My team has recently doubled in size from one CSM, me, to two CSMs. As I begin internally reassigning accounts, I am curious how you all have communicated this transition to clients so that they don't feel like they are being pushed off to someone new.
My current plan is to have an update in our newsletter then follow up with a personal email introducing them while asking to set up a call to formally introduce them.
Any feedback would be much appreciated.
I think the approach generally speaking is a good one. You might adjust it depending on the segment/size of the customer, opting for more white glove approach with larger clients. Either way, I think the ultimate goal of having a call and formal handoff is absolutely necessary as to ensure the client feels they are being well supported throughout the transition.
If you have regularly scheduled calls with the customer and the timing works out that the transition be discussed as part of the regular agenda, I think that's a win as it eliminates the need/hastle of scheduling an extra call. It also gives the new CSM a taste for how you've conducted the regular check in/QBR calls with the client so that they can continue the sessions in a format that feels familiar to the client.
Agree about adding them to your next call with the customer and setting the agenda that you are introducing their new CSM. It's also important to let the customers know you are still there so you can be there as a resource to their new CSM should they need any historical information about their account.
If you have a CRM or place to track account information or product usage, I would have the new CSM go in and research the accounts and come prepared with questions to you and whatever you can't answer they should ask the customer. This will show the customer their new CSM takes their role seriously and wants to know as much as possible. Also, it's a training for the CSM to learn what to look for in accounts and how to navigate your internal data.
The new CSM should also follow-up with a new calendar invite (also confirm the time you have still is the best time, I've seen customers also use a change in CSMs to change meeting times). Then you can delete your old invite.
Also, another key thing is, after you introduce the new CSM on the call, they should send the follow-up to establish the fact they are taking over their relationship. Customers will always go to who they feel comfortable with so you want to remove yourself from being the person communicating next steps.
Lastly, use your judgement based on the ARR and importance of the customer. When we had a small team, I held onto accounts longer and had the CSM shadow me until the customer and the CSM were ready to take over. You can't always move an account on the timeline you want.
The important aspect is that the customer knows that you have had discussions internally about their account. I usually tell them in the introduction: Looking forward to working with you. Laverna has told me about the contact center re-skill project that you had and I'm excited to pick up where she left off and see that through with you. Sentiment usually is maintained then.
Also, I have seen that the account migrating to me is actually a god-send for the customer because we were unaware that they had negative opinions on their former CSM. So, fear not, change is good. Just not too much change. communicate amongst yourselves on the important details of the account and move forward.
When we've reassigned CSM's owing to team growth, we ensure the language we use is positive and frame the handover to a new CSM as an exciting/benefit. Ensure you do your due diligence in handing over content and knowledge in the background and assure the customer there will be no loss to service or momentum in projects. The key is really to communicate - internally and with the customer, so nobody is left wondering who they should be contacting or when or whom they'll hear from next.
Great topic @Jeremy Owsley. I was typing up a similar post, when I saw your entry. I will shortly be going through the same thing. I am currently the sole customer success interface to our customer set, and will be introducing a few CSMs to our customers as I ramp down my own time with them. I am taking things client by client to gauge how quick/slow I can conduct that transition. Good luck with the same!