Customer Interactions: How to Give Customers the Experience They Need

Getting on boarding right from day one is critical for customer success. A team well versed in who the customer is as well as what they need means getting them to where they want to be with your product is much easier. When you spent a lot of time interviewing customers up front you’ll have good relationships to build on.

The difficulty comes when hiring and training new members of the team. The problem is when new members don’t understand the types of interactions they should and need to be having with customers. This means expectations by all parties – customers included – are out of whack.

2 types of customer interactions

There are low-touch and high-touch customer interactions:

Low-touch customer success means:

  • Few touch points required for signup and on boarding.
  • Infrequent, light checkins. Email and surveys are preferred to the phone.
  • Low interaction costs. Technology is cheap and getting cheaper.
  • Thinking and understanding your customers in terms of larger segments.

High-touch customer success means:

  • Partnership-level interaction required for signup and on boarding.
  • Frequent, in-depth checkins. Phone and in-person meetings are preferred to email.
  • High interaction costs. Peoples’ time costs more than technological solutions.
  • Knowing customers by their first name.
  • Understanding each individual customer’s problems, workflows, and needs.

The problem

The problem with thinking in terms of low and high touch is that the focus is not on what is appropriate for the type of customer. It tells us nothing about who the customer is or what their goals are. Just because a group of people may prefer email over a phone call does not mean that they only want notifications via email.

Customers’ expectations and needs differ based on the situations they find themselves in.

How do customers use your product?

The problem with thinking solely about the type of interactions you have with customers is that the experience and desired outcome are not put first. The type of interaction is a minor piece in the “customer success” puzzle. It’s just the method.

A great way to group people is by how people use your product. People use your product or think of your product indifferent ways. For example, one person may think of Udemy as a place to get the skills they need for a career change while another as a place to compound an existing skills. These people may move between segments but only by their own free will. It’s your job to adjust your interaction type for each user.

So, if we segment users by what they get out of your product, implementing the right interaction type is easy. Here’s an example for a Learning Management System (LMS):

Knowing what the outcome is for the different product use cases means the customer success teams know experience give the users.

In the example above, we know that “Refresher Training” trainees need to build on what they already know. This means that interactions around this goal will be light. Perhaps they will want to know about new topics that are added or new ways to organize their training. They will want information on a regular basis and will want it to be easy to digest. Just the facts.

“New-hire On-boarding” trainees, on the other hand, will need a higher-velocity of interaction. They will require in-person training or possibly webinar-like group training. Because they are new to the company as well as the system they will need training from multiple directions. So, their experience will be more of a hand-holding approach.


If you’re not implementing the right type of customer interaction for the customer you’re doing it wrong. Customers are going to have different expectations and needs when it comes to their interactions with you. Figuring out which type works best for them is difficult but it is a process you must go through.

Understanding the type of interaction you’ll have with customers is critical to their – as well as your – level of success. If you and your team are not on the same page things will go awry.

Knowing this early on – what makes sense for the market, product, and company – will focus you. You and your team members will know how and when to interact with customers. More importantly, time is not wasted on efforts that have little to no impact.

This simplifies each customer-interaction process in place as well as define your position in the market. When you know what type of interactions to be having you’ll know early on whether potential customers will be a good fit or not.

Icons made by mavadee from is licensed by CC 3.0 BY

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