Online automated CS playbooks are a crucial part of a successful customer success strategy, but only if they are laser-focused on helping customers realize measurable value.
Most CS teams have “customer management” playbooks or playbooks that direct the CSM to perform tasks and reach milestones crucial to their business—the software vendor.
While online automated customer success playbooks that encourage customers to launch the software, participate in QBRs, identify risk, plan for renewals, and gain access to leadership to support expansion selling are unquestionably crucial, they do not add any value for the customers themselves.
Top-tier CS executives know that a successful customer success strategy depends on customer success playbooks driven by helping customers achieve value-based outcomes.
These online automated customer success playbooks are centered on attaining and maintaining customer adoption of the proper components of your product(s) at the proper time to accomplish results that produce quantifiable value.
In addition to explaining what an online automated customer playbook is in detail, this article will show you how to effectively put one into practice so that it serves both the goals of your customers who use your product or service and your anticipated business outcomes and teams.
So, let us get started.
Definition of customer success playbook
A simple and direct answer would be CS playbooks are internal lists of proactive, strategic, and best practice tasks that customer success managers must complete (CSMs).
Consider it a prepared list of tasks given to a user account or group at particular points in the customer lifecycle to assist them in utilizing and interacting with your product.
Teams can develop repeatable, scalable customer success strategies using playbooks at every point of the customer experience.
The kinds of playbooks a team uses to reduce churn, onboard new customers, or even conduct quarterly business reviews will vary depending on the firm, the complexity of the product, and the goal it is trying to achieve.
In contrast to a startup that might only have a customer success onboarding playbook, a major company with numerous customer tiers is more likely to have a comprehensive set of onboarding playbooks for each customer tier. A large organization that wishes to retain its existing customers will have a customer success renewal playbook.
Playbooks enable you to have a customer-centric strategy and help you drive customer success, which both help you generate more income.
They not only assist your customer success teams in maintaining consistency in their work, but they are also simple to study and recite to pinpoint any revisions and modifications required considering client feedback and the CSMs’ firsthand experiences.
In a nutshell, a playbook functions as a script for various scenarios that may arise throughout a customer’s lifecycle and which your CSM should be able to handle. It can be used for event-based or time-bound scenarios (such as three months before a renewal) (e.g., when a customer says they intend to cancel).
You may track the evolution of your customers’ lifecycles as they use your products with CS playbooks. As a result, you will be able to increase your customers’ loyalty, speed up their adoption and conversion rates, and lower their overall turnover.
Playbooks should be updated to reflect the evolving demands of the CS team and their clients as time goes on and the product and business continue to expand.
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Step-by-Step process to curate online automated customer success playbooks that scale your business and teams
Here is our take on the process of curating online automated customer success playbooks that scale your business and teams:
Have a clear-cut objective for your online automated playbook
The first step in creating online automated customer success playbooks has a clear objective.
Do you want to boost user engagement and product adoption? Are you concerned about innovative methods to reduce churn? Does your team require a more consistent onboarding procedure for customers in the enterprise tier?
To customize the action steps to match the part of the customer journey and the kind of consumers that will be impacted, it is critical to identify precisely what aspect of the customer experience your team is optimizing.
By doing things in this way, you are not only simplifying the work of your customer service team but also setting up a repeatable procedure for users to get more use out of your product.
Let us go through a customer success playbook example.
Let us say that your business recently signed contracts with several VIP clients, and the success of those accounts will be crucial to the company’s profitability.
Ensuring the onboarding process for those accounts is as simple as possible, fully integrating your product into their daily routine and gaining the most benefit from it, which is one purpose you might have for a playbook.
Decide where you are going to place the online automated playbook
Different playbooks will have different objectives, which means they will exist at various points along the client experience. Determining the playbook’s trigger mechanism also requires understanding its proper location throughout the client’s journey.
A playbook can be started in numerous ways, but the most popular ones include the lifecycle phase, events, schedules, or manually by a CSM.
Sticking with the previous example, when a consumer is first being onboarded into a product, a playbook targeted toward optimizing onboarding will take place, i.e., a customer success onboarding playbook.
You might utilize a lifecycle stage trigger to notify the designated CSM of activities that need to be finished when a customer enters the onboarding step.
Divide users by persona
The next stage is determining which consumers will benefit most from each sort of playbook and what the best out-reach strategy is for that subset of the customer population after you have a goal and have established the proper context in which the playbook should be triggered.
Personas allow you to pinpoint, monitor, and continuously report patterns in user activity for a group of comparable users in ways that are important to your company.
Therefore, you could connect the VIP persona you have been creating to the customer success onboarding playbook and get changes automatically as customers enter and exit the persona’s scope of work.
Curate assets of the online automated playbook
So, you have determined exactly why you are developing this new playbook and who it will affect. It is time to start listing the tasks and materials needed for each playbook phase.
Email templates, call scripts, meeting schedules, customer call presentations, or even additional instructions and FAQs to be distributed might all be included in the materials.
