The Digital Customer Experience Podcast

Jeff Breunsbach from Gain Grow Retain and Higher Logic | Episode 005

July 11, 2023 Alex Turkovic Episode 5
Jeff Breunsbach from Gain Grow Retain and Higher Logic | Episode 005
The Digital Customer Experience Podcast
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The Digital Customer Experience Podcast
Jeff Breunsbach from Gain Grow Retain and Higher Logic | Episode 005
Jul 11, 2023 Episode 5
Alex Turkovic

I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with Jeff in this week's episode. Most of you will probably know him from Gain Grow Retain and his constant presence on LinkedIn. I was excited for this interview as Jeff has talked with so many amazing CS leaders and as such, has had his finger on the pulse for quite a few years now.

In this episode, Jeff and I discuss the evolution of Digital Customer Success, practical advice for those getting started in DCS, the benefits of office hours and user-generated content, building customer relationships over time , among other things!

Enjoy! I sure did...

Jeff's LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/scaledcs/
GGR: https://gaingrowretain.com
Higher Logic: https://higherlogic.com

Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Digital CS Kudos!

Support the Show.

+++++++++++++++++

Like/Subscribe/Review:
If you are getting value from the show, please follow/subscribe so that you don't miss an episode and consider leaving us a review.

Website:
For more information about the show or to get in touch, visit DigitalCustomerSuccess.com.

Buy Alex a Cup of Coffee:
This show runs exclusively on caffeine - and lots of it. If you like what we're, consider supporting our habit by buying us a cup of coffee: https://bmc.link/dcsp

Thank you for all of your support!

The Digital Customer Success Podcast is hosted by Alex Turkovic

Show Notes Transcript

I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with Jeff in this week's episode. Most of you will probably know him from Gain Grow Retain and his constant presence on LinkedIn. I was excited for this interview as Jeff has talked with so many amazing CS leaders and as such, has had his finger on the pulse for quite a few years now.

In this episode, Jeff and I discuss the evolution of Digital Customer Success, practical advice for those getting started in DCS, the benefits of office hours and user-generated content, building customer relationships over time , among other things!

Enjoy! I sure did...

Jeff's LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/scaledcs/
GGR: https://gaingrowretain.com
Higher Logic: https://higherlogic.com

Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Digital CS Kudos!

Support the Show.

+++++++++++++++++

Like/Subscribe/Review:
If you are getting value from the show, please follow/subscribe so that you don't miss an episode and consider leaving us a review.

Website:
For more information about the show or to get in touch, visit DigitalCustomerSuccess.com.

Buy Alex a Cup of Coffee:
This show runs exclusively on caffeine - and lots of it. If you like what we're, consider supporting our habit by buying us a cup of coffee: https://bmc.link/dcsp

Thank you for all of your support!

