CS Leadership Office Hours Topics

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[Deleted User]
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Good Morning - we've got about 12 weeks left of CS Leadership Office Hours for this year (crazy fast!).  We're looking to get into topics that are important to you as community members and leaders. 

So....

What are you currently experiencing that we can discuss during CS Leadership Office Hours?
What priorities have been set that you're working through?

@Matt Myszkowski @Kelly Hook @Kelly Kimmich @Chris Jones (CJ) @Sana Farooq @Anna Alley



------------------------------
Jeff Breunsbach
Director, Customer Experience | Higher Logic
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  • Anna Alley
    Anna Alley Member, CS Leader Posts: 70 Expert
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    edited September 2020
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    Hey Jeff!

    So many things right now, but here are what I'd say are my biggest items:
    • Support Team "upskill" - we still have a lot of challenges with issues in support that create additional work for our CS teams when ideally it should be able to be taken care of in support. We're trying to figure out how we can partner with that team to help, but would be curious if anyone has done something similar (we're talking potential shadowing of CSMs, etc.) especially within time constraints - they can only be away from case handling for so long.
    • We're actively working on Success Plans and Success Outcomes so those conversations are always great.
    • We've also talked about scalability, etc. before but one thing that I think for me is slightly different is we had an established team for 2ish years, the company decided it grew too fast, we essentially cut the team in half, and now are having to figure out tech touch strategies and scalability initiatives (while lowering unit cost). I think it would be much easier if we were starting from scratch, but are now having to reset a lot of expectations across the business, for our customers, etc.
    • Balancing CS work versus business projects/changes. Has anyone thought about a capacity/intake type process for Customer Success? We only have so much bandwidth, but unlike an engineering team are not able to say "no" if there's a customer impacting change that's being introduced. Curious if anyone has managed that successfully.
    • Tying CS to direct outcomes and results - This is probably my biggest challenge for 2021.
  • Kelly Kimmich
    Kelly Kimmich Member Posts: 5 Seeker
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    edited September 2020
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    Thanks for tagging me!  I echo many of the items Anna mentioned - particularly her 3rd and 5th bullets. 

    Two additional thoughts:
    • We're maturing into more specialized roles within our CS team and this means we need to better define those roles.  Our team also includes our support team, and the lines between what is support vs what is not support are not well defined.  
    • We're discovering that prospects know us and our brand well enough to buy faster than they have in the past.  This our CS team is handling more objections post-sale.  To retain as many clients as possible, I'm thinking the answer to this is both creating a better tech-touch onboarding experience and/or conducting formal discovery meetings to generate success plans based on their specific needs and goals.  I'm curious to hear what others have done in this scenario.
    Thanks!
  • Matt Myszkowski
    Matt Myszkowski Member Posts: 143 Expert
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    edited September 2020
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    Hi @Jeff Breunsbach,

    3 key topics for me to add at this stage:

    1. Voice of Customer programmes (as per my post https://www.gaingrowretain.com/communities/community-home/digestviewer/viewthread?MessageKey=6dea63f6-fdbe-44a8-86dc-020b3e68130e&CommunityKey=1261a423-6343-48a3-a722-6c04f19eacc8&tab=digestviewer#bm9fc2ac7d-dfbd-43b0-95c0-3928d5d22223 )

    2. Business Planning for 2021 (how and what do you deliver as a business plan for the upcoming new year?)

    3. Succession Planning (how do you plan for your replacement if/when you leave your role?)


  • Shari Srebnick
    Shari Srebnick Member Posts: 110 Expert
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    edited September 2020
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    Hey Jeff,

    I'm throwing in my 2 cents here.

    I echo much of what has been said above by Anna, Kelly, and Matt.  Specifically, for me:

    1: Success Plans and Outcomes - what is the best way to effectively measure?  Has anyone created any kind of reporting or metrics to help with that?
    2: Tying CS to direct outcomes and results - definitely a challenge
    3: VoC Programs 

    Thanks!
  • Haley Miller
    Haley Miller Member Posts: 7 Contributor
    edited September 2020
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    Hey Jeff -

    Like @Shari Srebnick mentioned, I'd also love to hear about Success Plans and Outcomes.  We have an initiative underway where we are working on measuring the effectiveness of Success Plans. 

    Thanks! 
    Haley 

  • Sam Meskini
    Sam Meskini Member Posts: 1 Navigator
    edited September 2020
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    I echo what was mentioned before too. Also it would be good to share some best practices on end of year reviews and success planning for 2021. The challenge is to demonstrate ROI achieved in 2020 and creatively show what still to be done next year to achieve further success.Thank you <3
  • Tanya Strauss
    Tanya Strauss Member Posts: 14 Thought Leader
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    edited September 2020
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    @Jeff Breunsbach I'm also in favor of @Anna Alley's topics. Selfishly, I'm in the midst of transitioning from a CS direct leadership role to more of a CS Ops function. As such, Anna's bullet #4 about day job vs special projects speaks to me. We have a challenge around integrating the voice of the ICs without bogging them down with too many surveys, meetings, etc. In the context I'm describing, I think this is actually an operations leadership question, something like: how to get end-user buy-in without having them "own" too much.
  • Markus Siebeneick
    Markus Siebeneick Member Posts: 33 Expert
    edited September 2020
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    Many great topics suggested by others so far.


