Whilst tech touch is really very straightforward and a great way of communicating with customers at scale, I often find myself having to explain and defend what it does and why it’s an important part of the customer success strategy.
So let’s start with what Tech Touch is.
Tech touch – a technology driven touch point, a channel for engaging with customers on scale. Tech touch is often a term used to describe a customer segment with the lowest annual recurring revenue (ARR) in your customer base.
Typically these customers are higher in number but low in percentage make up of total ARR.
They are an important part of the overall customer base but they require a low touch treatment model so that high touch models can be deployed with your top % of customers whose contribution to the total ARR is significant to the success of your business.
I’m not going to go into the details of how to segment and choose the customers for tech touch (perhaps for another post) but I do want to discuss the power of utilising this strategy for positive outcomes.
The power comes from managing the following effects on success:
Automation and One to Many Messaging
Automated and one to many messages takes a lot of the work away from reactive ways of working and provides customers and CSM’s with information they need in a segmented and timely manner. You don’t need any fancy technology to be able to create a plan for getting started with this. Bare minimum plan five different emails to customers over the next 30 days designed to engage the customer and give them information that brings value. If you have the technology then it’s likely easier to create the basics to send emails for those who aren’t logging in or completing success milestones.
The ability for customers to find the information they need and service their search is important to the success of tech touch. If customers cannot easily find what they need or know where to look, it requires a higher touch engagement to assist. This isn’t scalable, so work on the messaging, make access easy and the provision of all kinds of information that will help them needs to range in variety and type. For example, help guides, videos, webinars, pdf downloads.
Managing this base of customers is harder if you don’t have the technology to support this strategy but it’s not impossible. I’ve used Gainsight for the last 8 years and I remember when I first had access to the data, how eye opening and rewarding it was to be able to mitigate risk where the data was telling me there were issues. We were able to maintain a much higher retention rate than we had been historically because we were catching risk using leading indicators.
Do you know what good trends and bad trends of your customers look like? If a customer isn’t logging in for example then it’s a trend you want to see reversed. Other trending behaviours can be monitored and managed on scale for tech touch. For example, if a customer has not logged in for 30 days an email can be sent out to re-engage with the user. You might analyse the data and find that there’s a correlation between lack of engagement and unpaid invoices. If you know this and have monitored that trend, you can mitigate the risk.
The Playbook or the process of how the tech touch strategy is executed is really important to define. What goals are you trying to achieve, what indicators will you trigger for automation, how frequently will you engage and how? Is there any level of personal touch with those customers you segment to only tech touch? How do you determine the difference between one to many programs and tech touch since both might be made available to all customers.
Unless you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need some variety of change management where you need to reset expectations with customers on the type of service level they are now going to receive. In many cases, customers have received a very hands on, personal touch from an employee to date and then as the business grows, as scale is needed, customers need to have expectations reset.
The key to this is to package it and deliver it with a great, well thought out plan. A team may need to be trained in preparation for the change even before the customer is informed. There may be complex communications that need consideration and post communication and management structures in place to initiate and support that new segment.
Tech touch is my area of speciality. I’ll write more about this field of Customer Success. If you have any specific requests please contact me.