Orchestrating Customer Success at Engagio: How I Use PlayMaker to Delight Our Customers
Over the past two years, my challenge here at Engagio has been building out customer success while the proverbial plane was in the air. Effective customer success isn’t a nice-to-have at a young SaaS company like Engagio, it’s critical.
With a relatively low investment in supporting technologies, we’ve been able to craft a fairly sophisticated approach to how we engage with our customers. It’s allowed us to scale from zero to over a hundred customers in just over a year. Here I’ll share a few of the plays that my team runs on a daily basis to help us delight our customers and execute with excellence.
The Onboarding Play
One of the benefits of using PlayMaker for customer success is the multi-player functionality built directly into Engagio. The onboarding play allows me to include the original sales person, myself, the CSM, and all of the relevant people from the customer’s team. In the example above, Marcine is the assigned CSM and Peter and Kristen from VersionOne (one of our favorite customers) are our main contacts.
The entire onboarding play from closed-won deal to rollout is automated, but always personalized and authentic.
The play is comprised of a number of steps, including emails, replies, checklists and phone calls. All are designed to fire (or pause) based on both data and human interactions. It begins with an email from the account exec, introducing the customer to their CSM. A personalized reply from the CSM follows immediately after, along with information about the onboarding process and a meeting invitation to kick things off.
The play continues with a series of checklist tasks that guide the CSM through the steps needed to get the customer’s Engagio system configured, as well as ensure everything is represented accurately in Salesforce. The onboarding play culminates with rollout meetings and then transitions to follow-on plays for usage monitoring, business reviews, and ultimately the renewal play.
The onboarding play is one of my favorites. In addition to the coordination and built-in guidance for the CSM, we’re alerted to delays and other red flags that might indicate onboarding issues. The entire onboarding play from closed-won deal to rollout is automated, but always personalized and authentic.
The NPS Play – Detractors and Promoters
We regularly run NPS surveys to our customer base. The data is extremely valuable as it not only lets us know how we’re doing but also provides an opportunity to engage with our customers in a meaningful way. We run two main variations of the post-NPS play. I’ll start with the detractor version.
Turns out that the bar for this kind of personalized response has been set, well, low would be an understatement.
As much as I’d like to claim we never get detractors, it happens. For those unfamiliar with the NPS model, anything below a seven out of ten rating is considered a detractor. And sometimes, despite the best intentions, things just go wrong.
My CAM (Customer Advocacy Manager) Leslie Barrett, runs the NPS survey process (we currently use Delighted) and also runs the post-survey plays. When a detractor response comes in, a play is automatically triggered – essentially a reply step sent from my personal outbox and copying the CSM. The reply is customized with details from the customer’s comments. I’m able to review and respond to detractors at a pace and scale that would be impossible without this play.
The results have been extremely encouraging. Turns out that the bar for this kind of rapid and personalized response has been set, well, low would be an understatement. Even customers who have had a negative experience with Engagio often provide feedback that this kind of outreach is really appreciated. If there’s no reply, PlayMaker sends an automatic reply to them (again, from me) after two days. I then follow-up on these emails with the actionable meetings and phone calls offered within them.
The promoter version of this play has a different objective entirely. It lets us acknowledge and thank our happiest customers, and also see if there are opportunities for other kinds of advocacy. A case study, joint marketing, or inviting them to our Captain’s Club advocacy program. The play here is essentially the same except it involves the CAM doing a bit of research before the email is launched.
The play’s first step is a series of auto-generated tasks requiring her to look into the account’s history, meet with the CSM, and get more background on the customer to determine if this might be a good potential advocate. If yes, the CAM customizes an advocacy email template within PlayMaker, and fires away – again copying the CSM.
These plays let us engage in a highly personalized manner, at a velocity that allows us to cast a much larger shadow than we might otherwise have.
Often these get direct replies and the play resolves successfully. If the CAM is not getting a response, PlayMaker automatically crafts a reply to the original email, this time sent from our CEO, Jon Miller. The key here is this isn’t a batch/form email, it’s been highly customized by the CAM, approved and sent from Jon’s email account. Most CEOs simply don’t have the bandwidth to personally investigate or engage with customers in this manner. The result, more often than not, is a timely (and usually positive) response from the customer.
The Renewal Play
Starting from scratch meant that I had some runway before renewals started happening. Now that we have renewals every month and a rapidly growing customer base, I’ve split out the renewal function into its own role and developed a structured renewal play to ensure we have rigor around the entire process.
The play begins ninety days prior to renewal with a checklist sent to the account manager, where they are required to complete tasks around the early renewal items; determine who the signer(s) will be, examine the customer’s health index score, create a Salesforce opportunity, etc. I’m essentially looking for line-of-sight validation to the most important question: if the customer had to renew tomorrow, would they? The tasks also include instructions to escalate if there are red flags ninety days out.
The renewal play doesn’t rely on any given account manager. It’s auto-triggered based on the renewal date. The whole thing operates whether someone is paying attention or not.
There are a number of intermediary steps leading up to the renewal being closed (we target thirty days from the actual subscription end date) that check for potential sticking/escalation points. These include the obvious customer communication via email and phone but also other line-of-sight tasks for the renewal manager. What makes this play powerful is that it doesn’t rely on any given account manager. It’s auto-triggered based on the renewal date. The whole thing operates whether someone is paying attention or not. PlayMaker essentially monitors data within Salesforce and kicks things off when any given customer is ninety days out from their agreement end date.
“The Play’s the Thing”
In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, one of the lead’s more famous quotes is “The play’s the thing.” At Engagio the play is most definitely “the thing” – we run the CS org using PlayMaker, fueled by our customer data in Salesforce. The plays I’ve mentioned here are just a small sample – we’re constantly making improvements and tweaking our processes. These plays let us engage in a highly personalized manner, at a velocity that allows us to cast a much larger shadow than we might otherwise have. You should really check out the Engagio Playbook for some great details on these and other plays.
If you’re interested in more details about how I’m using Engagio for customer success, have questions, or just want to compare notes, feel free to drop me a note on LinkedIn or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.