In order to prevent customer churn and improve retention of our customers, we have an Account Triage project in GitLab.
If an account is in an Amber or Red state, it is deemed as "At Risk" and requires a "swarm" around it in order to save it and bring it back into a Yellow/Green healthy state. Scroll down to review the criteria for adding the correct health score to an account.
When a customer falls into Red, immediately create an issue in the Account Triage project and add the Red label. Follow the process below to get urgent attention added to the account. You must ensure that your Leader and/or the Customer Success Director is included in this issue.
If you are worried about a Green or a Yellow account and think it might be Amber, create an issue in the project and review it with the Technical Account Management team on the next Customer Emergency Room Weekly Triage call (explained below).
All Technical Account Manager's meet weekly to review the issue board for current "at risk" account activity. The meeting is a peer review of new at risk accounts to make sure activities are followed up on and owned across the business and is also a chance to discuss tactics/strategies on those accounts in case anything different should be done.
The triage team also needs to check the health score report to ensure that all Amber and Red accounts have indeed been added to the board. This should be a five minute check. Also, make sure that all issues in the project have the correct health score according to Salesforce. If the scores do not match, reach out to the Technical Account Manager or Account Owner if there is no Technical Account Manager to find out why and then work with them to rectify it.
This project is for Amber and Red accounts. As mentioned above, if you have an account that is Yellow or Green, and feel that you need help and support on that account from the rest of the team and your leaders then you may add an issue on the triage board for that account. Please make sure you are able to attend the next Customer ER call. Once you have reviewed the account's health with the team on the call, you can assign it to the appropriate health score both on the issue and in Salesforce.
When an account is added to the issue board, assign it with a 'triage team', which should include:
This team will have responsibility for managing the account as a team until renewal point. It is NOT the responsibility of the people present on the Customer ER call to own these issues, it is yours. Make sure you keep your issues updated every week with the steps you have taken to try and pull the account back into a healthy state.
The team will also review this report which shows all accounts that do not have a Technical Account Manager that are due for renewal within the next 90 days. It includes Mid-Market accounts but for the purpose of the Customer Emergency Room call, only Large accounts are focused on, with the exception of Pearl and Diamond accounts that are also Mid-Market (this should be fairly uncommon). The reason for this is we do not have any visibility on what the health situation of these customers is. This should be changed in the future to show all accounts without a health score rather than all accounts without a Technical Account Manager, as Account Managers should also be updating the health score and health score reason on their accounts.
The objective here is to try and retain customers, and reduce churn while balancing that with the demands of the rest of the business. For example, if a customer is at risk over a feature that needs to be built, that cost on engineering/product time needs to be balanced with the commercial attractiveness of the customer. For that reason it is a good idea for a representative of the product team to also attend the review meetings, as required.
Having such a process in place ensures that we are being proactive about managing our churn risk. It also means that we gain good visibility of potential churn in advance. If there are commonalities to churn risk customers, that will also help with visibility and prioritisation of any work required - or of any other problems.
If you move an account to Green or Yellow from Amber or Red, close it. Make sure you close it AND add the label so we can see the history in the issue.
This project/process is a work in progress and can always be improved. If you have suggestions on how to improve it, please leave add your thoughts to this issue.
After creating an issue in the Account Triage project, it will be created with a default template requiring the following information for the description:
Customer Success Plan URL
Contract Renewal Date
Reason for Health Score
With the description populated, the milestone should be assigned to the quarterly milestone that the next contract renewal date falls on. The due date field is managed by the newly assigned Account Manager / Technical Account Manager as a method for tracking next steps and engagement with an account.
Each of these considerations below are to help TAMs assess the health of their customers. When a TAM runs into a trick situation, they should bring it up with their manager in their 1:1 meeting. This is a mix of art and science — some customers may be a blend of multiple categories. To help, see the example below.
Customer Health Scoring - Examples
The examples below are meant to be somewhat difficult if evaluated only on the attributes provided. The TAM should rely also on their past customer conversations, SAL/AE dialogues, and other qualitative factors. These are good exercises for the TAM to work through with their manager.
Enterprise Customer Fictitious company Acme Inc. has the following attributes:
This customer could likely be scored as Yellow.
Commercial Customer Captain Barnacle's Custom Paints is a fictitious company with the following attributes:
This customer could likely be scored as Green or Yellow.
See Churn Classification for more info on these labels.
Every new issue will have the ~New label. Use the "Colours" board as your main view when viewing issues via an issue board. Once you have reviewed the issue, remove the ~New label.
There is also a region board for your viewing pleasure.