TSIA’s conferences are always jam-packed with best practices, real-life examples, success stories, and lessons learned from some of technology’s biggest names. This spring’s virtual TSIA Interact was certainly no exception, with three days of sessions from TSIA researchers and industry-leading companies and experts.
With so many impressive sessions and speakers, it was hard to choose which to attend each day! So, in case you missed anything, I asked members of the ESG team to share their key takeaways.
Madeline Evans, Digital Customer Success Manager
Engagement: It’s Dynamic!
I must say, TSIA Interact Spring 2021 event was quite possibly one of the most engaging and insightful virtual events I’ve attended in the CS industry in my career thus far! Each session I attended held alignment with various leading Customer Success topics and strategic concepts, which closely correspond to many of our current account initiatives across ESG today. I’m particularly intrigued by one consistent theme that many TSIA sessions addressed: the concept of Dynamic Engagement. How can CS orgs and teams – large, medium, small, and even indirect – leverage a compelling engagement model across various customer segments? Many sessions revealed the need for developing prerequisites that bring forward company alignment for an overall customer engagement framework.
Prereqs for a Dynamic Engagement Model look like addressing effective outcome measurements for tracking adoption, defining journey maps, creating success plans, generating success playbooks, and defining KPIs and metrics that track against desired outcomes that truly matter to the customer (all areas we’re driving with ESG customers today – go team!). Developing a Dynamic Engagement framework can be associated with the following overarching areas: outcome, experience, ROI, engagement, and validation.
Some key questions to consider when implementing a dynamic engagement structure include:
I loved this specific theme and proposition presented across different TSIA sessions because it really comes down to conveying how to showcase value to best support customers, in addition to how companies can anchor processes and solutions that work towards creating symbiotic relationships across the org, its teams, and the customer. Advancing customer engagement models can be complex, but when a framework is established and done right with internal team alignment, there’s a big win for all parties involved!
Joshua Robitaille, Customer Success Program Manager
Scalability + Big Ideas that are Down to Earth
Looking back at TSIA Interact, two sessions really stood out for me.
First was “Mastering Scale with Digital First Customer Journeys”. The biggest challenge to Customer Success organizations is scaling. This session was an engaging and practical discussion about the importance of insightful customer data, nonlinear workflows and a focus on automation with a rapid learning cycle. The presenters, Jamie Bertasi of Totango, Karla Russell from Monster, and Taylor Cunningham from Trustpilot talked through their wins and challenges trying to build a better CS experience without hiring an army of CSMs. They brought this home by sharing great tips on how to leverage automated digital tools, while still injecting the critical human engagement at the right moments in the journey. Monster’s use case was particularly poignant as it identified the touchpoints at which human intervention will be simply helpful versus truly essential.
Second, the “Fireside Chat: The New Attributes of Winning Companies”. Bill McDermott, CEO of ServiceNow may be one of the most inspiring voices in B2B technology. Draped in audacious décor and armed with a deep empathy for the human experience, Bill and TSIA’s J.B. Wood free-wheeled through big ideas that always seemed down to earth and easy to relate to. Finding the silver lining and the unique opportunity the pandemic has presented us, Bill laid out his keys to the future in the era of digital transformation: Integrate your systems, make it simple, and lead with empathy. Dude’s a rock star.
Britt Layman, Customer Success Operations Manager
Customer Content: Video + No CTA = A-Ok
My favorite session at TSIA Interact came from day 2, on “Mastering Scale with Digital First Customer Journeys.”
When creating journey maps in a digital-first model, I’ve tended to think about creating the customer journey both linearly and with an end date in mind. While that’s certainly a part of getting something started, it’s not the end goal. To think about the journey iteratively means that if/when you get some aspect of the customer lifecycle wrong, or if you can do something better, then you can adjust the steps and touchpoints as needs change or new factors come into play.
