Tips For Strategy For Implementing a Digital Led + Pool CS Strategy

  • 28 March 2023
  • 2 replies

Hello GS Community, 

I'm in the process of designing and defining an optimal strategy for implementing a Digital-led CS approach that integrates with a CS pooled model and extends across various digital channels. I'm wondering if anyone has established this type of model and would be open to sharing any proposals, tips or talk tracks you used to gain buy-in from CS leadership?


2 replies

Userlevel 6
Badge +10

Hi @karenndlovu 

We have something similar to what you describe - however, it’s a work in progress so I don’t know if it’s optimal since everything can be optimized.

I started by defining:

  • The pillars of Digital CS (and areas within each) - where can we and do we want to automate?
  • The engagement models and how Digital CS can apply to different engagement models
  • The topics for each pillar (that’s in constant evolution)
    • That includes, as programs are developed, selecting the right channels/tactics 

We then recently changed our model where we now have several stakeholders involved in the “pooling”. 

We’ve not had to talk track it since our digital customer success program springs from objectives from the top. In one region, it’s had to be talked tracked (it’s a smaller region).

For illustration purposes only, if the objective is improving retention (cost of acquisition being higher than cost of retention), then some of the answers could be:

  • Strategy 1: Boosting coverage across the long tail that might have been historically orphaned (from a CS standpoint)
    • Tactics:
      • Digital Customer Success / Automation (for example, putting together programs that will help you take customer temperature at strategic points in time or before the renewal, at scale)
      • Pooled CS (to follow-up on temperature taking, addressing any risks or opportunities)
  • Strategy 2: Optimizing high touch resources to focus on value-added activities for retention 
    • Tactics
      • Digital Customer Success (for example: automating all the engagements that can be: Calendly for not having to go back and forth figuring out times for EBRs, self-service portal to track consumption, making sure customers attend roadmap sessions or other types of one-to-many items such as inspiration/use case sessions or Community posting)
      • Customer Success Automation (creating some rules to orchestrate some additional activities - for example notifying sales or support that they need to look closely at a customer who is looking a bit red after you took the temperature with them)

Obviously the above is just a rough example.

From my perspective, I’d say Digital is easy to sell when tied to one or more of the big objectives. It’s the scaling engine, the do more with less engine. The hardships might come when you touch upon data quality (as it’s essential to running digital - otherwise, we quickly run into the GIGO problem. On this front, you need buy-in from the Sales organization to make sure you have the right contacts/the right information and that it’s structured enough for the needs of your program. If not mistaken you have @bradley as your Gainsight and data expert? For my part, I initially believed we should clean everything up before starting but I’m not sure it’s realistic. Digital turned out to be an accelerator for sense-checking and highlighting issues and turned out to be an awakening for some stakeholders. It’s had its hiccups but ultimately… it’s yielded bigger benefits (on the data front).

On the pooled front, it depends on your approach and whether it requires new resources or you decide to go for adding a little “pool responsibility” to your existing resources (might be good to get started). In that case, the change management happens at the CSM level. 

I hope this provides a degree of insights - happy to discuss this further.


Userlevel 7
Badge +5

HI @karenndlovu, This is exciting! I can’t wait to see what you come up with.


For us at Gainsight, Digital CS is an underpinning motion across all our Customer Success Engagement Models. We look at Pooled Customer Success as an engagement model. As you might have Strategic accounts which have a dedicated CSM, the Pooled CS team supports typically your smaller clients. 

When building Digital CS consider what would support all customers. Things such as lifecycle touch points (Welcome Email, Adoption emails, new user workflows) and those that help drive adoption. Another way to think about this is how do you help your CSMs be more efficient and focus on the most valuable motions with customers.

The Pooled CS segment will have more Digital CS moments because you will be delivering engagements in a digital way instead of a 1:1 fashion.

I agree with @alizee on the two Strategy Points above. It’s about increasing coverage and optimizing human engagement.

I’m curious where you are getting friction for this type of model.  I’ve not seen a Pooled CS team that did not have support from Digital CS.