The modern highly competitive market requires companies to spare no effort in providing quality customer care service. 2000th saw the rise of it the time novel discipline - customer relationship management (CRM). However, the times are changing and the last two years have seen it evolve. Currently, any business striving to succeed employs CRM methods to some extent. In turn, the most advanced enterprises are in the process of adopting the next-level approach - customer success management (CSM).
One of the business spheres that requires the most attention to clients is software-on-demand and, in particular, software-as-a-service (SaaS). This commercial activity has been on the rise over the past few years. More than ever, consumers are hungry for better customer care, thus significantly changing the rules of the game. If you want your products or services to be competitive here, CSM can become the backbone of your strategy.
According to the IDC forecast, by 2022, 53% of all software revenue will be created by on-demand subscription offers. In order not to miss your chance and take advantage of tools and methods provided by CSM, you must first choose one of the two models of customer interaction assumed by this technology - low-touch (otherwise called tech-touch) or high-touch. Interested to know what does high touch mean? Read further.
High-Touch vs Low-Touch: What Is What?
In general, when comparing high touch vs. low touch types of interaction with a client, the most notable difference is that the former is direct and personal. At the same time, the latter is highly technical and automated, with minimum intervention from live employees. In other words, high touch service is a model of the company's behavior towards a client with individual assistance and personal solutions. The low touch service model is based on the provision of company resources to use them individually.
High Touch Definition
The high touch definition includes strategy, which assumes hiring abundant customer service staff and providing personalized regular assistance by charging a dedicated account manager to serve one or more customers. In most extreme cases, high-touch meaning may include an approach where customer success personnel serve to advocate the client demands and requirements to the company management.
As the CSM methodology itself is still in the process of development and adoption, currently, such staff members are often assigned to support highly valuable or strategically important clients. Correct interaction with such clients brings huge profits for the company.
Low Touch Definition
What about the low-touch customer service definition then? This approach depends mainly on providing access to an abundance of technical documentation and automated routines for every customer’s convenience. Of course, upon need, a dedicated manager may be appointed to solve a complex case.
This strategy is often employed by highly innovative enterprises with plenty of competent engineering personnel. In particular, leading outsourcing software development vendors often employ low-touch customer success management when marketing internal projects. High-tech open-source software derived from commercial projects is another illustrative case.
This method can only be successfully implemented in the case of a judicious, vigilant and creative approach in the work of the customer success team. Team decision-making is greatly simplified and automated with CS software that collects and analyzes huge amounts of data.
Constant customer success measurement is the key to increasing the company's bottom line. In either case, the ultimate goal of both methods is to achieve customer satisfaction through the successful introduction of your offers.
Which Strategy to Choose?
Factors such as the specificity and number of clients, as well as the number of assigned customer service staff, strongly influence the high-touch customer service. In turn, the low-touch method depends on clearly defined documentation and technical means.
On a side note, having a wealth of experience in IT, our company currently employs a balanced approach depending on the expertise and demands of a specific customer. Only the right combination of personal and automated communication will allow you to successfully interact with a variety of clients on different levels.
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for every SaaS company on the market. Below we provide a few factors to keep in mind that would help you decide on a suitable strategy.
During the onboarding process
The adaptation process is a very important factor for both the high touch customer and the low touch customer.
Suppose you have a product that your clients can safely install and configure using the simple manual. In this case, low-touch customer service will be enough.
When working with large companies, maintenance alone will not be enough. Here, regular strategic discussions with the participation of the customer representatives are vital. These are a part of the high-touch marketing process. To understand the customer's thoughts about the offered product, service personnel must conduct the necessary series of discussions with them.
Thus, it will be possible to set the goal that the customer wants to achieve with the help of your product. Obtaining such information is simply not possible without personal high touch communication.
Most efficient would be combining the benefits of high touch low touch approaches into a hybrid strategy. With systematic tutorials and manuals, the customer can effortlessly tweak your product to their requirements. Consequently, your CSM can focus all of its time on defining the customer's business goals, which is one of the most important starting points for a relationship.
Post onboarding process
After the client has adapted, it is better to use a low-touch strategy for a while. The main thing here is not to oversaturate the client with a huge amount of information about the product and give them time to figure it out. Allow them to test your product. This period is also very convenient for analyzing usage patterns.
After a sufficient amount of time has passed, there comes the point when you can start suggesting some improvements. One of the most suitable channels for sending advice at this stage is email. Personalize your letters for each customer. Tips should be focused on what can be achieved with your product in the framework of their business processes. It is also one of the most effective high-touch sales techniques.
Monitor Customer's Challenges
If observation displays that the client is going in the right direction of product acceptance, then low-touch interaction will be enough. However, if positive trends are not detected, then staff intervention is needed to determine the reasons behind the delay in adoption. After holding a certain number of meetings, a CSM team can provide a solution.
Segment the Customer Base
It is critical to assign a segment to every new customer in high-touch retail before deciding on an interaction strategy. This method is very effective when serving wide audiences.
Remember also that personnel on the side of the specific customer can change, thus requiring you to adjust or change your approach to interaction with them. Next, let us review possible types of client segmentation.
Based on revenue
Customers are segmented according to potential income. Those designated with higher income potential are then provided with individual service. Most of the low-income customers can be served with automated messages and a help portal.
Based on the likelihood of outflow
There is always a group of customers who are likely to leave if met with a low amount of care. This segment should be the most priority one. There is very serious work to be done here. Of course, automated services will be ineffective here. Your business needs to exhibit individual attention to each of such clients to understand problems that prevent them from benefitting from your product.
Based on Customer Age
Let us imagine a situation. You have many customers, and they are all at different stages of purchasing and adopting a product. New customers' needs for the same product may differ significantly. Therefore, one for all automatic interactions may not be acceptable.
The part of customers who have already accepted your product can go with a decreased amount of direct interactions, while new customers require more attention. The efforts of the CSM team are divided accordingly.
The concept of customer interaction in customer success management is basically divided into two approaches. High-touch custom success requires providing personalized support for the products it offers, e.g., the wealth of trained customer service staff. The low touch approach, in turn, requires skilled developers to establish powerful interaction automation and employ machine learning tools and predictive analytics.
Head of Customer Support
As the head of customer support with a deep-rooted passion for pioneering customer care methodologies, I navigate the multifaceted world of customer success management. My expertise lies in discerning the nuances of high-touch and low-touch strategies, always seeking the golden mean that serves both businesses and their customers best.
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