CCO Annie Tsai: 5 Mistakes in Customer Success

 
CCO Mistakes
 

Leaders who possess sufficient confidence to reveal mistakes and considerate enough to take the time to discuss these lessons are rare. Lucky for us, Annie Tsai (CCO at DoubleDutch) is one such leader. After reading this recap, I encourage you to invest the 36 minutes and watch the original presentation from SaaStr Annual 2016 done with Gadi Shamia (COO TalkDesk). 

 

1. Don't ignore the sales handoff

From Annie's SaaStr Annual 2016 presentation. Full deck available at link below.

As a customer, there are few things more frustrating than repeating yourself.  A smoother experience (vs. a dramatic cut-off) from the decision to buy through the on-boarding process will make it easier for Customer Success to focus on the use case and paves the path to expansion.

How do you make this flow more continuous? Transfer the knowledge of:

  • How did they find you initially?
  • What was their journey?
  • Why did the customer buy?

Drawing upon this history can:

  • Provide data points for your team to build an experience against customer’s key use cases. Create memorable moments to reinforce the “Why.”
  • Uncover opportunities. During their journey, did they spend time on pages on services/products not yet purchased
  • Do prior conversations yield expansion deals?
 
 

2. Don’t just hear your customers...Listen

From Annie's SaaStr Annual 2016 presentation. Full deck available at link below.

The richest feedback comes from what they don’t tell you. So, remember to look at the context behind your numbers and always ask “what is one thing we could do better?”

Product feedback loops are a core element of being the client's internal advocate. Your customers want to know you hear their suggestions and companies need to make sure the right customers have a platform for their voice. Having a collaborative relations between customers and product teams guided by Customer Success creates a strong base for advocacy.

Did you know client feedback initiated TalkDesk's SDR offering?

 
 

3. Don’t listen to the wrong customer(s)

From Annie's SaaStr Annual 2016 presentation. Full deck available at link below.

Be discerning of which voices you pass on as input for the product roadmap.

Customer Success should filter these use cases for your product team while addressing the customer in a way they feel validated. i.e., “It's a splendid idea. That is not a use case we are thinking of implementing right now and here is why…”

 
 

4. Don’t skip Instrumenting Customer Success

From Annie's SaaStr Annual 2016 presentation. Full deck available at link below.

Don’t jump into tooling this too quickly either. Most Startups use their gut to try and understand who they should be spending their time with. Invest the resources to gain a firm understanding of: 

  • how clients validate success and
  • what drives growth, churn, and success with your customers.
  • most valuable customers for expansion
 
 

5. Don’t treat support and success as the same thing

From Annie's SaaStr Annual 2016 presentation. Full deck available at link below.

 

If support is a firefighter (reactive), then customer success is the fire inspector (proactive).

How do you make the shift from “I’m here to do whatever it takes to make you love us” to a focus on value delivery? Consistently re-evaluate the amount of time you are focusing on real customer success and look for alternatives for activities that are reactive so you can preserve your perceived value with the customer as their strategic business partner. 

In summary, Annie and Gadi stressed that your Customer Success person/team should be in place before the first renewal and in charge of the relationship. Implementation is a short-term engagement, Support’s role is to be reactive, so CS has to build the value with folks who are relationship driven and curious to strive for continuous improvement/growth.

Slides from the presentation are available via this SlideShare and tickets for SaaStr Annual 2017 are available here.

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