The Digital Customer Success Podcast

Customer Value Led Growth in Digital CS with Markus Rentsch of Remark-Able | Episode 026

November 14, 2023 Alex Turkovic, Markus Rentsch Episode 26
The Digital Customer Success Podcast
Customer Value Led Growth in Digital CS with Markus Rentsch of Remark-Able | Episode 026
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Markus Rentsch, CEO of Remark-able, where he spends his time consulting and building products to help CS orgs navigate Customer Value Led Growth initiatives. 

Markus and I share some commonalities, the first of which is that we are both native German speakers and are from the Vienna area - though admittedly I haven't lived there in years. The second, and probably most important/relevant is that we share a love for Customer Success and talk about a variety of topics related to the practice in this conversation, including:

  • ChatGPT and trusting (or not trusting) Generative AI.
  • Customer Value Led Growth (CVLG) vs Product Led Growth
  • How Apple excels at CVLG by providing value to a broad set of people
  • Data hygiene and how to solve for common data issues
  • Aligning the entire organization around customer goals
  • Polling exiting customers
  • 5 Whys as a great tool for root cause analysis
  • CS in EMEA vs Americas and how innovation tends to move from west to east
  • Evolution of Digital CS due to current economic conditions
  • Asking your customers how they want to be engaged
  • ...and much much more!

Enjoy! I know I sure did...

Markus' LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/markus-rentsch-customer-value-led-growth-for-saas/
Remark-able: https://remark-able.at

Resources:

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The Digital Customer Success Podcast is hosted by Alex Turkovic

Speaker 1:

We all just make assumptions. Sometimes it's like, oh, we'll just write these articles, we'll put them here and that'll be great. They might like some video, they might like a new learning course, they might like to talk to each other about it, they might like an SMS from you. Who knows?

Speaker 2:

People have stopped asking.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

It's funny because whenever I'm talking to customer success managers or leaders, I always ask them do you know whether our customers are really successful? And most of them they don't know.

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. Welcome back to the digital customer success podcast. It's great to have you back. It is episode 26 and today we feature none other than Marcus Wrench, who is very prolific in the world of CS tons of LinkedIn content, tons of great content on his newsletter and his site. He's a CS practitioner and leader and thought leader and, you know, spends a lot of time thinking about CS, which is something that we get into in this conversation along with. You know, tool talk we talk a lot about chat, gpt and customer value led growth instead of product led growth. Just a ton of really amazing insights in this conversation. Also fun fact he and I are both German speakers. We're both Austrian natives, so you'll hear a sprinkling of German in there, but we tried to keep it English most of the time. Anyway, hope you enjoyed this conversation with Marcus Wrench. I sure did, if you liked. Yeah, yeah, it's off. Wait, okay, this is going to be hard for me because I have I have to switch mentally between German and and English and the switch always takes a couple of seconds from my brain. But, marcus, I want to welcome you to the digital customer success podcast. It's a pleasure having you on because you are a very present and active member of the CS community. You are a mentor, you know. I liked the contributions that I saw in the CS Insider report that you were called out in this last time. You must have crazy amounts of energy because you have two companies, if I'm not mistaken. It's remarkable and Cicelerate, which Cicelerate, cicelerate, but your energy must be endless. So welcome to the podcast and it's a pleasure having you on.

Speaker 2:

Thanks for invitation, alex. Yeah, happy to be no problem.

Speaker 1:

So I guess let's start a little bit with you know your journey into where you are today, because obviously you know there's there's some interesting backstory. You are an Austrian, you're an Austrian native. I take it from your, from the beautiful way that you speak German, which is the correct way of speaking German.

Speaker 2:

True, true, True true.

Speaker 1:

What, what you know what, what was your, I guess, early life and education like and what led you into where you are today and, in terms of the you know, the companies that you're leading.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you could best describe it, as I entered the customer success space by accident.

Speaker 1:

We all did, didn't we?

Speaker 2:

A little bit of backstory. I'm running a consultancy for over six years, but for the first three and a half years I spent it with a different scope of services, and so I helped um SaaS companies, uh, building their positioning until one fine day one of my customers asked me and how can we make sure that customers get what we're promising? That's been my clue and I hit Google. So back in the days you hit Google and not not chat GPT and searched for for something and surprisingly, I found something called customer success. And yeah, that's been yeah how I entered the customer success space. I really dug into the matter and then learned everything I could in as fast as possible and started writing about it People, that my, my whole services, the whole services of my consultancy and yeah, here I am in the customer success space.

