The Digital Customer Success Podcast

Creating Culture Around Effective Customer Success w/ Ralphie English of Deepgram & Radical CS | Episode 007

July 25, 2023 Alex Turkovic Episode 7
The Digital Customer Success Podcast
Creating Culture Around Effective Customer Success w/ Ralphie English of Deepgram & Radical CS | Episode 007
Show Notes Transcript

It's easy to see why Ralphie English received the 2023 Customer Success Leader of the Year award at the Customer Success Excellence Award once you spend even a little bit of time with her. Not only is she an innovator in the digital CS space, having built a lot of creative engagement strategies for Deepgram customers, but she's also a fantastic leader both for her team and the wider CS community via her consultancy, Radical CS.

One fascinating aspect of her work with Deepgram is that there is no such thing as 'in-app' engagement with her customers as they are API-based , not SaaS - and there are some fascinating ways that she gets around this with her tech stack.

In our conversation, Ralphie and I discuss a wide array of topics including:

  • The CS Excellence Awards
  • Building CS and Digital CS functions from the ground up
  • Creating great culture
  • Ralphie's unique tech stack 
  • Equity & inclusion in tech & CS
  • Empowering teams to take ownership
  • ...among other things.

Enjoy! I know I sure did...

Ralphie's LinkedIn:
Radical CS:

Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Digital CS Kudos!
(i.e. who's doing great things in Digital Customer Success)

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The Digital Customer Success Podcast is hosted by Alex Turkovic

Yeah, it's a little like parenthood. You can't have this unless you do this. Yes, I get a lot of eye rolls and okay, Ralphie. But I'm like, hey, I promise you this is going to help us both in the future when I'm able to expand this account. You'll be glad that I asked you for this information. 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 But for now, let's get started with today's show. Welcome to the show. I want to start off by just saying thank you to everyone who's been listening and watching on YouTube. I really appreciate all your comments, the messages you've sent. I'm glad you're getting value out of the show. We do have some great episodes coming up for the rest of July and into August, so I hope you'll stay tuned, listen to those. If you feel so inclined, please do leave us a review on Apple podcasts or Spotify. It really does help. For today, we have a really special episode. My conversation with Ralphie English was phenomenal. If you've ever talked with Ralphie, you'll know exactly what I mean. She is the recipient of the 2023 Customer Success Leader of the Year award at the Customer success excellence Awards and she is just a trailblazer and doing some really cool things in digital. CS, where she is VP of Customer. Success at Deepgram, has a lot of insights and we get into not only what led her to win the award recently, but we also talk about building culture, building digital teams from the ground up. We talk a little bit about inclusion and equity in CS, empowering teams to take ownership. It's a wonderful conversation, and I really hope you enjoy it and look forward to your feedback. But for now, please enjoy my conversation with Ralphie English. I know I did. Ralphie English, welcome to the podcast. It's nice to have you here. I'm excited to be here. Alex. First off, I have to say. That your history is amazing. Obviously, I did a little bit of LinkedIn stalking and looked at your history, and you've done a lot of things. You are a recent recipient of ICS Excellence Award, which is awesome. I think that I would venture a guess that most people feel underdressed when they walk into a room with you. Anyway, welcome to the podcast. It's nice to have you. I'd love to kind of start digging into just the normal, background ish type things where you're from, but I think beyond just, like, an origin story. What led you into CS and what keeps you in CS? What is it about your personality and your psyche that keeps you in CS? Because I think you've always been kind of post sale, right? Yes, I have, and thank you for your kind words, Alex. For me, CS is just natural. I have been in customer facing roles, luckily, my entire career. So even while I was in college, I was in a customer facing role. But CS for me was just a natural evolution. I started my career as an implementation engineer. I've worked in various roles partner services, client services, technical account management as well. But the most exciting part for me with CS is building teams that support our customers in various ways. So building teams from the ground up, that's kind of become my niche. So, like I said, my previous background kind of made CS a natural evolution for me. It was really just more me shifting my mindset from being reactive to proactive. But being that I've been in customer facing roles, I think the part that excites me the most is one working directly with customers, helping them solve problems. But advocating is honestly my happy place. Driving change based on customer needs is a good space for me. Yeah, absolutely. So a lot of people say they're either builders or they like to run stuff. You've made it obvious that you like to build stuff. Do you also like to run stuff? Do you like both? Do