Maintaining Customer Relationships When It’s Not Business as Usual
Mar 17, 2020
“How are you holding up?” begins every conversation with customers. We’re acutely aware that they might be frustrated, scared, optimistic, or just hoping to avoid current event conversations altogether.
The truth is that meetings can feel forced and awkward when things are intensely personal — even if the experiences are shared. If we can reframe the uncertainty as an opportunity to be more human — we can connect, build candor and trust with our customers.
If you’re part of a Customer Success team struggling with how to best move forward right now — it’s understandable. This isn’t business as usual, but we’re in it together. Here’s an actionable plan your team can put into place while we’re all adjusting to a new reality.
Customer Success Action Plan:
Acknowledge your own personal feelings. How are you doing? Are your inner thoughts helpful or hurtful to your daily connections? No matter how you're feeling it's a good time to take stock and check in with your family and friends for support.
- Review your customer list: Which ones have yet to personally hear from you? Does a video call, phone call, email, or text make sense? Show up for them.
- Know how much time until each customer renews: Prioritize thoughtful outreach. Adknowledge it’s an uncertain time, that you’d like to check-in and see how they are and where they’re at.
- Assess the impact on your most strategic customers: Decide how to best address these conversations — who should join the discussions and when to have them.
- Update your customer health scores: Track all qualitative and quantitative metrics so you have a clearer understanding of customer health. This will help you better connect with customers in the right way at the right cadence.
- Review your company’s current messaging: Can you reinforce those messages with customers so it feels personal? What can you add that’s of value?
- Assemble a trusted group: Connect with your team, ask how their meetings are going. Make note of what’s helpful or hurtful in their conversations.
- Review your calendar: Give yourself a few moments before each call to decide how to approach the conversation. If you can, take a few moments after to recenter.
- Find opportunities: Listen. Ask thoughtful questions. There will always be actions you can take to better serve and support your customers -- always.
Planning Your Customer Meetings
- Accommodate your customers: Ask how they prefer to connect as you move forward. How often? Via what channel? Many of us prefer a certain method of communication, but it’s important to ask your customers what they prefer.
- Understand the impact on their business: Could be small, large, or unknown. Be patient while they think through it all.
- Decide how other teams can help: Work with your leadership teams to get more levers to assist customers. Are there product opportunities? Service opportunities? What shows you care and are right alongside them?
- Stay in communication: Be sure to make yourself readily available as things evolve. Stay flexible and open to change.
- Create a list of “go-to” questions: Have a handful of assessments to better understand where they are. Below are a few examples to help get you started: