Voice of Digital Customer Success


As we begin to build our digital CS model, moving away from a named CSM, we need to establish a cohesive brand and DCS voice across channels that is personal. I'm wondering what other companies are doing when sending post-purchase CS comms without a named CSM. Specifically, what are you using as the from/sender and/or signature? With the rise of creating fictitious characters, are you moving away from generic "XYZ Customer Success" or "Your Customer Success Team"?

Examples:

  • Success Team
  • A fictional CSM
  • CCO
  • A fictional character (dog, donkey, etc.)

Would love to hear what others are doing and any learnings along the way!


13 replies

Userlevel 6
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Hey @Aynot2000 - when I interviewed for my role, I came up with this idea, to use a fictitious character. I had named it “Rom Bot” (play on words for robot and the name of our methodology, since we’re in process automation), with the face of cute robot and some history (relating to the methodology stuff). 

But we moved away from that idea pretty quickly as it’s the face behind the email that creates the trust and the engagement and we’ve had good results with that human-first but at scale approach. I wouldn’t go back to my initial thoughts. 

Our Japan team uses a generic email and team name however and could tell you more about their approach for this market: @Nodoka Matsumoto

Userlevel 7
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@harshibanka, @Tori Jeffcoat you might be interested here. 

@alizee Thank you so much for that input - really appreciate it! I think there’s also debate around creating a fictional CSM (e.x. I’m Morgan your CSM) so it feels like that human-first approach, but there’s not actually a “Morgan”. I’ve seen a bit of this popping up, but I’ve typically used a more generic “Your Customer Success Team”. 

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@Aynot2000 GREAT question!  

One of the biggest challenges w/DCS is customer disinterest, largely attributable to its impersonal nature. Consider calling a support center like Walgreens; most people, including myself, want to bypass the automated prompts and speak to a live representative. Hence, making ‘personalization’ one of the key elements for the success of DCS. So, the more we can humanize our 1:M programs, the greater the likelihood of sustained customer engagement.

At Gainsight, we take a very personalized approach by naming real humans including our C-Level. Sharing a few examples:

  • Post-Sales Welcome/ Onboarding emails with first value action to take, go from our CCO
  • Weekly Strategic emails to drive product adoption go from the CS Leader
  • Events invites go from our CEO or other CS Leaders
  • Product-related comms go from our Product Leaders
  • Automated emails which relate to specific accounts (eg: NPS response f/u) go from the CSMs

We see good engagement and responses from the customers.

In case you are interested in more details, there is a nice blog post from our CCO on Why Human-Led And Digital-Led CS Are Not At Odds, also yesterday a few Gainsters hosted a webinar on DCS: The secrets to delivering a human-first experience, the community discussion post is here.

Let me know what are your thoughts on the above. Also, I sense some hesitation in putting real names out there, is that so? If yes, would love to learn why is that.

 

@harshibanka thanks so much for your reply - the examples are incredibly helpful! My initial thoughts were questioning if we need a “unified” voice/persona across all digital CS outreach for recognition? In your examples, it seems as if you’re using several across the lifecycle (CCO, CS Leader, Product, etc.), so maybe we don't!  Good call out on the hesitation in putting real names out there. 😉 As we segment and scale we will have digital-first and digital-only customers, some which will not have access to a CSM. For those customers specifically, trying to think through what name we use. Do we create a fictitious CSM for those digital only segments (I’m Mary Miller, your CSM) so it feels personalized? Do we use a CS leader even if they don’t have access to a CSM? Created a branded character? Use a blank “XYZ Customer Success?  I haven’t found much research on this topic, but seems a named person is the way to go! I’d welcome any reactions or thoughts!  

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Thank you for kickstarting this very helpful thread @Aynot2000 ⭐️

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@harshibanka thank you for sharing these insights.

 

@Aynot2000  I have taken a similar approach to our first Journeys and used my role as Global Program Manager CS to send out the email, while including the CSM in cc so they could get a reply. My signature was designed in the same way as our company standard one and hard-coded in the template, so the look and feel was the same as all other one-to-one emails our customers normally get from CSMs. For the NPS, we are thinking to have it “sent by” our VP of CS in a similar way.

A question that I have for the community is, given the personalization of the email, do you allow for direct replies? Or what is the email address used to send this out?

I fear that the personalization falls through if the customer sees a name as a sender, but the email address is a “no-reply”. So I kept mine as my actual email, and so far I did not get too many answers but moving forward I am not sure it is sustainable.