you like one more than the other? I like both, actually. I think when you're building, especially in a startup, you have to do a little bit of both building and running, and that's exciting to me. Last two companies have been startups from the ground up, and I've had to do initiatives where, of course, I'm building out the team, but also building out a lot of the functionality across the organization. So working cross functionally is something that is also exciting in the CS world for me. Yeah, absolutely. I think myself, I come from kind of like, I guess, an artist background, if, you know, I was a teacher for a long time, started in learning and development, kind of have that enablement bug, and I think a lot of CS people are in that same category. What kind of descriptors would you use for your personality that lend themselves to CS? I'm a creator, very creative. So in my spare time, I do a lot of DIY type stuff, creating, designing. That's definitely where I spend a lot of my time outside of CS. And the interesting part is I'm from a family of educators. My sister's a teacher, my aunts were teachers, so I've always been around education. So, again, it was just natural for me. I love training. I love working with people. So creating is what's exciting. Teachers. Got to love teachers. Yeah, your background. As I'm looking at you, the background is like, yeah, definitely. Creator designer. Got it. And the hair, I mean, you know. Sure. Yeah, absolutely. So this is the digital Customer Success podcast. I would be remiss if I didn't ask all of my guests the same question, which will then turn into this lovely word map that we're building on, which is to say, what would be your elevator pitch? If you had to describe Digital Customer Success to somebody that had no idea what it was, what would your definition description of that be? That's a great question. I would say my elevator pitch would be digital CS is like building and scaling through automation and self service, where you're building a strategy that allows you to scale using digital tools and automation, but at the same time creating that personalized experience. So no matter where they are in the customer lifecycle, no matter their arr or what segment they're in, it's really about creating value at scale. So when I think about Digital CS, I'm not just focusing on just our low arr accounts. I'm really thinking about it from the standpoint of how can we build this muscle across our entire customer segment yeah. And have it stay human. I think Tech Touch got such a bad rap, the term Tech Touch, just because it was like, yeah, just Tech Touch. We'll just do everything that way. But it's very much missing the human element. So I love that you pulled that in. Yeah, that Tech Touch approach can be shaky. Sometimes it's like, throw them in a playbook and they'll be fine. It's more than that. I think Digital CS takes it a step further when you're really able to meet the customer where they are and focus what you're doing in the strategy on the customer needs and not just focusing on the tech side of things. Yeah. High value activities. Absolutely. I mentioned in the intro briefly that you did recently take home a CS Excellence Award. Congratulations on that. Thank you. I think it was a leadership Award, if I'm not mistaken. Correct? Yeah. Can you, I guess, describe a little bit maybe your experience of that and also what paths and what accomplishments and what things that you did that led up to that? So it was definitely a surprise. I was nominated for the award by one of my mentors, Jan Young, who I know you know, I love Jan. She's great. But it's been a very rewarding experience for me. I have been connected with a lot of people that were in that room for years. I've watched them. I've built a lot of strategies around a lot of the thought leaders and innovators in CS over the years as I'm thinking about how am I going to build this team, how am I going to service our customers? So to be able to connect with them one on one, have coffee, chats, and really start to grow myself as a leader has been exciting, and to actually meet a lot of them face to face was exciting as well. But to kind of go back to my history, like I mentioned before, my niche is really building customer success teams. And I take, I think, a simple approach to that. I drive post sales revenue by transforming teams, building a company culture that is customer centric, and focusing on building and scaling high impact CS teams. So I think about that from the very start. When I'm hiring my first CSM, it's not just addressing the needs right away. It's really thinking about how can we continue to scale our CS motion, our digital CS motion, when I bring in that first hire, when I bring in the first five hires, and then also deploying, like, a customer led growth strategy. So previously, I've transitioned global client services teams to customer success teams. So getting them out of that proactive mindset and really focusing on reactive mindset and focusing on those proactive motions. And one of the things that made me successful in that transition was deploying a digital strategy that allowed us to have more productivity across the team without me needing to scale in headcount. So we kind of built this data model that allowed us to reroute our customers traffic based on outages or different scenarios that were happening