The Digital CX Podcast

Scaling Customer Success the Totango Way with Chris Dishman | Episode 027

November 21, 2023 Alex Turkovic, Chris Dishman Episode 27
Scaling Customer Success the Totango Way with Chris Dishman | Episode 027
The Digital CX Podcast
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The Digital CX Podcast
Scaling Customer Success the Totango Way with Chris Dishman | Episode 027
Nov 21, 2023 Episode 27
Alex Turkovic, Chris Dishman

Send us a Text Message.

I absolutely love interviewing guests who are deeply embedded and leading CS teams for companies that primarily serve the Customer Success community. That is why this week's chat with Chris Dishman of Totango was such a joy!

It goes without saying that not only does Chris' team run a stellar customer success program, but they also advise clients on best practices and have a birds eye view into how many of their customers are approaching CS.

In our chat, we talk a bit about Chris' background and how he went from being a Totango customer to employee/leader. After that, we get deep into topics like:

  • The current and future states of health scoring
  • Best practices when building out your own scoring
  • The right (and wrong) time to implement a CSP
  • CS Operations 
  • Human and digital motions working together.
  • Working cross-functionally to drive customer outcomes
  • Digital/Video Business Reviews

My favorite quote from the episode: "Scaled CS isn't all-or-nothing - you can have variations and flavors of human and machine working together."

For those in the US - Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you get to spend some good family time this week.

Chris' LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christopherdishman/
Totango: https://www.totango.com/

Resources:

Shoutout:

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 Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

I absolutely love interviewing guests who are deeply embedded and leading CS teams for companies that primarily serve the Customer Success community. That is why this week's chat with Chris Dishman of Totango was such a joy!

It goes without saying that not only does Chris' team run a stellar customer success program, but they also advise clients on best practices and have a birds eye view into how many of their customers are approaching CS.

In our chat, we talk a bit about Chris' background and how he went from being a Totango customer to employee/leader. After that, we get deep into topics like:

  • The current and future states of health scoring
  • Best practices when building out your own scoring
  • The right (and wrong) time to implement a CSP
  • CS Operations 
  • Human and digital motions working together.
  • Working cross-functionally to drive customer outcomes
  • Digital/Video Business Reviews

My favorite quote from the episode: "Scaled CS isn't all-or-nothing - you can have variations and flavors of human and machine working together."

For those in the US - Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you get to spend some good family time this week.

Chris' LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christopherdishman/
Totango: https://www.totango.com/

Resources:

Shoutout:

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

Speaker 1:

Okay, this is where you are, this is where you're going in and, by the way, this is how you can improve, you know, and maybe we can just hide behind the AI bot when you have to give them really bad news. Right, it's just kind of sorry. Ai said it is not me, you know.

Speaker 2:

Well, you know, but it's interesting because some of the best CSMs I know are the ones who can deliver that kind of feedback in a way that makes you know the executive or the leader of that organization go thank you.

Speaker 2:

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 and welcome to the digital customer success podcast. It is episode 27. If you are new here, welcome. If you are a returning listener, I'm glad you're back. We have a great one in store for you today.

Speaker 2:

I always love it when I get to speak with CS leaders within CS focused companies, and today's a real treat because I'm speaking with Chris Dishman, who is VP of Global CS at Tatango, which, if you're not familiar, they're one of the originators of the CSP. I think Tatango and Gainsight are basically the two, the two OGs, but Chris is a former Tatango customer turned employee, and so we have a great conversation today all about the kinds of things that the Tatango team are doing In customer success. We talk about AI. We talk about the elusive virtual or video or digital QBR. We talk about, you know, ops and health scoring and all kinds of fun stuff. So super great conversation that I enjoyed with Chris Dishman and I hope you do as well. Chris, I want to welcome you to the Digital Customer Success Podcast. It's awesome to have you here. I know it's been a couple of missed opportunities on my end and your end and all that kind of stuff, but we made it happen. So welcome to the show, yeah good to be here.

Speaker 1:

Good to be here.

