The Digital Customer Success Podcast

Iterating Your Way to Digital Customer Success Maturity with Aaron Hatton from Gainsight | Episode 018

October 03, 2023 Alex Turkovic, Aaron Hatton Episode 18
The Digital Customer Success Podcast
Iterating Your Way to Digital Customer Success Maturity with Aaron Hatton from Gainsight | Episode 018
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Get ready for an enlightening conversation as we sit down to converse with Aaron Hatton, Digital Customer Success Program Manager at Gainsight. With his vast experience and technical background, Aaron unpacks the intricacies of data, user self-identification, the growth mindset, and much more, giving you invaluable insights into Gainsight's own digital customer success strategies.

In this episode, Aaron recounts how his technical & support background has formed into a career in Digital CS. He offers valuable strategies on tailoring the customer journey and capitalizing on data.

This very tactical episode promises to deliver a wealth of information for anyone interested in the realm of digital customer success.

Enjoy...I know I sure did!

Aaron's LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aaronhatton/

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The Digital Customer Success Podcast is hosted by Alex Turkovic

Speaker 1:

We're here to make you look good.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, and if I do my job. Well, no one knows who. I am right In theory that's the idea behind it. So, we want to make sure that they think they see a sense. Wow, my CSM sends me an email right in time. It's moments like that which we really want to strive for.

Speaker 1:

You're going to get to take credit for all of our hard work, right.

Speaker 2:

And that's okay. I think it's important to really power them, I'm sure.

Speaker 1:

And once again, welcome to the digital customer success podcast with me, 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 scaled CS programs. My goal is to share what I've learned and to bring you along with me for the ride so that you get the insights that you need to build and evolve your own digital CS program. If you'd like more info, want to get in touch or sign up for the latest updates, go to digitalcustomersuccesscom, and if you have a question or commentary to be used in an upcoming episode, call us and leave a message at 512-222-7381. For now, let's get started. Hello, Welcome back to episode 18 of the show. It's so great to have you back. Thanks so much for tuning in today. Today's episode is going to be a pretty tactical one, Because joining us today we have Aaron Hatton, who is the Digital Customer Success Program Manager at GainSight. So you know it's always interesting talking to people who do customer success at customer success-centric companies, and Aaron is no exception. He has a very technical background which leads well into the topic of digital because he knows his way around an integration or two. In the conversation today. We talked about, you know, data, talked about GainSight's specific motions around you know, customer self-identifying or personas self-identifying, and we talked a lot about the mindset around digital and really the growth mindset that's needed to implement some of these things. So it was a fascinating conversation. Aaron is located in the New York area I believe he's actually in New York City, but happy to say that he is safe and sound given the recent flooding that's happened there. So, anyway, enough of my yapping. I hope you enjoy today's conversation with Aaron Hatton of GainSight. I know I sure did. Aaron, it is great to have you on the show. I appreciate it. We met each other, I think, relatively recently, not in person, because who meets each other in person anymore? But we met each other virtually digitally and, you know, a few months ago and started talking about you know DigitalCS a little bit. You are a DigitalCS leader, I think, program manager at GainSight correct, that's right, yeah, and so obviously wanted to have you on the DigitalCS podcast because you are, you know, living it and breathing it, not just from you know, a standpoint of operations and doing DigitalCS, but you're also, you know, part of one of the major CSPs out there, and so there are a few people out there where you can have the conversation about DigitalCS, not just from the practitioner, but also being part of a company in a tribe that's really you know driving that. So super happy to have you on and really looking forward to digging in on some of these topics. Yeah, Thanks for having me.

Speaker 2:

I'm excited for conversation today.

Speaker 1:

For sure, For sure, Well before we, you know the obligatory like back story where you came from, what you you know what led you into into CS. Would be awesome to hear from you kind of like you know what got you into CS, what's keeping you in CS and what got you into DigitalCS specifically. Yeah, it's interesting.

Speaker 2:

So my background is primarily like technical right. So, like I started my career doing like IT support, have you tried turning it off and on again? Website development, that type of thing?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I remember, so I spent some time in like at Dell in a sales like a consumer sales function and invariably we would get people calling in for support and you know you would just kind of help them just to see if you could sell a printer or something like that. But it but it invariably is like is the keyboard plugged in, right? You know it's funny.

