One-to-Many Customer Success

By Kristen Hayer

Most articles about customer success – which metrics to measure, how to engage customers, how many CSMs to hire – are based on a high-touch customer experience. So what do you do if your business model doesn’t support the costs of a high-touch model? Or what if a high-touch approach isn’t consistent with your brand or product?

A one-to-many approach to customer success is a generally accepted alternative to the high-touch model. You may have heard it called tech-touch or automated customer success. Essentially this approach means that the bulk of your customer success efforts are based on technology and automation, rather than human interactions. How do you create engaging, amazing customer experiences with a one-to-many approach? Here’s my take:

Map the Optimal Customer Journey

A good place to start with any customer success model is a customer journey map. You’re looking for customer touch points that can help to improve onboarding, create engagement, and uncover opportunities. With a one-to-many approach, you’re looking for places where you can create automated messages that anticipate customer needs.

First, Test with a Human

It may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes the best way to build a tech-touch model is with a person. If you aren’t sure how customers will respond to a specific touch point, plug in a rep and test calls at that touch point. Make sure you’re measuring the content and results of these calls. Once you know exactly what customers need at that point in their lifecycle, you can automate.

Choose the Right Tools

At a minimum you’ll need a CRM system or customer database, an email marketing platform, and a tool that looks for customer behavior or engagement triggers. As you go further with your program, you may want to add other tools like a customer success platform or in-app messaging system. Keep in mind that the more tools you add, the more work it takes to administer your program. 

Then, Keep Testing

Once you’ve automated all of your touch points, don’t drop the ball on testing. Split testing can help you refine the subject lines and content of your emails, and drive stronger engagement. If you’re getting support tickets or calls on a topic you haven’t included in any of your touch points, introduce a new message and see if it reduces the number of tickets. You should always be testing content, delivery and timing.

Two notes; first, it’s OK to start small. If you’re building a program from scratch, adding a few automated interactions at key points in the customer lifecycle can result in big improvements. Tackle the areas where you know customers need help, and grow the program from there. Second, keep an eye out for micro-segments. These are small groups of customers within your larger base where a human touch could be just the thing to save the customer or move an opportunity forward. It may be worth the investment in a CSM who supplements your automated program with calls to these micro-segments.

A one-to-many approach to customer success doesn’t need to feel robotic to your customers. If you take the time to understand the needs of your clients at each touch point, you’ll be able to build a program that anticipates their needs and creates an engaging customer experience.

Need help building your one-to-many customer success plan? The Success League is a customer success consulting firm that works with leaders to build high-performance customer success programs, from high-touch to tech-touch. We can help you think through the best approach for your organization. For more information please visit our website: