Discussing Customer Scenarios w/ CSM Office Hours
Jeff: Welcome to the Gain Grow Retain podcast. Perfect. Well, so what I'll try and do is just go through each of the rooms and we'll kind of look for who the speaker is. And then, as they are talking about certain scenarios, themes, things that they talked about as a group, I'd love for everybody in the group, to be able to raise their hands, come off of mute, kind of pile on to something they're talking about or ask questions, or give some feedback. There is a raise hand feature, participant window, bottom right- hand corner, so you will look out for that. Those networking sessions I always ask and hopefully that you guys can give me a thumbs up, but if you met at least one new person today, give me a thumbs up, that'd be nice to see. Cool. All right. That's always my goal. If you meet one new person, then we're doing it right. Awesome, so room one was Adam, Jodie, Julie, Carm, Tom, anybody from that group want to come off, I'm just going room by room. Anybody want to come off mute, maybe, and talk about some of the themes that you guys heard in your room. Maybe is some of the scenarios, customer kind of scenarios that you all had. Anybody want to be brave enough to come off mute and talk about those. Awesome. Julie, let's go for it.
Julie: I'll volunteer because we had a few people drop out, so I don't know how many of us are left, but yeah, we had Tom, Stacy, Carm, Adam, and Jodie, and I think Jodie and Stacy had to drop off. So we just had a few discussions and it's a shame that Jodie had to drop off because she's got some really interesting challenges with her customers at the moment. She works for a small startup and they've had some salespeople leave. So a lot of the CS people and the salespeople have been kind of sharing the wearing of hats, which for them has really given some insights into kind of the invisible lines between sales and CS and how CS can help sales understand how to develop those relationships a little bit more and listen to cues on client preferences and kind of start developing from even pre contract signing kind of through, and then take the reins, I suppose. So, that was one of the things we discussed. And then one of the other things was just talking about customer churn and how it can be prevented and some tips and tricks for that, which is of course, always an ongoing discussion.
Jeff: Is there any one tip or anything you guys talked about in terms of customer churn that stood out to you?
Julie: We didn't really get to solutions. We were just having some gripes about it. But I guess that goes back to just more maintaining those relationships and then really listening for what's going to drive the value and drive their ROI and make sure that they're aware of it inaudible so that we can continue to communicate correctly those things that are going to help them help their business at the end.
Jeff: Yeah. There's two things that I picked up. Maybe two scenarios that I have, one scenario and the one thing I picked up. So, one scenario that I'm having right now is, we have a champion of ours who is moving companies and this person has been an advocate, they speak on our behalf, they are in webinars, they're going to conferences. They are one of the quintessential examples of what we're doing. So we're now one hoping he or she goes to this next role and brings us with them, which is one thing that we're trying to... But then also now we're trying to figure out who the right relationships at that company that we can make sure and backfill so that we don't have kind of lost of relationship, especially because they've been such a shining example of what they can do. So that's one scenario that kind of goes along that churn route a little bit because we're trying to make sure we can get ahead of anything like that. The second thing that... I just read an article this week and it like a digest that I read, they had a question, which I thought was really interesting around when you first get to start meeting and building relationship, one of the questions that this person likes to ask was, describe the best relationship you've ever had with the vendor. And so you ask the customer this, and one of the reasons that they like to ask this question is it kind of gets them out of the here and now, but you start hearing tendencies about what they like. So, is communication really important to them? Is trust? Is best practices? And then you can kind of use that going forward to help build some of the relationships. So that's kind of one question that I heard and I did a bad job paraphrasing, I'm actually going to go try and figure out what it was. But does anybody else have any examples of like to Julie's point, questions that you're asking ways that you're just continuing to solidify relationships, tactics or tools that you're using there that would be a good tip to throw out while I'm also looking for my other one. So the question says, who is the best... Actually I butchered this, who was the best company you've ever worked with and why? Actually, I guess it's not butchered. But they will typically run through a long, overly detailed story describing exactly what they value most in a partner and why. Keep notes of this or record it on your conversational intelligence tool and refer back to it before every big meeting to remind yourself what is important to that person. So I just thought that was a good nugget. I'm trying to pick up and use. Anastacia, it looks like you have your hand raised. Do you have any questions or tips or things you'd like to think about as you try to develop some of those relationships?