Speaker 2:

I was just talking to someone recently about one of my previous like stories on the help desk about how there was like two wireless mice in the same room and they were like moving each other's mouse because someone had switched them, let the cleaning lady or whatever had switched them, and it was just pretty amusing Like the amount of steps we had to go through the troubleshoot to be like what's actually going on here? Right, I don't miss that. No, no, but yeah, it's funny because I like, I really like I started my career on a very technical side, right, like, I know the speeds of USB two, usb three and the lamps and whatever else, right, yeah, whatever you need for comp tier and I, as I was talking to customers day in, day out, one of the things which I really enjoyed doing was talking about the use case of using the products. Right, so like, yes, you can use Outlook to read your email, but you could also use it in the future. Yes, you can use Outlook to read your email, but you could also use it in this particular way to do this in your workflow. And to achieve this and trying to talk more about the actual like story behind why this software is useful to you, and I kind of fell into a role. A pretty big company could Pearson You've probably heard of them. They're big in the US and the UK and I was like the internal Google champion, if you will, right, and so it was my job to promote like why people should be using Google internally for like, definitely a thousand employees.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

And it as I moved on my career. It led really well to customer success because I was like wait, I'm basically a CSM, I'm just like Google's CSM internally, at my logical position. Right, so it moves across that way and I think with the technical background, I was always like how can I automate this? How can I do something rather than logging 100 timeline entries at the end of every day, where you're doing it back to back calls, or rather than like emailing and meeting with so many customers? What can I do to try scaling myself, because I'm only one guy right. So it was very difficult to do that, but it helped me get into this position where I am today, where I'm focused primarily on how can we build digital customer success success correctly for Gainsight, which is one of the market leaders and CSPs.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think. Yeah, I've heard of Gainsight.

Speaker 2:

I should hope so.

Speaker 1:

That's fascinating. One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is the variety of background that exists within customer success. You talk to salespeople and it's like sales background. You talk to engineers and nine times out of 10, they graduated college with a degree in computer science and all that kind of stuff, whereas CS is like you've got people from education, you've got people from support, you've got people from all walks of life coming together for kind of a similar function. I think that's super cool, and to leverage your technical expertise in such a way that helps digital motions, I think that's a really cool fit. Obviously, this is the Digital CS podcast. One of the things I ask all of my guests is the elevator pitch of what Digital CS is, because it is truly different depending on your background and what your situation is. So if you had to describe digital customer success to somebody on an elevator for 30 seconds, what would your elevator pitch be?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's funny. I love listening to your podcast and hearing everyone else's different take on this and I'm really excited to see what this world cloud you're building evolves to. It's funny. I actually have two pitches. I got one for the non-technical, non-in-the-cs space.

Speaker 1:

For mom and dad.

Speaker 2:

Exactly exactly and it's funny for my dad, it makes me sound kind of cooler than it actually is. So for my parents I just say, yeah, I write algorithms to create and keep customers engaged and keep buying our software. And then they're like, wow, you sound so smart. And I'm like, yeah, it's a little bit modern, but whatever. But in the CS space, I typically think of it more as like and this is forever evolving, but it's creating digitized, automated, personalized and predictive experiences for customers. So there's a lot of buzzwords there. I should have thrown in AI and blockchain, but it's very much around like I'm a big believer in what can we do to personalize the experience for customers. What can we do to make it so it's digitized, so there's no more meetings and no more emails back and forth. Instead, they can like self-service, they can evolve using the product themselves. And how can we do it in such a way where it's automated, so we can do it on scale? I think that's a big part of it too.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, Run those list of buzzwords by me again. That's very very fascinating. I joke, but not really, because they all mean something very specific and very relevant, right?

Speaker 2:

Right. So it's about creating digitized, automated, personalized and predictive experiences for our customers.

Speaker 1:

Okay. Well, that gets us right into the crux of things and one of the things that I wanted to talk with you about, which was that combination of digital automation and personalization, which is like the Holy Grail and digital CS. I mean, there's like the maturity model, if you will, of digital CS, where, on the very infantile side, you're sending in some emails, you've got an onboarding flow, it's like the stuff we've been doing forever, and then, on the other end of the spectrum, you've got really relevant, highly personalized content that's timely, that's all of that kind of stuff. And so it'd be great to get just a snapshot of what your brain looks like when you think about that. Like, where do you go in defining what it is you want to do to tie in the personalization to your digital goals? Is this a data thing? Is this scripting? Are you thinking about it creatively? Do you have to jot it down on a whiteboard first?

