Saas Trends 5 min read

Customer Success in the midst of a pandemic

Danielle Juson • March 27, 2020

It’s been a couple of weeks for most of us now, and a lot of us in the SaaS and Customer Success industries are getting into the swing of fully remote working. 

Maybe you’re already used to working remotely on occasion, perhaps you’re part of a fully-remote organization, or maybe you’ve never picked up your laptop outside of the office’s four walls—but whatever your situation, you’re no doubt having to deal with some significant changes to “business as usual” at the moment.

We’re not going to do a generic “how to work at home effectively” blog post—you can find those all over the internet right now, and whilst here at inSided we’re adapting pretty damn well to social distancing and getting a heap of stuff done from our newly created home offices, general productivity is not our zone of genius like the folks over at Zoom, Slack, Miro et al. So, we’d rather focus our energy on helping Customer Success professionals like you out with some more relevant and targeted advice for keeping results good during these turbulent times.

Maintain trust in your client relationships right now

The situation we find ourselves in globally is unprecedented. And it’s in the coming weeks and months that the trust you’ve established with your customers during your relationship with them will come back to you tenfold. 

A tip for maintaining strong customer relationships: DON’T reschedule any previously planned customer meetings, calls, or EBRs.

Of course, you’ll no doubt experience a high proportion of customers pushing meetings back, and that’s OK—be as empathetic as you can—but do your best not to fall into rescheduling panic-mode. We need to continue moving forward with our business right now—the economy depends on it no matter how unsettled we may feel—and now is an absolutely key time to be checking in with your customers and discovering how you can best support them through the crisis. Convert your appointments to video conferences and get talking. Be empathetic and human, and consider parking difficult renewal or up-sell conversations temporarily in order to focus on how you and your product can be of service at this time.

Pro tip: Turn on your video and don’t be afraid to show your clients the “real you” — everyone is topsy-turvy at the moment, so don’t be shy about your messy kitchen table or the dog snoring in the background. Moments like this give us the best chance to establish true connection with others.

Use any freed up time to go DEEPER into your accounts

You’re no doubt saving a fair bit of time in your regular schedule at the moment—with no commute and likely a number of cancelled or postponed meetings, take advantage of the extra time you’ve been afforded over the next weeks. Do those deep dives into customer health, engagement and usage reports that you normally only manage to skim over briefly. Dive into the data. Run the reports. Assess account health. And resolve to bring your learnings, suggestions and advice to your customers when the time is right. 

Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to schedule 1:1 calls with contacts or stakeholders you don’t usually speak to. Now is a great time to discover other potential use cases for your product across different departments in your customers’ organizations—so schedule that call you’ve been wanting to take with the CMO or the HR Lead if they’re game.

Automate the support of your long-tail / freemium customer base using online community

Depending on your industry, you may be facing an influx of support requests right now. If you run a freemium model for a product that’s been thrown into the mainstream right now with unprecedented demand due to the crisis, lean on your online customer community to support the long-tail of your customer base and your freemium users. 

Provide educational, success content to help users get started quickly and easily. Make sure your onboarding tutorials are available on your community. Post articles sharing best practice advice and make it easily accessible, front and center. Run online events via the community to keep users connected, engaged and supported. Provide the resources and enable your low-touch clients to serve themselves: self-sufficiency at its finest. 

Pro tip: Consider expediting your community superuser program if you’re experiencing high volumes of activity on the community. Get those superusers on board ASAP so they can start helping you support your low-touch customers.

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Create online events on your community to keep users engaged, connected and supported

Respect that certain industries are seriously impacted right now

If you have any customers in industries that are severely impacted by the global pandemic—aviation, events, hospitality, catering, healthcare… the list goes on—you need to be extra thoughtful about how you conduct your regular business.

The key advice here—which stands for almost all of your customer base, really—is to be direct and upfront about the current challenge, and be sure to acknowledge its importance. For impacted clients, focus purely on how you can be of service, add value and make their lives even just a little easier in the coming weeks and months. Be generous. Offer upgrades, additional seats, and premium add-ons FOC temporarily. These guys are not here for being upsold on non-business critical software right now. 

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Focus on how you can really be of service to your customers right now

In short: Do your best to keep business ticking over, while remaining empathetic and more generous than ever with your customer base. Formulate and target your up- and cross-sell offers right now, and talk with your Marketing team about doing the same for new business, if they’re not already. Take a look at what Zoom is doing for teachers. Loom has slashed prices and removed previous freemium limits. Here at inSided we’re offering customers their first three months on the platform completely free of charge, because we recognize just how important it is to rally your customers together right now. 

Stay strong, stay well and stay successful!  

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By Danielle Juson

Customer success community expert and writer at inSided. Passionate about sharing the value and impact of community, and enabling companies to get it right. Connect on Linkedin

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