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With the summer road repair season in full swing, I see warning signs and construction cones on just about every street I drive. In June my family escaped on a long summer road trip from Colorado to California and we bet on the number of constructions zones that would slow us down. I lost. This week, road crews installed these warning signs right on my street.

Unlike the pop song, Tear in My Heart by Twenty One Pilots, I’m not cursing my government because I know the end result is important for our safety and better traffic flow the rest of the year. But the construction signs on my street jolted my thinking about business communications during “construction zones” for their product.

Road Work Ahead!

As a past CIO, it was standard practice for IT to send out a “heads up” email about system downtime for an upgrade or patch. Now with my experience in customer success management, I realize this could have been a great opportunity to grow customer engagement and create upsell opportunities. Customers feel more engaged with your company when you provide timely updates and ask for their input.

At my last SaaS company, I learned the importance of post “construction” customer success conversations. After a major upgrade, we called our highest priority segment of customers to ask them if the change made them more efficient. If they didn’t know about the changes, this call provided a quick training opportunity. I also used this opportunity assess the health of the customer and initiate up sell or cross sell conversations. This type of customer success conversation is much different from a customer survey.
Often when I start a consulting engagement, companies tell me they already survey their customers with little to show for it. But most business surveys are simply a glorified way to evaluate the performance of their employees. Survey response rates are in direct correlation to customers’ desire to perform employee performance reviews.

Some companies are starting to implement customer success conversations instead of surveys. In May, my sister-in-law hired a paint company to change the color in four bedrooms and a hallway. A few weeks after the work was completed, she received a call asking if the paint color met her expectations. She said the color was great and volunteered that the paint crew did a great job. The caller then explained their lifetime warranty that covers any dings or blemishes caused by pets, people or random problems. Amazing! The paint company created a customer for life and generated numerous referrals with this five-minute “customer success conversation” instead of the typical employee performance feedback survey.

If your company is ready to ditch “performance reviews” and “construction zone warnings” by implementing revenue-growing customer success conversations, sign up for an improvement plan or contact us for more information.