A single source of truth for all… not just internally

Over the last few months I have attended a few different CSM/SaaS workshops, meet-ups and spoken to a number of fellow CSMs. A reoccurring topic during these discussions is the importance of having a single source of truth for CSM’s to be able to effectively manage their clients. The typical parameters for this conversation revolve around CSM’s, Account Managers, Sales and Support Teams having a single source of information about the client to ensure they are all aligned. This might take the form of a dedicated CS Platform such as Gainsight or Natero, a CRM such as Salesforce, Infusionsoft or Hubspot or just a simple Google Sheet or Excel form.

It ensures all company employees who have a relationship with the client are kept in the loop in terms of how the client is performing with the software/service, the clients current priorities and objectives, their health score, potential commercial opportunities, support issues and so on.

I don’ think any Customer Success professional will disagree on the importance on having this single source of truth within the business. After all, if you are not clear on your clients objectives, their issues and even their emotions about your software or service, how can you help them be successful?

However, there is a further angle to this that is just as important but often left out of these conversations. You have a single source of truth on the client. Does your client have a single source of truth on their questions, projects and objectives with your software?

During your conversations, calls, support tickets and meetings with your clients they will ask you questions…
How does this work? How can we achieve this? What else can I be doing with your software? This happened, how can I prevent it?

Tip: Don’t assume your clients make and keep notes from calls and meetings or indeed even remember what was discussed.

But ask yourself, are these recorded for the client? Would your client remember the answer in a months time? Would they even know where they would need to search for their answer… Email, Support Desk, their notes, help desk portal or was it mentioned in a call and not recorded.

Then would they ask the question again? If they did would it be the same context? Would they not ask again as they felt like the have addressed it previously even though they do not remember the answer. Or maybe they will ask again but eat into your time on repeating delivering the same response.

Why not just give your clients a single source of truth. One location they can go to, search in and find answers to their previous questions, notes from past meetings as well as ongoing and closed actions.

By this I don’t mean a generic help desk portal. I mean a source that is purely dedicated to that particular client.

A shared Google Sheet or Doc is great for this. Both your client and your internal teams can access the same doc. The document can be structured into areas that make sense to your business and your client. Comments can be added by both parties on answers or discussion points. Both parties can make notes to the shard doc during meetings and calls. Whats more it gives your client and team, one place to search for everything they have asked.

It gives your clients that one source to check, it removes the doubt of what notes they have taken and allows for clear and transparent relationships.

Here is an example of a template that I have found works for me. Please feel free to use or amend.

There are obviously other tools to use to accomplish a single source of truth for your clients. My advice would be though, keep it simple. Google docs works as you can give them a specific private URL to bookmark. No logins to remember, portals to navigate or software to install.

“The easier something is in life, the more likely it is to be achieved.”

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