Speaker 2:

You. I love your journey into where you are today because you have the classic kind of vendor to employee journey that you hear about sometimes. Right, I think you were a Tatango customer for a few years, I believe on 24. And then you decided to join the team. Can you enlighten us a little bit into that journey and how that happened.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely so. I was at on 24 for 18 years, which is, I think, about six or seven lifetimes in SAS, so for a long time. And when I started there, you know, I started as kind of a technical account manager, was running a team and managing support and, you know, enablement, things like that. And then we got about 10 years into my time there and we launched a new product that was a subscription SAS product. That was, you know, really specific for marketing. And then we said, you know what, this is a good time for us to. Customer success was just becoming you know a thing at the time and so we said let's, let's, let's do this customer success thing. And so we started working on transitioning you know, all of our technical account managers, you know, to customer success managers kind of went through the the will and skill you know process, as it were, and started shifting the team to that. And that was great. You know, what's really interesting is, you know we kind of expanded and we were growing at a pretty good clip.

Speaker 1:

And then this crazy 2020 pandemic hit. And you know it's interesting because everybody was doing in person events, marketing events, and this is a marketing tool and all of a sudden, everybody was forced to sit at home and watch webinars and so, you know, our, our event volume and customer volume went absolutely through the roof. And that was, let's call it, forced acceleration into customer success, right into a scaled CS motion, and so you know, that really kind of stretches a little bit, which was which was kind of fun. And then you know after that, after going through an IPO with on 24 and some success post pandemic, from there got an opportunity to jump in to tango and do a little customer success for customer success, which is which is super fun. So yeah it's been.

Speaker 1:

It's been an interesting ride, for sure.

Speaker 2:

You are among a small but mighty band of CS leaders who do CS for CS platforms, which is cool.

Speaker 1:

It is definitely, it's definitely fun it's. You know, it's fun to be able to just talk with people like yourself and other professionals in the space and kind of get that you start realizing that, yeah, we're really literally all in the same boat. We're facing the same struggles, the same problems, different flavors of them, but at the end of the day, it's all about, you know, really driving those customer adoption and getting value for our customers, and you know what are the hurdles we need to clear in order to do that in a wacky environment that we're in right now. So sure, yeah, yeah, wacky indeed.

Speaker 2:

For sure. One of the things I wanted to kind of ask you about and I think we'll get into, you know, specifics of to tango a little bit, because I'm very curious. But you know I do ask all of my guests basically the same same question because everybody has a slightly different answer. But but I'd really love to hear about your elevator pitch. If you were to describe digital CS to a layman in you know, in a few short sentences, what would you say to somebody?

Speaker 1:

Sure, you know, I think when I, when I have this conversation which I do often you know you have to start with the root of what customer success is right. So. So let's start with defining that, which is, you know, we need to be driving value for our customers in, you know, the tool that we're using right now for our software or service, whatever. So, as we think about, you know what scaled CSS is, it's essentially doing that same thing and we're just doing it in a real efficient, you know, motion that allows us to grow as a company without throwing, you know, a boatload of resources at it. So how how can we efficiently approach getting value to our customers?

Speaker 2:

I love it Short and sweet.

Speaker 1:

It's nice.

Speaker 2:

Makes a lot of sense.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I first learned about to tango Gosh. When was this? Maybe 10, 10 or 12 years ago, I think it's been around that long, right, but but there was a. I joined a company and a good friend of mine was was just very smitten with the idea of, you know, health scoring and the things that Tatango could do, even back then in the in the infancy of, I guess, csps.

Speaker 2:

But and I think things have obviously come a long way since then I think there's a there's an interesting vibe around health scores, you know, in the CS community, because I think I think a lot of people I Think there's a lot who have done them really well, but I think there's even more people who have not Implemented them really well and so it's not really super trusted, etc. Etc. Etc. What I'm getting at is, you know, it's interesting where we've been. It's interesting where we are today, where health scoring is incredibly useful and I would say, in some instances, the cornerstone of a good digital program. But where do you see that kind of going from where it is today, and what do you see in the future With regards to scoring?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it is interesting. I, you know, being in the position I'm in, I do get to have this conversation with a lot of people and and health scores, you know, at its at its core, it's something for an executive that's incredibly valuable, right? Like, if I can say, this customer is at a, you know, 85 out of 100 in health score and that's good, okay, great, that makes me feel good, right. But, like you said, do we trust that number? And you know, are we? Do we understand what's really driving that number? And, and even taking that a step further, you know, are there aspects that are pulling that number down that I can, that I can leverage whether it's a scaled program or you know, various enablement functions or CSMs to help improve that score, right? So the thing that is interesting when you think about health score is you know, you have to. I Think the core Foundation of a health score is you have to understand what you know, what are the key things that are making your customers healthy. I literally just got off a call, you know, 20 minutes ago, with somebody from our board and we were talking about you know the sticky features and what is it that that drives you know somebody to continue to use and renew and grow in a product. And so you have to kind of, you know, spend the time and the work To look at all of the data you know in in your you know, telemetry is whatever you have to be able to understand. Okay, why are people staying and and why are people not staying, you know, or growing and not growing, and then, and that becomes kind of the I'm gonna say, the cornerstone of your, your health score as it relates to, you know, a factor.

Speaker 1:

You know, and then, and then you start looking at all of the other elements. I mean, there's so many different things and we know this from you know, we've seen customers and I know we've all experienced customers that that a treat and the reason and they work really well, right up and to the point when they leave us. You know, and you go wait, this is surprise, how did this happen? Yeah, exactly, and so you know. So when you start looking at those, there are there's typically some underlying, you know signal somewhere, you know whether it be. You know sentiment or you know different feature usage, like we said before.

Speaker 1:

So you know, you understand the different elements of that health score and then you start figuring out, okay, what's the importance? Right, how do I wait that health score to really determine and understand? Do I have a fair picture of my customer? And then, and then truthfully, you have to look at that and you have to kind of you know A B test it, you know, almost on a fairly regular basis. I think you know one of the common mistakes I see customers have is they have us set it and forget it kind of mentality on their health score and they use it across an entire you know, multiple segments. So your enterprise, your long tail customers, whatever, and now you end up with a you know, with something that kind of works and sort of accurate in most of this cases and that's not something you can really rely on.

Speaker 1:

And in action, when you start thinking, as you mentioned, it's a key aspect of what we do in scaled CS. So you know, if I can't rely on that health score, well then then it's going to be sending wrong information to wrong people at the wrong time and then that creates even a deeper problem.

Speaker 2:

So yeah, it really does. We, you know, we recently went through this exercise where we did some regression testing on churned accounts and really looked at the efficacy of certain metrics. And when you really start looking at it, it's always eyeopening kind of what you find in retrospect as to what your health score did well and what it didn't do well and, to your point, I think you're never done with scoring because you know you get maybe some new insights, you get new data, but also you know some things go stale and so it's.

Speaker 2:

you know it's important, I think, for an ops function to keep it fresh.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, absolutely. And that's something that, again, as you and we kind of constantly talk about iteration, you know, it's one of the things that at Tatango we're really keen on and it's important from a CSP product, you know, to be able to do that and measure. You know, like you said, is it effective or not, where is it working or not. And then you know, okay, well, let me make an adjustment. And then once I make that adjustment, let me, you know, kind of A, b, test it and find out. You know, yeah, no, this is actually more accurate. Great, let's go with A instead of B, you know.

Speaker 1:

So there's the kind of constant. It's, you know, we've always said it to Tatango it's a, you know, view the customer journey as a product. And when you think about a product, you know, you launch it, you review what's going on with it, and then you iterate and then you launch it again and then you test it and then it's just like this constant flywheel effect, right, and so you know we have to think about Hellscore, customer journey, all of those things in that same way that it is definitely not a set it and forget it as something that you have to kind of continually look at and work and evolve in order to kind of keep up with the way things are going.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and to your point earlier too, it's like you need to come to it from the standpoint of what goal are you trying to accomplish, you know? Because I think the tendency for a lot of folks is just, oh, that's cool, we can measure that, let's throw it into the Hellscore. That may or may not be effective, because you know you may want your Hellscore to be like you know, a really functional tool for your teams to go diagnose things, or you may want your Hellscore to be as predictive as possible, or a combination of both and those kinds of things. So it's always interesting and I guess what the question I'm getting to here is. You know there are several frameworks famously out there. There's, you know, there's Deere. I know Jeff Beaumont has a lot of documentation around Prove, which is another kind of framework. Does Tatango or do you, you know, lean on a specific framework? How do you advise your customers to start really thinking about structuring their scoring?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you know, I wouldn't say that there's a specific you know framework other than it's you know, because there's. I mean, we're working in so many different verticals and so many different companies and you know, in my mind, to try to force somebody into a given you know process or whatever is, is might be a bit tricky, but you know the. Again, if you kind of really boil it down, it's like, okay, what are the factors you know that that that you have looked at and understand, or are differentiators that are going to cause people to stay and or to leave? And then, once you understand that, then you say, okay, well, how important is it? Are each one of those things? I mean, let's kind of scale, rank them and and then you, you know, report on it, and then you can look at it and regression, test it and see, you know, does it, is it proving out right or not? And then you, you fine tune and adjust.

Speaker 1:

So you know, truthfully, it's, it's pretty basic. It's like you know, we all, I think we all kind of generally know what is the differentiator of your you know product or service you know. And then, once you start with that, are people using that or not? And if they're not, then you're probably got some people at risk, right. So that's where you, where you have to kind of go and and start start doing some of the work behind the scenes.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah for sure Cool. I think you see your fair share of implementations of Tatango. I'm sure you see your fair share of issues that customers run into and everything along the way. I'm curious if you have, over the last little while, have built up a learning for yourself of what makes a successful CSP implementation. At what point do you feel a customer is ready? Because I can tell you right off the bat there's a lot of people who have no business implementing a CSP until they clean up their data a little bit, or whatever that may be, or maybe they're just not big enough yet. Have you taken away some learnings or some patterns that you see among folks wanting to get into a CSP?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean it is interesting. When I first launched the CSP I mean Tatango on 24, which was in 2017-ish that area it was interesting because at the time, really, tatango and Gainesight were the only two shops in town For sure. Since then, now there's a bunch of other ones that are certainly decent. It is interesting as you look at a maturity of an organization and whether or not, in what time, they should consider jumping into a CSP. I'm going to say very immature customer success organizations that come in that want to sign up and get access to Tatango and 12 months in, they're like yeah, I'm a team of one, I don't have time to do this. If they've got a small enough quantity of accounts, I mean track it on a spreadsheet.

Speaker 1:

I hate to say that out loud, but there are certain scenarios where you go, okay, use the tools that are available to you. But it is interesting when you start thinking about customers that have you mentioned data, and that's always the sticky widget, because everybody's connected to Salesforce in some way, shape or form, most likely, and Salesforce is generally messy for most people as you start thinking about that, you go, okay, well, if I'm going to wait until data is clean to launch a CSP, then you're probably never going to launch a CSP. I was having a conversation with one of my CSMs yesterday and we were talking about this very thing and she was telling me that this particular customer of hers has a couple of different data sources that they're pulling into Tatango and they're actually using Tatango as a source of truth to clean up the data from the other sources. So and you can certainly do that, because, as we all know, manipulating things in Salesforce is very next to impossible so to leverage a CSP from that's important to get a little bit better source of truth, and then, once you do that, now you can start driving those actions. So back to your original question.

Speaker 1:

It's like when is it right? Well, when you're ready to start, and I'm going to say scale your organization, your structure. That drives additional consistency across how you service your customers and efficiency and how you can work with some of your customers as well. And so that might be your long tail customers, but it doesn't necessarily have to be. I mean, and I've listened to some of your other podcasts, you've got some great, great guests on here and I mean it's interesting, because ScaledCS is not just for your tiny long tail customers. I mean, it is definitely something that we as a customer success professionals have to deploy across every segment. It's critical just, and to me it helps really drive a level of consistency too for your teams and for your customers. So, yeah, I think the key thing about getting into a CSP is just when you're ready to kind of level up, that you know, like I said, the consistency and the efficiency of your practice.

Speaker 2:

So, yeah, makes sense. I also feel strongly that there is a staffing component to doing that as well and kind of an operational rigor around it, because you know it's one thing to implement it, but then there's the maintenance of it and the and the really maybe less the maintenance, but the attention to it. You know, I think you need somebody, whether it's you know a part of somebody's role, whether it sits in an operations role, whether it's a bespoke kind of you know person, to you know kind of own the tooling, the inputs, the outputs, the flows, the strategy around the tool, the strategy.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, oh, my gosh Right. Yeah, it's interesting, when I launched Tatango on 24, I was that person as the VP of CS yeah, sure, we didn't have a CSOPS role and I was like, okay, this is a tool that was quick enough to stand up. I mean, we actually, from an implementation standpoint, we got Tatango launched inside of one week. I was getting value.

Speaker 1:

Holy cow yeah, no kidding. And just from an ease of use and an ease of implementation standpoint, it was pretty amazing and once we got everything set up and implemented, the next step was okay. So how are we going to leverage this thing? And again, I was the one on point and it was easy enough, with the way the tool is laid out, to be able to go in and build out some flows and create some campaigns and start small and work our way into it and then over time, as we continue to grow, we got a CSOPS team and somebody there that really knows what they're doing, and I even had different people, different CSMs at a time that would step in and run different functions or initiatives within the tool as well. So we're able to really spread things out, which is important from an ease of use standpoint of the tool itself and allows for us to be able to execute again at scale across that, which was interesting.

