5 Tips For A Phenomenal Customer Check-In Call

5 Tips For A Phenomenal Customer Check-In Call

Customer feedback is the lifeblood of every business!

If you get a customer to talk to you (after using these tips), you want to make the experience helpful and positive for them and you.

I’ve made 1000s of customer check-in calls over the years.

Here are my 5 top tips to nail your customer check-in call and make the most of your time and the customer’s!

1. Schedule The Call…& Follow Through

Rule #1 of customer calls is you must actually get the customer to talk to you. Harder than it looks when you’re talking about busy professionals.

Detailed HERE but my team and I had good success with these steps:
1. Send an email to schedule a call
2. If no reply, send second email with tentative calendar invite when I’ll call them
3. Call them at that time
4. If no response, send follow up email with info
5. Try again next quarter (tweak the message and strategy)

And substitute “Zoom” or “Google Meet” for “call” since things changed a bit in 2020.

2. Talk (At Least) Quarterly

As the first “Client Advocate” (now called Customer Success Manager) at Pardot, I did monthly customer calls.

We were a month-to-month SaaS subscription, no contract. We needed to win your business every month!

I quickly learned that monthly was too often. Not enough changed in the product or in their business to have a valuable call every month.

Quarterly it was!

Note: We were early (<100 customers) but the product was built and I was talking to customers who were up and running successfully. In maintenance mode, if you will. I recommend weekly calls for implementing new customers.

If you’re in the “design partner” stage or very early, monthly or weekly or twice weekly might be best.

If you’re fairly established, quarterly is great. Even if Especially if you are on annual contracts, you want to talk to your customers quarterly.

Nothing says, “You don’t matter at all” like calling 1x per year right before renewal. 🥴

Talking quarterly also gives you time to “save” an unhappy customer.

By the time they want to cancel, it’s too late.

If you talk to them 6 months before, you can proactively address concerns, fix bugs, share roadmap, sell to new stakeholders, offer additional training, re-implement, and 100 other churn busting strategies!

Yes, when you have thousands of customers, you will need to segment customers and scale your programs.

But if you’re B2B SaaS or at a deer or elephant price point with <1000 customers, call every quarter.

3. Prep Accordingly

Deliver a great experience to the customer by being well-prepared!

  • This implementation prep guide also applies to customer check-in calls!

  • Use Zinnia Daily to get user and company bios delivered to your inbox.

  • Understand what their North Star is!

    • What product usage can support this?

    • Any new, unused, or upcoming features that further their North Star?

  • If you can, review their account data, what features they’re using, uncover customer wins, and look back on previous calls.

4. Create A Framework For Taking Notes

If a call goes well, it’s going to be a firehose of info! Hopefully some follow up items too.

That’s great.

But hard to keep track of.

Do NOT take notes chronologically as someone talks on the call.

INSTEAD: start with a list of categories and drop items into each section as they come up.

Why A Notes Framework Is Awesome

  1. You easily remember and cover main topics

  2. Your call notes are ready to save/share

  3. You can quickly send follow up (and even a call recap to the customer!)

  4. Everyone on the team can follow a similar format

**Thank you Nicole Bradshaw who taught me this!

Example Notes Framework

  • Next Steps

  • What They Love

  • Pain Points

  • Other

Example Notes Framework - After Call

  • Next Steps

    • Intro: Product Manager

    • Send article: forms best practices

    • Follow up: support ticket on spam

  • What They Love

    • Improved open rate

    • Email segmentation

  • Pain Points

    • Email testing

    • Slow response time on ticket

  • Other

    • Attending user conf!

5. End The Call With A "Scale of 1-10" Question

If a call goes well, a customer is going to tell you all sorts of feature ideas, things that suck about your product, and ways you can improve as a company.

The customer is going to feel great. You will feel terrible.

You’ll be like, they’re going to cancel. They hate us.


Towards the end of the call — after listening, discussing, taking notes on all the constructive feedback — ask this question:

Scale of 1-10, how happy are you with <OurCompany>?

Variations include:

Scale of 1-10, how are you guys doing?
Scale of 1-10, how easy is it to use our product? (because I love Customer Effort Score)

You can also ask straight up NPS (How likely are you to recommend us?) or CSAT (How satisfied are you?) but most customers know those and they sound a little canned.

The goal is to get a quantitative temperature check and have a (semi-reliable) number for reference in your notes.

Sometimes people with the most product feedback are wildly happy. Sometimes they hate you. It’s hard to know until you hear a number.

So that’s what we got right.

Guess what…made some mistakes too 😉

Tune in next week for 3 Customer Success Strategies I Wish I Knew As A Newbie!

What are your best strategies for gathering customer feedback or conducting customer check-in calls?