Speaker 1:

Are you like? I think you're like me in this, in this regard, when you set your eyes on something and then you don't sleep or eat until you know? Like, are you a researcher like I am? Like I just go extremely deep on something and I can't do anything else for a while. Is that you? Yeah?

Speaker 2:

something like that. So when I when I first it's the best stage it's been. I love it first sight. So when I discovered customer success and you, okay, that's, that's my calling, that's something I really love and that's that's the thing I want to want to get into and then the thing I want to do in the future.

Speaker 1:

That's great, that's it's a luxury that not a lot of people have, but I do. I do think that a lot of CS professionals share that in that you know it was. They kind of found it and stumbled upon it. I'm not. I'm that way too, and now it's like, yeah, this is what I'm going to do, do you? You were talking about Google and chat GPT. Are you an avid GPT user?

Speaker 2:

Actually I'm not.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I'm using it sometimes for some research, but I'm definitely not using it for writing content. Yeah, so that's that's latest type, of course, that special LinkedIn people are letting chat, gpt or one of these other I don't know how many tools that exist write that content, but I really don't like it. It's.

Speaker 1:

I don't trust it yet. I mean, I trust it for research, you know.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I use it to give me some yeah, some starting points. So I also wouldn't recommend to use it for learning customer success, because the thing is, the content chat GPT users is usually the one you find on some kind of blog posts and stuff like this, and most of the time they're really low quality. So basically, chat GPT is summarizing or the content I would not recommend so it's definitely not, not not sporing the content from the best thing, best in class of customers success.

Speaker 1:

No, no, it's not, it's not. Yeah, I, you know I use it quite a bit in in research, researching of ideas and and to open up my brain a little bit, and I think that's a very common thing these days. Is is kind of generating those, those prompts, really to get your brain thinking about something in a different way. Yeah, so that's interesting. What so? So you know, this is the digital customer success podcast and I'd be remiss if I didn't ask you a little bit more about just your opinions around digital CS and where it's going and where it's been. But to start off with, I like to ask all of my guests what their elevator pitch or quick definition of digital CS is, and I'd love for you to chime in on on what your take on it is, because everybody's a little bit different here.

Speaker 2:

Yes, I'm most simple terms. I would describe digital customer successes using the launch sheets or support on the human part of customer success.

Speaker 1:

I like that a whole lot and the way that you put that, because that's not, that's not the way that a lot of people immediately describe it. A lot of people immediately describe the tools and the you know using digital outreach to help customers and things like that. But I think that the broader scope is, you know, helping helping humans to improve, and, whether that's the customer or whether that's the CSM or whether that's the leader, building efficiencies into your process and all of that. That's really what it's all about.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I see some companies really becoming too dependent on technology actually and really often forget about doing the basics. Yeah the idea for digital customer success for me is not to replace the customer success manager, but to support the customer success manager to take a really away the the low value and repeatable tasks so that customer success measures can really focus on that the personalized and high value services.

Speaker 1:

You're paying your customer success managers to have valuable conversations with your customers, not to put together pivot tables and, you know, pull telemetry data out of some JSON, whatever, whatever. Yeah, that's great. One of the things you talk about at remarkable Because I did do a little bit of a little bit of research prior to our conversation is, and something that I really like is your approach to building Customer value led growth, which we talk a lot about, product led growth and things like that, but customer value led growth is is a very interesting topic and I'd love for you to go a little bit deeper on that and and kind of the the stages that you lay out to build a healthy strategy around customer value led growth.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So, as I've mentioned, appeal G is yeah, I think today, and it's also gets a lot of hype, but I think it's Simple enough. I mean, the basic idea of creating a product that people can use and get value from it, or on their own, is great, but it doesn't work for our products correct. It only works for products like the one we are using now, soon, that you can really Simply use by common sense.

Speaker 1:

Let's call it like this yeah, or Gmail, or any of those things that you know you don't need CSM's for.

