Welcome to the behind the scenes world of Intercom – the only platform that delivers conversational experiences across the customer journey, powering 500 million conversations per month for over 35,000 customers.
Interested to know what relationship management looks like in the company that helps businesses build better customer relationships? Here’s your once-in-a-lifetime chance to peek into Intercom’s CX strategies.
We talked to Jonathan Chemouny, Senior Relationship Manager at Intercom, about the secrets behind their success in building strong and long-lasting relationships with their customers.
We condensed this chat into 17 actionable takeaways that everyone can implement right away. Take notes and share your questions and comments in the online CX community Quality Tribe.
Here’s what Jonathan shared with us:
- Split CX journey between departments: Intercom has dedicated people taking care of customers at each stage of their customer journey. For example, there’s one person handling lead qualification, an account executive to guide the customer through the sales cycle, and a relationship manager to take care of the customer’s needs after that.
Dedicated people to manage lead qualification, customer conversion, and engagement will help your team deliver excellent results at each step of the way.
- Segment your customers based on company size: Intercom has divided its users into small businesses, mid-market, and enterprise companies. Different segments have different needs, so let your Customer Relationships Managers focus on growing expertise in one specific area.
Assign companies to each Customer Relationship Manager based on the company size (and CX phase, as described above).
- Hand customers over smoothly: At Intercom, customers are always moved from one phase of the customer cycle to another with care. Explaining who will take care of the company in the next step will avoid situations where a customer doesn’t know whom to turn to with the questions they have.
Introduce the next customer care manager to your customer when you hand them over to the next department.
- Engage people who’ve worked with the customer before: have CX managers from previous steps of the customer journey spontaneously join a call or meeting with the current manager. That’s an easy way to retain relationships you’ve built with the customer along the way.
Invite the sales rep who converted the company into a paying customer to say “Hi!” in a customer success call that you have with the same person.
- Avoid focusing on business in the first meeting: building relationships with customers starts from building relationships with people. Get to know who the key stakeholders are – their location, hobbies, interests, etc., and share fun facts about yourself.
In your first meeting with the customer, focus on building a strong foundation for your relationship. You’ll have plenty of time to talk business later.
- Use a memorable way of introducing yourself: Remember what they say about first impressions? Win your customer’s attention by reaching out to them in a way that’s unique to you.
Jonathan Chemouny, the Senior Customer Relationship Manager at Intercom, sends a GIF of himself waving to every new customer he talks to.
- (Try to) have an on-site visit: Building strong relationships with your key customers becomes a lot easier when you have a chance to meet them in person. Though the COVID-19 lockdown has made this impossible for the time being, we will, hopefully, be able to start having on-site visits again soon.
Be proactive about offering on-site visits to get to know the person, teams, and company you’ll be working with.
- Always wear your company hoodie: Jonathan sees that as a ‘must’ on every on-site visit because it helps everyone in the company to immediately understand who you are. Moreover, people are more likely to remember the business you represent as a friendly partner who comes around.
Have your company logos on you whenever you meet with your customers or attend any professional events.
- Take a selfie with the customer: Jonathan sees this as an easy way to make the connection between him and the customer more personal and memorable. He always adds selfies into the presentation that he shows the next time they meet.
Ask the customer if you can take a selfie with them – this can be a great icebreaker or even a dealmaker.
- Connect on LinkedIn and engage with your customer’s posts: When you’ve established excellent relationships with your customers and team, connecting with them on LinkedIn should come naturally. Don’t be afraid to like or comment on their posts, especially on those that are closely related to what you do.
Pay attention to your customer’s LinkedIn activities and engage with their content as you’d do with any of your coworkers.
- Understand personal motivations: Try to learn each person’s professional aspirations, and how you can help them achieve those goals. People are more likely to cooperate with you if you align your targets with their interests and ambitions.
Partner up with your customer’s representatives and help them achieve their personal goals through the success of their company.
- Get to know the company’s goals: Customer Relationships Managers don’t have a “one-size-fits-all” solution for all businesses. Successful partnerships start from understanding the company’s needs and objectives, and what they’re trying to achieve with your product or service.
Understand your customer’s goals and offer tailor-made solutions to solve their issues and requests.
- Help customers measure their own success: Jonathan points out that while most companies know what they want to achieve, only a few of them know how to measure if they are getting there. As a Senior Senior Relationship Manager, he sees setting up metrics that align with the customers’ goals as one of his many duties.
Define measurable goals that you’ll track together with the customer to understand the impact that your products and services have on the business.
- Set up an action plan: When you’ve defined the goals and metrics that you’re going to track, map out the activities that will help you achieve those objectives. You are more likely to succeed with a detailed action plan in hand, especially when it’s combined with measurable goals and proper progress tracking.
Define the key activities that you’ll work on together, pair them up with KPIs, and assign people who will be responsible for delivering the results.
- Measure your success in revenue: the impact of your work as a Customer Relationship Manager will reflect on how much the company is spending on your product or services. The more engaged and satisfied the customers are, the more likely are they to stick around and continue buying from you.
Track MRR and ARR as the metrics of your work as a Customer Relationship Manager.
- Keep an eye on product engagement and adoption to measure your impact: Besides growing revenue, Customer Success and Relationship Managers are responsible for making sure that customers make the most out of the product or services that you offer.
Measure product engagement and adoption to understand how your efforts are paying off, and which other features and functionalities to introduce to your customer.
- Partner up to deliver enhanced customer experiences: Intercom has over 250 apps in its App Store, including apps and integrations with support, analytics, sales, and productivity tools. These game-changing apps are available in the Intercom App Store. Jonathan is always eager to help their customers find the right partners to work with.
Klaus is proud to be Intercom’s Premier App Partner and help customer-facing teams improve the quality of their interactions through systematic QA and conversation review processes.
Share these valuable insights with your Customer Relationship and Success Managers to help them build personal and long-lasting relationships with your customers. These actionable pieces of advice from Intercom’s Senior Relationship Manager, Jonathan Chemouny, can make a real difference for any quality-oriented business.
Do you have any questions you’d like to ask Jonathan? Anything you’d like to add to this list of action items? Join the discussion in the online CX community Quality Tribe.