Speaker 2:

But yeah, it's always great to give folks a chance to grow professionally by just giving them maybe some side projects that align to their interests. But also makes the org better and gets them to learn a little bit more about the tool and stuff. I love doing stuff like that.

Speaker 1:

Oh, yeah, absolutely.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and kind of speaking of which. On the same vein, I wanted to touch on something that you talked about earlier, where you were having a conversation with. You know your CSM around certain things, and I would imagine that being a CSM for a CSP adds a layer of challenge because you know again, you're seen as a subject matter expert on how to use the tool, obviously, but then also how to run certain things. Do you guys get inundated with requests for, like well, how are you managing your customers? You know in Tatango, like, let me see your workflow, let me see what it looks like for you. Does that happen a lot?

Speaker 2:

I'm sure there's privacy concerns there too.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, for sure. Yeah, I mean, you know that's one of the things that is so great about the CSM team at Tatango. We've got, you know, experts in the space that you know are dealing with. You know, customer success leaders in the space on a regular basis and so they have a unique perspective around. You know how to execute, and how to execute, you know, using our tool, of course, but also just generally speaking, in the space.

Speaker 1:

You know we have our enablement team and shout out to Kristin Lissens she's simply fantastic and has built out, you know, a number of things within. You know, our we call it creator campus. It's our kind of LMS for Tatango and she's been doing a lot of different things around really helping enable our customers. But, you know, kind of pulling it back to scale. We do a lot of. We do we call it a success squad. It's like a genius bar for, you know, for our customers, and so people can sign up and we'll have a CSM sitting there and they actually go and, you know, spend a 30 minute session with a customer, even though they're not assigned to them, and they can answer questions and provide some of those best practices and things like that, and we do the same thing with our customer success engineering team.

Speaker 1:

So if somebody has integration questions and things like that, they can do that and of course, we do the you know one to many sessions like webinars and office hours, and I mean all of those all the good you know, scale techniques, you know. We certainly are deploying those as well, but it is fun to be able to leverage the learnings from, you know, the smart people that we have on our customer success management team to be able to really, you know, help our customers get the value that they need, you know, out of the tool so that that way they can do the same thing for their customers. So it is something we hear quite a bit.

Speaker 2:

Sure, those best practices yeah.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely.

Speaker 2:

You just mentioned, you do you know a lot of one to many things in the office hours and things like that, which I think are, you know, phenomenal best practices you know for especially office hours. They're so light touch like you, just you know it and you let your customers essentially create the content for you, which is amazing. But are there some specific digital motions that you've implemented that either you're, you know, particularly fond of proud of, have been particularly successful or have been massive failures that you've learned a bunch from?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean you know we do all of the kind of typical. You know we're running various, you know, campaigns and you know I'll hesitate to use word tech touch because it's so overblown, but but you know what I mean. So we do a lot of things where you know we evaluate various kind of functions, what people are doing. So you know some of those things are obviously time based, some of those are function based. So they did this thing. Let's make sure that we enable them on this next thing.

Speaker 1:

Or you know, as we think about, you know again, some of the features that we know are helpful to people and that keep, keep them, you know, retain. From that standpoint, you know we will drive additional things around. You know pushing people to be, you know, enabled on those, and so you know a lot of that. It's kind of combination between you know, campaigns and then leveraging, you know, some of the enablement functions that we have, and then you know pulling in, you know CSM's where we need to in those scenarios, you know. But you know, other than that, you know we do, I like to, I like to think about some of our, you know, business reviews are a little bit dead, I think, and I know it's almost like a bad word these days talking about you know really business views.

Speaker 1:

It really is. It's interesting. But you know, I've kind of started pushing the team on. Really. You know column value reviews, right, or it's a value touch point. I mean we know our customers looking to, we know they're looking to get something out of the tool. So the question becomes you know what is that? And let's make sure that we've got that clearly defined. You know the objective, tracking and management. You know, and then you know how are you doing towards that?

Speaker 1:

You know, and that's really it's interesting, if you look at anything from Greg Danes is so great and he's got so much incredible data and I mean he's got one of his quotes was anything that improves customer results, reduces churn, like well, that's, that's pretty straightforward, absolutely Very Greg Danes like. But but you know, I mean, if we're you know anything that we're doing, you know from that standpoint in it and again, doing that at scale to improve what they're doing and the results that they're getting out of your product is really kind of the point right. So understanding you know what are the key objectives, what's the value that they're wanting to get out of the tool, and then you know and then moving that forward with them and and really kind of plotting a path for them through their journey to get to that point. Making sure that they're aware of where they are in that process is pretty key, so yeah, to your point.