Speaker 2:

But if you are using some marketing or sales tool or product management tool, it all depends on the quality of your inputs. So, and if you don't have the knowledge and skills and you are putting bad things into the product, you will get bad things out of it. So, from the company, from a vendors perspective, you need to make sure that you are training and educating your customers so to create the time that that's high Value or high quality inputs for the product. So, in simple terms, if you are using a sales tool but you have not defined who is the ideal customer to reach out, you won't create much results, right? But of course you could, as a vendor, you could rely and say, okay, that something customers need to bring on their own when they are using a product. But I don't think it's the right approach. Yeah this is what the name implies. It means that a company Changes a different approach and focus on delivering customer value, because when they deliver value to customers, these customers will deliver value to the company. That then the company is growing. So, in the most simple terms, it's about customer renewance, so the lifeblood of a SaaS company itself. But it's more, because you also want to grow your customers, you want to create referrals from customers, you may want to increase your prices, and all these things only happen If customers get enough value from a product, and that's that's something that that that is missing today in most SaaS companies. So they are really not focused on delivering customer value first, but they are really self-centric. Yeah so they care about how fast they are growing, and yet they don't realize that if they would focus on customers instead, they would no longer have to worry about it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, the growth would come naturally.

Speaker 2:

The weird thing is that this is true for every great company about. If you're looking at companies like Apple, so then the most valuable brand on earth. Why are they so valuable? It's not because they have such great technology. Maybe it's a bit better than than the competitors, but what they care about is the experience, so they really deliver value to customers. At least customers feel like they get when you're from buying the product and using your product, and that's what makes it the most valuable brand in the world. Yep, so I read research paper some time ago that that Apple sells about 20%, or has 20%, of the cell phone market, but they're making 80% of the profits. Yeah if you see it live, that there are people really waiting outside the store For hours in line only to buy a new iPhone for an incredibly high price.

Speaker 1:

That's only slightly different than the last one. The interesting thing is, when I think about Apple products and let's just talk about the iPhone for a second it is, at its very nature, a very simple device to use, which is why, you know you have elderly People that can use an iPhone. You have very young people, like Very, very young people, that can use an iPhone. But then there's the hidden kind of back-end features that you go, you know, on blogs. You know you go visit blogs and videos to see, okay, what else can I do with this device and what you know what lies behind, because there's so many like hidden Easter eggy kind of features that Apple puts in to satiate the people that really want a, a technical device, whereas I feel, like you know, on the other end of the spectrum, android inherently isn't as easy to use. It takes a level of Sophistication as a technology user to use it. They're a lot cheaper, a lot more accessible. But then there's that not that polish and not that kind of. You know that that simplicity involved.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it doesn't end up the brand power behind and. The point is the same principles or supply for B2B. So customers Buy products or services because they want to achieve some outcome, whatever it may be, and if you focus on helping customers to get there, that's how you win, especially during these days. So, as companies or most companies, so long as it on the high amounts of venture capital and and start to look at the costs from maybe the first time, they're going to concentrate data tech stack so that companies that are using dozens or even hundreds of different apps yeah, but they can no longer afford to pay it for all of these tools just for convenience right. So CFOs are really turning things upside down and then stop paying for everything that doesn't deliver enough ROI. Yeah, and use a company need to make sure that you are View this an essential tool for them one.

Speaker 1:

So one of the first steps in your, you know kind of approach to building customer value at growth is Really focusing in on the data. And I think that is incredibly important because there are so many times, especially when cash wasn't as tight as it is, and, you know, in today's environment, where you had a business problem and a lot of times the knee-jerk reaction is okay, let's just throw a tool at it, you know, let's, let's just, you know, buy a customer success platform, or let's, you know, invest more in Salesforce, or let's get this and let's get that, let's get an LMS, and all those kind of things, when in reality, the, the state of your customer data and the state of all of your data Probably can't support that kind of implementation. Right, and and and, nine times out of ten, I mean you see this a lot where you have this awesome platform but you're not getting the value out of it because you fed it a bunch of ratty data. So I'd love your kind of opinion on that a little bit, and maybe you know some of the largest and kind of typical Data gaps that you see within your customers.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think the data gaps result from the same problem that that hits most Sass companies and customer success team and that's they are really focused on themselves. So they are really focused on customer success from an inside out point of view. So they never really put themselves into the customer shoes. So they are sitting on piles of data but they have very little insights. So they have data like how the customers using the product what is the net promoter score, what is the health score but what they don't have is any context. So they don't understand the why behind what's going on. And if you don't understand the why, you can't make really any informed decisions and you can't be customer centric. So if you don't know your customer specific needs but you rely on guessing and assuming, how can you make your customer successful? So if you don't need, don't understand what kind of education and training and consulting they need to solve their problems, you will set up yourself for failure. If you don't know who are your best customers and who are your worst customers, you can't really focus on acquiring the customers that are really available for your business. That's what I often see. So marketing and sales teams they work with assumptions about who is the ideal customer for the business and it's never data verified. You need to pull all your data together and create what I like to call a 360 degree customer view, To really set the customer's story and the customer journey, to understand, okay, what's going on and why does it happen. So one thing most companies really don't know is why the customers actually churn. So because they ask customers and they're telling them okay, we leave because the product is too expensive. But that's obviously not the truth, Because if the product was too expensive, why did customers buy it in the first place?

Speaker 1:

It doesn't make sense. So what they're?

Speaker 2:

really saying is that they feel like they are paying too much for the value they get. But you don't have a pricing problem, but you have a value delivery problem, something completely different. So your goal must be to find out, okay, why did customers fail to achieve value? Does the product suck in some ways? Is this even the right customer? Did we provide them with the right services? That's something everybody needs to understand and to me, customer value and growth is a holistic approach, so it includes all teams in the company and everybody needs to understand, okay, who are our customers, what's their behavior, what are the actions they take. So everybody has the same level of information to make the right decisions. Whether you are in marketing and want to put out great content, or you are the product team and want to improve your product roadmap you're in sales, you're in support, you're in customer success doesn't matter Everybody needs to understand the customer on a really deep level.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and the problems that lie in the customer, in multiple customers. I mean, I love what you're saying about polling your exiting customers and a lot of us kind of we track churn reason Nine times out of 10,. That may not be the right reason, as you pointed out, because it's somebody just filling in a field or something like that. But actually having conversations with customers that have decided to move on is a pretty valuable activity if you can engage the customer the right way, because it does show that well. First off, it's a good collection of inputs right as to things that you might want to go fix, and if it's happening in multiple customers, then that's really something you need to look at and go fix. But also, I feel like those exit conversations can sometimes leave a mark where the customer goes off and tries something else and it doesn't really work. But they remember that conversation they had with you where you were like really trying to understand, you know what the core of the issue was. I think there's a lot of value, like trailing value, to be had in that kind of activity.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, customer conversations are gold. I'm really not a huge fan of that practice that companies are using service for everything. So to really have conversations where I can ask open questions and follow up questions to really especially when it comes to churn, to really get at the bottom of things, to really understand the root cause of churn and not only the symptom.

Speaker 1:

Like a five wise.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, that's a tool I always recommend because it's really simple and it usually leads to where I need to go.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, exactly why Just tell me. So I would imagine you've worked with a fair amount of customers who maybe they have a really strong CSM function. They have one-on-one CSM motions and QPRs and those kinds of things in place, but, especially now, we see a lot of companies kind of doubling down on this notion of digital CS and automations and those kinds of things, and I know that when people ask me, well, where should I start? I was like well, what do you have, like what data do you have, and what are you capable of doing now, versus just waiting until you have a fully baked system or strategy in place. What would your advice, though, be to customers who want to get started with a digital CS motion?

Speaker 2:

Yes, as I mentioned, it's really important to have the data ready or in the right data, in the right quality, and you need to understand really what your customers are, really the customer journey. So what I often see is that companies are what I like to call scaling prematurely, so they are automating things without having a definitive proof of these things working out, and that's when they are really pushed back into that kind of reactive position Many customer success managers find themselves into. Basically, they are spending often more time fixing things than they are really saving from automating the things before Mm-hmm yep.

Speaker 1:

There are so many times where a customer says hey, let's just automate something and I'll be like wait a second. Have you done this before, like with an actual person? Like, have somebody done the thing that you wanna automate because chances are they're gonna learn something about how that doesn't work?