The Digital Customer Success Podcast is hosted by Alex Turkovic

Can I reduce the number of clicks it takes somebody to do something? And that's like the most base or simple way I can put it. When your welcome email includes links to, like, five different platforms, that's problematic. But we all do it, right? It's like, yeah, you have your community, you have your education, you have your support. And once again, welcome to the digital Customer Success Podcast. I'm alex Turkovich. So glad you could join us here today. And every week, as I seek out and interview leaders and practitioners who are innovating and building great scale CS programs, my goal is to self educate and bring you along for the ride so that you get the insights that you need to evolve your own Digital Customer Success program. If you want more info or you need to get in touch or sign. Up to get the latest updates from. Us, go to digitalcustrumsuccess.com. But for now, let's get started with today's show. So, Jeff, welcome to the podcast. I don't know if enigma is the right word, but you are a constant presence in the CS community. You have been for several years. Everybody and their mom has listened to gain, grow, retain the podcast, and seen the community, been in the community, and all that kind of stuff. So I don't think I really need to introduce you that much, but I want to thank you and welcome to the Digital CS Podcast. Thank you. Our friendship goes back many years now. I actually think we met basically when gangaro Tane started, maybe even a little bit earlier. So that goes back now for almost three years. Three and a half years. I forgot to look what episode number I was on, but it must have been an early one. Oh, yeah, I think you were. I'll I'll look it up while we're talking, but I'm pretty sure you were probably in the first if I had to guess. It's got to be like, with the. First ten episodes and it went uphill from there. Yeah, it didn't go down right. It couldn't get any worse. No, it was great. I remember doing that with let's see, with you and Sama. Yeah, that was episode number. Where are we? This is making for good podcast. It's riveting. Oh, I was wrong. Episode number 58. But you were one of the first. We've got over 300 now, so if that makes you feel better, that's still early on. So, yeah, I'm excited to be here. I'm excited to have these types of conversations, honestly. I'm excited when I'm not the host of a podcast. So this is fun for me. It's a change in the aspect. I think your background is relatively well documented, and you've been on several other I think recently you were on Lifetime Value with Dylan, and in fact, there you guys had an interesting conversation or intro about the pronunciation of your name, which I will amend a little bit because I am dual German English speaker. Okay. So I don't know if you know, but the actual pronunciation of your last name is Borensbach, which sounds very authoritarian. Yes, because usually there's an Oomlau, I'm with you again, I won't try and even go there, but I appreciate you taking the time to give me the proper definition. My dad also just love his Bruins back, which just to me, I don't know. Now I feel like it's totally butchering it in the opposite way. Yeah, I mean, that's the way language works, right? It evolves over time exactly. With migration and whatnot. But one thing that interests me a little bit is going back to your, I guess, higher level education and how you got a finance degree, right? I did. So I went into college and at 18 I had seen, I don't know, a handful of jobs of what people were doing. And I thought the most interesting one was basically playing the stock market. I actually remember early, my parents had given me a small amount of money, I don't know, $1,000 maybe to go buy stocks with. And even back then, we couldn't even do it online. I was calling my dad's broker to be like, hey, can you trade this for me? And then this guy's like, Wait a minute, do you have how much money? What are we doing? But yeah, I still remember actually one of the earliest stocks I bought was Berkshire Hathaway. Really? Yeah. Another one was apple. And so I still remember those two as like, really foundational purchases that are still in my I still have the Berkshire Hathaway, which is just funny. But yeah. So I kind of went in saying, hey, I'm going to go into finance. I thought I was going to be kind of a wealth manager or trading stocks. As I got into school, that kind of changed a little bit. I still wanted to be in finance, but I thought I was going to go maybe into corporate finance. I was like, oh, it's really interesting. You can work in finance at a company and really help. And then I had a senior thesis or like a senior capstone class, basically all around the PNL and income statements and everything. And I was like, Holy crap, I do not want to be stuck in spreadsheets like 24/7 doing this. And so I had this visceral reaction. I also interned for a wealth manager and was like, I don't really want to do this. So yeah, who knew? I really pivoted after I graduated into a job in marketing and analytics. So I felt like I got a little bit of the data and number side that I kind of crave, but then I also, from the marketing side, got a little bit of creativity and some of that account management and presence in front of customers that really got me started in my career. I have to imagine that served you so well, I think all the conversations that I'm having on this podcast and elsewhere, all of us in customer success, we've just come from different places. Right? You don't I mean, yeah, when we started out, customer success wasn't really a thing you could go steady and get a degree in or whatever. It was just kind of like a thing that all of us fell into. I got a degree in music, so it's like totally not using that degree. Yeah. Very different, other than I kind of know how to set up this mic. Right. But I have to imagine that kind of that analytical and finance element has really served you well in CS and now into marketing. Yeah, for sure. The analytics piece, I think, allows me to bring some of the I think just some of the questions to ask, right. Like some of the things, the nuances of like, okay, what are we really trying to get at here? What are we really trying to get people to do, whether it's in CS or marketing? And I think the other piece is the again, I hated it in the capstone class, but what's become super relevant now is as you become a leader in companies, you start realizing, right, the more that you understand the financials and mechanics of a business from the financial side, then that plays to your favor. Right? So how are we making money? How are we thinking about profitability? What