Speaker 2:

I love Greg Danes. He and I were having a conversation for an episode, and one of the things that I told him, though, is that I really appreciated probably an unexpected area of his website, which was the whole list of quotes that he's put out, like it's just a massive page of just all of his little quirks and quotes that he puts out, which is cool.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, definitely a big fan. You know, one thing that you mentioned that I'm a huge fan of is that that intersection between the digital motion and the human. Where you know you you've got a digital motion because it automates something, it creates, alerting, whatever it is. But then I think the thing that really makes those things hyper effective is knowing exactly when and how a human should get involved in that situation to really drive those outcomes. And you hit the nail on the head, right, we just want to drive outcomes, everything else falls into place if you drive those outcomes.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely well, and it's. It is interesting when you're thinking about, you know, creating a journey, right and and a customer journey, for especially when you're thinking about it in the, in the context of a digital CS motion, you know it is not human, less it's just not going to be human, less it's not and can't be.

Speaker 1:

So the question becomes okay as you're in and you know, if you're thinking of it as a linear journey, although there's no such thing, but right, you know, if it were a linear, a linear, subway map exactly, exactly, more like a spider web, but you know, as you're kind of moving through that, it's like, okay, at some point you know you're going to have a period where there's an off ramp, as it were, to to, you know, engage with a human right to engage with a person.

Speaker 1:

The question is, how can we formulate that journey such that we minimize those off ramps and so we really kind of focus on the moments that matter and those strategic kind of intersections with where CSM is needing to step in and answer a question? You know, and kind of formulating that journey is something that you know it takes time and it's you're not going to get it right the first time, but it is something that you know that, as you start really kind of working through it, you know you can, you can really kind of get, you know get some strong value out of that. So, yeah, yeah, it's pretty cool.

Speaker 2:

It can be kind of lucid at times.

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah, totally well. And so you know Ali Irvin with Extreme Networks and she's one of our customers and she's got a great scaled CS motion and and she had a quote recently on some or Tatango live event that we had and she said scaled CS, you know, isn't an all or nothing, right. So it's interesting when you think about how, as you're mapping out what your scaled CS or digital CS motion is, it's like, okay, you know it's, it isn't all or nothing. You can have different variations in flavors of that, and and if you're going into it thinking that it's a human less experience, then you're probably going to have a whole lot of retention problems on your long tail customers, right. So you gotta figure out what are those, what are those offerings, what are those moments that matter as you're building out that, that journey, and and then kind of extrapolate from there.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think there's also an expectation that that people feel like there's a playbook and in some extent there there are options, you know, but it depends so highly on. In fact, I posted on LinkedIn not long ago about the fact that I strongly believe that, like digital CS is probably the function that has the most amount of variables of any function. Just because you're working cross functionally with other departments, you're working, your customer is not just the customer, but it's also your internal audience, your CSM's and your support teams and all that kind of stuff. You've got data coming from all different kinds of places. You've got you know in product and email and like it just becomes like you know overwhelming and I think that the trick is not necessarily to follow the playbook.

Speaker 2:

It is to you know. Come up with your best options based on this, your surroundings and what you have?

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, and it is interesting too, because we tend to, you know, we tend to get wrapped around the axle on things like, okay, well, what does this look like and how is it going to impact things? And. But at the end of the day, you know, as we were talking about earlier, it's all about, you know, the customer outcomes. Right, we have to continually keep that as our north star and say, okay, you know, you know the goal here is to make sure that the customer is successful using your product, and so, if that is the north star, you know, working with marketing, working with, you know, with your product team, and making sure that you understand, okay, on the, this is kind of the thing that is really helpful to people.

Speaker 1:

Let's double down on this list. Let's make sure that we're continuing to evolve that aspect of the product list. You know, put additional time, effort, energy behind that. You know and you mentioned, you know, marketing it. There's a partnership with marketing, especially when you start getting into, you know, driving digital campaigns, that we have to be, you know, in complete lockstep with our marketing team. You know they. They know better than anybody how to develop the content that's going to, you know, scratch the itch for your customer, so making sure that you're, that you're doing that you know and not creating, you know, fluffy marketing campaigns, but something that really helps people understand and get the message they need as quickly as they need to, which is pretty key.

