A suggested method for connecting our Product team into customer meetings

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Jennifer Frances
Jennifer Frances Member Posts: 8 Contributor
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edited August 2023 in CS Org Conversations
Hello All,

I'm new to my CS Ops Mgr role and I'm trying to think of the most efficient way to connect our Product team into customer meetings with the CSMs, which are held on a regular basis. This is so that they can hear the feedback from the customer and ask questions directly, and it appears to have proven successful for helping to advance features and enhancements.

Currently, the process is not really streamlined, where a Product team member will either reach out to our VP of CS directly or by an @ here post in a Slack channel, or this is brought up ad-hoc in one of our CSM bi-weeklys. CSMs either acknowledge the post/requests and my assumption is that they connect by DM if they can accommodate, but I cannot say for sure when and if Product gets invited or if this method is successful.

Getting our Product team to see the CSMs calendars of upcoming meetings are not feasible, and our CSMs do have insight on what the Product team is working on by feature on our roadmap, which is helpful, but this doesn't always explain the actual details of what the PM is trying to achieve by being part of a customer meeting and CSMs don't have a lot of time to do the asking. This is where I come in.

I can think of maybe a matrix of what PMs are wanting more info on and sharing that periodically with the CSM team, or gathering these details from the Product team by a periodic survey and sharing them by post in our CSM channel but not sure if this fits most people's workflow.

Does anyone have any experience with this, a tool or method they've used, or suggestions on how to make this connect have more fluidity?
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  • Andrew Marks
    Andrew Marks Member Posts: 54 Expert
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    edited February 2022
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    Congrats on the new role. It's an important one.

    A couple of thoughts on this:
    • How about assigning a Product Manager to a CSM or group of CSM's and having the CS team get into the habit of inviting their assigned PM to customer meetings? If this type of connection is important to the Product team, have the Product leadership set an expectation with the PM's that they should be attending X number of meetings/month with CS and Customers? I think your matrix approach could be one way you could assign product team members to particular CSM's or groups of CSM's depending on how your customers are segmented.
    • Make sure that you've established clear expectations of the PM and what they are expecting from CS and the customer meeting. Also, ensure that rules of engagement are clearly defined between the Product team and those running and participating in the meetings. That means that CSMs need to set the expectation with their customers that these meetings are meant to be listening sessions or Q&A sessions and they do not mean, nor should they expect, that anything they ask for or request will result in specific enhancements.
    • You should also make sure that CSM's are maintaining control of these sessions and not sending Product team members into particularly volatile situations with customers that have a "beef" with the product. It is CS's responsibility to act as a shield and not create a situation where the Product team is being "complained to" or put in any sort of uncomfortable situation if you want them or need them to attend these types of conversations.
    Andrew
  • Jeff Heckler
    Jeff Heckler Member, CS Leader Posts: 80 Expert
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    edited February 2022
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    I applaud the very comprehensive effort and goals, @Jennifer Frances, bravo!
    And congratulations on your new and vital role.

    In my experience, I have seen great success with sharing snippets of recordings of customer calls and meetings first.
    1. This allows for cross-functional team members to work together asynchronously.
    2. Gets non-customer-facing teams introduced and acclimated to what it is like to engage *live* with customers.
    3. Starts the discussion internally, before approaching and engaging with customers.
    4. Calls and topics of interest to start with could be: feature ideas, frequently seen wins, frequently seen challenges, etc.

    - Jeff

  • Stewart Stokes
    Stewart Stokes Member Posts: 17 Thought Leader
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    edited February 2022
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    Great responses by Jeff and Mark. The only thing I'll add is an upvote for Jeff's comment "I have seen great success with sharing snippets of recordings of customer calls and meetings first.".  At my prior company we started using Chorus to record customer calls.  It's a great tool for systematically and seamlessly allowing asychronous viewing and collaboration around customer calls.  You can share transcripts, entire call recordings, snippets, etc.  I'm not sure how pricey Chorus and similar tools (i.e. Gong) are, but I found it very valuable and I think it could help your overall goal of allowing better internal insights into the "mind of the customer".

    Good luck!
  • Brian Hansen
    Brian Hansen Member Posts: 75 Expert
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    edited February 2022
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    Another +1 for sharing recordings. We use Gong and you can add notes, tag people, track certain phrases and more, which can be an easy way to get Product the information you want them to hear without needing to schedule the meeting. And I echo Andrew's caution about having a customer feel like, "If Product is on the call listening, that must mean they're going to do the thing I ask them to do. And if they don't, was that a waste of my comment?" That's not the outcome you're looking for with the customer contact. 

    One additional idea would be to leverage Office Hours. We had a separate post about Office Hours here. That's a good opportunity to get a group of customers together, talking, listening, rather than needing to schedule individual calls each time.
  • Allison Nussbaum
    Allison Nussbaum Member Posts: 2 Navigator
    edited February 2022
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    Another +1 for recording calls. We use Gong and while I was skeptical at first, I'm a believer now. We use it just as the others have mentioned. The best part for us is being able to tag sections so that we can share only the most relevant parts with the right people.
  • Mark Flanagan
    Mark Flanagan Member Posts: 26 Expert
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    edited February 2022
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    Here's a recommendation for generating meeting notes and highlighting action items for each session (www.flyteai.com)

    ~ Mark
  • Jennifer Frances
    Jennifer Frances Member Posts: 8 Contributor
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    edited February 2022
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    Thank you everyone for pitching in with ideas here. GGR has been such a great resource for a newbie like me. ;)

    > @ Andrew M - These are very good points, and the first mentioned is something to consider, but probably best if it was set up with a group of CSMs per PM working on a specific feature to ensure that the PM has a variety of feedback.