are the investments that we're making across the business? How do I position a project or a group of resources that I need or want? How do I position that correctly? How do I go work with finance to build the right kind of forecasting or modeling that we need so that actually now has come back in. And again, I think that's still something I get to be a part of. Which, again, I do appreciate that side. I like the analytics. I like seeing the numbers, the dollars in, dollars out, and then I still get to deal with kind of customers and marketing and be out in the market. So I've kind of blended both. I think that fit kind of where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. I think it's so important to have that perspective because anymore, for CS to have a seat at the table, there has to be some involvement on the revenue side of things. It's not just a nice to have to keep customers happy, but it's like, I think more and more CS orgs should own renewals and those kinds of things. Yeah. And I think the other thing you just start to learn as well is that you learn the mechanics of how does closed one business turn into arr and revenue, and then how do renewal cycles impact your retention number for the year? And how does that turn into our ability to spend effectively? How does it allow us to spend cash and then what's the profitability? At the end of the day, I just think those are, like, the things that I feel like. As you start to get into the business, you quickly realize as you start moving up in organizations like, oh, I need to be sharper at that because those are the types of conversations that you want to find yourself in. Because that's when you start to realize, oh, I've got a seat at the table. Right? Like, that's what people say, is that, quote, seat at the table. And what does that mean? It means I'm effectively having the right conversations around where are we making investments? Where are we not? And that's where you want to be. And in order to do that, you've got to know your domain or kind of know your team really well, know the metrics and the outcomes and things that you're trying to drive, but then it just enhances it. If you're able to then start to say, okay, I understand how the other parts of our businesses are working, and now I can go have a fruitful conversation to say, okay, hey, I know we can't make that many bets this year, but this is why I think this one's the right one. And I can write that down really effectively and kind of position that in the right way. So I think that's the other thing, that inner working piece, I think is just something that people kind of gloss over sometimes, right? Because you're just like, oh, it's revenue, everything's. What do you mean? We have a 90% retention. We should be spending all the money, right? Our net retention is 130%. It's like, yeah, we're growing at 30%, but how does that translate into cash in the bank that we can go spend on resources and whatnot? That is a different story. I totally agree. And then I think there's a trickle down element of that that happens when you have a very analytics driven leader in CS, because there's an enablement that then happens on the frontline managers and the leads and the individuals to say, like, hey, this thing that I'm going to go do. And because it's the digital CS podcast, I'm thinking, okay, these digital motions that I'm going to put in place and these cohorts that we're going to try to do something with, what impact is that going to have over the long tail with this subset of customers versus customers we didn't do that with? And I think a lot of times we just kind of throw stuff against the wall and see if it sticks and see what the feedback is. But then there's really trying to tie some of the actual tangible revenue outcomes to that. That's tricky. Yeah. The other piece that you touched on there that I just also am trying to talk to the leaders about and lean into a bit more is. I feel like in customer success, we have almost taken a timid approach. And this is a very big generalization, but I feel like we've had a timid approach when it comes to our customers. Right. We're so nervous or scared to kind of change anything for them that we have really just kind of, hey, how can we kind of stay in this little box and kind of keep things moving and just let's not rock the boat too much? And I feel like that's actually been a disservice to us as an industry. And the reason I say that is when you look at marketing, when you look at sales, when you look at the motions that they've created, there is so much nuance in testing and trying to get stuff out the door and trying to understand what's working better. How do we improve at this, right? Where in CS, we've kind of taken a little bit of a different approach and said, well, this is kind of the way we've done it. And I've got a good retention rate right now, and I might tweak one or two things, but I feel like what we've missed out on is, hey, can I take some customers and just say this is going to be a separate test and we're going to test something for 30 days, 60 days on this, 100 customers out of our 1000. And I feel like those are the things that we've kind of missed in order to improve things here and there and really drive something forward. And you kind of mentioned it, you alluded to in Digital CS. How do we kind of move this where we're going? And it's like we now have a lot of the technology there. In order to do this type of testing, hey, I want to segment these customers, put them into a different track, kind of cohort this is going to be the type of communication they get. I could do that in my email tool. I could do it in my kind of in product tool. I can do it in the community, right? I can create these personalized experiences. But how often do you see companies doing that? Everyone kind of gets the same thing. We like to create these separate journeys, but we never really execute on them. And so I've been trying to lean into that much more. How can I take ten customers and test something, 20 customers test something and then try and roll it out to the bigger piece? I just think in the age that we are right now, we can't kind of keep taking this timid approach that if I change something, the customer is going to leave, or if I change something, then that's going to put something at risk. I think you got to go back out and start saying, hey, we're leading you, we're moving this in a different direction here's. The way that we're going to go do things, this is going to be an improvement for you, right? If you change the language and the perception. I think it could be a big piece for CS leaders to think about, especially in the digital side. And I love what you're