Speaker 2:

Exactly, that's always what I say. You need to have a working process that actually produces the intended results accurately and repeatedly.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And if it works and you can deliver the components of the process with some kind of tool, then it's a great thing to automate it, because it doesn't make sense to do it manually any longer.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely.

Speaker 2:

But if you're doing some kind of customer onboarding without understanding what customers actually need for their onboarding and the steps they need to take, then you're doomed to failure.

Speaker 1:

Automation is a lovely thing until it isn't Ha ha, ha, ha ha. And you know there's also times where you build some stuff and then it runs in the background. Then you forget about it and you start building other things and before you know it you've got kind of competing things that are stepping on each other. And you know you said something earlier that resonated with me, which is you don't like you need to put yourself in the customer's shoes. You know, a lot of times we forget to do that. A lot of times we forget to subject ourselves to what our customers are getting from us, whether it be emails, phone calls or whatever it is, because it can get pretty. The more you start building these things, it can start getting pretty complex.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So my favorite approach is simply to put customers front and center and then reverse engineer everything you do. Yeah. So basically ask the question what do I have to do to take the customer there? So let's say your customer wants to, you know, increase their revenue by 25%. You need to think about what are the steps to take your customers need to take to get there and what they require from you, or the training materials or the courses or the guides, whatever you're offering.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And that's as I've mentioned. We are often losing the focus today, and what I see is that there's so many customer success teams that are really focused on the tech stack and their internal processes, and they are often not compatible with the customers. So there's some kind of gap between the customer's success journey and how the company thinks the customer success journey looks like.

Speaker 1:

Yes, it can be two completely different things.

Speaker 2:

Customer success requires some kind of hard reset really get back to its roots and really focus on the customer and really put yourself in the customer's shoes at least every month for something where you ask yourself, okay, does that really help our customers in the best way possible? Yeah, I mean, if the answer is no, you need to change something.

Speaker 1:

I think that's the value of voice of the customer committees is not just you know listening to customer feedback and whatnot, but also you know putting themselves in the in the shoes of the customer. Do you just shifting gears here a little bit? I know, you know you're a MIA based here in Austria and you know, right now I work for, you know, a company that has a very large MIA presence as well, and I feel like the customer success kind of motion and customer success teams is picking, picking up a lot more steam in the MIA, whereas I think even a few years ago it wasn't, as you know, as I guess, popular or as implemented as it is in the United States or in North America. Do you what? What is your take on the difference between kind of CS in the MIA versus CS in Americas? You know?

Speaker 2:

I think we in Europe have the problem that we are always you could say, two years behind North America. That's my experience. So, while companies in North America really often have a strong customer success function established, here we are often yeah, we have to really focus on even spreading the word about what is customer success and why do you need it. So, especially if I'm looking at the dark market, yeah so it's pretty much underdeveloped. So if you're looking at Europe the UK, the Netherlands and the Nordics- yeah there are five, six countries that really are the leaders here, but most companies are really, really most tech companies at least are really behind.

Speaker 1:

And why is that? Is that? Is that a generational thing? Is that you know leaders kind of set in their ways? Is it just word of mouth, or is it you know what's what's behind that, in your opinion?

Speaker 2:

To me it looks like innovation moves from West to East, globally speaking.

Speaker 1:

Yeah interesting.

Speaker 2:

It takes time until it crosses Atlantic. Yeah, to me at least it looks like this. Yeah so I don't. I don't feel we are really that, that innovation friendly in Europe. So there is more politics. You, you of course, have some insights into that. The matter, of course too. And yeah, in the especially in the dark region, we are not really focused on innovation, and here in Australia it's, yeah, the scene is really small. So I have I have almost armed 35 K follow, some connections on LinkedIn, and I think there are maybe 20 people who are customer success managers in Austria.

Speaker 1:

Wow.

Speaker 2:

And I can't even say that in Germany there would be so many more, at least not in the way we would expect it, because Germany is, of course, is the economic powers in Europe, but in terms of the digital space, it's, it's, yeah, lacking behind as well.