Speaker 2:

Lay it on me? Yeah, no, I think everything kind of goes back to data and digital CS, right, like having a good quality of data is very important and it's not always the case. I don't think I've ever worked at a company where they've got data figured out properly, right Like there's always going to be pieces which are great, and probably like 10 times more pieces, but chances are great, so it's very difficult. In that respect, the way which I tend to think about it is okay, what can I do, like as part of the customer journey? What's the next step which needs to be personalized? What's the next part of the journey which, as we're looking at it, would be predictive, like the right in time moments, right, and using the data, we can really like delve into that bit more. So, like to give you an example, recently we launched an engagement specifically like quizzing our users. Hey, what kind of like role are you in? Are you customer success, are you sales, are you support? And then what's your seniority? Are you an individual contributor, so like a CSM, or you're a director of customer success? And then the customer's actually giving us that information. We're not having to scour LinkedIn or buy some of the expensive software which gives us their job titles automatically. Instead, what we're doing is we're asking the users so they can self-identify with. This is who I am. These are the goals I'm hoping to achieve using your software and with that information you can then start leveraging that and do okay. So now I've got like personas, if you will, and I can start targeting that correctly. And you tend to go towards the majority of the users first, and you know, one of our use groups is like 60%, with one particular segment. So it's really easy to start thinking about, okay, if I'm in this role like how do I use the software which I'm using and what could I do to leverage that software better?

Speaker 1:

I recently encountered this modal in GainSight and when I did I got excited because you know it's kind of it as a user, right, it makes you feel, I guess, kind of special to be able to self-identify a little bit, show some semblance of caring. I think some people might see that as like well, they don't know who I am like, how dare they. But I don't see it like that at all and I think, as I've talked about in previous episodes, part of CS is kind of falling on your sword a little bit to get the information you need to be effective. But the point I want to make here is that asking your users to self-identify solves so many problems in one place, because you're no longer asking your sales and revenue teams to identify contacts which invariably they don't. You know you're creating personas that fit. You know you're identifying on a high level who you're. You know who admins are, who your executives are like, and doing it in a way that categorizes it based on you know what your goals are from an engagement perspective, versus, like you know, asking people to self-identify on a massive dropdown list or you know free text, which is like the worst case scenario. So I love that element because it does allow you to you know, then really build off the back of that with probably more confidence than you would if, let's say, your sellers identified who your champions were and who your admins were and all that kind of stuff, right?

Speaker 2:

Right, and I think it's more. It avoids the kind of like humans are accident prone right, we're going to make mistakes and when you're trying to get that deal over the finish line, sometimes you may skip a few steps to be able to get it through right. This way, there is a risk that your users go well. I've been a customer of yours for the past five years. Why don't you know that I'm a director of CS?

Speaker 1:

right.

Speaker 2:

Why don't you know that I'm a salesman or sales director, whatever. But there's a big opportunity to get the initial information from your users, and ideally it should be at the start point when they first sign into the product, that's when they see it. Now we had the unique challenge of having to backfill this data, so we just thought you know what? Let's just go and ask the question. But there is a second part of it too, is how do we keep that information up to date? And so what we've done is that particular model you're mentioning. We've actually set it to run every six maps, because what we are going to start measuring is what's the career progression and does our software help influence that in any way, or what can we do to help improve that? So we're seeing that a lot of people they're still stuck as a manager of customer success and they have been for the past six times. We've asked maybe we need to provide more education materials, more certifications, more leadership guidance in CS to be able to try driving our customers forwards further. So it's very much around like you want to empower your customers. It's, in a way, manage up, you want them to improve in their career and by leveraging your software.

Speaker 1:

That's fascinating and really almost correlating usage to, like, career progression maybe, or the things that you've sent out over time. That's cool. So you're adding a dataset to your user data. How do you correlate the data you've already collected? Like in the past, surely you've collected the fact that so-and-so is a champion, so-and-so is admin and so-and-so is that? Are you thinking about this in a way of, like, merging the two, overwriting, or it's just like hey, this is how we're going to do it from here on, going on, going forward.