downstream, that allowed us to, one, retain a lot of our revenue, but also allowed me to have my CSMS focusing on the right activities. In my most recent work, I've worked cross functionally to develop a digital strategy that really integrates our customer data into our company ecosystem. So what that's allowed me to do is identify opportunities where we can automate workflows, we can automate those repetitive tasks, we can create self service workflows and really just enhance our efficiencies, both internally and externally, so I don't shy away from collaborating. I've learned when you create friends across the organization, they get really excited when you're saying, hey, can you help me deploy this digital tool that'll help us scale and improve our customer outcomes? So all of that to say, my most recent work, our results have been great. Our NRR has been stellar quarter over quarter. We've had high NPS scores, great CSAT scores, and I think it's just a combination of my overall efforts over the last six years that kind of landed me the nomination. And again, I'm grateful to be recognized, and I'm really excited about the opportunities and the doors that has opened for me over the last few months. That's amazing. I think we'll dig into the tech stack a little bit here in a while. But did you have an Oscars moment where you walked up on stage and you pulled out your piece of paper, or were you not prepared at all? I forgot my paper in my purse. It was like the day before, they mentioned, like, if you win, you're going to have like a 1 minute speech. And I remember just scrambling like, okay, let me just write just in case. And when they called my name, I could hear my heart beating out of my chest because I'm like, I have to walk up in front of like 200 people on stage. But it was a rewarding moment. It was great again to see people that I followed for six, seven years standing and cheering for me, it was one of those feather in your cap moments. Yeah, that's a cool once in a lifetime kind of deal. Yeah, it was a lot of fun. Awesome. Well deserved. I'm sure you said so much that just now that sparked interest in me, in my own kind of brain around utilizing data for solid automations, often repeated activities driving the most value out of the people that you have. Which is actually like talking to customers and not being bogged down in the minutiae of the day to day and those kinds of things. I would love to kind of I guess if I was an Ops person joining your team, what would day one look like for me? How would you describe your tech stack and what you're working with and your data and all that? How does it all fit together just on a high level? High level. So spend the last two and a half years getting that all together and centralizing it. So if you're an Ops person joining today, it'll really be just putting you in our central hub where we have most of our customer information, which is, you know, we interact with our customers in Slack. They have their own channels within Slack. So that's where we do a lot of our support. That's where we collaborate because we're a remote first company, so it'll be starting there. But the cool thing about thinking from a digital standpoint, we've built Slack bots and other automations that allows us to take that data out of Slack, put it in things like Zendesk, so we can start tracking trends that we're seeing within our ticketing system and the different types of questions that are coming in. So we're feeding that information across the organization. So as an Ops person, you're going to see that, you're also going to see our customer success platform that we're using, where we centralize all of our customer information, our health information, product feature request information. So that's where our product team is living. That's where our CF team and our AES are living. So they get a holistic view of our customer base and how they're performing and different aspects of where things live within the customer's journey. So CSP combination of Slack and then those automations that we put together, centralized that information is where I would start an Ops person and then have them start digging in the same way that I had to on figuring out what are different ways that we can continue to improve and streamline the customer journey. What are different ways that we can continue to expose data to our organization? Because I think that's been a driving force behind our success today, is CS doesn't own that data. We're not the only ones looking at that data. When I first launched our CSP, of course, the CS team was the first team to get in there. But now I want to say we have 75 users across Deep Graham that's using our CSP, and they're from various teams, research team, language team. The data scientists all want to see and understand how our customers are performing while they're making decisions within their own organization. So that's what's really exciting and where I think an Ops person would be excited to really dive in and find ways to continue to help us improve. That's so cool. I love that you're using Slack in that way. I am going through Slack withdrawals currently. My current employer isn't a Slack employer, which is fine, but the power of having that customer and internal communication kind of in the same place is palpable because otherwise you're kind of stuck in email land. Or do