Anastacia: Sure. I think it's important to have those conversations initially with a customer and figure out what their expectations are. What do they expect out of the software, what the problem they're trying to solve and what they're trying to achieve as a long- term goal. And a lot of times some of the folks that you're talking to are not part of the decision- making, and a lot of time decision- makers, they don't know what's going on to the operation side of things. So it's kind of important to bridge that gap between the two and really understand what the main points you're trying to solve.
Jeff: Yeah. I think the point about who you're talking to, I think it's something that I continue to notice more and more, right? That there's different levels, hierarchies, jobs, roles at companies, and depending on who you talk to, they should be very similar goals at the end of the day, but at the same time they all have different OKRs or different ways that they're going to go about it, different ways that they're going to achieve that depending on where they are, so understanding that. Another example that we're trying to leverage right now too, is just getting introduced to the right person. So using your day- to- day contact, you get introduced to the next layer up and so asking questions that help you do that I think it's also something to think about as well. Adam, looks like you have your hand raised.
Adam: Yeah. I kind of wanted to talk... You mentioned asking, what's going well. I kind of take the, how to pick a restaurant approach, where you like, you never really ever offer up the restaurant you want to go, you offer a bad so that we can actually get what you want. So that's actually kind of how I talk to my clients. Like, hey, I don't want to necessarily know what is going well with all the other vendors, like what is going poorly? Like, what was the emotional reason you're making a move? Is there something that you could not solve for it? Right. So asking more no base questions. I mean, I think it's a theme that Chris Voss was writing in Never Split the Difference. Right. So that's kind of been a focus of mine too, is like asking more no base answers, no base questions because that actually gives me a lot more insight. And it's a pilot into positively split answers.
Jeff: Yeah. I love that. It's a great example. I like that book too. It's a good... Never Split the Difference is sitting on my inaudible over here? Yap, it is actually. It's in my chart but you can't see it because of my background, but... Awesome. Well, Julie, thank you for sharing from kind of group one. Group two, Ashley, Bertel, John, Kelly, Courtney, or Stewart, anybody want to come off of mute maybe, and talk about some of the customer experience that you've had recently? Some of the things crosstalk.
Speaker 5: Yes. Happy to jump in. If you don't mind, Courtney, in short, I'm just going to say again, congratulations on this new gig that you learned this week. So this is really exciting.
Jeff: Is that Courtney?
Courtney: Thank you.
Speaker 5: So I'll summarize four points that I find interesting. The first one that has been brought by Ashley was, essentially how do you balance value versus budget through challenging time. Ashley is working on a new account, an existing account, they're on the way out. She did a phenomenal job to bringing more value, but the renewal is due in two months. So one needs to be done to actually secure these, at least the flat renewal, secure the business. Then we have clearly mentioned about how a client is going through a whole reset in term of their segmentation. And it's not so much about how to segment the client, but how to handle clients with low value in terms of investment, brands and awareness, who are used to these white glove treatment. How do you essentially move this client from white glove treatment to tech- touch? The third one is white gloves versus tech- touch, how to balance things out. And the last one is, which I found very interesting, is how to handle handover. I'm sure we have all horrible experience, a great experience as well, but often on we don't have this red carpet waiting for you, you end up... And looking a few challenges, so how to handle that?
Jeff: Awesome. Yeah, I would love to maybe focus on one of those, which was the idea around, how do you help kind of transitioned customers or think about, if you're taking a customer from one level of service and kind of moving them to another, because they wouldn't have to go... Excuse me, has anyone had to go through any discussions like that? Anything that you've kind of learned or picked up throughout those discussions of, how to position and think about, you're moving from one level of service to another, whether it's up or down, how do you position it, or what are some of the challenges that you've kind of overcome? Awesome. Kelly, it looks like you have your hand raised. crosstalk.
Kelly: Yeah. So this is a colleague of mine that I'm working with now. They're trying to move some of their customers as they scale up. They've historically been white glove only. So as they grow their organization, they are growing into more of a tiered model. So they've done a fantastic job, from what I can see, of building out the documentation. They have videos, they have FAQ documents, they have a lot of different self- service type informational pieces for their customers that are going to be in this tech- touch model. They actually built those out first before they started re- tiering the customers, and they have done with them that I've seen, training sessions with each customer. So here's what we're doing, here's what you have, here's what we're doing, here's how you no longer have... Their positioning as, here's how you no longer have to wait to get in touch with one of us, you can go here, these are all the brand new resources we've prepared for you. And as far as I can tell, a majority of their customers have adapted to that, the ones that are going to be moved into this tech- touch tier they've adapted to it just fine. Their new customers are doing great because that's how they've been presented into the organization. They do have a few customers though that are just resistant. They want somebody to talk to every time because that's what they're used to.