    My two topics in addition to others would be
    • Change Management - how have other leaders trained or helped their teams to manage the challenges of change management with customers (IE. your service/product requires a complete change in how they have done things in the past)
    • Sales/CS/Support - (adding to @Anna Alley's) how to align these three so that communication and actions are consistent vs. working against each other
  • Sana Farooq
    Sana Farooq Member Posts: 23 Thought Leader
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    edited September 2020
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    Some great stuff shared here! Here's what we're focused on:

    • Balancing CS work versus business projects/changes: +1  on this from Anna. Business is in high growth mode, but CSM's are over-bandwidth managing clients. How do we keep moving on the bigger picture when everyone is near burn out? 
    • Success plans/outcomes- Consistently showing ROI to customers throughout the lifecycle and year when our product is not based in data
    • Building out NPS automation playbook in 3 tiers: promoting advocacy for promoters, product feedback for detractors, and CSM gameplan for moving the needle on passive users
    • Building customer engagement in PLG model and moving customers from free to paid
    • Building an active and engaging user community
    • Adoption of a module that requires a high amount of (limited) technical resources while still making traction in cross sell opportunity
    • Effectively moving into a team based/"pod" model for tech touch with a shared inbox without losing service and personalization
  • Gali Michaeli
    Gali Michaeli Member Posts: 1 Navigator
    edited September 2020
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    Hi Jeff,
    Adding something a bit different to the mix - I'd love to hear about the very first stages of setting up a CS team - not just in terms of processes (onboarding plans, KPIs), but also CS's cross functional impact (on product, sales, partnerships) before being able to set up "voice of the customer" programs. For example:
    - CS/BD collaboration (because your best customers are also your best referrals, and sometimes will bring you the right partners as well)
    - Getting early customer's product feedback (yes we all know it's important - but what are the right milestones? when do you actively bring in product, etc.)
    - Building out CS when expanding to new markets
    - Separating support from CS - at what stage? what are the metrics you look at for this decision?

    Thanks!

    Gali. 

  • tmnovello
    tmnovello Member Posts: 7 Contributor
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    edited September 2020
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    Success plans and outcomes -- how to measure effectiveness! It's a new motion for our team.
  • Jennifer Williams
    Jennifer Williams Member Posts: 1 Navigator
    edited September 2020
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    Tons of great ideas here, it is exciting to see what everyone is working on!

    For my org, these are my top strategic initiatives for 2020/21:
    • Change Management Training for CSMs
    • Project Management Training for CSMs
    • Removing NVA Work via Automation (Support)
    • Improved Communication Planning for Product Launches
    • Success Plans and Outcomes
    • Customer Advisory Council
    Hope everyone has a great week!!

    ------------------------------
    Jennifer Williams
    Director
    ShipHero
    ------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------
    Original Message:
    Sent: 09-23-2020 07:40
    From: Jeff Breunsbach
    Subject: CS Leadership Office Hours Topics

    Good Morning - we've got about 12 weeks left of CS Leadership Office Hours for this year (crazy fast!).  We're looking to get into topics that are important to you as community members and leaders. 

    So....

    What are you currently experiencing that we can discuss during CS Leadership Office Hours?
    What priorities have been set that you're working through?

    @Matt Myszkowski @Kelly Hook @Kelly Kimmich @Chris Jones (CJ) @Sana Farooq @Anna Alley



    ------------------------------
    Jeff Breunsbach
    Director, Customer Experience | Higher Logic
    ------------------------------
  • Russell Bourne
    Russell Bourne Member Posts: 61 Expert
    GGR Blogger 2023 GGR Blogger 2021 First Anniversary
    edited September 2020
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    Great suggestions by all so far.  A couple I'd love to see in addition:
    • Customer Journey.  They were such a huge topic last year and now I barely see them mentioned, replaced by success plans.  In retrospect, are customer journeys not delivering value to CS orgs?  Should we stop mapping them, or if not, should we think about how to integrate success plan management into them?
    • Change management within your own company.  As CS practices change, so do our communications and asks to other departments.  Would love to have volunteers share stories of what was or wasn't successful in their change management with other departments.

    ------------------------------
    Russell Bourne
    ------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------
    Original Message:
    Sent: 09-23-2020 07:40
    From: Jeff Breunsbach
    Subject: CS Leadership Office Hours Topics

    Good Morning - we've got about 12 weeks left of CS Leadership Office Hours for this year (crazy fast!).  We're looking to get into topics that are important to you as community members and leaders. 

    So....

    What are you currently experiencing that we can discuss during CS Leadership Office Hours?
    What priorities have been set that you're working through?

