Unfortunately for customer success organizations, information unravels as it travels. The larger they are, the harder it is to keep everyone on-message, which is why many companies spend so much time on codifying processes. They write scripts, publish decks, train on scenarios, record and replay calls, and launch computer-based training platforms, and yet 44 percent of customers still report that they get the wrong information from support managers (CSMs).

How can you arm your success managers to deliver messages that include the right answer? With surefire sound bites.

Video communicates a wealth of nonverbal information that’s critical to CSM training

Surefire sound bites are short, 1 to 3 minute videos where your best support leaders and managers record the perfect messaging to train CSMs on common scenarios. For example, do customers always ask for ‘a little extra’ during renewal? That’s a sound bite. Do users call complaining about your software when it’s their internet provider that’s to blame? That’s a soundbite. Any common scenario is fair game.

These videos should be quick and dirty—feel free to use a webcam or phone—but make sure that it’s recorded in the office during work hours when the video’s author is warmed-up and feeling inspired. That’s how you’ll capture the tonality, phrasing, and gestures that are critical to training.

You see, video has a major advantage over scripts, decks, and audio recordings. Viewers get to see the non-verbal communication that goes along with the words. This accounts for some 60 to 90 percent of the message if you believe the old studies, and it makes your training vastly more memorable.

Just see for yourself. Which of these is easier to follow?

The Text:

  • Customer: Seems pricey. Any way you can discount it?
  • CSM: We appreciate your business tremendously. That said, it looks like you’re only renewing for a single year, but if your renewal were for two to three, I’d have the ability in the system to apply for a discount. Are you perhaps interested in extending it?

The Audio


The Video

Surefire sound bites arm CSMs with the training they need to deliver better, more convincing, on-message support. To make use of them, however, you’ll have to make them actionable.

How to make your surefire sound bites actionable:

1. Create a sound bite library

We all have different learning styles but for the majority of people, repetition is key. Provide your customer success team a curated library of surefire sound bites that they can listen to over and over again, internalize, and repeat. When everyone in your support organization gets the same verbiage, hand motions, and content from the same source, it puts everyone in lockstep with the same solid message.

2. Include a WIIFM

Whoever said “build it and they will come” had absolutely zero experience with employee portals and internal libraries. These are often a place where good ideas go to be alone, forever. If you want your surefire sound bites to actually help agents, they need a WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) element to entice them to seek out the videos.

You can do this by making sure that the videos offer actual value. Start by naming the videos for the problems they solve for CSMs. For example, instead of titling a video “Response for irate customer,” call it something snazzier like “How to get a ‘10’ NPS score from an already irate customer.” Next, advertise the new library to success teams, encourage their use, and track what’s working and what isn’t with video analytics.

3. Include executives

It’s not just your CSMs who have something to say: Tap all of the greatest talents in the business for the things they’re each best at. Have a sales leader who’s excessively suave and persuasive? Have her record a sound bite on heartfelt apologies. Have a CEO who does a world-class job of telling the company story concisely? Get it on video. Gather sound bites and expertise from anyone who has something to add.

So, what do you do the next time you see a spike in customers who claim they’re getting the wrong information from customer support managers? Arm your team with surefire sound bites. They’ll tighten up the whole success team’s messaging, empower CSMs to resolve issues with confidence, and improve your overall quality of support.

Chris Gillespie