Jeff: Yeah. Yes. It's such an interesting challenge. We're about to go through this as well at Higher Logic, where we're going to re- segment our customers. We're going to be introducing a more of a peer- driven model. So, you've got on the lower tiers, you've got more of like community knowledge- based education and learning throughout your customer journey. So there's a lot of things that we're trying to introduce, but I like the way you put that about not having to wait. The other thing I think about also is that kind of reaffirming that we're going to be there for kind of proactive, and the proactive outreach is to make sure that they're leveraging best practices when we release new things, right. There's still going to be a level of service there, I think that's mainly what we've seen as a kind of deterrent there. So it's something that we're trying to get ahead of as well. So appreciate that, Kelly.
Kelly: Correct. And they've done it as a training to their customers. So everybody that already has that white glove, this is their training of their new... They're presenting it as new benefits versus a reduction in service.
Jeff: Awesome. Matt, looks like you've got your hand raised, what are some of your thoughts here?
Matt: Exactly to your point, Jeff, and exactly to what you were just mentioned, Kelly, actually, exactly what you said in terms of reinforcing the fact that they don't have to wait. I've used that exact phrase to many people and especially when posing it to them, as you typically need to wait in order to get ahold of someone from your service provider to guide the way, or you need to wait for a meeting call about, what if you had the ability to create that thought on your own? And I think that, that's the grand way to convince anybody of anything. So giving them the tools in order to do so. I mean that also service providers, I think that's what we're all here to do. That's why we're all here, is to enable them to do so. But beyond that, just to show them that there are many other untapped resources that all of us as CSMs are there to show them that, hey, especially in the group everyone's in, we discuss, we have different speakers, all of that talk about that. But discussing that there are opportunities to show our accounts that, there are things that you haven't touched yet, go find them out, go learn about them. And especially in your case, Jeff, how logically you have people already working within the community, you're enabling them to do that on their own. Even though Higher Logic has a number of community managers already enabling people to do so, now other people get to learn about that on their own. And I think that's a great thing to show people the resources at their disposal, essentially what they're paying for.
Jeff: Yeah. I guess one of the reasons why we're moving in that direction too, we went and talked with close to a hundred customers in our first 30 days here. And number one thing we kept hearing from our customers is that they actually enjoyed learning more from one another, understanding how they were using the tool, the challenges they were going through. And so how can we essentially just get out of the way and start making that happen more regularly is really the way I think I'm trying to look at it from a customer experience angle to your point, Matt. So awesome. Room three, Anastacia, Andrew, Halley, Heather, Jessica, and Kevin. Anyone want to come off mute maybe and talk about some of the themes or things you guys-
Jeff: Hey Andrew?
Andrew: Yap. Two other individuals kind of talk, touched on NPS topics. We had another two who were a little bit more in job seeking. So it was a little bit more just on some of their interactions and building off of interviews and some of that and us kind of just providing some insight there. And then a couple others just focused on maybe around some of the cancellations and retention, but as the conversation kind of came around, we focused more on some of the NPS topics and just what we do with them in terms of how we help customers or more importantly, how we can bring those in management to make changes. And Kevin really was asked some questions just about, what do you do with the feedback? Can you really run with it? And can you make changes with it? And he kind of laughed and said that you know what, it is a pipe dream. In some situations you can't just create immediate, immediate changes in circumstances, but it was in his situation leading to, they need to re- bring in a customer success tool, whether it be like a GainSight or I think ChurnZero was mentioned. And so it was just from there, we talked about how useful those things can be and how if individuals are stretched, then it puts a lot more focus and a lot more tools at your fingertips that can allow you to just manage your columns and what you can do from there.
Jeff: Yeah. I think this is something that we're going through as well around NPS. We're starting to roll out, how do we increase our response rates because our response rates are really low. But I think the one thing that we've learned, especially over our consulting days of the last three years is, it's more about the response than the actual kind of number itself that you get. Right. And actually the non- responders are probably the biggest indicator of something that's lying in wait. So I'm curious if anybody has any examples of following up on NPS, do you have any processes now, positive or negative, on how you kind of follow up on NPS surveys or any other surveys that you have with your customer as an interaction point, anything come to mind for anybody to be able to share? Or even just non- responders, is there a method that you guys are all using to try and figure out how to get in touch with some of those non- responders to actually have them take the 15- second NPS survey that we're asking of them? Awesome. Megan, what are some of your thoughts here?
