Customer Coffee Corner

Matt Myszkowski
Matt Myszkowski Member Posts: 143 Expert
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edited January 2021 in Strategy & Planning
Hey All,

I want to introduce an internal (to my org) customer coffee corner - ask a customer to come in (virtually of course), I interview them around their experience of doing business with Cision - the good, the bad & the ugly! This would be quarterly, with the aim of driving a more customer centric business by giving all staff, customer facing & non-customer facing the opportunity to hear direct from a customer.

Does anyone do this today? Any hints or tips? Any no-nos to be aware of?

Or shall I bin the whole idea?

Comments

  • Jeff Breunsbach
    Jeff Breunsbach Member Posts: 266 Gain Grow Retain Staff
    5 Insightfuls Photogenic First Anniversary GGR Blogger 2022
    edited January 2021
    Funny you mention this @Matt Myszkowski - @Jay Nathan is kicking off a series where we do this monthly.  Ours is launching next week for the first time but we have similar goals to what you mentioned above.

    A few things we've been considering...
    • Making sure to hit all segments and customers - this shouldn't just be the top
    • How does this type of activity play a role in our advocacy ladder
    • Let's make this as easy as possible for the customer -- effective scheduling, one quick prep session and then live for 30-min on a Zoom
    • Make sure to drive attendance internally - we'll be recording a quick video to highlight the series and the goals to all teams
    I'll let you know what else we find out after our initial launch here shortly.
  • Matt Myszkowski
    Matt Myszkowski Member Posts: 143 Expert
    First Comment Photogenic First Anniversary
    edited January 2021
    Love this - thanks Jeff.

    Yes, please share the learnings as keen to get this up & running ASAP.
  • Corinne Goldberg
    Corinne Goldberg Member Posts: 7 Seeker
    edited January 2021
    I love this idea Matt. At what stage along the customer's journey are you featuring customers at a coffee corner? I can see this working well right after a renewal, almost a live post-mortem where both sides reflect on what went well/didn't. It also might serve tactically to level-set the partnership in the year ahead, build rapport and momentum in advance of an annual account review? 

    I'd also see this working well after a major event where your team "saved the day" or both sides learned from the experience, for example the customer tried a new feature that drove sizable ROI. Sharing those learnings seems to be more impactful when coming from a customer directly in my experience!
  • Matt Myszkowski
    Matt Myszkowski Member Posts: 143 Expert
    First Comment Photogenic First Anniversary
    edited January 2021
    Hi Corinne,

    Honest answer - I don't know yet, but arguably along all stages. 

    While I obviously want to showcase what we do well, I am conscious our business needs to improve our customer centricity so we must be brutally honest with what doesn't go well.
  • Isabel Ruiz
    Isabel Ruiz Member Posts: 1 Navigator
    edited January 2021
    Hi Matt,

    We do this at Pluralsight quarterly.
    Quick suggestion would be to mention this as part of the customer onboarding/intro to Customer Success meeting.
    So they will be aware they can participate in this forum. And when your CSMs are creating/implementing engagement activities with the customer, to ask if they would be interested in telling their story for the next session.
    Some customers don't shy away from the spotlight :)
  • Brian Hartley
    Brian Hartley Member Posts: 185 Expert
    First Comment First Anniversary
    edited January 2021
    So timely @Matt Myszkowski !  We are starting this up next week, where I have invited a customer to come to our all hands meeting to speak.  I will be facilitating in a fire-side chat layout.  This is our first one, but this is my game plan so far:
    • Prep meeting with customer a few days prior to discuss questions
    • Aiming for 15-20 minutes
      • What value have you seen out of our application within your organization?
      • What do you expect of your vendor/partners to ensure a good relationship?
      • How do you see the procurement business evolving?  (or other industry type question)(
      • Q and A from the company
    Will keep you posted on how it goes
  • Anita Toth
    Anita Toth Member Posts: 246 Expert
    Photogenic 5 Insightfuls First Anniversary
    edited January 2021

    Great idea @Matt Myszkowski.


    I would suggest a few standard questions so

    1) you can compare responses across segments as well as within them

    2) someone else can easily transition into the role (or it can be expanded)

    If it's possible to record the conversations (with consent, of course), have them transcribed in case some real gold is discovered. ?

  • Brian Hartley
    Brian Hartley Member Posts: 185 Expert
    First Comment First Anniversary
    edited January 2021
    Hey Matt - we just had our first iteration of this last Friday.  It was a huge hit!  Let me know if you have specific questions.
  • Jeff Breunsbach
    Jeff Breunsbach Member Posts: 266 Gain Grow Retain Staff
    5 Insightfuls Photogenic First Anniversary GGR Blogger 2022
    edited January 2021
    Would love to hear some of your thoughts on how you think this went @Brian Hartley

    @Jay Nathan - can you share how this went for our Customer Insights Series?
  • Brian Hartley
    Brian Hartley Member Posts: 185 Expert
    First Comment First Anniversary
    edited January 2021
    Hey @Jeff Breunsbach it went really well.  We invited one of our best customer contact POCs and she enthusiastically agreed.