Speaker 1:

Interesting that. I would imagine for you, though, that that probably looks like a massive opportunity, especially as, you know, more and more companies start to adopt CS and need a helping hand because it you know that maybe they don't have the luxury of all the meetups and all the you know, all the local groups that exist and whatnot. Like you know, for instance, the last was it Friday, I forget when it was we had a CS ops meetup in Austin, and it was it was. It was awesome because it was just like you know, eight or so CS ops people and you know, in a restaurant sharing stories and solving each other's gain site problems and doing all that kind of stuff. So, but I would imagine for you you know, as a and your consulting firm that that probably presents a great opportunity to do that education and that outreach right.

Speaker 2:

Yes and no. Of course it's a great opportunity, but it's also, yeah, kind of frustrating to see that we are really lacking behind. So it's kind of doing more of all that, that that kind of missionary work yeah, it's not not that, not the execution we can focus on. So it's really on discussing do I need it, when do I need it, Does it make sense? And then how can we get started?

Speaker 1:

I think we should start a, a social meetup group for CS, like the, you know, austrian customer success or something like that.

Speaker 2:

One initiative I have started is to create a community I mean it's an international community but most members are from Europe to really pull our forces together and really create some kind of of movement outside of North America about customer success. It also has events and meetings and there are also a few local communities that exist. I mean in Amsterdam, Netherlands, there is, there is one in, I think, in Paris and in Berlin as well.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And of course, I think you have you have Gainsight doing a few like pulses in Amsterdam? That's coming up pretty soon.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, there are some initiatives, but they are really. These are local initiatives. You could say.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Speaker 2:

Where is?

Speaker 1:

your community. Is that a Slack community or is that a? Is that a?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's in Slack now. Yeah, okay, but I'm also building out a newsletter. I mean, I already have a newsletter and I also want to reach a broader audience. I'm on LinkedIn, of course, and I really want to create some kind of movement to get more people from Europe together also from the whole world, of course. So everybody is welcome. And what's more important than where people are from is I want to create awareness about thinking differently about customer success, to really get rid of that old point of view where you really focused on customer success from the vendor's point of view, to really start being customer centric again, to really get customer success back to the roots and really focus on delivering customer value, because I also see that many customer success managers really struggle with it. Up to two years ago, the world has been completely different than it is now. So when everybody sat on piles of cash, they didn't care about getting a lot of value from the product, these products, but now the whole thing has changed. So now customer success managers are facing higher customer expectations. Their teams often suffered from layoffs, even whole teams got disbanded in the past, and they don't have the training and the skills and knowledge required to really proactively help customers to achieve their desired outcomes. There's basically a real gap between the old way and the new way. There has not been a. It's a smooth transition. So it's basically the old word ended Yesterday and the new world started today.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, exactly.

Speaker 2:

And you have to adapt by.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, all of a sudden we we got rid of all the petrol engines and now it's all electric cars.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's a great example.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, it is interesting and I, you know, I think that's perhaps where a lot of the opportunity lies, and I know a lot of people are adopting, you know, a lot more digital programs into their, into their ecosystem, you know, mainly because you want to build out that that kind of telemetry set and those motions that that help you to kind of, you know, implement a, an early warning system, but also, like you know, let humans interact with your customer at when they need it, and you can't really, you don't really know that, especially with a large customer base, unless you have that, the tooling and the telemetry and the scoring and the, you know, the alerting that that that's needed to really do that at scale and with a smaller team. So it's about making a more effective right.

Speaker 2:

Exactly.

Speaker 1:

Well, look, as we, as we kind of Start to start to wrap things up, I do. I do want to ask you you know maybe some examples that you've seen recently of you know, whether it be generative AI or like digital motions that you've seen implemented, that you're, or you know, we all see those things as customers as well. Yeah, we sign up for a tool and there's some cool thing that happens and you're like, oh cool, that's a are there? Are there some examples of that recently that you've noticed, that that have kind of stuck out and and and you really liked?

Speaker 2:

I have to admit, I'm really reluctant in terms of all these these AI kind of tools that I'm facing everywhere, because because I think it's these tools are really overhyped and then create the false impression that really AI can replace humans sure and One reason why I specifically don't don't like to use any tool for my writing is because I'm not only because it sounds like a machine Wrote it, but also because I think it's it's making me more stupid.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Hmm, it's really causes my, my creative thinking, and then, then and strategic thinking to the terry oil.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

So that that's why I really use it for doing some kind of research.

