Work on Risk Strategies from the Start

Dealing with risk strategies isn’t the glamorous part of working with customers and yet it is one of the most integral parts of having successful customers. A lesson learned on customers that are at risk comes down to how well we define the customer journey. Recently, one of the members from our CS team attended a conference where Hubspot mentioned thinking of the customer journey as a flywheel. 

A visual representation of Hubspot’s flywheel model.

As we look at the visual though one of the things we often forget is that in order to make the flywheel work we need momentum. Hubspot mentioned this as force and friction. Moving a customer from one phase of the customer journey to the other requires force. These could be feature improvements, workflow surveys, or things like NPS surveys to gauge satisfaction. 

Now, going back to the original subject of risk – when we look at the wheel and think about what things prevent the wheel from movement we can call this friction. An approach that could serve well with mitigating risk (friction) is by aligning internal teams early on in the Sales to CS handoff (or any other handoff for that matter) to identify the “commitments” that were made to the customer. 

By documenting these commitments early on the entire company should have better visibility on what should be worked on in order to create that force to move customers to the next phase in the customer journey. This, however, doesn’t always work great since expectations and commitments can often change.

Finally, as we continue to work with customer journeys we need to think about how we work with other team members internally. Part of the friction we often read about is the lack of shared ownership between the CS and Product teams. Having read the book Inspired it sparked the fact that as we build products – we should all have shared goals and objectives. More importantly, we should always be using the same language. How we minimize risk is by all being on the same page and speaking the same language.

Gary Marroquin is one of the co-founders of the Chicago Customer Success Podcast. He is currently a Customer Success Operations Manager with Label Insight.


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