Just like in the first wave, your customers’ lives are going to be turned upside down once the next wave hits. As they struggle to adjust and manage, they’ll want to know their struggles are being heard by the businesses they interact with.
Customer Success teams are in a unique position to listen to the challenges customers are having. While the temptation might be to try to renew their subscription or sell them a new product, the best course of action is to empathize with their current situation and listen to what they truly need.
As you know, when people feel they are heard, they’re more open to listening to suggestions on how you can help them and are more receptive to what you offer. You and I both know how awful it feels to have someone disregard what we’re saying and focus on their end goal instead. I’ve had a few situations where the person was more interested in the sale than truly helping me find the right solution. I’m sure you have too.
To increase customer retention in the next wave, work on training your Customer Success team to listen to what the customer says they need and how to find the right solution for them. One of the best ways to do this is to practice a specific type of roleplay that focuses on having difficult conversations.
Will, Head of Customer Success at a website personalization software company, had his team role play as a key training tool for CSMs during the initial wave of the pandemic. The task associated with the role play was to understand how COVID affected the customer’s business and to figure out what the impact was.
“Doing the role play allowed CSMs to practice getting better at having difficult or awkward conversations. The goal is to help CSMs feel more at ease with having difficult conversations while learning to ask the right questions that get those answers they need so they can offer the right solutions.
“You want to hear what the customer’s pain is about so you can address it directly. Focus on the negatives but always steer the question toward how the customer sees the situation moving forward. The key is always moving the conversation into the future and then tying the product’s outcomes that can be delivered to that future place. Don’t labour on the pain, always move the conversation toward the future”, says Will.
According to Will, this specific type of role playing has helped his CSMs develop stronger and deeper relationships with their customers. It’s also built a new level of trust and respect between the customer and the CSM.