High-touch vs Low-touch: What customer success model should you choose?

The methods that a business can use to engage customers are just as varied as the reasons why a business would use them. The model that a business chooses should fit with its goals for customer engagement and the brand image they wish to cultivate. Each demographic of customer will also be more receptive to a model which appeals to their needs and desires. How does a business decide what is best for them?

The first step in the development of any customer success model is to fully understand your customers. In this digital age, businesses can get to know their customers through all kinds of data. From basic demographics to online interests, each business can develop an image of their customer base. Many businesses are also making good use of user persona to supplement their customer success model. This allows a business to create models or “persona” of current or ideal customers. These can be used to visualise the impact of any marketing methods before implementing them.

When making the decision between a high-touch and low-touch model, you have to keep all that in mind and more. Low-touch models involve a much lower level of engagement in each customer. The strategy will be to spread the reach of the business as far as possible, with the hope of attracting a large volume of customers. The high-touch model is essentially the inverse. The pool of customers is smaller, but the level of interaction is much higher. The personal aspect of the engagement is emphasised, and the ultimate goal is to build a long-term relationship with the customer.

These models will work depending on the types of products and customers. A bespoke product might not work well with a low-touch model for example. The product would need to be explored with the customer, and so a low-touch model would not suffice to support the customers. Similarly, a high-touch model would be far too much for a simple product. Customers would not need personal interaction to understand the product, so the costs of the model would be excessive.

The types of customer also require some thought, as some customers require deeper relationships than others. The higher value your customers, the higher-touch model you will require to keep them invested in your product. The same goes for businesses that wish to create a loyal and personally invested customer base. To develop that loyalty and increase the lifetime value of the customer, you need to provide incentives and initiatives to keep your business in customers’ minds, all of which fit a high-touch model. 

It is perfectly possible of course, to implement a hybrid model of customer success. Some businesses will have a variety of products which they need to market in different ways. For example, a business which has different levels of membership will use different models to on-board different levels of members and retain them. Using a hybrid model can be much more labour intensive to set up and implement, but when done well the results are outstanding. The model lets a business open itself up to new types of customers, while keeping its old demographics on board.

At the end of the day, each business’ model will depend on where they are in their journey, as well as where they want to go. High-touch or low-touch, or a mix of both of them? The answer will only be found by fully understanding your customers and the capabilities of your team.

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