saying, and I think taking kind of the SpaceX approach to testing some of this stuff where you just do stuff and you blow it up and you see what works and what doesn't work, and then you iterate and you improve rather than, like, analysis paralysis kind of approach a little bit. Yeah. And then you just get in this all of a sudden after that happens for a long period of time, then all of a sudden, you're kind of sitting here saying, well, all of a sudden, our retention is eroding. And it's like, well, we really haven't changed anything. Right. We haven't really haven't brought any kind of different engagement model or different perspective to the customer. We've just kind of done the same things. We just tweak it here and there, hey, let's just change that QBR deck a little bit. Or, hey, instead of meeting with customers once every quarter, let's do twice every quarter, right? Like, those aren't the things that I feel like are going to move the needle to build better relationships with customers. I think we're in a different age right now. We have to shake up success a little bit, and you've got to think about, I need to go build relationships and engagement at scale. And that is just going to require you to think about things differently, and that requires you to be open to okay. That means allowing for a little bit more personality to come through in our emails, or that means we got to go try and instead of saying, hey, product webinar, in our subject line, it's got to say something like, hey, do you want to peek behind the curtain? Right. Like, those are small nuances, but that's how you start to kind of move this needle at scale of relationships and trying to give them a sense that, hey, we are people on the other side of this thing, even though we're doing a lot of this stuff digitally. Yeah, you posted about it, about that exact thing the other day, I think on LinkedIn. It got a lot of decent engagement in terms of how do we humanize our conversations a little bit more and make it specific to the audience. So I dig that. And we're starting to get down into the nitty gritty here about digital CS and whatnot. And one thing that I'm asking all of my guests is kind of their elevator pitch of what digital CS really is, basically turning all of my guests answers into a massive wordmap that we'll put on the website. But I would love from you just your elevator pitch. What is digital CS, especially today? Oh, man. I know you sent this to me ahead of time, but I tried not to prepare because I feel like if I could freeflow it. And now I'm in the moment, and I'm like, I wish I would repair it a little bit. So we'll give this a stab. I think Digital CS is about creating foundational experiences for your customers that reduce the level of effort on their end and then increases our opportunity for relationships. And that would be the quick definition that I give. I think it's probably the foundational piece. There's probably a couple of words in there that I don't like because I've used my thesaurus, and I should have just used the dumbed down version. But I think the thing that I try to focus on quite a bit with Digital CS is this idea of reduction of effort. I think when you look at what we've been asking customers to do over time, we've really missed out on what somebody really wants at the end of the day, which is they want something that is very low effort, even if it isn't. And I think that became really clear to me as I've talked with people who are really data driven. So Matt Dixon we had on our podcast, who really is in kind of the sales and marketing space. He's done some stuff in the CS, but he wrote a number of books and he's brought data to the table. And the number one finding that he comes out with is this idea of reducing the effort is really what keeps customers staying for a long time. We used to think it's going over the top for them. We used to think it's cutting their price in half. We used to think it was all these other things, right? But he just said, by and large, what comes back is if you reduce their effort, then they're going to stay. And then Greg Danes we had in our podcast recently too, and he had some data that said some very similar stories and kind of bucked some of the trends that we think about. But that's where I just think I'm now expanding. So don't count this as my definition, right? This isn't my elevator pitch anymore. That's long gone. That was the one sentence. But I'm really focused on that idea of reducing the effort because I think if you really take a step back and look at what have we asked customers to do for such a long time, you start to realize we're asking them a lot. We're asking a lot of them. And we thought that all of that was going to translate into higher retention, and it might for a period of time, but then you start realizing that that doesn't impact the retention side of it, right? But, hey, let's get on our hey, we want to call you quarterly and get a QBR. Hey, we need you to go through this 13 step onboarding process. Hey, upload your documents. Here come when you need a support ticket, you got to go to our website, then click the support button. Then you got to get into a ticketing system. Then you got to do that again. Just think about every single time the amount of effort that goes through. And so that's where I just think the digital programs need to really focus in on is like almost at a very basic level. I'm thinking, can I reduce the number of clicks it takes somebody to do something? And that's like the most base or simple way I can put it. When your welcome email includes links to, like, five different platforms, that's problematic. But we all do it, right? Yeah. You have your community, you have your education, you have your support, because there are all these different systems that you have in place. Yeah. And we think if we don't jam them all in right, then nobody's going to know about them. But the problem is you jam them all in and then they actually still don't know about them, and they're even more confused because they're like, which one of these links do I click on? Right? You've actually probably made it worse. Yeah, I'm with you there. Yeah. I'm going to flip it around real quick. What do you think of my definition of digital CS, and are there any parts that you agree or disagree with? There's the podcast host coming out. I totally agree from a reduction of effort perspective, and that's where we all need to go. What I would add to that is it's not just reduction of effort on the customer side. It's like, your CSMS need to be more productive as well. And it's not this, hey, we got to do more with less thing. It's like, let's remove the burden from the CSM so that they can actually