Speaker 2:

That's a great question. It's funny because we had this question internally from a lot of our frontline reps, right, the CSMs, the sales and whatnot. The way which we've taken this particular approach is to not overwrite what we've done today but to use it as an additional data point. So we are creating some technical data and, like I am the biggest like believer in don't create that technical debt, don't create too many fields and have hundreds of them. But what we've done is we've also developed a long-term strategy. So the long-term strategy is we hope to consolidate this data over time. Once we've got enough responses, once we've got everyone's like fields populated, we can then say, okay, was the data matching up? It was great, let's clear out those old records. If there's any disparities between the two, then we can then explore like, okay, what do we need to do? And I'm hoping it's not going to be so much of a manual process, but there may be some manual intervention which is needed and we'll tackle that bridge when we get there.

Speaker 1:

For sure. Yeah, it's fascinating. I love talking shop with people who know what they're talking about. Let's take a step back for a second. I'd love to get into your brain a little bit about just the high-level approach to digital CS at Gaines. Obviously, we saw a lot of interesting things at Pulse in San Francisco a few months ago. There's the Amsterdam event coming up, which I'm assuming will be very heavy on digital CS as well, and so we've seen this shift over the years. That has been very well publicized and is almost becoming echo chambery. But whatever of digital CS isn't a segment, it is a strategy. It is as much about helping customers as it is helping your internal CSMs be more effective, etc. But does that kind of encompass or cleanly kind of describe what the digital strategy at Gaines site is, or would you describe it somewhat differently?

Speaker 2:

Well, let me start by saying this when you say digital customer success is not a segment, I'm a big believer in that right, Because when we did think that initially, like a couple of years back, everybody did. I actually worked for a different company at the time and it was like overnight I became a CSM managing 300 accounts and then still like empowered and still believes that like we should be building the strategy and like automating things. It's really hard to manage 300 accounts when you don't have a good digital CS motion in place, right. So I'm a big believer and we should have someone who's able to have that like the build mentality, someone who's able to get these engagements going, getting those automated emails out, being able to build those in app guides, and then have someone who is like fighting fires, right, like talking with customers day to day. Now, it's not to say that a person building can't talk to customers. I love talking to customers and I'll try to do whenever I can, but it's very much the case of you want to make sure you've got someone dedicated to building. Yeah, gains that we tend to take the same approach to that, right. So we have teams of people which are dedicated to like thinking about how we can build it. Someone helps with the building, the app engagement, someone helps with the like journey orchestrator, the automation flows of emails going out with surveys and whatnot, and then we have our own CS ops team, separate from that which we can rely on to say, hey, we need this data point from Salesforce, we need this system to this system to do XYZ, and they're very great and responsive. We've been able to help that, in addition to having the port CSM team as well.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's interesting those things working together. So, if I understood correctly, obviously you have an ops function. You know that's more in the weeds on systems and integrations. You've got the digital team kind of focused on the digital motions and putting that kind of stuff into place and engaging with those digital motions. You've got a pool team that's separate. Yes, that's right. And what's the interplay between those two? Kind of look like.

Speaker 2:

You know it's interesting because it takes a village to build a great digital CS strategy.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and like, as you're saying it back to me, I'm thinking, man, that must be siloed like crazy. But it's not. What we try to do is to try to avoid those silos. What can we do to make sure that we're communicating correctly, cross-functionally and we're getting that feedback? So one of the things which we try to do is, like we talk to those port CSMs and we say, like, are you getting common questions? If you are, what are those questions? Look like Right. So as they come to us and say, man, people are really tripping over this new feature which we've got, like it'll be great if we could create a guide. Our team would prioritize those things in particular to get those out for that team. So, as they're still fighting that fire, we can hopefully like give them some air support, reduce the fire down, so then that way it's a smaller flame which they can tackle and it's not too much of a bite to chew. Yeah, Like.

Speaker 1:

Another example of that that I use quite a bit is I look at our support case volumes and I see what are those things that are kind of in a training category that are called in about a lot, that are fielded a lot, that we can do some automations around to try to reduce those kind of support tickets.