Megan: Oh, where does implementing something to actually start in January 1st, so I don't know how well it's going to work. But we have all of the promoters that go to our marketing team and they are reaching out to them for testimonials and case studies. And then we also recently just started using ChurnZero as well. So we've created what we call plays in ChurnZero that creates or sends off an automatic email to the passive and the detractors and those emails then have a Calendly link in them and allows that person then to schedule time with me or someone else on the team to really talk more in depth about their experience with us.
Jeff: Awesome. Is there anything that you all do with the actual... Do you guys have like an open- ended response where they can actually type out notes? Do you go through and read that? Do you try and kind of look at some core themes there, and then how do you report that back in the organization?
Megan: Mm-hmm(affirmative). So we take all of that and we import that into our Slack channel so everyone in the organization can see all of the scores and all of the comments. And then if it is onboarding- related, someone from our team on the onboarding team typically will describe it. Otherwise it gets assigned out if it's specific to a person or that person's onboarding specialist they see as their client that is reporting it, they will reach out. And so that's kind of the method that we have going on right now. Of course, it will have to be revised once we actually see it in action, but that's what we're trying.
Ramia: I have just one more to share about NPS. So, for us it was very new, just launched it, so you could imagine the overwhelming response from clients who are waiting to give us good feedback and also from clients who just want to tell us everything that they want to tell us. Right? Our initial focus was more on the promoters and the inaudible saying thank you. While that is important, we decided that for detractors, we wanted to have a healed desk type of process. We're putting that together in place to start with, we're starting with escalations, where the ELT team gets notified of any detractors who scores set that low with comments that tells us, yes, you need to look into it. Yes, there is action for us to take, we're starting with that process and going into 2021, for our company, I would like to expand just the escalation process and to ward off a healed desk. So working towards that.
Jeff: Awesome. Thank you for sharing that, Ramia. Jessica, what are some of your thoughts here?
Jessica: Yeah, so both our training satisfaction and our NPS, we have it set up so that you get, once they qualify, like they've had the training or it's meets the deadline, they get an email. If they don't respond to the email, you wait three days, they're going to get an in- app pop- up. They don't respond to the pop- up, they're going to get another email and then we stop. So that's how we're sort of attacking passives as we make sure we give them at least three chances to fill it out. They can get to that survey for longer, but not quite, not the whole... Not years, but for a little longer, if they want to fill it out later. And then we ask one question and a follow- up sort of like, why did you say this basically? And those get shared with the entire CS team, and then we would escalate or share as appropriate.
Jeff: Awesome. Kevin, let's hit on you and then we'll move on to the next group here.
Kevin: So, one of the things that's been effective with us when it comes to getting responses is that we've been utilizing our managers or directors as kind of like a third party person to introduce the survey to the customer. Then we kind of present to them that we're using this for customer success to also see if there needs to be a kind of a reshuffling when it comes to what CSMs are assigned to which accounts. So it gives them an opportunity to provide constructive feedback for their CSM. And we've had a really great response. In fact, I've only missed one NPS response for my customers personally. The downside to it is that if you do have anybody that's motivated to either keep you or to get rid of you, it does kind of make their sentiments a little bit more extreme than the actual true sentiment is. So if they're like, oh, we really need to get rid of Kevin, then they'll say, yeah, he's terrible. He never shows up. And it may not be the truth. Or if they were like, oh, we really like Kevin and we're working on something. He may not be the best CSM, but we're going to speak to him like he's used the greatest thing since sliced bread. It can kind of secure the answers a bit, but it does improve the response rate. And then you still do kind of get the underlying sentiment just a little bit more extreme left or right there.
Jeff: Yeah. I like that example of just trying to make sure who can introduce the survey and like, how can you get more people involved, so to speak, make sure you feel like you've got the right buy- in. Ramia just also put in here too that they have follow- up questions, I liked the way she worded this, but what's the primary reason behind the score, and then what can we do to get you to a 10? I don't know if you all have looked, I don't know if you all were part of my onboarding sequence on Gain Grow Retain, but I send an email that says, I love your feedback. And the question I asked there is very simply like, what can I do to keep you here for years? It's kind of similar to, I think Ramia's questionnaire, like, what can we do to get you to a 10? So I'm positioning it like that I think is also really helpful. So I like that example. All right, room four, we've got about nine minutes. So we'll try and hit these quick, but root for Alex, Connor, Matt, Megan, or Patricia, anyone want to come off mute and talk about some of the themes that you guys all heard about some of the customer interactions you've had recently?