have great conversations with customers and really dig into what the outcomes are instead of, like, updating a spreadsheet somewhere and typing this stuff. It's automation. I think automation comes into play massively and it's just overlooked. Yeah. Two thoughts that you just spurred for me. So the idea of doing this idea of doing more with less, right. I've kind of, like, boxed at that. I'm actually like it's doing the prioritized work or it's doing the right work. Right. Like you just said. I'd much rather say, hey, we're engaging digitally with 100 accounts. And what that's allowed our CSM to do is really focus in on the ten that need their help right now. And if we can identify that, then that's like a win for me. Instead of just talking to the ten that pay us the most or the ten that are the squeaky wheel the most, which are the general methods that we all don't really want to admit but tend to happen. That's like the first thing that I definitely agree with you and latch onto from that side. The other piece that I think about with this digital and some of the program stuff and the idea of how do we kind of help our CSMS. Right. CSMS also are feeling out on islands, no matter what you do, because they're always on a call with somebody. There's always a question to be asked. There's always something that they're trying to get done. It's so constant. Right. And so I just remember from my days as a CSM, if I had a place where I could say, hey, let me push you into this area, where you're going to connect with customers, where you're going to connect with our team more, where there's, like, this ability to go do something. I would so take advantage of that as part of a digital program, because then it's like, great, now I've got just even if it's 10% less with that one customer, man, that would be a game changer for me. So the whole idea, like you said, of making the CSM's job easier, prioritizing the right work, I think is also a big value for this, too. And think about too, in the time that we're in, CSMS are probably more strapped than they've ever been before because we've had to have reductions in workforces. And now you're taking on more accounts. You're asking them probably to do more on those accounts in terms of the kind of role that they're playing. So I agree with you on that part, too. Yeah. And there's just more pressure than ever coming from all angles internally, and with customers, too, because customers, they're trying to optimize their spend as well. Right. So it's like, all of a sudden, you're the face of that. It's a pressure cooker. It's a pressure cooker, yeah. I would love to get a sense from you we've kind of skirted around this a little bit, but I would love to get a sense from you about kind of the evolution of digital CS in your mind, because you've been so plugged into the CS community for quite a while now and you've had probably a front row seat at kind of seeing these things evolve from kind of a nice to have we're doing some of this stuff to where now everybody and their mom's talking about it. We need to implement digital programs and all that kind of stuff, and it's becoming much more of a major conversation. So I want to get a sense from you as to kind of a finger on the pulse. Where are we now in terms of organizations actively implementing digital programs and how they're going about doing it? Yeah, I think the thing that comes to mind first is that I think digital CS has traditionally been a segment of customers that people thought of. I think that was the first iteration. It was, well, I have my tier one. I have my tier two. I got my tier three, and then I have, like, this digital program. Tech Touch. Yeah, tech Touch, as people would say. I think that's the first misnomer. Right. It's like, okay, I think people are starting to move beyond that, I think. I don't know, but I think people are starting to say, okay, it's really not just for only one segment of my customers. It should be for I should be building programs that ladder up and down, and they kind of are doing different things at those different levels of customers, and we're kind of personalizing it where we can. So I think that's maybe the first piece that I think about quite a bit, the second evolution I think of is so we kind of had this idea, okay, it's for only a certain part of my customers. And I think then we kind of leaned so far into, well, it's Tech Touch, it's automated, and it's basically just emails. And I think that's kind of the next phase that people went through was, all right, well, I've got my Digital CS cohort of customers. I now have basically an automated trigger email program that goes to them, and I'm just going to accept 50% churn, 60% retention, whatever the number is, right? Like, I'm just going to accept that in that segment of customers, and then maybe I'll find a couple that want to scale up into the next layer, and they become a tier three. And that's great. And that's kind of like where people left it. And now I think you're in that evolution of people saying, okay, we've really miscalculated on Digital CS because I think of the things we talk about, if we implement it correctly or implement it in a way that is for all of our customers, then there's tons of benefit for both the customer and the CSM. And so I think you're now at a stage where people are looking at kind of a multi touch sequence. It's not just email, but you have things like community. You have things like content. You've got things like kind of your in product notification or kind of in product navigation type systems. You've got some of your kind of messaging tools that you can deal with as well. So I think now they're kind of rounding out the suite and saying, okay, now we've got multiple avenues to distribute this through, and so how do we do that? And now it's not just for a segment of customers. It's really how do I go up and down the customer base to make sure that we could kind of take advantage of this in multiple places? And so I think that's where we are right now is people are now starting to hint on that. I think they're starting to implement those things. And where I think the next kind of evolution or the next thing you're going to start to see come out, in my opinion, are specific plays or playbooks that people are running. I think that's the thing that people are missing now is like, it's still kind of service level. People are like, come do scale CS and do it the. Right way. And people are like, okay, well, it's the right way. And they're like, well, we'll figure that out when we get there. Or like, yeah, I'll tell you later. And I think now you're starting to see people that are just scratching the surface of like, hey, I'm running an onboarding