Productive Customer Success in Times of Turmoil

Updated: Feb 3, 2021

The week of March 16, 2020 I solicited feedback from various CS communities across LinkedIn, the DC CS scene, and my personal network to better understand how they're keeping team members productive when COVID-19 limits or changes the work they typically conduct to provide customer value.

With 16 organizations represented this isn't ripe for deep analysis. But the themes--and concerns--were consistent across my conversations. Here's my summary of what they shared.

  • Helping Customers through this crisis is the single most prevalent task for CS teams right now. Whether indirect or direct (payment holidays, offering upgraded services at no charge, etc.) most are finding ways to help.  

"Last week we were all about understanding what customers needed. This week we're all about providing solutions." - Respondent in the accommodations industry

After customers are served those with extra capacity turn to a pair of frequently neglected areas--training and content development. 

  • Training is either up-skilling the CS team in their job or cross-training so individual are more valuable to the organization going forward--some learning better sales technique, others taking on deeper support knowledge, and several learning multiple products/platforms.

  • Content projects favored knowledge-base articles (both clean-up and adding to the library) and translating CS knowledge shared in onboarding or support into video format. Video seems to be a wish-list item teams are finally making good on. 

Finally, several are starting to look at future scenarios to understand potential changes in their customers and their role in serving them.

  • Recovery Strategy was a popular topic. The efforts range from formal scenario planning (think, Futures) and organizational analyses, to hitting the reset button on go-to-market strategy and the role of CS. 

These are all great examples of highly proactive and productive CS teams--and reasons for optimism. But these conversations also highlighted a broader reality CS and CX leaders will face. While no one I spoke with is actively shedding headcount...yet, many are taking initial steps to understand impacts and staffing priorities.  

With appreciation for your time and admiration for the work of your teams. 

#customersuccess #cs #cx

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