you guys do a lot of in product things as well? Well, we're not an app. We're an API. So we do have our self service portal where our customers can go in and see, like, usage data, and we're thinking about ways to engage them more there. But our customers don't live in our self service portal, so it's slightly different. So that's why we've had to get creative. And I'll be honest, I have a love hate relationship with Slack because it is harder to scale that model when you have so many customers and channels in Slack. But it's also forced us to be innovative and be creative in. Okay. Customers love slack. They love that they have the entire Deepgram team available to them at their disposal, which is great for them because it creates that partnership. But from a data standpoint, how do you get the good gold information that lives in those Slack channels? One of the tools that we are really excited about is our Navi tool, which is a very new tool that we are releasing hopefully soon to our customers. It's now internal and we call it Navi because it allows our customers to ask it a question and it'll return back knowledge based articles, plus kind of king our support team and give them a sufficient amount of information. About the product based on previous questions that they may have asked in the channel or questions we've gotten from other customers within the community. And it's an API, so it's able to use our LLMs to generate the answers to those questions, which of course is again, exciting and a way for us to be innovative and allow our team to build really cool things using our LLMs. So it's not only generating those responses, but again, it's learning from those interactions. And again, that's a way for us to make it easy for customers to find the answers that they need. And since it's an API kind of going back to in app or on our self service, we really have the flexibility to kind of do what we want to with it. So we're starting in slack. We're going to get feedback, fine tune it, but now we're thinking, okay, can we also do the same thing in our community? This is something that we could actually build kind of a chat bot within our console or in the future, can it do things like, hey, when will this feature be ready? And it's pulling data from our product roadmap. So it's exciting to me because it's something that we've been working towards, but I see endless opportunities for our customers to still get the personalized feel, but in a more automated way where we don't have to have a human answering those questions and we're using LLMs that's constantly learning from that regard. So that's really exciting for us as well. Yeah, well, my follow up question was going to be, are you using LLMs? And you just jumped right into that. That's so cool. That's great. Yeah, I was thinking as you were talking about the scalability of all that, right? Because as you continue to grow, is it realistic to have your entire team surface to the customer base and all that kind of stuff? And I'm sure there'll be inflection points and changes and all that kind of stuff and people will be happy and sad about it, but whatever. That's so cool. I love that you guys are innovating like that and it's so interesting that you're really almost forced to innovate in a way. Yes, you have to find the ways to figure it out. One of the reasons why I think I like startups, because of the scrappiness and the chaos and you don't always have a tool readily available for you to service those needs, so you have to get creative. And I personally also have used that as an opportunity to help my team grow. So you improve skill sets within the team where you're saying, hey, we have this hard problem that we need to solve for help me figure it out. It's not something that me as a leader, I don't need to own that I can really work with the team, give them an exciting project and say, hey, run with it. We've had some really cool things come out of just that model that's really made it easy and it gives employees ownership when they see customers using something that they've built. It's exciting. So, yeah, it's really fun and I think it goes beyond just the digital CS world, but it also gives you an opportunity to encourage innovation, exploration and those sorts of things within your team. Right? I mean, when somebody is naturally drawn towards wanting to do something and it benefits the company. It benefits their career trajectory. It solves a problem that you have that's like a leader's golden place to live. Yeah, absolutely. That's cool. Are there other interesting, I guess, tools, but kind of use cases behind those in home, in, you know, homegrown tools that you've, you've built that might be, you know, compelling to some of the listeners. So we are actually launching Summarization, which allows our customers to summarize audio the text from our transcripts next week, which is a feature that we've had for a while. But I was thinking, like, we talked about Slack. Again. We live in slack. When there's a customer issue, sometimes you have to scroll pages, pages and try to get the context that you need from that Slack channel. So one of the tools we are working on is the ability to use Summarization within Slack. So you say, can you summarize the conversations over the last seven days within Slack? And it literally gives you a summarization of those conversations both