program that really is reliant on some of the digital pieces and okay, how are we doing that? Well, we've sequenced email with some in product notifications in NAV and then we also introduce them in the community, and we do it at different stages and steps to make it complementary. And so you're starting to see people come out with those specific plays, maybe, is where I think we're kind of at that moment right now, I feel like. Yeah. And I think it's going to be interesting to see what all these tools are now pulling generative AI into the mix as well. And so it's going to be interesting to see what kind of comes out of that and what fun mistakes everybody's going to make with that. Yeah. There'S definitely some use cases for it early on. I think that could totally benefit some teams, especially if you use it as a use it almost as like an idea generator, content generator. But it shouldn't. I mean, at least the way I've approached it right now, I've used it I'd say use it every week. I don't use it every day, but I use it a couple of times a week is I think of it as that so much like, hey, how can I just get a little bit more of a start, right? Like, I just staring at a blank page isn't good for content or, hey, I need some ideas, or some fresh just somebody outside who's helping me think about maybe like a new marketing strategy or do something, right. Just some of those things. I've definitely found it useful, but we'll see where it goes, right? Idea generation. Absolutely. I think that's the way I follow kind of one of my side hustles is like blogging and whatnot, and all the bloggers are saying, oh, blogging is dead, and all this kind of stuff, which you could argue either side, but everybody's like, oh yeah, AI is just going to generate all this stuff for me. Well, guess what? Google is probably going to penalize you for creating all this AI generated content. So you better just use it for ideas generation and then come up with your own unique spin on it. Right? Yeah, it's super interesting. One thing that I know is a stumbling block for a lot of orgs that are getting into digital plays and digital motions is a lot of times they'll line out this elaborate strategy with all this stuff that they want to go do and all these segments and whatever. And then it comes time to implement and it's just like it's just absolute chaos. Right. And my take on it is always start with the basics. Start at the beginning and build your way up. So I would love your opinion on what do you think are the most impactful, kind of low hanging fruit motions that a new digital Cs.org or function or program can start with to have those quick wins, but they're also quite impactful. Man, so many directions to go. I feel like you could go with, but yeah, I'll probably give a couple. Back to your point. I think of there's a framework that I like that is basically say, we have an idea. What is the one month version? What's the one week version? What's the one day version? And so I've tried to really subscribe to that idea, especially around these types of motions. Right. So like you said, the one month version is us getting in a room, coming with all, building a success or building a customer journey, getting multiple teams involved. And that's probably what everyone is telling you. And, hey, we got to bring everyone through the change management. We got to get all this stuff implemented. And sure, that probably needs to happen, but I've seen that fail more times than anything at a company, right? Is that starts to happen? You leave the meeting and everything just kind of is great, whatever happens. That right. And then you're like, hey, let's get back in the same meeting. Let's have the same conversation, and let's do the same thing. Right? And then opposite side of the spectrum, and actually there is like, you could go down to 1 hour, right? So what's the 1 hour version? So if you say, okay, what's the 1 hour version? You could email three customers just that moment. Email three customers and say, hey, we're building a program around digital CS. What would you like to see in it? What are the things that you're missing? What's that? So I just think about parameters and constrict them so that it kind of gives you this idea and sense of like, okay, I got to go get something done and get some movement and momentum. And that's the reason I think about that quite a bit. And I truly do say, go start asking your customers. Ask three to five customers like, hey, what do you really feel like you're missing that we could deliver that is not human driven, not a CSM driven thing? And you'll actually get some responses if you're thoughtful about just emailing a couple of people with a very short question. Short snippet I generally find that they'll actually respond to you at different stages. In the lifecycle too. Right. So somebody just finished onboarding. Like, what did you not have that you wanted? Or what did you have too much of? And all that kind of stuff. Yeah, so I think one of the earliest things that you can do and this is probably something that everyone's thinking about, and I just say, pull the trigger. On is an office hours call. I think traditionally we've had webinars and said, okay, we need to be the experts and go present, and I need to show slides, and that shows authority and that we're this thought leader and that's what it was. And I think what you're starting to realize is there's a time and a place for those and those still need to exist, but your customers have been craving a place to go where they can engage with somebody who is in the exact same shoes as them and say, I'm struggling with X, Y, and Z. And the person can go, oh my gosh, I was there two months ago. Let me tell you what I did. And it doesn't come from you. Right? And that's totally fine. I think people getting comfortable with being in the room, but not having to be the room is like the thing to think about the most. And so office hours, I think, is generally pretty easy. We stood up at office hours here at Higher Logic, and the first time, I think had six people on the call, and somebody might say that's a failure. And I'd say, we got six people. That's awesome. How do we go from there? The six people invited others. Right now we're getting regularly 30 to 40 people on that call. It's weekly, and again, you might say 30 to 40 people. Is it worth it? Well, that's 30 to 40 people that we're engaging with every single week that we don't have to have a separate call, one on one call with it's led by a couple of CSMS who rotate, right? So the kind of the shared responsibility is going around. So just like, that starts to compound itself. In fact, in one segment of our business, we had an office hours call