Speaker 2:

So yeah, I mean I think that is a very under Maybe under appreciated is the wrong word, but like under acknowledged aspect of digital CS is that interplay between you know, your, your marketing organization and all the great things that they do, Versus what you know you want to go do the product organization and the in product stuff and what you want to go do. Like the big part of it is just relationship building and and the strategy.

Speaker 1:

Is that a word? Strategic is now, it is now okay, so it's from the Alex dictionary right the strategy, right perfect.

Speaker 2:

You know, earlier we kind of joked about the fact that the QBR is kind of like become a bit of a dirty word. But I think one of the things that's elusive is this whole notion of a virtual QBR or, you know, kind of a self serve QBR, and I know that you know you all have made some pretty great strides recently just in terms of being able to offer kind of I think it's like a video QBR type, you know status sharing type functionality, which I think is so, so, super cool. But I still think that there's a long way to go in that, and maybe generative AI can help us with that. But you know what, given that you're kind of on the forefront of this whole thing, you know what, what, what, in your eyes, is the future of this whole notion of a virtual check in or virtual qbr, and what's, what's a meaningful way of implementing those things?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's interesting. I think the you know whether it's a video business review or something that you know, and I mean truthfully VBR that is like it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, vbr, yeah, I mean, the thing that's interesting about that is it's literally just something that kind of automatically put something you know the data that you're pulling out of the system into you know a consumable format. That's a little interesting to watch, right. It kind of summarizes it and what's really when you think about any kind of a scaled approach to Giving somebody a status update of their attainment towards an objective, that's really what you're looking at, right, and so you know you mentioned a I. It's like, okay, so if you Set, hey, your objectives are x, y and z, this is where you are on the path to getting to x, y, z. Here the next steps. Here's kind of a summary. It's like, okay, well, that's, that's kind of. I want to one, really, if we want to, you know as it is now and so to be able to deliver that in a very succinct format, whether that's a vbr or even just through a standard email or an app, you know touch point. This is, by the way, this is where you are. This is where you're going. You're doing great. Keep up the good work. You know it's kind of like that and you know we've been.

Speaker 1:

These things have been around for a while and certain people do them really well, like if you're I've gotten from from marketing automation tools, where it's like, hey, here, kind of your high level data points, here's how the open rates are happening, you're doing a great job on your content.

Speaker 1:

Looks like last month you dipped, this month you're up again, you know, and you kind of go okay, it's just a real positive sense of you are tracking where you want to go right and I think that's, you know, that is something that we can do at scale when you have, you know, all of the data in one location. You know, as we do in csp's, and and it's like, okay, well, now I can take that kind of action and drive additional adoption and views of that content and kind of keep the momentum going with your customer about what they're doing well. I do think as customer success managers, we often we don't want to talk about what they're not doing. Well, you know, nobody wants to be confrontational and so, but it's so critical to say, listen, you're doing this well, but you know here the things that you need to improve on. That's what we all really want to know. That you know, and so that really helps to improve. You know, ultimately, how we guide them in that journey to getting the value out of our products.

Speaker 2:

So yeah I think that's pretty key so and ultimately that's a very human thing, like I think. To do that effectively, I think not only do you need to know your personas and what information is appropriate to the person you're not going to talk to an admin the same way that you would talk to your executive buyer, right? But then there's also that emotional intelligence involved of you know recognizing how certain people like feedback and what resonates and what doesn't resonate, that's. That's a little harder to do digitally.

Speaker 1:

Yes, it is.

Speaker 1:

There is this, there is definitely a skill set there and, you know, what is also interesting is, as we think about it, you know, from a digital standpoint, you can give them the data, you know, and even some of the insights, and you know, like I said, I think that's that's a good foundational place for a I and as we, you know, I think we're all kind of, you know, dipping our toes and what that looks like and how is it?

Speaker 1:

You know, it's gonna be a I plus humans. I am, you know, I just am convinced and that's kind of our view on things from tangos perspective and and so it's like okay, well, how can I take the data that I'm getting, aggregate that and get some insights on it from an a I standpoint and position that such a way to my customer that lets them understand okay, this is where you are, this is where you're going. And, by the way, this is how you can improve. You know, and maybe we just hide behind the a I bought. We have to give him really bad news, right? It's just kind of sorry. I said it's not me, you know.

