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How To Get The Benefits Of Automation For Your Customer Success Team

August 16, 2019

The other night, we met with Joe, who works in customer success for a mobile app company. We loved this quote from him:

"Now I can tell people that I'm an app developer!"

He was so happy with the feeling of power and agency he got from being able to bring a customer live all on his own, even though he doesn't have coding experience. It reminded us how the best tools are not only more efficient for the business, but make people feel in control. 

Does your customer success team have good tools? Here are some questions to ask to answer that question:

  1. How many steps are in our new-customer onboarding process checklist?
  2. On average, how many separate emails, meetings, or calls do I need to have with a new customer in order to get them live on our software?
  3. What percent of implementations require involving a more technical person like a developer or a support engineer?

We in customer success sometimes don't realize the possibilities of automating our implementation process because we may lack the technical background. Plus, we're busy putting in the work to understand the customer!

If your answer to that third question was more than 20%, you're missing out on the power and efficiency that automation can bring you.

You're a Customer, Too

Start with a mindset shift: you're a customer of the software engineering part of your organization. How often do you meet with developers? How often do developers watch your workflow? We bet it would drive them crazy to know how many manual steps it takes to complete some of your tasks. Engineers crave efficiency and solving problems. 

So step 1 is: Meet with your engineers. Let them observe your workflow.

Those developers will help you identify bottlenecks in your process, and steps with wasted effort. These could be things like:

  1. Downloading a file from one site, and re-uploading it to another
  2. Keeping a tracking spreadsheet
  3. Writing status reports / updates to the team about progress
  4. Sending work away from the customer success team and onto a more technical team

Measure the Impact

Now that you've got an engineer bought in and you've identified some problems together, it's time to convince your company of the value of automation.
Step 2 is to quantify how much the manual work costs. 

Spend one week where you and your customer success team measure the amount of time you spend doing these manual tasks. Have your developer partners measure how long they spend doing work requested of them by the customer success team.


With your measurement in place, your developer team can start using technology to solve those problems from before:

  1. Downloading a file from one site, and re-uploading it to another - developers can integrate these two systems to automatically transfer the file
  2. Keeping a tracking spreadsheet have the developers write a web dashboard with actionable metrics that talks to your existing systems
  3. Writing status reports / updates to the team about progress -  as work gets completed, display its status automatically on the dashboard
  4. Sending work away from the customer success team and onto a more technical team - here's where tools like Cloudfive come in. Use software-as-a-service platforms that automate technical tasks, and let customers be helped by the people closest to them, who know the them best.