Speaker 2:

And those kind of stories exist in every part of the customer journey, right? So, like from the sales cycle, as they're getting the demos and people are asking questions. They may have a question about like, oh, how does this feature work? Right, and if we can help them once they actually get into the product, we can do that. But then there's like support, there's onboarding, there's the customer success teams, maybe in the account management teams, as they're talking about renewal why the customer doesn't want to renew because they're struggling with this much 19 scene value in it. So there's a lot of teams which you can get that feedback from. It's difficult to avoid the noise when you like that collaboratively, but it's very much like a mixture of like getting the right data points of like who are we going to affect? Right, the 80-20 rule of like. Aim for the 80%, the 20% will follow later. And then what can we do to try helping our customers better? And sometimes it's a little bit of gut too, right? This? data has got what you need to make decision on.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely Absolutely. Are there any motions you've implemented or are working on that you're particularly, I guess, proud of, like a proud Papa moment, Like hey look, we did this thing. That's really cool and making an impact.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's. We're actually now getting to the point where, given the modal which you mentioned right the one where we're asking about the role and the department and their goal using our product we're now getting to the point of impersonalization properly. So we're going to be launching something in the next few days here. So, by the time people hear this podcast, it would be live for our new users using the platform, which is specifically like hey, we know you're an individual contributor on this department or this team, so we're going to give you guidance on how to use the platform at the end of life. But it's going to be like as a CSM, for example, like I want to record notes about my customer, okay, click this button and it'll show you specific write up, right. And we're starting to use that personalization and I often refer to it as like a Netflix, like experience, right.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Where, like, the shows are being predicted for you. They're like, oh, you liked watching House of Cards, now go and watch I don't know something else. Right, white House has fallen, or whatever show you want to watch. So it's very much the case of we're taking the data which we're learning from our users and now pulling into play, and this is where it becomes more fun. Right, it's okay, let's see what it looks like. How does it resonate? And I'm particularly proud of it because we've leveraged the product, like against IPX product, so well that we've actually added additional analytics data points, so I'll also be able to see, like okay, this option is being clicked 10 times more than any other option. Let's move it up the list. Let's then, with that option, let's then do X, y and Z to make it so that it's easier, when people are actually starting to use the product, to then answer the questions they may have about it.

Speaker 1:

It's fascinating. A lot of people ask me, like you know, how do you measure digital customer success? And the answer is an interesting one because in one end, you can attribute revenue goals to digital emotions right, you can do NRR and all those traditional CS metrics, but then again you get into a little bit of segmentation, which is a hot topic. But I think on top of that, you have all these engagement metrics that are really rooted in customer marketing Engagement metrics with not just email flows and things like that, but really looking at in-app engagement and is also rooted in just product telemetry as well. So I think what you just hit on is pretty powerful because all of a sudden, yes, we're tracking renewal and we're tracking retention of customers and whatnot, but we're also collecting all these other insights that really start to form like a holistic dataset and view of the customer base.

Speaker 2:

Big part of it as well is the first thing we should release isn't going to be perfect. I can be proud of it as much as I want I can talk about it to the cows come home but it's not going to be perfect and I need to be willing to take that customer feedback too. Every email which I'm now looking to design, at the bottom I'm going to put a smiley face Is this email useful to you, is it not? You see it so much when we're using tools like Grammarly and other, like Canva and whatnot. But what can we do to try and prove in these experiences as we get them for the journey? There is a big part of Digital CS which could be leveraged for stuff like cross sales and upsells and expansions. In fact, I've done it myself, like I did one engagement, and it was such a great success. The company's revenue literally increased by millions of dollars a year. It was such a great success, which is fantastic. But to provide true customer value, it's not just about selling them something. It's about how can I give them what they really want, what they really need, so they can see a better ROI and get more value out of your product.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's fascinating how many people tend to be very gun-shy when it comes to launching digital motions. I think what you just described of hey, you just got to do it and see what works, see what doesn't work, iterate and move on to the next thing is super important, because I think a lot of people give that advice, but I don't think a lot of people really heed that advice. I think it can be okay to fail I mean, that's how we all learn but are there specific things that maybe you've tried to implement that have fallen on their face, so that you've learned particularly valuable lessons from?

Speaker 2:

It's funny because there's one thing which I've been trying to implement for years, which is this concept of just Spotify unwrapped, which they would do every year. Something like that it's difficult to do for most companies because they're getting the right data, getting the right data points, and I can have a list of 100 data points I want to include, but in reality I probably got 10. That's the challenge. I think it's one of those things where it's on my back burner. I'm still going to keep asking the product team hey, have you added that new data point which I need Are we now collecting it correctly. Hopefully, over time, we'll be able to deliver something like that. But what I would say is I don't believe in saying something's impossible. I tried to think about it. Okay, it's not possible that way, but what can we do it a different way?

