Posted by Kathryn Stephan on Jul 19, 2018 2:40:39 PM

What does it look like to empower and equip a high-performance customer success team?

We think it probably looks much like what Feedvisor—which describes itself as ‘the AI-first’ optimization platform for large sellers and brands on Amazon—has done.

Its platform analyzes pricing, inventory, competition, traffic, and conversion data, then recommends specific business strategies to help companies increase demand, profit, and revenue.

Feedvisor: Amazon Algorithmic Repricer

The company’s goals for its customer success team are simple:

  • Help users see the positive impact of Feedvisor on their revenue as quickly as possible
  • Help users continue to see the positive impact of Feedvisor over time (so they stay on as customers)

Shachar Avrahami—Feedvisor’s Customer Success Operations Manager—calls this “optimizing for long-term customer success.” He works closely with customer success managers (CSMs) to help them to achieve these goals.

“Basically, my role is to make the team more efficient,” Shachar told us. “I try to improve our tools and processes so we can better understand our customers, which ones are at risk, and what we can do to help them.”

Shachar Avrahami, Success Operations Manager at Feedvisor Shachar Avrahami, Success Operations Manager at Feedvisor

Thanks to its focus on efficiency, Feedvisor CSMs manage 20-60 accounts each—despite using a proactive, high-touch process with customers.

Below, we share five successful strategies from Feedvisor’s efficiency efforts, which Shachar was kind enough to share with us recently.

Note: Using Salesforce and looking to empower your customer success team to drive results like these? Try Troops today for free.

5 Strategies Feedvisor Uses to Empower and Enable a High-Performance Customer Success Team

As you’ll see, Feedvisor’s Customer Success team uses four primary tools to manage their work:

  • Salesforce: CRM
  • Slack: Internal communication
  • Troops: Action reminders and quickly updating Salesforce (from within Slack)
  • Totango: A hub of information for customer success managers (CSMs)

From onboarding to retaining long-term successful customers, here are five key processes they use.

1. A High-Touch 3-Month Onboarding Process

Feedvisor tries to be as high touch as possible during the onboarding process—working with the customer around once a week for the first three months or so—and CSM awareness about each customer’s account health is key.

Shachar told us that Feedvisor knows their eCommerce solutions can positively impact results for their customers, so they try to be more than available to their customers during the onboarding process.

“We try not to wait until a customer has an issue,” he explained.

After the initial onboarding period, the customer success managers continue to reach out to customers on a regular basis.

“After onboarding, we meet with the customer once a month or once a quarter (based on their package) for an ongoing review,” Shachar told us. “The CSM tries to understand their challenges and their goals, then builds a plan of action to tackle their needs.”

Feedvisor believes a strong relationship is easier to maintain than a troubled one is to fix, which is a big reason Feedvisor is so intentional about its customer success process.

“Our customers can approach us whenever they want, but we try to be proactive with it,” he said. “We try to understand their issues before they’re even aware they have a problem.”

2. Slack as an Internal Communication Hub

Around six months ago, Feedvisor adopted Slack as its main communication channel.

“It wasn’t a difficult decision, because so many SaaS and tech companies were already using it,” he admitted. “And we had been missing a lot of functionality in the old standbys we had been using before Slack.”

The old standbys were email, Google Hangouts, Skype, and a few other chat tools, primarily communication solutions. Switching to Slack pulled all those communications into one place, reducing the CSMs’ need to switch back and forth between tools.

Customer Success is managed through the Slack platform A view of Slack. Source: slack.com

3. Action Reminders Within Slack (Using Troops Automation)

After Feedvisor decided to adopt Slack as a company-wide communication hub, Shachar began planning out a custom Slackbot for the customer success team.

“One of the projects I had been working on in the last few months was to understand and build one place for all of the alerts that we have,” he told us. “We wanted a one-stop shop for all of the CSM activities regarding their customers.”

Specifically, Shachar wanted a better way for the CSMs to easily execute actions and tasks to improve customer health.

He explained, “We thought that building a bot for Slack that would integrate with all of our systems, including Salesforce and Totango, would be what we needed.”