Speaker 15: Yeah. We talked about the importance of knowing the value of the service that you provide and really knowing what is important to the customer as well. One of the things we talked about, one of the stories was onboarding wasn't going as well as planned. And they kept thinking that it was thinking, but they realized that the value to the customer was really the savings and the solutions aspect. And so they were really hitting the mark there. And so the client and that the champion was happy because the value that they wanted was met. And then also we talked about with a growing company, as you add new features, how do you best educate your customers to adopt those new features as they come out? And we talked a little bit more about transit and how to get the data points to best communicate with your clients.
Jeff: Awesome. Yeah, that is, I think something that we've heard more and more, especially from other community members. I think there's a couple of good threads out there right now, just around like kind of time to first value or time to value when you release something new to a customer, how do you make sure your teams internally are enabled to do that, but then also, how are you enabling the customer? Is it through kind of one- on- one training? Do you have an in- app tool like Pendo or WalkMe, that's helping how do you kind of facilitate and look at some of those things? So I think that's certainly becoming a bigger part of what we're hearing. Awesome. I think we've got room five, which is Karen, Christian, Nathan, Paul and Ramia. Anybody want to come off mute and maybe just talk about some of the things you've heard, and Nathan, I'm hoping it's you.
Nathan: Yap, so my team, it was awesome. It was great to meet all the guys but I think it was the first time for most of us to meet. So that was fantastic. Now, one of the things that we kind of identified through all the stories that we shared was how to deal and how to grapple with kind of knowledge gaps that caused this dissatisfaction with customers, whether that's NPS, response of if your system doesn't do XYZ and actually does. Or if there's like, hey, I need support and I'm not getting it, and it's like, well, you've been calling on the weekends or support isn't inaudible weekends. It was just really fascinating. I know we've already talked a little bit about NPS and how that can be helpful, but call us knowledge, you have to... How do we do a good job of showing those up in to a team and to the people that I met on the success, it seems like they all had good plays in progress to make sure that they were able to assist those people. And then the other piece was really focusing kind of on, how do you make sure that you're getting to the decision- maker tier and really build those relationships, become that trusted advisor so that you get that feedback loop back in. Because sometimes you'll start with one person who's your daily contact and you've got a great rapport with them, but then the decision maker decides to go with some other company and it's like, well, how could I have prevented that? So those are the two big areas that we were kind of looking at and thinking to expand.
Jeff: Is there any takeaways that you had, Nathan, just from the... Actually maybe one from each, like, what's one of the things that you heard from getting to the next layer of the executive sponsor? Is there any ways that you guys all talked about doing that or facilitating that type of a kind of play?
Nathan: On the executives, we didn't actually dive into it too deeply into how to get to the next tier. For the kind of knowledge gap stuff, one of the things that I think came out for the team was really making sure that you get to the bottom of actually what's causing the problem, right? Like if you just say, oh, I'm unsatisfied, like, all right, that's great. But making sure that you actually figured out what is causing the pain. And then once you identify that, really being able to take care of it, right. Saying, hey, our support's not on the weekends, but if you send us a note immediately, we'll take care of it first thing on Monday, that's really important. So you can kind of make sure that you dive to the very deep level of what's causing the pain and identify that correctly. And don't just slap a band aid on it and move past it. Like," Oh yeah, I think I know what you're talking about, here it is. Let's go." But really getting deeper into what is really going on here and then saying, all right, let's solve for that. I mean, getting positive results out of those conversations then, because you're bringing value as a customer success manager.
Jeff: Yeah. Kind of get down to the five whys and try to make sure you're getting done through it costs? Awesome. Well, I appreciate your Christmas village you have back there as well and your lovely, lovely display behind you. Awesome. Well, it sounds like there's some great discussions in these groups. And one of the things that we're going to try and do is hopefully go back and start taking some of these things. We'll be looking at January and start maybe having some of these as dedicated topics. I think there's a lot of good things just around onboarding kind of time to value or training education, there's NPS in there. So I think there's a lot of just kind of sub topics we can pull out for some sessions in January and start getting that kind of big out early. Hey guys, thanks so much for taking the time to listen to the Gain, Grow, Retain Podcast. If you liked what you heard, please take a moment and share the podcast with your friends and colleagues and subscribe. We really appreciate it. Talk to you soon.
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