Louise Philp, CCO at Amity, knows a thing or two about Customer Success. We decided to get her advice on some questions we receive from community members.
What are some best practices around preparing, delivering, and following up from a customer meeting?
Customer meetings are great relationship building tool, but they’re too often conducted as a “check-in” call that doesn’t deliver added value and fails in pushing the relationship forward. Your strategy before, during, and after the meeting needs to documented and followed throughout the Customer Success organization. All meetings are different, but having a set playbook allows you to drive more efficiently towards success.
Before a meeting, gather all the data and information you might need. The “might” is important here – you definitely won’t need everything you’ve prepared. If you’re giving the customer a rundown of their performance and usage, don’t bombard them with info but rather tell them a story. If the relationship has been established and goals have been set, you should know exactly which pieces of data the customer contact cares about. Nonetheless, you should be ready to answer any question and dive into any topic. If the customer asks you for specifics that you haven’t prepared, you’ll need to admit you don’t know and have to schedule another call – which hurts your status as the expert in the relationship.
Here are the things you should gather prior to your meeting:
- Check on past commitments and their current status. Whether something has been completed since your last meeting, or if it’s still in the works, get a clear idea of the status of each project the customer has been involved in.
- Review all recent communications with the customer. This includes not only Customer Success and Support, but also Marketing, Finances, Sales, and Executive communications.
- Check for patterns in platform activity. Be sure to know their monthly active user count and the number of key activities they are or aren’t performing on a monthly basis.
- If your product is on the heavier side of the stack, check where the customer’s instance and implementation stands.
- Check for recent incidents such as software outages and how that might have affected the customer.
- Review all health indicators and learn how they’ve trended over time.
- Review the customer’s goals and check their progress in achieving them.
- Go over the latest product updates. Your customer might have questions about new features or you may want to offer additional training to drive adoption.
- Have a clear idea of what’s next for the customer. You should always be a step ahead in leading their journey towards greater adoption.
- Last but not least, remind yourself of their business, their product, and the responsibilities of the key contacts you are meeting with.
During the meeting, follow a set structure to capture all follow-up items. You always want to pin point a few steps that will add value after the meeting. Just “checking-in” is never appropriate, there is always something more you can do to drive the relationship forward. Next steps include:
- Feedback items such as feature requests, bugs, or requests for new integrations.
- Additional training for new team members or onboarding for new features.
- Deliverables like training material, best practices blogs, demo videos.
- Action items on your end and theirs.
- Marketing collateral such as case studies or references.
After the meeting, follow-up items fall in three buckets depending on how fast they can and should be completed. First, keep at least 15 minutes clear after a call to organize follow-up items, capture notes in your Customer Success platform, write emails, and assign tasks. Before the end of that day, you’ll want to complete quick action items. Completing some tasks right away drives engagement and avoids the customer checking out. As the driver of the relationship you are responsible for setting an example of accountability, getting things done sooner rather than later prevents the customer from getting complacent in not pulling their weight. Shortly after the meeting (within a week), review deliverables with your team and align your efforts with other departments.