The purpose of asset creation is to ensure that your CSM has all the necessary resources when working on a task for a customer. This guarantees the team’s ability to finish tasks quickly and ensures they have the tools necessary to customize consumer communications.
A uniform welcome email template, messaging, and a fixed timetable for a business kick-off call, integration setup, and follow-up calls are some items that might make sense for that VIP onboarding playbook. For CSMs, tasks that are more automated are easier to accomplish.
Analyze the performance of your online automated playbook
It is not enough to create an online automated playbook and use it as part of your everyday routine. It is crucial to assess the playbook’s effectiveness.
Does it contribute to the results it was intended to? Are customers getting new or extra value from it? Is there still unresolved conflict, or are there new problems that need to be resolved? How engaged are the VIP clients following the VIP onboarding flow?
To assess the ongoing success of your online automated playbook, consider key performance indicators, customer experience metrics, and customer feedback.
Continue to examine the efficiency of each playbook as your product develops and expands, and change the procedure as you get more familiar with the requirements of your users and teams.
How to use online automated playbooks that scale your business and teams?
In this last section, we will help you to use online automated playbooks to scale your business and teams.
Determine the steps that must be taken for your online automated playbooks to succeed
The first question you must ask is, what activities and goals need to be accomplished to establish and maintain user acceptance of the product features and functions needed to deliver the desired value-based outcome?
You must specify the tasks and benchmarks that you, the vendor, and the client must meet to reach the desired adoption state by using your organization’s product, domain, industry, and customer knowledge.
Determine who will distribute your online automated playbooks
It is time to determine who needs to be accountable, informed, consulted, and responsible (RACI) for each job and milestone included in the online automated playbooks.
The objective is to identify who has the appropriate technical, strategic, leadership, access (i.e., to the required people, technology, and processes), and the necessary authority (i.e., status, role, etc.) to succeed.
The delivery of these objectives extends beyond your customer success organization, as can be shown by considering the what, why, and who of your online automated customer success playbooks. Online automated customer success playbooks must be cross-functional for this reason.
Your customer-facing teams and their leaders should be involved in this process, even while your customer success organization can take the lead in delivering these online automated playbooks.
Indicate the areas where your online automated playbooks need to be operationalized
To deliver recurring, measurable value to your customers, your online automated customer success playbooks ultimately need to be data-driven and scalable. To guarantee optimum scale, efficiency, and impact, you must decide where each job in your customer success playbook should be.
To do this, you must first proactively assess whether the technology you are using now will enable your team to carry out your customer success playbooks in the future.
Consider whether you can do the task in such a way that:
- Can it be automated?
- Can the duration, development, and outcomes be measured?
- Will it reduce the task executor’s need to switch between applications and windows?
While temporary workarounds like SFDC or Google Docs could be sufficient, the most effective customer success firms use customer success technologies.
Consider how the online automated playbook tasks could be operationalized directly in the hands of the client, in addition to choosing the technology that will be utilized to put the playbooks in the hands of your teams.
Analyze how frequently clients use your product for the goal they are trying to achieve. You can quickly determine the optimal location to trigger, enable, and assess the customer’s completion of the activity you need them to perform next based on the design of your playbook by mapping out how they use your software product.
Determine when to implement your online automated playbooks
You must select when to implement each outcome-based customer success playbook to maximize customer retention and growth.
In other words, an in-depth knowledge of how value-based outcomes and outcome delivery playbooks map out the entire customer success journey is necessary for a successful customer success strategy.
Determine the dependencies between your value-based outcomes and the delivery playbooks that go with them. Can outcome Y still be realized if outcome X has not already been attained? Or can one of the two come first?
The inter-relationship between the outcomes and the online automated playbooks must be reflected in the customer expectations of when each outcome will be accomplished.
Use success plans to record the order in which a customer is prescribed and agreed upon to achieve specific results and the accompanying playbooks that the customer must specify and agree upon.
The sequencing of playbook delivery is immediately integrated into success plans because they are directly tied to your pre-existing customer success journey.
Online automated playbooks increase your customer success team’s overall accountability and effectiveness.
You can even call online automated playbooks a CSM playbook.
They are unquestionably a crucial tool for fostering consistency within your CSM activities. Your CSMs will be able to prioritize their proactive work and daily obligations.
An effective online automated playbook gives them the necessary knowledge to add value for your consumers.
Your customer success team will be given the tools they need to successfully onboard, develop, and adapt customers for your SaaS platform. 67
You can begin creating (or revising) online automated playbooks for your business throughout the process. It is a continuous process, just like customer success itself. Starting is the most crucial thing you can ever do!
You might also like:
- How to Design Your Customer Success Playbook – Customer success playbook indicate actions to be taken by clients to achieve desired results. Customer playbook templates make it easier for them to follow.
- To see how SmartKarrot helps B2B companies streamline and scale customer success, Request a Demo.
Dattatraya Shetty is an IT Professional with 2 Decades of experience in areas of Product Development, Implementation & Service Delivery Management. As the Head of Implementations and SOC Compliance in Smartkarrot he is on a mission to provide relishing customer experience.
Published August 05, 2022, Updated February 28, 2023