Ahhhh, summer. For Customer Success Managers (CSMs), summer offers both a blessing and a curse. A blessing, of course, because there is no time like summertime, but also a curse because it can be close to impossible to engage with or even get a response from customers. During the three months between Memorial Day and Labor Day in the U.S., receiving the dreaded ‘Out Of Office’ message can become a daily occurrence.
While we wouldn’t recommend trying to execute any extremely important workflows or projects during this time, it doesn’t mean you have to stop engaging with customers all together. Summer is the perfect time to try out new ideas, test new workflows, and wow your customers with new content.
Summer is a time when people want to be entertained—think summer beach reads, summer blockbuster movies, and summer TV premieres. For CSMs and their customers, it’s a time for engaging, exciting content. This could mean fun, casual blog posts with plenty of memes and visual aides, or a new case study that features an amazing success story. Building catchy emails with witty, eye-grabbing subject lines can help engage customers and cut through the summer monotony.
Schedule Critical Checkpoints Well In Advance
If you do have to schedule out any critical meetings or checkpoints with customers, make sure you do it well in advance to give customers time to check their calendars or rearrange plans if necessary. With a growing remote culture, many individuals can likely attend important calls, but they may need to sort out internet access or cell phone service beforehand. Putting these meetings on the calendar in advance shows that you respect a customer’s free time and value their schedule.
Plan Long-Term Programs
In order to keep customers engaged throughout a long period of time—say a few weeks or even a couple months—it can be a great time to test out a long-term program or offering. This could be anything from a multi-week training course on a new feature to a summer-long class that results in a product certification. These types of programs are a great way to allow customers to engage with your brand on their own time while still interacting with content that you have created.
Run a Survey or Ask For Feedback
Summer is often a bit of a downtime for many industries, which means some of your customers left in the office may have extra time on their hands. Take advantage of the summer slow season by running a survey or asking for feedback from various different users, from executives to end users. Asking different types of questions from a variety of customers can help gauge strategy and focus for the upcoming fall/winter season, when many customers are back and engaged again in full force.
Don’t Bombard Their Inbox
This is an important tactic that many organizations need to adhere to, no matter the season. When so many individuals have their Out Of Office signatures on, it’s common courtesy to not bombard their inbox with unnecessary emails. Summertime might mean taking a break from your bi-weekly customer newsletter or monthly product update emails to ensure that every email they receive is worthy of an open and a ready. It’s better to wait until your stakeholders are back at their desks and ready to engage than have the transactional masses all end up in trash when they clean out their inbox after vacation. Trust us—your customers (and their inboxes) will thank you for it.
Have a Contingency Plan For Emergencies
Don’t worry, we understand. Sometimes emergencies pop up unexpectedly and it’s important to reach a critical customer ASAP. But what happens if your point of contact is officially OOO? Before everyone heads out to wherever their summer adventures will take them, come up with a contingency plan that includes backup contacts (and even backups for the backups—you really never know). This way, you’ll never be stuck calling and emailing any customer contact you can find.
How Are You Preparing Your Team (And Clients) For Summer?
Summer is here, and it can actually be a relaxing one for CSMs with the right measures and preparations in place. Take the time before those OOOs are turned on to ensure there is a plan in place for content, customer engagement, and contacts to ensure smooth sailing the whole summer.