Energized, inspired, exhausted (in a good way)!
Churn Zero’s BIG RYG: Virtual made me feel all those things and much more! My favorite part of attending Customer Success conferences is knowing that I will walk away with a plethora of best practices and tangible solutions that can be implemented with my team immediately. That’s because leaders in the Customer Success community are always willing to share how they’re tackling today’s major industry challenges.
Unstacking the CS tech stack
When I saw that the very first session of the day was titled “How Stacked Is Your CS Tech? Software vendors want in. Should you let them?” I don’t think I could click the Attend button fast enough (anyone else have this reaction?!). The session began with the question, do you think the CS tech stack is too stacked, or the opposite, do you think it’s underfunded or undervalued? There is a lot to unpack when talking about a CS tech stack, and I often find myself wondering how to best evaluate which tools are necessary for any given company’s unique environment.
The panel style discussion with executives from Intellum, Pendo, Higher Logic, and ChurnZero led to a focus on the importance of mapping the customer journey to clearly identify where the technology fits in. The CS tech stack is changing and growing rapidly so it’s important to identify your business objectives and then back-in to the technology. Once you’ve identified what your stack will look like, CS leaders must ask for budget to purchase and implement those tools. This ask must always be tied back to revenue, commonly Net Revenue Retention (NRR), and the ability to scale CS teams through digitally led tools. I walked away from this session with more clarity on the purpose of CS tools and a better handle on how to evaluate which CS tool is best for a business.
Keeping it simple with the C-suite
I couldn’t miss ESG’s very own CEO Michael Harnum lead a session titled “How to Capitalize on the C-Suite’s Attention on CS.” Do you believe that Customer Success is pivotal to your company’s success? Michael spoke about how our belief system influences our actions, so once you’ve established that your C-Suite believes that CS is pivotal, you can capitalize on that belief to drive CS objectives forward at your company. Michael’s message was simple – play offense when you get that time with your executives to talk about Customer Success. He focused on these six key components to make the most out of those conversations:
- Set the agenda
- Have an informed perspective
- Infuse your message with data
- Tell a story using direct customer input
- Make a recommendation
- Anchor your recommendation to a corporate objective
I found that the simplicity of Michael’s message and his outline for offense could quickly turn the nervous feelings of meeting with a member of the C-suite significantly more manageable.
The journey through community
My favorite session of the day had to be “Building Long-Term Value with Community” led by Adrian Speyer, Head of Community at Vanilla. Adrian helped unlock the value of customer communities by taking us through the customer journey: Land, Onboard, Adopt, and Renewal.
Land – Potential customers use Google more than ever to discover new brands. Through these searches, community can be the first interaction with your brand by providing customers with a positive view before they’re a customer. “Community is your biggest billboard as well as your company’s welcome mat,” Adrian explained.
Onboard – Customers can use community as a Level 1 support channel since most customers prefer to solve things themselves. New customers enjoy being connected to veteran users who have been using the product a long time to answer questions.
Adopt – Leveraging a customer community is beneficial for scaling your CSM team – it serves as a place where customers can get additional value that goes hand in hand with the one-on-one interaction from the CSM. Adrian placed an emphasis on the community being an extra, something to add value, not just a place to offshoot customers because you don’t want to work with them. And in turn, CSMs can also gain valuable insights from the community on what customers are up to, what they’re learning, and where they may need some additional individual attention.
Renewal – Building a community can have an impact on contract lengths, NPS, and renewal order sizes. It’s no secret that customers are more likely to renew after a positive experience. 😊
Looking ahead to 2022
ChurnZero, the host of BIG RYG Virtual, identified three trends for Customer Success in 2022: Net Revenue Retention (NRR), Extreme digital transformation, and Customer Success flexes its authority. You Mon Tsang and Abby Hammer, ChurnZero’s CEO and CCO, respectively, gave a brief overview of these trends in their Welcome message, and I saw evidence of these trends woven throughout the day’s sessions. I’m excited to see how these trends materialize next year!