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

We need to look at how our other teams work right. Our product teams typically work in agile mindsets, where it's fail-fast, fail-forwards, whatever term you want to use. That's a big part of when you do and you build digital customer success programs. Start small and iterate, iterate, iterate we said this at Pulse is like the first version of an email doesn't need to be pretty. It could be plain text from your CSM, but then when you get to the last email, which you're like four versions in, it should be looked like a marketing type email, a banner, maybe even a video embedded. There's things like that which customers enjoy looking at those emails. You're about providing the right information up front and then you can more focus on the nice cities later, right? So, that's tend to why I try to do it in tools.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's super valuable. Your background is obviously very technical. Based on your intro and where you came from. I know that from our previous conversation that you like to really dabble and get in the weeds in terms of integrations and utilizing APIs and things like that. I was curious how big of a presence that is in your digital motions. Are you actively working on integrations on a day-to-day basis or what does that look like in your world?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it goes back to what I just said a minute ago. I don't say no to anything. So one of the things which we were talking about recently was like running webinars on a pre-recorded way. So you have a video which you launch. People, customers will think it's live. Then how do we collect data of who attended, who hasn't attended and get that into GainSight in a way which we can then do the next part of the journey, like send them an email, in-app engagements, whatever else? We've actually started building an API connector into Zoom to be able to then say, okay, let's grab this data, let's put it into journey, orchestrate and start sending emails. I did a really cool one. You'd love this. Under your big swag man. We integrated with one of our partners called Sendoso. I set up in such a way that customer science to deal, we have to decision-maker on the opportunity in Salesforce. So inside of GainSight, using the APIs and the external actions and whatever else, I can then say, okay, send them an email which would then say, hey, give me your address, I'm going to send you some swag.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

We send them all sorts of branded swag based on how much money they've spent, what segment they're in, all sorts of things, Stuff like that I really enjoyed doing because it's a challenge, it's something which someone goes well, it's not possible because we're not integrated with this company. You go well, it is possible. Give me the API, give me two or three days and I'll see if I can figure it out. So that's why I enjoyed it. We do some things really well. We do some things. Maybe they're a little bit harder to overcome the challenges, Maybe the APIs aren't there right, but we try to do it wherever we can. If we can do it natively, that's always the best option, but sometimes you do need to just open the hood and start tinkering.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean those are the things that end up being super impactful. I think that's where growth mindset comes in a little bit here as well, because there's a lot of things where you know you lay stuff out, looks great on PowerPoint and everybody loves it, and then it's time to implement it and you know the person or people or team that is implementing it. You're really kind of at the mercy of their skills, their attitude, their ability to kind of take something and run with it. You know to implement it and I think this is where you really grow a digital strategy. It's like you start right. You start and you iterate and you build upon it and you add more things and make sure everything's working and sticks to the customer journey. But then there are those really cool things that you kind of aspirational things that you want to go tackle, like integrating swag into your digital emotions. You know how cool is that and how impactful is it, and so I don't know where I'm going with this, but I think it's interesting to hear you talk about kind of your approach to that, like just going to go figure it out and come back in a couple of days. You know, having consumed five pots of coffee.

Speaker 2:

It's funny because there's a great speaker. He writes a book I've got it on my shelf Dan Heath, and it's called the Power Up Moments, and he talks about, like the customer experience, like they're all going to be highs and lows for our experience, but it's our job is what can we do to maximize the highs and minimize the lows as much as possible? Right, and some of these things can be done with like tinkering and things and iterating and whatnot. But stuff like sending swag, like if I send you you've achieved something in a product as a milestone, whatever, I think you know your level three certified admin right on GainSight. So, like at that point you get shown a swag thing about we're going to send you some shoes. Moments like that you're going to remember and you're going to feel like wow, like that's a really peak, high moment. When you sign in you're like great, swag Doesn't have to be swag, doesn't need to be brand, it could be something else. Maybe we send you like a bottle of champagne or we send you something cool, right, but it's about making sure that you feel valued as a customer and you really enjoy their experience the most. A big part of iterating, which I want to emphasize the most here, is, like we need to document what we do, right, and as you are iterating things, you need to look at your content and you need to say, okay, like this is what we're going to do, is version one, but you may have ideas for version two, three and four. So make sure you write those down, because I myself have fallen victim to. I've come up with this great idea and then I have to rediscover that idea later on in the journey and by then, like things have changed. It may not be the same quality of the idea and then someone else reminds me of my original idea. So I'm a big documentation guy and I tried to make things in such a way where, like, as I'm planning, isn't documentation, isn't like a doc or it's in code or notion or whatever it is, and I'm building it out, I'm trying to get it emphasized and then, when it comes to the team to build it, like I've got the who, the what, the why, the how, it's all in there, it's all detailed very clearly and then once we publish it and launch it, we share that documentation internally so anyone can access it. And it's a big factor and maybe this is the IT guy behind me Like it's the bus factor, right. So, like I live in New York City, the likelihood of me getting hit by buses probably less than the yellow taxi, but it's very much the case of if I get out of my front door today and I get hit by a cab or a bus or whatever it is, how can someone pick up what I've done and carry on and implement the next iteration as well?