internally and externally. That one is something our customers are kind of using us to build similar things on their side. And it's something that we're building internally again to help improve our customer experience. So that's another exciting one. We are really kind of building this model of, again, exploration and encouraging employees. Like, hey, if you see something that can be improved, go build it. You don't need to wait for Ralphie to say, hey, we need this, just go build it. And that's where some of these really exciting things like Navi and Summarization, they're being thought of by people that aren't on the customer success team, which is very exciting for me because they're showing that we've really built that customer centric organization. Yeah. And it gives those employees, again, that thing that they can hang their hat on and say, hey, look, I built this, and put it as part of their profile. It reminds me of this book, what was it called? Orbiting the giant hairball. I think that's what it's called. Have you heard of this? No, I have not. That's interesting. Yeah, look it up. I think that's what it's called. It's a horrible name, but it's written by this guy who worked in Corporate Hallmark forever. And Corporate Hallmark is like the epitome of horrible corporate situations, but talking about how you just go in and you take ownership of a problem or ownership of an issue and you make it your own and you solve for it and you don't ask for permission, you just kind of go in and take ownership of it. And I love that you're kind of embodying that. So that's cool. Yeah, it makes working with other teams so much fun. When I get teams from a data scientist asking me a customer question, I'm just like, yes, this is a great place to be. Yeah, that's cool. So what does the kind of support infrastructure for that look like? You've got people building bots and building all these tools and whatnot. I'm guessing there's an engineering team that's involved in that. And you mentioned data science and whatnot. So what does that process look like? So we have an interesting take on support. We have actually a customer facing engineering organization that includes a combination of support engineers and true engineers. So we have our AI support engineers who are focusing on kind of the day to day support tickets with our customers. And then we have solutions engineers who are working on a lot of those cool activities. We're actually also rolling out kind of this applied engineering role. So we hired two applied engineers who are focusing on onboarding. So they will be leading a lot of the digital strategies around how we're building out our PLG motion, making sure that we have the right integrations in place again, the right automations and that sort of thing. So we have a very unique model to how we support our customers. So it's a combination of support and engineering that make up our customer facing. Engineering organization that's cool, unique all around. I dig it. I'd like to switch gears kind of completely on you here for a second because I'm so glad you're on because I think in tech, any opportunity to highlight female leadership and female in presence in CS I think is one that needs to be jumped on. Because tech forever, as we know, has had some diversity issues and still does today. And whatnot. And I would just love to get your take on current state from your perspective. We have work to do. If we're being honest, we have a lot of work to do. But as a minority woman in leadership, my experiences have been both rewarding and challenging. Like you said, it is encouraging to see women in CS roles, but the representation of women, especially minority women in leadership is very unbalanced. And for me, it's more complex than just representation. I think it's more around the inclusion and equity issues that we see in tech. I think we made strides, but it's important to recognize that if we really want to change this, we have to start addressing the barriers that are preventing women and women of color from the opportunities to advance. And that's where I think the miss is. You can't just hire and add a woman to the leadership team or add women to middle leadership. You really need to address what's preventing them to continue to move up in their career. And a lot of that comes from not creating inclusive environments where you're valuing and you'rewarding and recognizing those unique perspectives that women and people of color bring to the table. And I think that's where a lot of companies are missing it. So I focus heavily with all of the teams that I've built in building diverse teams. And I mentioned it and we kind of talked about it. But when I'm fostering when I'm fostering a diverse and inclusive team, what I found is you get more innovation, there's a diversity of thought, you're encouraging exploration and experimentation, and you out of the box thinking. And to me, it's simple. It makes sense because our customer base is diverse. Why not build a team that can support a diverse customer base? And if companies aren't really understanding that dynamic, they're not going to be able to make that shift. They'll see benefits in creating spaces that support women and people of color when they start to create those spaces that are inclusive. But until that starts to happen, you're going to see a little bit of the same. So again, we