Speaker 2:

Well, you know, but it's interesting because some of the best csm's I know are the ones who can deliver that kind of feedback in a way that Makes you know the executive or the leader of that organization go. Thank you for giving me that. It's like an extension of the team. But that all comes into, like you know, building trust and building rapport and doing all that kind of stuff. And so, you know, in my view and I'd love to know if you kind of agree, if you have a different opinion of this it's not necessarily that we will always rely on digital motions to do that.

Speaker 2:

I think you know, yeah, i's one thing, and and, but there's always, always is going to need to be some human to human interaction. But I think we're digital and and and in scaled motions really come into play. Is that Report building, that trust building, because at the end of the day, you want your digital motions not to be seen as digital motions but to be seen as, like, the extension of the human. Like I want my csm's to take credit for all that kind of stuff.

Speaker 1:

I don't want credit for it yeah, absolutely, absolutely, and it's, you know, as I said before, I think that if you're, if you're thinking of, you know, a journey I'll go back to my linear journey that doesn't exist but If you're thinking of that journey, if you can build the foundation of that through that digital motion, but you've got your csm's kind of layered on top of that to be able to pick up those, you know, those off ramps, those moments that matter, those kind of strategic touch points, then you know then that, in and of itself, drive some scale, because you're, you're creating a level of consistency and you're doing the things. You know we're helping the csm's by, you know, offloading some stuff that, quite frankly, you know we can program. So let's program it and, yeah, you know, and that helps them from an efficiency standpoint, it helps from the customer, from a consistency standpoint, and then, and then it also, you know, is it's going to ultimately drive, you know, the customer to those outcomes that we're really looking for.

Speaker 2:

so yeah, goodness, that a better as. So, as we kind of start to wrap up, because we've spent a lot of time already and I just looked up in the clock I was like holy cow- that's good.

Speaker 2:

You know, one of the things I always love to get from my, from my guests and I've actually started compiling on the website, so there's a resources section, so everybody's kind of links and all that kind of fun stuff is listed there. But I'd love to know what's in your content diet, what do you? What do you, what are you paying attention to to keep fresh and all that stuff?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I like to say I get a steady dose of mckinsey articles delivered to my email inbox every day, so I get a lot of. Those are just tons of tons of great information, not just within customer success was just generally speaking, so yeah.

Speaker 2:

Question is do you actually read them or do they just kind of like stay? There on red.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, I I do not. I don't read all of them, but I'll kind of cruise there and when I see something that catches my eye, you know typically it's you know something, I or whatever you know, I'll certainly dive in and dig into those as I'm that's a good one, as I have time, yeah so, and I recently finished the effortless experience, which is, I would say, not an exciting read, certainly, you know, not not a good beach read, I would say, but but there's a lot of effort in finishing it yes, it was not an it was not an effortless experience, but it does have some really good data.

Speaker 1:

And then Podcast. I don't know if you've listened to decoder, but it's a great podcast. So you know just good, good insight you know from executives and various people in the space. You know technology, space, so that's always a good one.

Speaker 2:

So that's cool, awesome. Yeah, that's a great list. Next question is you've already given some shout outs to a couple people, as we've been discussing, but is there anyone who is excelling digitally that you would want to call out?

Speaker 1:

Well, I have to say tango, you know, but it can, I can, I pat my team on the back and you know, I mean we obviously using our product and really kind of driving that we have to. We have to be good at it in order to be able to encourage other people to be good at it right. So it's a unique space there. So it is that something that our team and our ops team has been doing really well onboarding team, etc. So, and then you know, the other one I mentioned earlier was extreme networks and how the urban you know she does some great stuff and on a scaled c s approach, and how they're executing their problems or program rather. So yeah, so I mean those were, those would be the two that I would give shout out to you.

Speaker 2:

So that's great. That's great. Well, I thank you for your time working. People find you, reach out to you, engage with you and and keep up with you.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. Linkedin is certainly the best place I would love to chat with anybody about about this it's. It's one of the things that I do love about my job is that I get to, you know, I get to have these conversations on a regular basis with people and and kind of find out what they're doing and how they're achieving their outcomes, and you know what are they doing different or you know what they seem different in the space, and so Would love to love to have a chance to reach out. Connect with me on linkedin and we can find time to talk.

Speaker 2:

Sounds good. Well, I've thoroughly enjoyed our time together and I appreciate you taking time out of your day and your friday hopefully it's. Hopefully it's you're not too far away from the weekend.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I appreciate the time and thanks for reaching out. It's definitely been a fun conversation, so appreciate it.

Speaker 2:

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 digital customer success dot com. My name is alex turkovich. Thanks again for joining and we'll see you next time.

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