    > @ Jeff H and Stewart S - Thank you as well! Oddly enough, soon after I wrote my post I found out that we will be working with Chorus (ZoomInfo), which provides recordings of all meetings that are set up by our invite. These recordings and transcripts can go into our Product tool for the Product team to filter through and view the recordings as needed.

    The only thing here of course is that the Product team doesn't have the benefit of asking questions live and directly to the customers, and customers don't have the opportunity to speak directly to our Product team, which can make them feel like they are truly heard (even though our CSMs are definitely listening and pushing their feedback forward).

    I appreciate the help! Thank you! ~Jennifer
  • Jeff Heckler
    Jeff Heckler Member, CS Leader Posts: 80 Expert
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    edited February 2022
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    @Jennifer Frances I've also established the production and launch of webinars with my teams and company.
    For the webinars, a CS professional would host and drive as a moderator.
    However, a member of Product, leadership, etc. would be a co-host and contributor.
    The goal and benefit was to give the audience (customers) access and engagement with a member of our company they would normally not interact with.
    These webinars were wildly popular, and we were able to repurpose a lot of the content for other digital enablement channels.

  • mikes somers
    mikes somers Member Posts: 6 Contributor
    edited February 2022
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    @Jennifer Frances I've also established the production and launch of webinars with my teams and company.
    For the webinars, a CS professional would host and drive as a moderator.
    However, a member of Product, leadership, etc. would be a co-host and contributor.
    The goal and benefit was to give the audience (customers) access and engagement with a member of our company they would normally not interact with.
    These webinars were wildly popular, and we were able to repurpose a lot of the content for other digital enablement channels.

  • Jeff Heckler
    Jeff Heckler Member, CS Leader Posts: 80 Expert
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    edited February 2022
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    For more insight how this was done, you can search "Pipedrive customer success product webinars"
    You're most welcome, @mikes somers

  • Jennifer Frances
    Jennifer Frances Member Posts: 8 Contributor
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    edited March 2022
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    Hi Jeff,

    Sorry, I'm late in finding your message about the webinar idea. Our company has had these webinars before, but they are either directed toward the B2B admins who register for it, or the end-users of the service and there is a moderator, usually a CSM.

    We haven't though, to my knowledge, had a webinar that had our Product team included, so that is rather interesting. I think there was a mention of something of the sort though so I need to follow up on that.

    Thank you for your help here.

    Cheers,
    Jennifer
  • Jeff Heckler
    Jeff Heckler Member, CS Leader Posts: 80 Expert
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    edited March 2022
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    There are three quick ways to attack your issue as you outline it, @Jennifer Frances
    One is with the webinar if you would like to get FTF time initiated between Product and your customers.
    Second: using your performance mgmt tool (ExecVision, Gong, Chorus, et. al.), send snipets of calls (a few minutes or less) to your PMs.
    Third, and most effective: Have your CS team categorize, tag/flag, product issues and product ideas is a trackable, collectable, and then, aggregatable way.  Roll up those issues and ideas by the NRR of the customers tagged.  Share the Top 5-10 with your Product team monthly.  Track results.

  • tiffanymarsh
    tiffanymarsh Member Posts: 1 Newcomer
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    edited June 2023
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    Congrats on your new role! To connect your Product team with customer meetings, consider these steps: centralize communication, schedule regular check-ins, implement a request system, encourage collaborative documentation, and provide cross-team training. These measures will enhance the fluidity of communication and collaboration between the team.

  • Adam Ince
    Adam Ince Member Posts: 7 Navigator
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    The process I've used to help streamline product and customer interviews is to run consistent roadmap meetings with CS and Product for all customers.

    Depending on the size of the customer, annual, bi-annual, or quarterly roadmap presentations from product (set up by CS) are a really great way to encourage adoption, upsell, and retention. You don't want a customer to leave for functionality they didn't know you have!

    The benefit of this quick presentation is product can then ask specific questions for areas they need customer feedback, and field questions from customers that help generate better product insights.

  • llitton
    llitton Member, CS Leader Posts: 10 Navigator
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    Enhance Communication with a Feature/Feedback Management System

    Implement a feature/feedback management system to streamline communication between CSMs and the Product team. This system allows CSMs to log customer feedback in a structured manner, detailing specific product features discussed and areas for improvement. Product team members can then easily access this feedback, prioritize enhancements, and keep CSMs informed about feature developments.

    For instance, we use Canny and Intercom, and CSMs input feedback directly (including Chorus snippets). Votes ping Slack for access by the Product team. When a feature is under consideration, it's moved to the "Under Consideration" status in Canny, triggering alerts for CSMs. This prompts them to ask targeted questions during upcoming customer calls, ensuring that customer feedback directly informs product development efforts.