have work to do. I think it's more than just adding women to your board, adding women to the leadership team. You really have to focus on being inclusive and the equity piece as well and what's preventing them from growing. Yeah, it's not just numbers on a spreadsheet, right? And I love that you pointed out the Equitable piece because I think a lot of people kind of confuse equality with equity, whereas the same opportunities need to be created and the support systems need to be there and all that kind of stuff as well. Yeah, I love that you pointed that out and I really appreciate your insight onto that. So thank you. And I'll also add, especially in customer success, I'm not sure if you're familiar with Success in Black, which is a community for black people. In customer success, there aren't enough spaces like that in CS where it's maybe for Latina women or men and that sort of thing. We need to help create more spaces like that and have allies that support and sponsor spaces like that. I think Esume has done an amazing job with Success in Black, but how do we duplicate that effort across other ethnicities? That's where I think a lot of groups could use the support of larger CS firms that are really supporting the CS movement, where they're sponsoring and bringing them onto podcasts and webinars and including them, I think is really important as well. Moving into kind of back into the realm of CS a little bit, I'm sure you've seen or been part of organizations that have tried to build digital functions and have either succeeded, failed, or some combination thereof. Are there some just like classic blunders that you either see orgs making all over and over again or like some really amazingly stupid ones as well? I think the top one is thinking digital CS is a high tech such approach. You mentioned it. That's not the same thing. That's number one, thinking that they're the same thing. You're going to have a huge miss if you do that. I think the other one is ignoring metrics and feedback. The data is there. I'm so data driven. You got to figure that out now. Love data because it's gold and the data is. There, and customers will tell you how they feel. And if you're not using that, you're missing an opportunity to improve. You're missing an opportunity to evolve. So from the start, when you're building a team or you're thinking about your digital CS program, think about the metrics that you want to measure. What do those metrics mean? And when you start measuring them and you get that data back, what are you going to do about it when they're not where you need to be? So if your turn rate is not where it needs to be, your NR is really low, your NPS scores are low. You have to start creating initiatives to address those things. But if you're not even gathering that data, you're not going to be able to make any decisions. If you're not gathering customer feedback throughout the customer journey, you're not going to know what you need to improve on. So I think ignoring metrics and feedback is one thing, and then the other part to digital CS that I think a lot of people miss is when you maintain that reactive approach. If you're only building a digital CS program that's addressing issues as they come up, you're not building a digital CS program. You're just creating technical ways or automated ways for our customers to ask us more questions that we answer in a reactive manner. So I think those are the three big things, thinking it's high tech touch, ignoring your metrics and feedback and then maintaining that reactive approach. Yeah. On the data front, I know that there are just a ton of organizations out there that really struggle with data cleanliness. And maybe in a startup instance, it's a little bit easier because you don't have a legacy of decade of data to deal with. But how would you advise someone to approach ratty data? What's your thoughts on that? I know I'm putting you on the spot. I've been there, done that. You really have to create kind of a plan. It's a lot. I've been in situations where data, I mean, junk in is junk out, and you have to figure out how to work around that. Don't jump to finding a tool to solve the problem. Sometimes you just have to start with where you are, whether it's in a spreadsheet, get your hands dirty manually, do updates. I don't even want to admit it, but I think I spent an entire quarter at one point going through salesforce and cleaning up data, adding data that I knew that I was going to need in order for me to start doing the digital things that I wanted to do in the future. But I wasn't afraid of getting my hands dirty. So if that means I had to delay some projects because that piece was more important, that's what I had to do. So roll up your sleeves and be okay with you having to say, I may have to go through a manual phase of getting this right, and then once you do that, hold others accountable. I am on our VP of Sales neck about data hygiene. You need to have processes in place. I don't care if the AES don't want to update this. Now we are working with our Rev Ops team to create better workflows and make that easier. But no excuses. We all know sales, they don't want to update salesforce. They don't want to go in and add all of that information. But if you start to build that muscle and make it a part of what they're doing, require it. Like, here's a trick. Require it during the