How to do “Customer Health Checks” during the COVID-19 Pandemic
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, the world has been turned upside down as companies have sent their employees home to work and, in some cases, have needed to reduce their head count to survive this health and economic shock.
Customer health checks are more important now than ever and due to the fragile current state, they need to be done with tact and compassion.
We have put together a list of five tips to ensure your customer health checks are valuable and well received, so you can be a trusted partner and not just another vendor.
Do a Monday Morning Check In
Start the week off with a quick email or Linkedin message to your customer’s primary contact for a quick check in. One of my favorite account managers for a vendor I was working with introduced me to this idea. I knew that every Monday morning, he was going to send me a quick email to ask how we were doing and if there were any product issues that we were having that he needed to address with his team internally. Most of the time, I would blow these emails off, however, any time there were small issues that weren’t urgent, I knew I could respond to his email with that list and he would jump in to help.
If this is done consistently, you will have an open window of communication on a weekly basis as an additional, pro-active point of contact to help beyond traditional customer support. Customers want to know that they are being heard and this is a great way to help support that.
Expand Your Customer Circle
Often times we tend to only communicate with our primary contact in an organization as a way to get a temperature check of the business. However, something to consider is that stakeholders, who were initially involved in the buying process of your product, eventually hand off the day-to-day admin work to someone else in the company who is typically on the front lines and more involved in the day-to-day. Don’t limit customer health check to just the primary contact, as they may possibly be too far removed from the actual day-to-day issues and we may get a false positive that everything is ok when challenges may exist.
Calls to their support or sales line is a great way to get feedback from the actual users of your product. You will learn a lot about your customer and their needs with this approach, so you can identify ways to tweak processes or help uncover other product features to increase customer satisfaction.
Don’t Be An Ambulance Chaser
During a time of Crisis, a well-intentioned email with a call-to-action at the end for some sort of up-sell or expansion opportunity can come across as predatory and ill timed. Consistent contact helps to naturally solve this issue; however, we all have customers we have lost contact with and need to find a way to re-engage to offer sincere help during these challenging times.
Great companies today have figured this out. They are creating a no-strings attached offering as a way to lend a helping hand during a time of need for customers and partners that are struggling. Identify ways you can help without expecting any additional business in return. Karma will return the favor.
Share Best Practices
Every company has been affected by COVID-19 and this is a common thread we are all challenged with. What a great opportunity to share ideas and best practices around people and processes that you have found to be helpful and have nothing to do with your product.
At XANT, our sales team is often selling to other sales organizations and sales leaders who are experiencing the exact same challenges we are with this new environment. This gives us a great opportunity to commiserate together and talk about something other than the weather to build common ground. Take a little extra time to talk about some of those non-product related issues and ask for advice from your customer on how they might resolve them.
Moving your company remote will introduce all sorts of new challenges that you had not realized before. These challenges put an incredible amount of stress and pressure on leadership to provide solutions to your team members so you can continue to be effective while not in the office and find some path to normalcy.
Take some time to dig into your customers new normal and help to identify any of these new challenges that your product may help solve. Once identified, offer to provide one off training sessions to help their team adjust and get up to speed. Show your customer what metrics they should be tracking to measure success and failure so they can quickly identify areas that need improvement and make the necessary adjustments.
Using these 5 Tips on your health checks during this pandemic will help you be a better partner. They will also strengthen your business relationships as we are all in this together and need each other’s support to successfully come out the other side and hit the ground running.
Head of Emerging Enterprise Sales | XANT