“We were certain that we were going to build our own tool,” he added. “I built some mockups, and then we got introduced to Troops by someone familiar with it, which had already created what we had thought about developing on our own.”

“As a strategic decision, we decided to go with the tool that already exists instead of developing it all on our own.”

Troops is tied directly into Salesforce, which is in turn tied into other tools, allowing CSMs to receive a variety of notifications that help them prioritize their work.

CSMs might receive a message in the morning that allows them to prioritize actions for customers who’ve become nonresponsive or who are at risk of cancelling, for example.

Customer Success through Troops.ai

These daily morning alerts give them the direction they need to understand and prioritize customers. And since Shachar’s job is to make the CSMs as efficient as possible, this has been a boon to overall customer success management.

“If a CSM has 20 to 60 accounts, Troops helps them understand and prioritize those accounts by telling them, ‘This is the account that you need to pay attention to today.’”

“If they need to dig inside all of the customer portfolios to understand how each customer is doing, the process is very hard to maintain,” he added. “With alerts first thing in the morning, it helps them to be more on top of the important stuff.”

4. Health Scoring

Besides utilizing Salesforce for customer relationship management and Slack for communications, Feedvisor also uses Totango, a customer health management tool.

Feedvisor uses data from Totango and other sources—including Salesforce along with Feedvisor data—to calculate a customer health score for each customer, categorizing each account as Good, Average, or Poor health.

“If an account is Poor, the CSM builds a plan of action to tackle the problem, and we see customer health improve,” Shachar said.

Customer success uses a health score to keep things prioritized

This system categorizes a customer’s health as Poor if, for example, the customer stops logging into the Feedvisor dashboard. Nonresponsiveness is another sign that a customer is at risk.

When an account is at risk, the customer success manager is tasked with creating an action plan for the account. This is in addition to several automated tools Feedvisor uses to reactivate customers who’ve become nonresponsive.

For example, if a customer just hasn’t logged in recently, they’ll receive an automated email from their CSM, an action that results in 70% of recipients returning to log into Feedvisor once again. The CSM gets BCC’d on this email.

If that doesn’t work, the CSM begins executing the action plan, which usually includes emails, phone calls, or support messages to re-engage the client.

5. Renewal and Upsells Managed by Customer Success Managers

At Feedvisor, upsells and renewals are handled by customer success managers.

This is an extension of Feedvisor’s proactive customer success approach, which works to preempt breakdowns in communication or utilization between Feedvisor and its customers.

In the same way, CSMs are proactive about upsell and renewals, a process that keeps the conversation positive and avoids traditional “handoffs” with members of the sales team. In that way, upsells feel natural for customers, who often come to know and trust their CSMs recommendations as the relationship deepens over time.

“As a company, we want to have a positive nature, and that includes upsell opportunities,” Shachar told us.

Feedvisor also uses Troops alerts to manage the upsell process, enabling the CSM to update the opportunity as it moves through the various sales stages in Salesforce.

Troops is a big factor is the customer success journey and helping with the upselling journey

The Payoff: High-Touch Service with Each CSM Managing 20-60 Accounts

Succeeding in customer success means finding the right balance between:

  1. The needs of your customers
  2. The time and energy of your customer success team

Unlike sales, which is usually thought of in stages (Lead, Opportunity, Deal Won, Deal Lost, etc.), CSMs work to develop long-term relationships that last for years. This kind of long-term account management means many more circumstances and situations happen over the life of a customer success relationship.

“Because we are building long-term relationships with the customers, we have many more contact points with the customer,” Shachar explained. “With this understanding, we need to build best practices based on every customer lifecycle stage, and receive different alerts for each of them.”

Those alerts are what help Feedvisor be so proactive about their efforts.

“When our customer suffers from a drop in their sales, we want to know about it, so we have an alert for that too,” Shachar said. “Even if the reason is not 100% related to Feedvisor, we want to be on top of all customer business to give them the best advice and services.”

Note: Inspired by Feedvisor’s story and want to empower your CSMs to be successful? Sign up for a free trial of Troops.

Topics: Slack, Sales Development