How to Digitize Your Customer Success Activities

Gary Rubinstein, Customer Success Leader, Advisian
By Gary Rubinstein, Customer Success Leader, Advisian
Updated May 2, 2023

There is a lot of talk in the Customer Success (CS) domain about using “tech-touch” to scale CS operations. Tech-touch, or the integration of digital tools to improve customer touch-points, promises to improve the effectiveness of the CS department and raise customer satisfaction.

But the key for me is to not think of this as simply incorporating new digital tools — but striking a balance between digital and human touch-points.

I was recently given the following challenge:

“What approach will you take to scale CS for 2,000+ users, dispersed across Canada West and APAC?”

After designing the approach, the plan was to leverage it for an initial global rollout of 25,000+ users and then release to the external market.

This was quite a mission. In some ways, I was lucky as I had the opportunity to build something new. But it is equally helpful to have existing CS programs in place to leverage lessons learned over time.

When it was time to break down my approach, I realized finding this balance between human and tech-touch would be the pinnacle. Successful software onboarding is critical to CS — without understanding when to rely on digital tools and when to keep the human touch front and center, digitizing the onboarding process simply wouldn’t work.

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Building a scalable onboarding framework

You need to know what your CS activities are before you can start thinking about digitizing them. And for this, you need to draw on high- and mid-touch programs.

The 7 steps I followed were:

customer success

  1. Understand the platform functionality — from various end-user personas. Learn what your platform does customer successand how users will engage with it.
  2. Map learning and onboarding paths — It is important that you spend time “walking in the user’s shoes” and don’t just assume they will know how to use the platform. You will also want to monitor their platform activity as well as the learning goals/outcomes to ensure your users receive the right education.
  3. Reflect — Review your strategy and learning plan before taking the next step.
  4. Create content — Don’t plan to do everything on Day 1. Start with one module, one email, one lesson, one user persona. But most importantly, create all content from the user’s perspective — what will draw them to invest their time in reading, watching, learning this content?
  5. Identify the right technology to deliver this content — This can be done in parallel with writing the content. The reason I have put it after is that you need to understand the user’s experience and how you want to engage with them before you know which technology solution(s) are going to be right for you.
  6. Put your plan to the test — In my experience, you can walk in your user’s shoes all day, but that doesn’t mean you know how they will react to your content. Roll out your content to a pilot group who will provide you with honest and constructive feedback.
  7. Analyze results and implement improvements — Are your users using the platform more? Have they started trying the new functions you are promoting? What is the impact of your program? Review the results and if necessary modify the content to achieve a better result.

Support the human element with an effective digital solution

When it comes to finding a balance between the integration of new digital software and maintaining the human touch, my main pieces of advice are:

  • Be nimble — it is likely that you are going to have to rework some itemsautomation technology
  • Focus on the customer’s expectations — you are doing this for them
  • Create a reliable assessment model — How are you going to measure success?
  • You need to have a good working relationship with your Product team as they will help provide the usage metrics to track your progress
  • Don’t automate everything at once. Start with the low hanging fruit, the greatest value/pain point and build from there.

As you build your strategy for implementing digital solutions, keep in mind, there will be times a human touch is required.

Remember — in CS we are dealing with people. It’s impossible to provide the best CS services if you neglect the human element.

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Gary Rubinstein, Customer Success Leader, Advisian
By Gary Rubinstein, Customer Success Leader, Advisian
Gary is a passionate leader with 20+ years of achievement in business and ICT across a variety of domains including Customer Success, Business Strategy, Business Analysis, Project Management and Change Management. Over the last 14 years, Gary has embedded a customer success function within a company – leading to improvements in customer retention, higher share of customer wallet and improvements in overall customer satisfaction.