and through the holidays and some of the other stuff, we kind of removed it just for timing sake. And then the New Year came and they were like, hey, where's this office hours call? We put one out and like 300 people signed up. There is demand for this stuff, right? But again, it comes from the place of, like, don't feel like you have to be the expert. Invite people and be communal. Ask them to share stories with each other. And if you can really just be inviting, that is going to be enough in and of itself. And you might sit there and say it's not, but it's going to be, I promise. I've advised people how to do this multiple times. It's facilitation, right? It's facilitating the conversation and getting out of the way. And I would imagine that there's a fair amount of user generated content goodness that comes out of that too, right? So that's what I was about to say. So the reason I tell people, start there generally is that doesn't require any additional technology. It doesn't require you to go buy anything. You don't need to go implement anything. All you really need to do is coordinate with other CSMS or with the marketing team and say, here's a date. I want to do a call. It's an hour long. Here's the premise. Let's write some things down about it. But it's, like the lowest hanging fruit because it generally does not need anything additional other than for you to spend some time devising what it is and then getting on the call. And then what comes out of that. Just like you said, there's a couple of things that I look for that then can help fuel other parts of your program. So the first is content, like, you're hearing, okay, what are people wanting to talk about? How are they talking about it? What's the words they're using? How can I then go turn that into other actionable pieces? The other thing that I tell people all the time to look out for is the biggest nugget that I get from those types of calls is, your customer is not in your product 100% of the time. They're not thinking about your product all the time. They're thinking about it as in context to their day, the workflows they have, the meetings they have. And so now you get an insight of, like, oh, they were talking about our data in that meeting. Oh, that's cool. Oh, wait, they said there was a workflow with another tool that they're using to move our data over there. Oh, that's really interesting. So now you're starting to see, okay, my product is getting into other areas of the business, and it's in other workflows, and that's generally a good thing. And I need to lean into those to learn so I can bring those to other customers. So that's, like, the content piece that I think comes out, which I think is huge. And the second thing that I think you get out of it very early on is, again, we had six people or something like that on our first one. Great. We have, like, six advocates and champions that are already identified. And I don't think of I think maybe, like, in the past, you might say an advocate or champion is like, we give them gifts, and we ask them to talk on our behalf. We need a testimonial from them. We need a case study. That stuff doesn't happen overnight. That stuff happens over building relationships for a long time, making them feel comfortable, getting them to feel like they're a part of your company even though they're not right. They buy your software, but they're not in the building. It's organic. How can we make them feel like that the yeah, and now I've got six people that we can start doing that with right now. I know their names. Next time I see them, I can ask them about their kids, or next time I see them, I can ask them about that project they were working on. Hey, I can go tag them in community discussions. Hey, I can go see something on LinkedIn and tag them again. Now that six people turns into 30 or 40 or 50. And now you've got many more stories to tell from a content perspective. Now you've got relationships that are starting to be built with 40 or 50 customers, and really, you start to eliminate the last minute, hey, I need a customer for this. Hey, I need a customer for that. And now you've also got trusted advisors, so to speak. If you build it in the right way, like, hey, maybe they get a sneak peek at the roadmap. Maybe they can help you with a marketing campaign. Maybe there's some blog stuff that you're writing. There's so many things that you could ask that group to do, and it starts because you've invited them into a room and actually said, we are not the expert. You all are. And it makes them feel, in a certain way, like you said, it makes them feel valued in what they're doing. So that's the other kind of output I see. I love that. I love everything about what you just said. So well done. So on the flip side of the spectrum, right, I think there are some companies that are doing phenomenal things in the realm of digital. I think Monday.com comes to mind, and a few others. But I'd love to get a sense from you as to who is ahead of the game, who has really evolved their digital motions and maybe have already gotten into the generative AI front and is really doing cool stuff. And what are they doing. That is a good I'm going to think of some specific examples, and while I do, I'm going to stall time, and I'm going to answer. Well, I think the one thing I think you're noticing of where companies are getting ahead is the companies that have understood they need to hire differently. So what I mean by that is, like, you've seen kind of CS teams, right, and you'll take maybe a CSM team and say, okay, we're hiring a CSM role, and then we've generally split it into, okay, this is an enterprise role, and this is like a mid market role, or like, this is this and that. And then you've also got your other functions onboarding, and then there's maybe education or professional services and training. There's support, right? You've got kind of all these roles, and then all of a sudden, it was like, okay, well, we need an ops function. So Ops kind of became a thing, and you started to and so I think this next evolution of digital CS, the companies that I think are ahead on this are the ones who you start to see roles that are titled, like, kind of digital engagement lead or program manager around scaled CS. But you're starting to see those roles pop up. And those are the companies that I think are sitting there saying, okay, I can't just flip a CSM and say, hey, do this right, or I can't just say, hey, my Ops team that runs all of our data and tech, just go build me some content and programs that are going to go run for this digital program. They're starting to say, okay, we need a specific role whose job is like, how do we build kind of these robust moments, like