Danger Points in a Client Journey and How To Mitigate Them

October 22, 2018 Simon Cooper

The lull after a successful onboarding

Quite correctly, many companies place a lot of emphasis on performing a timely and smooth onboarding. Getting the client set up correctly and ready to use your platform as soon as possible and ensuring they see time-to-value quickly is hugely important. For some platforms, onboarding can be quite a technical affair taking months to complete. It can be easy to sit back, breath out and enjoy a little success once onboarding is checked off, but in reality, this is the time to really keep the flywheel turning. The temptation to relax is present on both sides so you will need to keep the client engaged.

The solution is to ensure that onboarding is a part of your larger customer journey map. Make sure you have a number of items that follow on from onboarding to keep the momentum up.

Some ideas include:

Hold a Show-&-Tell call. 

  • These calls are ideal to have your own Product and Marketing team on so that the client can provide feedback and use cases of your platform back to the wider team. 

Training Phases.

  • Training might well form part of your onboarding process, but it’s key not to drown them with knowledge. Make sure your training efforts are spread out into digestible phases. Let the client guide you as to what is most important for them to be trained on first. 

Automated email series.

  • Drip feed case studies from their vertical, send tips via Did-You-Know style formats and also highlight other ways the can get information from your company such as the knowledge base and social channels.

 

The vacation season

Vacations relate to both summer vacations and the holiday season.  For anyone familiar with European summers, you’ll know that the month of August turns most cities into a ghost town. The run-up to Christmas also has many distractions with client/vendor entertainment and personal socialising and downtime. Whatever the context, these periods represent a time where your client is less engaged with you and your software. On the one hand, this is fine and might provide you with some time to catch up on internal admin and housekeeping, but on the other hand, you lose momentum.  

There’s no solution to stopping clients taking time off, but some ideas that can help mitigate issues include:

  • Don’t plan any major platform releases.  Should there be any bugs or technical issues, you want to make sure there are key people around at both the client, and your own support/development teams.
  • Create and share team schedules so your client knows who’ll be in the office and who to escalate issues to
  • Make sure contract renewals are managed ahead of time, or see if you can make an amendment to the date.


A new senior  executive has just arrived

At some point, it is very likely you will be faced with an external senior executive arriving at your client. It’s very likely this individual has little knowledge of the great work you have done so far which immediately puts you on the back foot. Added to that, they often have had good experience of working with one of your competitors, raising the risk of a switch out. 

To reduce the risks, you can:

  • Ensure you have documented all of your successes. This can be anything from case studies, testimonials, and at the very least, some demonstrable data set proving ROI/business uplift.
  • Get a meeting set up as soon as possible and start to build your relationship and prove your value. Identify if there are any changes in expected outcomes.
  • Introduce your senior team at the very next opportunity. Meeting senior staff is always welcomed by clients as it helps them feel valued.


The client has gone quiet

No news is good news, right? Wrong! You must assume that if a client is not talking to you, they are talking to someone else and that someone could be a competitor. There is nearly always a period over the year where a previously engaged client has suddenly gone quiet on you. If you’ve stopped getting responses to emails and meeting requests, it’s vital that you check their platform usage. If the data shows they have also stopped using the platform, this is a huge red flag and churn risk.

Some suggestions to get things back on track include:

  • Make sure you have software that is set up to alert you when individual platform usage decreases.
  • Ensure you have regular conversations with clients.  Even putting in as little as 15 minutes each week, makes sure there is a regular cadence where you can pick up on any issues quickly.
  • Check their social media accounts to see if they are talking about not only your brand but your competitors.


These are just a few common scenarios, and I’m sure you can think of many more.  The general advice I would give is to sit down as a team and try to identify as many danger points as you can and then come up with the ways to either avoid them or the response playbooks you’ll run through to reduce the impact.  In the end, it’s all about the planning!

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About the Author

Simon Cooper

Simon has over 10 years helping clients achieve their goals through the use of software. Having previously lead Customer Success teams in London, Europe and New York City, Simon now runs his own business Kupr Consulting working with SaaS companies to improve their Customer Success teams and processes. You can also find Simon on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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