How to Choose a Customer Engagement Model

Choosing a Customer Engagement Model

Dynamic customer engagement is key to building strong relationships with your customers. Customer engagement connects your customers with your company, through both personal and digital communications. By maximizing this communication, you can strengthen your customer relationship and increase customer loyalty. Executing the right type of customer engagement for the right type of customer means you can demonstrate value quickly and promote lasting growth that benefits both your customer and your company.

What Is Customer Engagement?

Customer engagement is the process of driving value for your customer through an ongoing series of evolving communications and interactions. Strategic customer engagement can guide the customer from the promise made by sales, to the delivery of first value, and throughout the entire customer lifecycle. Customer engagement can take many different forms, depending on your engagement model. An example of thoughtful, automated customer engagement is congratulating a customer when they achieve a product usage milestone. For higher volume customers, reaching out to acknowledge a birthday or work anniversary can also be an unexpected and delightful communication. 

When your customer engagements are proactive—based on an up-to-the-minute understanding of the customer experience—and always results-oriented, they help your customer reach their goals, grow their business, and ultimately find satisfaction with your product.

How you deliver these engagements depends on your resources and what your customer needs to succeed.

Types of Customer Engagement Models

The combined personal and digital solutions and communication methods you employ to power your customer engagements provide the framework of your customer success efforts. This is known as your customer engagement model. Engagement models are usually divided into three groups:

High-Touch: Approaching a 1-to-1 balance between CSMs and customers, this resource-intense approach is generally employed by smaller enterprises or reserved for strategic or high annual recurring revenue (ARR) customers.

Medium-Touch: A designated CSM is assigned between 15 and 75 customers and uses a mix of personal and digital communication channels and strategies to drive value.

Low-Touch: Also known as tech touch, this approach is for engaging with large volumes of customers at scale. It relies almost exclusively on digital communications. Oftentimes customers are either owned by a Digital CSM or sent to a CS team round-robin for inquiries. 

The volumes and customer-to-CSM ratios mentioned above give a basic guide to the customer engagement model that may best suit your enterprise and customer accounts, but there is more to optimizing customer success than just balancing a headcount. 

Delivering Engagements That Add Value

The goal of each customer engagement model is to interact proactively in a way that delivers value and enhances the customer experience—and which ultimately leads to repeated renewals and mutual growth.

Depending on the size and complexity of your accounts and your CS resources, you may choose one of the three models detailed above or blend models to create a tactic that works for both your business and your customers.

While digital communications have almost been used exclusively for low-touch customer engagement models, it holds additional value for high-touch and medium-touch customers. For example, digital communication can be used to help to replace standard communication your CSMs send and free up their time to work on high impact projects. It can also be used to help respond quickly to specific events (so think when usage drops significantly or Net Promoter Score is filled out and considered passive). There are countless possibilities of what digital touch can do for you and your team to help scale your communication

Which Model Best Services My Customers?

Employing any particular model, or, as is most common, mixing models, is about being equipped to provide the right resource at the right point in the customer journey to deliver the best experience—and the most value—for your customer in the most cost-effective way.

When choosing a customer engagement model, you should consider how each model supports:

Customer Potential: What is the Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) of the client? Are they a bigger client requiring less engagement, or a smaller contract with potential expansion opportunities?

Ability to scale: Which model maximizes your ability to add customers without diluting value by adding an equivalent amount of staff?

Dynamic segmentation: Can you deliver high-value communications to an expanding base using customer segmentation and personalized messaging?

Data-based efficiency: Which model best facilitates cross-account and enterprise-wide efficiencies that build on the progress of previous customers?  

Resource maximization: Which model allows you to leverage the skills of your entire enterprise toward the service and experience of your customers?

You should aim to employ a combination of customer engagement models that offer the best chance at maximizing customer lifetime value by identifying opportunities for cross-sells or upsells, or encouraging customers to repeatedly renew. All these options are part of a broad digital strategy that can introduce value-driven efficiencies across your customer relations, starting with the first contact between the customer and your team.

Dynamic Assignment Takes Engagement to the Next Level

You can further optimize your customer engagement efforts by making precise pairings between customers and experts on your team. Dynamic assignment automatically matches customers with CSMs or other employees that have the availability, skills, and experience to offer the help they need. These matches can be made using a variety of variables such as location, industry, business size, performance, or language. Dynamic digital engagement offers each customer greater value by pairing them with the expert who can best help them at any given time, rather than following a static model in which customers only interact with the particular CSM who “owns” that account.

The dynamic assignment model takes customer engagement to the next level by leveraging your company’s resources in a way that is both efficient and personalized to each customer’s needs. It is an example of how a digital strategy can increase efficiency, deepen engagement, and speed up the realization of value.

The Right Software for the Most Effective Engagement

Every customer engagement model works best when backed by a comprehensive digital strategy. Your digital strategy should measure customer engagement using accurate and timely customer behavior information, and then provide a mechanism to turn the data into meaningful action.

The same digital strategy can lead to more precise engagements within high- and medium-touch models as well as low-touch customers, saving CSMs time that can be used to provide white-glove service to strategic accounts.

The right customer success software will make all the difference, giving you the flexibility to use one or a combination of customer engagement models to provide your customers with value that leads to renewal and expansion.

In these challenging times, you can’t afford to buy before you try. Get started for free today. Totango’s customer success platform gives you the data and actionable next steps you need to engage your customer in the most resource-efficient way possible.


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