you said, that we can kind of rely on that are digitally led. And so that role, I think you're starting to see more and more of. And I think you're going to start to see that actually start to even build out and specialize. So I think you're going to find that there's kind of that program manager role who's kind of holding all of it together. There's going to be maybe more of a content role. There might be somebody who is maybe like a designer type role that lives on CS. I think you're going to find that that actually starts to build out into its own thing as well, which I think those are the companies that I see that are kind of moving ahead. So Monday.com comes to mind for me too, because I'm actually a Monday customer. And so I see the stuff that they're kind of surfacing and doing. Another one that I've kind of seen as well is a company called Ignite, and they've got some digital resources who are trying to be prescriptive. They're trying to get ahead of, like, okay, how do we implement some of these pieces in the right way? And maybe the last one that comes to mind actually is maybe an older company, but like HPE, which you might say that's been around for a long time, but we've known a guy over there named Carlos Cazada who he really started at Aruba Networks, which was purchased by HPE. And they were really starting that whole, hey, how do I build a digital CS program from scratch from start? Like, the moment he walked in the door, that was like, what he was trying to do. And so I think they hired an Obstrole first. They hired content people first, and then they finally hired a CSM almost last, which I thought was interesting as he rounded out his team. But they've got motions that are digitally led. They're using email and in product tools. They're using community. They're using some other pieces that kind of fit into that as well. So I think that's another one that comes to mind. That's cool. Okay, I appreciate that. It's always good to hear from other people, like, who's doing cool stuff. One I heard about the other day that I haven't looked into yet is, I think, a relatively new HRIS tool, Rippling. Do you know about Rippling? Oh, yeah. Hiring a ton of CS. I don't know if you've been on their LinkedIn page recently, but there's just tons of stuff happening in the CS realm there. So that's an interesting one to look at. I might follow up on that a little bit. Yeah, for sure. I'll take a look at that too. So kind of rounding things out. I think a lot of people follow you and follow your content, but I'd love to understand a little bit more about who you're following and whose content you really appreciate. I love this question. I always call it like what's your content diet? I like that. There's a couple that I'm on to recently that I think I'm hoping that people don't know about yet. I like to be early on some of these. So one is by a guy by the name of Sid Jane, S-I-D-J-A-I-N. He works for a company that's called Charter which writes a ton of content around. They put out like a daily newsletter, I think, or a couple of times a week. But it's really all around like visualizing data and so he's got some really cool perspective that he's been bringing around like B, two B SaaS in terms of some of the data and stuff that he's seen and what they're seeing at. I think the company is technically called Chart Mogul but then I think their daily or weekly newsletter is called Charter, C-H-A-R-T-R. So that's one that I've been following recently that I think about quite a bit. Another one is I listen to a podcast that's called My First Million almost religiously. They come out with three episodes a week. That is an incredible show. Yeah, that's like one of my favorites. They've just done such a good job of kind of bringing a banter style, just shooting the shit type of casual mentality but then made it super valuable because they dig into these things at a perfect level almost actually. It's like not too deep and it's not too service level. You kind of find the right mix. So that's another one that I listen to quite a bit and then the last one I'll give you is a newsletter that I love to follow and it is boom. Where is it? It is by Robert Glaser. So he's like a consultant that's been in the area for a long time, been in just business for a long time. He's famous, he's written a lot of books. I think his consultancy does a lot of management consulting. But he writes like a Friday newsletter every week and it kind of mixes leadership and business and very thoughtful about kind of reflection and topics about kind of bringing you back into some of these moments that you're trying to get better at. So I've found that pretty insightful for me that I read every Friday morning as well. Cool. I love you sharing those links in the show notes folks. Jeff, I want to thank you for taking the time and you definitely dropped some knowledge nuggets, knowledge bombs on the podcast. So I appreciate that. Where should people seek you out? Unless they've been living under a rock, they should know you're on LinkedIn all over the place. But anything else you want to point out? When is this going to come out is the question. Four weeks. Okay, so four weeks. You can cut this out or keep it in, but within four weeks I've been trying to do some side projects, and one of those is just standing up a website for myself, just like, because I wanted to mess around with tools. So if by then you'll be able to go to Brunswock me and that should be my website by then, it's currently not, but in four weeks, this is really a good pressure test of, like, I have to build that. I've got some stuff built, but that's just a subtle side thing, is, like, I just want to build, like, a place where I could link LinkedIn posts and other things back to a main website for myself. So that's in the works. So brunswock me or LinkedIn? Jeff brunsbach. I'm there all the time talking. I tell you what, we won't publish until it's live, but let's call it four weeks. But yeah, thanks for coming. I hope we can have you back at some point, and I feel like we could go a layer deeper on pretty much everything we talked about. Yeah, for sure. Enjoy this a lot. Like I said, when I don't have to be the host, it's a good day. So I appreciate you doing this and excited for it to come out. Sounds good. Thanks, Jeff. Thank you for joining me on this. Episode of the Digital Customer Success podcast. If you like what we're doing, or. Don'T for that matter, consider leaving us. A review on your podcast platform of choice. You can view the Digital Customer Success definition wordmap and get more information about the show@digitalcustomassuccess.com. My name is Alex Turkovich. Thanks again for joining and we'll see you next time.