Thanks for reading my work Warwick! I agree, it’s definitely common for customers who get frustrated, impatient, or just don’t like the answer they’ve received from your Support team to escalate the issue up to their Account Manager (AM). For major issues I would argue this is actually the desired behavior. I have seen an individual user’s complaints escalate to the point of putting the business relationship at risk. AMs need to get ahead of this type of groundswell as soon as possible. Your AMs should have a pulse on all facets of your company’s relationship with their accounts, which span across departments as varied as Finance, Support, and even Marketing. None of these departments, even Support, have as much context on the customer as an AM, which is why they need to be a bridge to provide continuity between the customer and these other departments. That doesn’t mean that AMs should be the one source of knowledge about your customers. With the ubiquity of CRMs across companies of all sizes, critical information about each account should be accessible to all employees (what plan are they on, which features do they have access to, when’s their next bill date, and so on).

However, I wholeheartedly agree that AMs can get needlessly bogged down in Support tickets if they aren’t diligent about what types of issues they weigh in on. While workflows like the one below lay the framework for the type of relationship your AMs desire to have with customers, I’ve found that reinforcing the delineation between teams is the only way to save AMs’ bandwidth. For instance, if a customer emails me with a question I think our Support team can handle, I will cc Support and let the customer know that they will follow up. I also find it’s useful to manage people’s expectations with a few well placed words of confidence- “Our Support team is going to be able to respond to your questions more quickly than I am, since I’m in and out of meetings most of the day. They’re also much better able to help troubleshoot problems and are well versed in any issues our system might be experiencing.” If you constantly send a customer back to support, they will eventually cut you out of the process for low-level questions. It’s also fine to ask them to cc you on emails to Support for issues they’d like you to be aware of.

Any additional insights you care to add, or points you disagree with? I’d love to start a dialogue.

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Customer Success consultant, writer, and expert www.brooke.land

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