Speaker 1:

Right yeah, and instead of having to do that detective work of you know this, this rule is doing X, y, z, and you know using data, and now you know data analyze analyzer to figure out where a field is. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It's all there in the documentation. I think that's something we can all aspire to, so kudos to you for that.

Speaker 2:

Thank you, and it also helps with my role in particular, because I tried to build everything in public. So, if you are to go to like our game site, game changer community, everything we check built. So like the how do, like your role and goal. The welcoming guide which I said we're going to be launching in the next few days. I've got community posts on those. Well, I'm not only show like the logic to thinking behind it, but also like I'll share the code snippets too, because I think it's important for us all to look at these materials and go okay, I may not want to use the Starscraper episodes, I may not want to do this for a new customer welcome guide, but I will use that style, that format, for something else, and it may be cross sales, expansions or whatever, but I think it's good for us to share as practitioners amongst ourselves in the community and look to each other for inspiration as well.

Speaker 1:

I agree. I mean, the more open we can be with that kind of stuff. It's in, you know, as game site too. I mean you guys are in the business of empowering people to do cool stuff, and so you know it's cool that you're posting all that in the community and making it readily available. That's great. I actually didn't know that. I'll go check it out. Yeah, no definitely.

Speaker 2:

There's quite a few articles in there and I'm going to keep doing it as we build things. It's really exciting stuff, some of them a little bit more technical than others, so if they look a bit overwhelming, don't worry, just read for it. But it's definitely worth reading.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's cool. Another area I wanted to ask you about is the connection between digital motions and human CSMs, or human customer facing people, right, Because you know a lot of the things that we do as digital CS practitioners is not just in support of the customer, but it's also in support of, you know, those that are actively supporting the customers, making things more efficient, making things easier to do. So what's your approach to that, Like, how do you uncover those things that you want to tackle? You know, to build some efficiencies internally.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's, I think, is very much the case of digital motion should be supporting the customer success teams. Our customer success teams are like I keep using this firefighter analogy, I don't know why, but that's my analogy for the day. They're like the firefighters, right? They're the ones which are, like, on the front line fighting the fires. We are very much the like fire prevention team, right? So we're the team which are going to be installing the smoke alarms, with the teams which are going to be teaching and educating our customers Like, hey, don't pour water on it on an oil fire or anything like that, right? So we? I think it's important for your digital CS team who are building these motions to work hand in hand with your customer success managers. And very often I talk to customers to access manager in my own company and they'll say to me you know, I had this customer that's struggling with this issue and they're trying to achieve XYZ, Like what do you think about it? And I'll get. I'll think to myself you know what? That's a really good use case of how we can promote this particular feature or there's a story to be told it. Let's help that customer succeed. Let's help them build it, given the resources they need Sometimes a little bit too much resource, admittedly, but then we can use that as a use case and as a story of how our product could be leveraged correctly, and you can then share that in an automated fashion to your wider customers for a case study, for a webinar, for a blog, whatever it is right. So there's a big pile of interactions there between the two.

Speaker 1:

Amazing, yeah, yeah. I mean, it's the folks in the front line that are doing the gig, experiencing the frustration points, experiencing, but also building cool things, like some of the emails that we send out have been built by CSM's, for instance, and it's like utilizing what everybody's doing and their best practices digitally is awesome, it's awesome.

Speaker 2:

And I would say for some organizations, it's the hardest thing I was to write, like some organizations, when you say you're going to stop this, digital success motions the CSM's. Like Well, what does this mean for me? Like am I going to be replaced? Does this mean there's no more CSM's?

Speaker 1:

And I think it's important, I'm going to get right?

Speaker 2:

It's about, like, what can we do to empower them? And it's very much. We need to sell it, as we're not here to replace you. It's like AI, right, I'm not here to take a job. Well, I'm here to do is make your life easier and to make it like as much more successful with little less work.