In my client engagement, our specific use case is driving toward adoption of a standardized global customer journey, but we’re also introducing customers to automated content and learning within the application and via email. Where previously they had a white glove approach to CS, and face-to-face or remote hand-holding at every step for all customers regardless of segment, we found that customer adoption was inconsistent and that a customer may have missed vital pieces of product knowledge (and therefore product adoption) along the way. When we began to adopt an outlined journey however, we were able to see where customers might “hang” and lose momentum. This allowed us to create new content and touchpoints to help resolve those areas. The customer journey then moved beyond just a linear phase of onboarding, to adoption, and then renewal, and became a bit more cyclical based on the customer need. Maybe a customer needs to revisit onboarding topics, and by having digital content available that can be consumed easily, they can continue to adopt and grow in their best practice and not need to wait on a CSM to come on-site.
What’s Next: Now, it’s vital for us to move past a call to action with every piece of content or touchpoint and start focusing more on educating and delivering based on need. We know that customers can and do consume video content when it’s easy to follow, so I believe that scaling up what we produce and how we deliver it will help these global customers self-serve and drive better adoption and customer ownership in their success. This session really got me thinking critically about where we came from, and now how we can begin to evolve and adapt as we enter this new phase.
Nick Mitchell, Customer Success Manager
Success Through the Channel
One of the TSIA Interact sessions I attended that really hit home was “Accelerate Your Partner Community to Deliver Customer Success” with Anne McClelland and Stephen Fulkerson of TSIA. As companies are developing Customer Success practices and begin looking to scale, their channel and partner community is a key area that needs focus to achieve that desired scale. Especially when partners are closer to the customer and have access to key information (e.g., customer use cases and desired outcomes, scope of the deal, initial roles and responsibilities, etc.).
As Customer Success is becoming more prevalent within partner organizations, it is important to understand how mature your partners are. Do they have product adoption data, CSMs, customer training, and enablement, or necessary technology? Have you mutually defined Rules of Engagement? As you empower partners to run CS motions, role clarity is key (indirect vs. direct, segments and engagement models). Then, putting an incentive structure in place to drive partner CS adoption and provide sufficient enablement and training, can help get your partner CS motion off the ground.
To begin rolling out a Customer Success program for your partners, it is important to map out these journey maps and processes that your partner will go through, and it is helpful to pilot with a few trusted partners prior to launching a full program.
These are all things that we have developed and continue working on with an existing ESG client and this session really helped validate that we are focusing on the right things and are ahead of the curve!
Justin Garlock, Customer Success Analyst
CS + Product: Involved, Not Just Informed
You know how when you buy a new car, all of a sudden you start seeing that same car all over the place? Or when a friend makes a recommendation for a new gadget you’ve never heard of, and suddenly those are the only ads you see? (Okay, this one is just creepy!)
Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about alignment between Customer Success and product design/development; perhaps as a result, in almost every session I attended at TSIA Interact, I noticed the importance of—and shift towards—CS having a seat at the table with product. The “Service Offer Creation” Panel and “Why Connecting the Customer Journey to Your Organization Will Drive Change” Keynote both reinforced that the way our products are designed and iterated on needs to change by bridging the silo between product and services.
As proposed by Anand Eswaran, President and COO of RingCentral, “we have to take a step back and break offer creation at every function…offer creation has to happen at a company level.” When that process of offer creation happens at the company level, services and product are aligned under the same strategic vision and are unified in this secure closed loop of feedback and iteration, while still ensuring key metrics and responsibilities are aligned under each organization. I would be extremely interested to see data on how many leaders in services (Customer Success, support, education, PS, etc.) are involved—not just informed—in road mapping and development of product, and the impact on adoption, retention, and expansion.
That’s a Wrap!
TSIA’s content and events are always full of powerful perspectives (and the data to back it up!), and this spring’s TSIA Interact was certainly no exception. From standout sessions around Digital CS, Partner Success, and big ideas that actually work, to recurring themes like dynamic engagement and the relationship between CS and product, our team walked away from this event (okay, from their computer screens) feeling validated, inspired, and with a slew of new ideas to run with.