How to Get Customers to Help Define Engagement Models

Don’t hide from your customers. Don’t pretend you know everything. Talk to your customers and figure out from that discovery process what your engagement model should look like.

You can then extrapolate segment-based models or, for some customers, create unique engagement models just for them (if it makes sense).

For context, on Friday, May 19, 2017, I did a Customer Success Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Facebook live. It was awesome. The video is embedded below and below that is the transcript (edited for better readability) that answers the question.

Is it appropriate to ask a customer how often they would like to meet?

Some customer segments, possible the ones that may not pay us very much, if we ask them that question they might want to meet all the time. And here’s the thing. I see this actually, unfortunately, sort of frequently. How often do our … I run into situations where a customer is getting like an hour of consulting every week for free. Because we didn’t properly manage their expectations.

We didn’t know what we were doing. And now the expectations of that customer are that they’re gonna get an hour of free consulting every week. So now we have to figure out how to throttle that back, because we kind of screwed up in the beginning.

So there are times where we need to ask those questions. And there are times where we don’t need to ask those questions. Because we actually do know more about our customers than we think. And we also know what would be an Appropriate Experience. We tend to want to over deliver those so we start doing more.

That’s why I say, don’t over deliver. Just deliver.

Just deliver an Appropriate Experience.

Now if we’ve been over delivering and we realize that that was too much and we don’t need to do that going forward, we could still draw a line in the sand and say those were an early cohort. They still get that higher touch experience even though they’re not paying us very much. Their margins are gonna be lower.

But going forward, this customer segment that they match, those new customers aren’t gonna have that higher touch experience. But yeah, it certainly in the earlier days when we have to talk to our customers more. Which is not a bad thing at all. But if we have a higher touch, or if we have a customer that’s paying us enough and we would think that they might want a higher touch experience, yes ask them.

We may find that they don’t … And it of course at some point, we may find you know we have what we thought was just one segment that pays us a lot. Maybe multiple segments. One is they need a high touch. The other is they don’t. But if we have a segment that we think would want a higher touch experience, ask them. You may find out that they don’t want us to talk to them very often.

Here’s the trick though. We can’t let customers go without any intervention. Okay. So we need to say at the very least, we’re going to reach out. I don’t want to check in with them. I always want to have a reason for this. But we’ll let them know. If we ever see something change we are gonna reach out. Maybe we will do quarterly business reviews or something with you. Or just other scheduled executive business reviews. Whatever that looks like.

But don’t let them think that you’re never gonna talk to them. Okay. And that they shouldn’t talk to you. Kind of make sure that those channels of communication are open. Manage expectations properly. And also just be open with them I guess is the main thing. And have that open line of communication.

We never want a customer to just completely go away. We want to make sure that we have some intervention. But we shouldn’t be shoving this really high touch experience on them if that’s inappropriate for them.

About Lincoln Murphy

I am a Customer Success Consultant focused on Customer Success-driven Growth. I wrote the Customer Success book which you can buy at Amazon. If you need help applying Customer Success-driven Growth principles in your company or would like me to speak at your event, please contact me. Also, connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

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