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6 customer success plan templates for common situations

Customer success teams can follow the same general processes to onboard, renew or offboard customers. These templates can help shape those outreach strategies.

Consumer-facing employees know customers don't just want good service. Often, they feel that customers want businesses to be mind-readers, and that they tend to fall short at providing stellar CX.

Enter the customer success template. It captures information at the start of the relationship and guides the success team to ensure customers are happy throughout their journey. Customer success templates may already come with an organization's CX software, or businesses can add and customize them. Creating templates can take time and resources, but they can help increase customer satisfaction and reduce churn.

Explore six key customer success templates, from sales-to-success handoffs to customer offboarding and follow-ups.

1. Sales-to-success handoffs

In a sales-to-success handoff, the sales team records information to relay customers' wants and needs after they sign on the dotted line. This handoff is likely the first customer success template a company will use with a customer, and it is the most important. It lays the foundation for the team to further build the relationship and support customers throughout their journey.

A sales-to-success handoff template should include the following:

  • The customer's basic information, like account data, success team and internal team information.
  • The customer's main objective.
  • How the customer generates revenue and defines success in general and customer success.
  • How the customer heard about the company.
  • Why the customer chose the product and expectations for it.
  • KPIs to measure how the product performs.
  • The customer's communication style and preferred methods of contact.
  • Potential growth opportunities.
  • The customer's budget.
  • Potential risks.
  • Open issues.
  • Required follow-up actions.

2. Customer onboarding

After the handoff, the success team must then get the customer up to speed with the product. An onboarding template can help the customer get the most out of the purchase and potentially simplify complex products. This template can help categorize interactions with the business, offer use cases and map the customer's journey with the product.

Customer onboarding templates should include the following:

  • Customer data, including competitors, segmentation and key clients.
  • The product or products purchased.
  • Customer contact information.
  • A planned kickoff call or meeting to welcome the customer and offer implementation and setup advice.
  • The customer's short-term and long-term goals for the product.
  • The customer's constraints on resources or in other areas.
  • KPIs or other success metrics.
  • A success plan for the first 30, 60 or 90 days.
  • A roadmap for the entire length of the contract.
  • Customer team's roles, defining who is responsible for what.
  • The collaboration process mapped out.

3. Customer renewals

Customer success teams don't always handle renewals. When they do, they can build trust with the customer because they already have a rapport. However, when another team handles the renewal, the customer may feel more comfortable discussing pricing.

In any case, the template for renewals should include the following:

  • A check of any open issues, including customer support conversations.
  • Resolutions for any open issues.
  • Renewal paperwork.
  • A meeting with the business sponsor to discuss upgrades and new product features, and to confirm expectations, including those laid out in the sales-to-success handoff.

4. Reactivate idle customers

Sometimes, customers go quiet. This happens often in the SaaS world: A customer subscribes to a product, but then doesn't use it or abruptly stops using it. This phenomenon can happen with any business that relies on a subscription model or regular customer interactions.

The customer success team's template to reactivate idle customers should include the following:

  • A check of any issues to resolve, such as customer support issues or bug reports.
  • Primary contact verification to ensure that person is still the contact.
  • Follow-ups to find out if the customer has any issues and if the customer success team can help.
  • Follow-ups with the business sponsor if the primary contact does not respond.
  • Reviews of any issues or challenges the customer brought up. Ideally, the customer success team would do this on a call with the primary contact or business sponsor.
  • Review the customer's usage patterns.
  • Address feedback in a follow-up email after meeting with the main contact or business sponsor.
  • Update the customer success plan and related notes with new information, challenges and resolutions.

5. Customer business reviews

Customer success teams must review a customer's progress with the product and assist with growth. To do this effectively, teams should review their responsibilities to determine if they meet their service-level agreements (SLAs). This template helps customer success teams communicate their commitment to customers and their success with the product.

The template should include the following:

  • Data from previous periods -- like quarter, half-year or year -- including SLA metrics and KPIs.
  • Customer health score and health score trends.
  • Customer notes, including customer support, sales and marketing notes.
  • Open feature requests.
  • A follow-up to send notes from the review meeting.
  • Internal debriefing across departments to discuss action items from the meeting.
  • A follow-up after the meeting to address new or outstanding issues.

6. Customer offboarding

Customers may abandon an organization if they no longer need the product or find something that better suits their needs. When a customer parts ways with the company, it can serve as a valuable learning experience and an opportunity to end the relationship on good terms. The customer success team can find out why the customer wants to leave and use that information to help current and future customers and decrease churn.

The customer offboarding template should cover the following:

  • Why the customer is leaving.
  • What the product lacks.
  • What the company could do better.
  • Whether the contract was broken -- for example, if SLAs were not met.
  • An incentive to possibly retain the customer.
  • A task to send project documents.
  • Collection of final payment.
  • A thank-you to the customer for working with the company.

An offboarding template can help teams segment former customers into two categories: regrettable churn and non-regrettable churn. Regrettable churn happens when the customer leaves due to something the company could have controlled, such as problems with the product. Non-regrettable churn involves circumstances outside the company's control, like if new management at the customer's organization cuts the product out of the next budgeting cycle.

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