    @Matt Myszkowski @Kelly Hook @Kelly Kimmich @Chris Jones (CJ) @Sana Farooq @Anna Alley



    ------------------------------
    Jeff Breunsbach
    Director, Customer Experience | Higher Logic
    ------------------------------
  • Amanda Wachendorf
    Amanda Wachendorf Member Posts: 2 Navigator
    edited September 2020
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    Hey Jeff, 
    Awesome year so far! Time flies when you're having fun. Here are my thoughts: Our team is having a lot of conversation around two main topics: 
    • How organizations are identifying and documenting the organizational structure of their clients as well as how they are identifying and documenting key personas they are working with in order to drive adoption
    • How we can or should incorporate reselling partners into our Customer Success strategies - what part of Customer Success do they ideally own?
    Thanks!

    ------------------------------
    Amanda Wachendorf
    Customer Success Team Lead
    Eagle Point Software
    Dubuque
    ------------------------------
  • Daryl Colborne
    Daryl Colborne Member Posts: 50 Expert
    First Anniversary Photogenic Name Dropper First Comment
    edited September 2020
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    Hey Jeff!
    As we have embarked this year on building Customer Success at Zerto, I am trying to determine how to best serve our large customer base (7000+) and deliver on outcomes when we have a very small team of CSMs.

    We've started by focusing the majority of our attention on the segment of accounts that bring in the most revenue and still have plenty of upside (land and expand sales model), but I don't want to forget about the vast majority of other customers we have!

    I know there have been discussions and podcasts in the past about tech/digital touch, but I would l love to hear more from the wider audience discussion around this topic  :)

    Thanks again for all that you do for this community!

    Regards,
    Daryl

  • Yanira "Janita" Sesniak
    Yanira "Janita" Sesniak Member Posts: 52 Expert
    First Comment
    edited September 2020
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    +1 to @Anna Alley's comment:
    • Tying CS to direct outcomes and results - This is probably my biggest challenge for 2021.
  • Yanira "Janita" Sesniak
    Yanira "Janita" Sesniak Member Posts: 52 Expert
    First Comment
    edited September 2020
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    Hi @Jeff Breunsbach - I would love to connect on how CS teams are capturing case studies/testimonials/rave reviews and how they are using those resources as a team and across the company.
  • Carl Hoffmann
    Carl Hoffmann Member Posts: 16 Thought Leader
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    edited September 2020
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    @Anna Alley I like that you added this topic.  Interestingly, I was part of a team in Support that actually reached out to Sales and CSMs with a program to better identify revenue opportunities that came out of Non-Break/Fix cases.   Some of the positives that came out of that was a clearer understanding of the request to CSMs and a better understanding in Support of when (and when not) to punt cases to CSMs.  It also fostered a closer relationship between all the teams, helping to present a unified message to customers.
  • Anna Alley
    Anna Alley Member, CS Leader Posts: 70 Expert
    Photogenic First Anniversary First Comment Name Dropper
    edited September 2020
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    Carl, I would love to learn  more about that program! Do you have any materials or outlines of what it entailed that you wouldn't mind sharing?
  • Ori Lotan
    Ori Lotan Member Posts: 1 Navigator
    edited October 2020
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    @Jeff Breunsbach - I'd be interested in seeing a working session where leaders with large/small CS org share how tools, spreadsheets, or any other platform enables the group. Would be great having a share screen session, and maybe share templates after (e.g., health score or playbook).
  • Kelly Hook
    Kelly Hook Member Posts: 15 Thought Leader
    edited October 2020
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    Hi Jeff!

    A bit late to this post but my main priorities for Q4 include redoing our onboarding playbook and streamlining our data insights. We need to retailor our onboarding to different audiences.

    Fortunately, we gained some new partners and customers rapidly in Q3 but it's created backlog and the team is scrambling to catch up. I'm looking to equip the team with a more standardized approach across all fronts so they can reduce manual handshakes and bring value to our customers and partners quickly.

    On the data insights front, we have a problem of analysis paralysis right now. We use Tableau and have too many worksheets to understand our customer and need to simplify. I'm also categorizing our current team tasks into reactive vs proactive in hopes we can shift all CSMs to the latter and move all reactive to support (also part of CS).

    ------------------------------
    Kelly Hook
    Head of Customer Success | Orderful
    ------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------
    Original Message:
    Sent: 09-23-2020 07:40
    From: Jeff Breunsbach
    Subject: CS Leadership Office Hours Topics

    Good Morning - we've got about 12 weeks left of CS Leadership Office Hours for this year (crazy fast!).  We're looking to get into topics that are important to you as community members and leaders. 

    So....

    What are you currently experiencing that we can discuss during CS Leadership Office Hours?
    What priorities have been set that you're working through?

    @Matt Myszkowski @Kelly Hook @Kelly Kimmich @Chris Jones (CJ) @Sana Farooq @Anna Alley



    ------------------------------
    Jeff Breunsbach
    Director, Customer Experience | Higher Logic
    ------------------------------