    I set up a prep meeting with her earlier in the week to identify the 5-6 questions I was going to ask her during the moderation window. The prep meeting was to confirm questions were ok with her and we also decided on a few "filler" questions in the event that no one from the company asked.

    On meeting day, I facilitated the session (much like GGR, use chat to ask question, etc).  I would try to incorporate audience questions in-line with my stock questions.  Participation was off the charts, with sales/marketing/engineering all asking really good questions.  We booked 30 min but ended up going almost 45.
  • Matt Myszkowski
    Matt Myszkowski Member Posts: 143 Expert
    First Comment Photogenic First Anniversary
    edited January 2021
    Hey Brian,

    Sounds great - I am now even more keen to do this than before.

    I suggested it to my UK MD and he was less keen ;-( However, he did say that he would support me if we wanted to proceed. How did you "sell" it internally?

    Thanks,

    Matt
  • Srikrishnan Ganesan
    Srikrishnan Ganesan Member Posts: 26 Expert
    edited February 2021

    @Matt Myszkowski

    Hey Matt, I'd imagine wanting to be more "customer centric" is something every leader would understand. Hearing from the horses mouth about their expectations and experience, as they see it, is something most leaders would be eager to learn from. They'd want their teams to be sensitised to it.

    If you need to show ROI for taking up your team's time 45 mins a month, I am not sure how to quantify.

    I would think that this is bound to impact the following:

    (1) energy levels of all teams touching the customer (including marketing -when they learn the customer's perspective of how they found your business, etc)

    (2) at least a few of these are bound to throw up insights that you can use to tweak your pitch, your processes, your marketing message, your CS activities and alerts, etc. 

  • Laura Lakhwara
    Laura Lakhwara Member Posts: 45 Expert
    First Comment First Anniversary Photogenic
    edited February 2021
    Hi @Matt Myszkowski, I've done this on a smaller scale with key leaders and point people on their teams. I was just reading The CS Economy, and Mehta quotes HBR paper that says CEOs spend 3% of their time with clients. This encouraged him to evaluate the amount of time he spent, and it added up to 17%.

    So taking that a step further...Is there a way to show data on how much time the company as a whole spends with customers and the gap/impact? To address a customer's needs, challenges, pains, and growth opportunities, a company needs to react holistically and spend time with customers. The goal is to create a forum for the entire company to listen to a customer, and the business case is driven by the data that shows how infrequent an entire company actually has access to customers, especially back-office. Here's the business case I'd provide:
    • Win for the customer - feeling of being heard, opportunity to share experiences, select opportunity = what's the potential value and impact on this customer?
      • Are their snippets that can be used for content by either marketing/client?
    • Win for holistic improvements by all teams [capturing one moment in time for all to listen]
      • Generate internal excitement by customer success story & rally around challenges
      • What is the $ value of the time spent for individual meetings with this customer? I often had to arrange calls for product, product designers, marketing, case studies, and it was a massive time suck. 
    • Outcomes you can deliver:
      • Survey those who attend and drive insights on the interview and ideas for the next steps
      • List of any actionable next steps/cross-functional meetings
    Just some thoughts as I think this could be highly beneficial.
  • Srikrishnan Ganesan
    Srikrishnan Ganesan Member Posts: 26 Expert
    edited February 2021

    Great Points Laura!

    The hard thing to justify is actually that you can do this only with 12 customers a year (if you do it monthly), or maybe less (4 if quarterly) - so the benefit may feel limited. Is it really going to move the needle somewhere?

    I feel where it moves the needle in just making your org more customer centric and energised the right way. It's more about showing that you value hearing from your customers and will use some of the insights that you chance upon to iterate and improve processes. 

    Maybe you could also talk about the program externally (Linkedin, etc), so customers in general know that they are being heard, or that others like them are being heard. Be sure you also mention how these customers are selected so the larger ones aren't all wondering why they didn't get invited to do this with you yet!

  • Jon Johnson1
    Jon Johnson1 Member Posts: 5 Seeker
    edited February 2021

    Srikrishnan,

    I feel like you hit on something here. "where" is the value. If we are ONLY asking for things of our customers that help US we are missing an important part of the CS economy. 

    I think these are very valuable to align an organization with customers. We just hosted one with a long time customer where she talked through the entire pain point/life cycle of why she chose us and how her programs have been a success utilizing our tools. It was a smashing success. 

    But, it was very one sided. The customer helped us! While that was a win for us directly, we always are looking for an opportunity for mutual benefit. Having these coffee talks as a "podcast" or something that can be shared with the customers network is a great way to expand the value. Presenting your POC as a champion in the space and giving your customer a "voice" in the conversation is always very important.

  • Srikrishnan Ganesan
    Srikrishnan Ganesan Member Posts: 26 Expert
    edited February 2021
    Makes a lot of sense Jon! Thanks for sharing that.
  • Pam Micznik
    Pam Micznik Member Posts: 50 Expert
    5 Likes Name Dropper First Comment Photogenic
    edited February 2021
    @Jon Johnson - The presenter will win. You might ask the customer (presenter) why they agreed to do the coffee talk. Everyone has a reason. If you present this as a podcast, the presenter gets personal exposure (and experience) and so does the customer. After the talk, ask the presenter what they feel they and their company gained from doing it.