Speaker 1:

We're here to make you look good.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, and if I do my job well, no one knows who I am right In theory that's the idea behind it. So, we want to make sure that they think they see us as. Wow, my CSM sends me an email right in time. It's moments like that which we really want to strive for.

Speaker 1:

You're going to get to take credit for all of our hard work.

Speaker 2:

Right, and that's okay, I think it's important to be empowered, and for sure I agree.

Speaker 1:

I agree. Well, look, as I've massively enjoyed this conversation as we kind of round out. You know this episode. I wanted to get a sense from you what your content diet looks like. How do you keep yourself on top of things Digital business, you know, whatever that may be. I know you already mentioned Dan Heath's book, which is a good one, and we'll link it down below for sure, but what else are you listening to, reading all that stuff?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I tried to digest as much as I can. Admittedly, the Digital CS Podcast is probably one of my go-to podcasts at the moment because it's just long enough that I can listen to on a car ride, so that's really useful for me. There are a number of different sources as well out there. I'm in this unique position I can talk to customers, so I get a lot of customers and stuff. But Gainsight does a great job of like our pulse events, publishing the materials for free so you can go check them out and watch the pulse sessions which are going up customers talking about what they've implemented. And then there's this as I'm looking to do more in-app stuff, I've explored and learned more about product-led growth methodology and there's a chap there called I've got his book here Wes Bush, and this one's talking about onboarding. It's product-led onboarding and it's actually pretty interesting really to like think about how we can use digital customer success with that mind-selling mind and what we can do to leverage that. So I mean really enjoying reading his book and learning more about what they're doing through there. And here's a product-led podcast as well which I've started to listen to but not really got through just yet.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, cool. That's awesome, that's great. This is your opportunity to give a shout out and some kudos to people or organizations that are doing cool things in digital CS. Is there any person or group of people that stick out to you in terms of leading the charge?

Speaker 2:

You know it's funny. We, as I said, I mean this unique position where I could like talk to customers and be like a consultative voice. Right, there are some great companies and then, like Altrix and Octa and a few others, are doing things really well. I can't remember the name of the company, I think it's. I can't remember there's another company out there. What they do is they publish, they build publicly as well, but they're not in the game or for CSP, they're actually just like a customer themselves and they have their documentation available online so you can go in and get lab. Get lab, thank you.

Speaker 1:

I didn't want to get wrong. I was going to say get hub.

Speaker 2:

So no, get lab, get lab. Do a great job as well. So if you haven't seen that documentation as a practitioner, do go check it out, because it's some great materials and resources in there.

Speaker 1:

I'm going to go look it up real quick because I have a link to it.

Speaker 2:

I too.

Speaker 1:

have it, but marked. Actually it is episode four with Jeff Beaumont. Go check out that episode. So there's a link to all of the resources. In fact, I'm using it to redesign our course scorecard right now, so it's good stuff. Well, lastly, I know you mentioned that you publish openly in the Gainsight community. Obviously, you're on LinkedIn. How can people engage with you, interact with you and check out what you're doing?

Speaker 2:

That's it. I will not accept this new X name on Twitter, so I've completely given up with Twitter or X or whatever you want to call it these days. So I'm primarily in the game changer community of fucking Gainsight. I'm on LinkedIn If you want to reach out and ask questions about like hey, what's best practices or what have you seen. I'm always open to those conversations, as long as you don't mind sharing what you guys are working on as well. I think that's always useful. It's collaborating, but they're the two best places to get me.

Speaker 1:

That's cool. Yeah Well, aaron, I appreciate your insights and your contributions to the community. It's definitely cool to kind of nerd out on some digital CS things because I try to talk to as many different people as possible and so I've talked to a lot of leaders and some operations, people and marketing people and whatever. But actually getting more practitioners on is definitely a goal of mine. Thanks for joining and sharing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it was a pleasure speaking with you today and it's exciting stuff. I'm hyped up now.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for joining me for this episode of the Digital Customer Success podcast. If you like what we're doing, consider leaving us a review on your podcast platform of choice. It really helps us to grow and to provide value to a broader audience. You can view the Digital Customer Success definition word map and get more details about the show at digitalcustomersuccesscom. My name is Alex Turkovich. Thanks again for joining and we'll see you next time.

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Measuring Digital Customer Success and Engagement
Embracing Possibility
Empowering Customer Success Through Digital Motions