sales to CS handoff. It's really interesting when I say I'm not assigning a CSM until I have this particular information that changes things. So you have to build in the motion, make sure you have the right workflows and the accountability for your teams that are supporting your CS team. And that's responsible for keeping that data updated. So I'm on a lot of people when it comes to data because data is very important in order for us to just continue to evolve. Yeah, it's a little like, can't you can't have this unless you do this. I get a lot of eye rolls and okay, Ralphie. But I'm like, hey, I promise you this is going to help us both in the future when I'm able to expand this account. You'll be glad that I asked you for this information. Yeah, I mean, setting that foundation is to your point, setting that foundation is one know, but you're kind of shooting yourself in the foot if you set the foundation, but then you don't operationalize the maintenance of the foundation. Absolutely. Awesome. Amazing tidbits. Thank you. I want to ask you kind of as we start to round out what is in your kind of regular rotation with regards to books, podcasts, YouTube channels related to CS, what are you paying attention to on a weekly basis? Oh, that could change. I would say right now I'm really focusing on customer led growth. So I've had a few LinkedIn conversations with Dave Jackson. I'm in the middle of reading his book, which explores how you build a growth focused organization. So I'm focusing there. I'm also at the same time focusing on the Messy Middle. It's one of those I'm reading his book a little bit, but then I'm jumping over to The Messy Middle, which kind of explores the challenges of that middle phase of bold ventures. So I'm in a startup. We're doing some amazing things right now and really understanding the importance of endurance and working through that and then optimization. So I'm balancing those two books right now. And again, that varies really, depending on where I'm at and what I'm working on because I do revisit a lot of books as well. So I've gone back to Chief customer officer. I've gone back to the Customer Success Playbook and those sorts of things over my career and I'll continue to do that from a podcast standpoint. Erit. I love erit So CSM practice. They have the customer success. Practice. Podcast. I follow a lot of that, but more importantly, I tell my mentees the same thing. We have Top 100, we have top 50 CS innovators and Strategists. I am constantly on their LinkedIn. I am constantly reading what they're talking about, agreeing or disagreeing and really starting conversations because I think a lot of people are doing very innovative things and I think it's important for us to have those conversations and to challenge sometimes the thinking around that. So I spent a lot of time following CS leaders and innovators and really just kind of focusing on what are they working on and how can I contribute, and also sharing some of my stories as well. The value of networking is so tangible, especially I can see us, everybody's just kind of friendly. It's like a family. We've all known each other for a while, even though we've only met ten minutes ago. Kind of deal, right? But it's part of the reason why I started the podcast, honestly, because I was reaching out to people, having conversations, seeing what other people are doing. I was like, It's a shame we're not recording this right now. So, yeah, thanks for being part of that, for sure. Of my own personal journey. Who out there is doing cool stuff in digital? Who do you want to give a shout out to? Who do you admire? At the moment? Right now, I'm going to say it's Nick Sanders. So he was the winner of the Most Innovative CS Initiative Award at the ceremony, and he leads the Digital CX strategy at Dental Intelligence and has been leading the charge with providing technology that reduces time to value, increases satisfaction, and then also automates key milestones in the customer journey. So it was exciting to hear his story. It's been exciting to see the work that he's doing and kind of following him. So, huge shout out to Nick. I'm going to be watching him as he kind of excels in his career over the next few years. Nick, come on the podcast. And just lastly, where can people find you? What are you up to that people can engage with you on? Where do you live in your kind of online outreach networking world? Mostly on LinkedIn. But I am on a mission to redefine excellence in customer success. So I've been focusing a lot of my time on customer led growth initiatives and really coaching rising CSMS, rising leaders and partnering with startups through my new consulting firm, Radical CS. So you can follow me on LinkedIn or head over to and check out some of the cool projects that I'm working on as well. Ralphie, it's been awesome. I really appreciated your time and your background and both your background on camera. If you're watching this on YouTube, and your background in general. You have so much to offer, such a wealth of knowledge, and I hope that you come back at some point and tell us more. Absolutely, alex, this has been so much fun. It's been great. Cool. Thanks. See ya. See ya. 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 Word map and get more information about the My name is Alex Turkovich. Thanks again for joining and we'll see. You next time live.