make sure you have a clear itinerary, and what the outcomes are. Along with spending time with the entire C-Suite, be sure your client gets to meet the developers, office managers etc, i.e. all the good people that make running the business possible. Developers are great at building things and hearing a client's challenges first hand can often spark a technical idea that might never have to come to someone in the Customer Success team.

This can work really well if your headquarters are based remotely, and if they're not then find budget to host off-site.

There are a number of benefits to this:
a. can turn you from a vendor into a partner
b. creates an opportunity to really explore challenges and solutions on a longer term focus.

Internal - Sales, CSM and CS Leader
Client - Budget Holder, Decision Maker, Key Advocate, End User

Through all of these touch points you should be assessing two main things:

1. Is the client happy?
2. Will they renew?

And if they answer to those is negative, then you need to go back and build an action plan to change it around.

Written By

Simon Cooper

Simon has over 10 years helping clients achieve their goals through the use of software.  Having previously lead Customer Success teams in London, Europe and New York City, Simon now owns Kupr Consulting working with B2B SaaS companies to improve their Customer Success teams and processes.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sfcooper/https://twitter.com/kuprhttps://www.kuprconsulting.comAll Articles

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