I wonder how others are doing this.

Thanks!

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Hi @Kadelski 

Agree with your gut-feel on the email not being a no-reply email. It’s not just a gut-feel either, we’ve witnessed it.

I love what @seth does (or the JO admin team) when he sends CSOps emails: we get a chance to respond (in my case to ask for Europe friendly events 😅 and btw, glad to see this is being heard) and exchange with the expert (+ the responses are pretty personal). 

We do the same for digital CS (except in Japan): we always have a real sender and a real reply-to email visible to the customer - sometimes I wonder if some customers notice the email is automated based on the very authentic responses I get back from them (we do the same as you state and make email signatures look like those in Outlook - albeit a little simpler as we haven’t - at this point - added the phone number to the user table). In short, everything is done so it does not feel impersonal and bulk (including the way we write the emails, and we’ve done some change management at the team level to support this. Until December I was the face for all of our long tail; since January, we have distributed this segment by region or language spoken to our CSMs to be the face of emails and help scale the follow-up piece. And as we identify high potential accounts within that long tail, we move them to the relevant engagement model so we actually keep a balance that’s sustainable.

Because the deep and personal relationship we have is at the CSM or CSD level, all important messaging goes from our CSMs. They’re the face people know and recognize, and it’s important for us that the face is this accessible person. I’ve had this conversation no later than this morning, and we always come in agreement that this accessible face is key to build true customer intimacy and all that goes with is. I don’t believe, but would love to be proven wrong, that an email from the VP of this or that is going to yield a higher NPS response rate (or else), because it’s all the more obvious the communication isn’t really from said stakeholder, that they can’t speak to them and that the response will surely not be individually responded to or reviewed by them…

Hope this helps!

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Thanks @alizee for your thorough response and your insights! Very helpful.

We are at early stages with JO still, and I think we opted for something in between what you talk about and a more generic approach, at least for topics related to sending out resources/trainings/webinars etc.

Me as CS Ops do not hold any accounts myself but I put my name/face with customers and with adding the CSM in cc I ensure that if there are questions or chances to follow up, the CSM is accessible, but they are also not “responsible” for the outcome of the communication (as we are testing things out). So I think that adds credibility too, as you say.

In our first outreach, I introduced myself as part of the CS team too and our customers definitely thought I sent the email on a one-to one basis as some of them answered with other follow up questions etc. addressing me directly.

The VP of CS aspect is more something I got recommended actually, so I do see your point completely when you say that nowadays people do see through it and maybe it is more credible to keep the email sender outside of leadership.

This kinda goes back into the question that was asked above as well, on whether is best to put less personas in front of the customer or if it is relevant to change sender based on messaging.

@alizee @Kadelski Thanks so much for the conversation - love hearing what others are doing. Do either of you have digital only segments? Meaning a segment of customers without access to a CSM? We are also debating the no-reply...since we will have a segment of customers who will not have access to a CSM, the thought now is who/what do we use to still make the outreach feel personal, while directing to the appropriate resource for support.  

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@Aynot2000 we have a digital segment but it is not completely without CSMs / we still have them to handle more strategic conversations, and we are building the digital communications to specific touch points or give more resources. I guess you use the Support function only then for those customers, if they need extra help? Curious to hear :) 

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+1 to @alizee ‘s point that even a mass email can make people feel like they’re hearing from a human. When I send an invite to thousands of people about a virtual meetup, I always get a handful of people who reply saying, “I’m sorry to say that I can’t make it this time.”

It’s actually valuable for me, too. When running a digital CS program, it can feel like you’re just throwing content out into the void, and metrics are an awfully impersonal way to monitor what happens. The occasional reply helps me feel like I really am reaching people, which gives me drive and enthusiasm, which helps me commit to continuing to put the content out there, and to maintaining high quality.

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@Aynot2000 We also have a large digital segment (which technically isn’t a segment but an engagement model - customer could be in another segment), but we have made the conscious choice (through the real-sender/face behind the email) to deprive no-one of the opportunity to get back/ask a question and to build a relationship with them - so I guess you could say it’s not/will not (for the foreseeable) be 100% digital. I’d say we’re 95% digital with a “pooled CSM” (not exactly that) to handle the customers with that engagement model. We even have customers that are now in-between: they’re “digital with a cadence”. 

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