Speaker 1:

It's funny I'm I'm old and I have a piece of paper and a pen at my desk, like all the time, and there's great note-taking apps. You know I Use notepad and all that you know, or whatever I use, whatever it is, whatever comes with the Mac that lets me take notes. I use that quite a bit, but at the end of the day, I find that just writing something down Helps me not just to remember it later but to commit it to memory. Like there's, there's something about the act of physically writing something down and I know, you know that probably dates, dates me, puts me into a certain generation, whatever you want to call that, but there's something about that. I think that you know there's a. I think there's a fine line between your kind of your personal Personal benefit from generative AI and tools like that, and then also just your own Need to internalize information. Like, for instance, you know I like writing things down because it helps me remember, it helps me internalize things, but at the same time, using a tool like update AI, for instance, where you know it Listen to the meeting, it generates some notes, it generates some, you know, some relatively useful content that you can then use later. I think that's where it gets into efficiency, where I don't necessarily, you know, need to commit something to memory or want to have it on my desk on a piece of paper, but it's in a tool where I can grab it later. I can copy and paste it and put into an email and make it prettier it.

Speaker 2:

There's a fine line between the two, I think yeah, I think that the biggest problem is to really Distinguish between tools when it makes sense to use them yeah, I can really help you and tools that are you could call them yeah, nice to have gimmicks, you could even call yeah. I've also made the same observation, like you. So when I'm doing creative work, I needed to do it in handwriting Always. If I'm sitting in front of my desktop, it doesn't work. I'm not good at writing, it doesn't work, I'm not any creative. So I'm basically doing the creative work on paper and then transform it into the digital version. Yeah, of course I know that's super inefficient, but it doesn't work any other way.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Because I'm often, when I'm writing something on my screen is I'm sitting there for hours, it's nothing done. But if I'm doing it, if I'm taking a walk and sitting down somewhere and taking notes and writing down, it, it suddenly works.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I Totally agree. I like that for process flows too. I like to draw boxes first and arrows on a piece of paper, and then I'll put it in.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, I hate doing that on a screen. That's horrible. Drawing something or handwriting on a screen is Absolutely horrible.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so.

Speaker 2:

I'm probably the same generation as you are quite old, but but what I think is that we have already crossed the point of where technology was really that helpful and now, simply, are really replacing the human parts for the sake of it with new technology.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm. Yeah, I mean, if it takes you longer to use a tool, then it would not using the tool, then that's bit of an issue. So just don't use the tool.

Speaker 2:

I mean, they're really cool tools. As I've mentioned before, update the eye or using a eye to create Presentations or stuff like this, or some graphics or images Awesome, it's really great. I Couldn't do it better myself, of course, it would take a hundred times longer, but that's something that really makes sense.

Speaker 1:

I did find one tool that I thought was Brilliant again not for a finished product, necessarily, but for a framework and an ideas like generator is Gamma. Do you know about gamma? It basically builds PowerPoint presentations Based off of your prompts, and they're good, they're decent, like they're not bad, you know. So, if you wanted to like, have it write a QBR for you and you give it some basic data, it'll. It'll get you 80% of 80% of the way there, which is quite interesting. So, anyway, that's the tool tip for the day. What, what is your content? Diet, what do you? What do you read? What do you listen to? What? What do you do to keep yourself fresh?

Speaker 2:

I have to admit that I am no longer reading that much than I am doing in the past. So when I started in Custom success, linkedin has been my primary source of content. Yeah so I really read everything I could find. But now I'm, yeah, facing the problem that there's so much content and LinkedIn that I really dislike and it takes so long until I really find something relevant. Yeah so I find a million carousels, finds many Posts that have obviously been created by some kind of AI. It's really becomes obvious by the but the tone they're written in, and I have to scroll for I don't know a hundred posts Until I find something really, really useful. What I'm doing is I read posts from a few people I'm following. I'm really following on LinkedIn. I've also signed up for a few newsletters, but I'm really I've become really picky.

Speaker 1:

You. There's a lot of newsletters out there.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so another great source of information inspiration is the website from little Murphy. So he's one of the Godfathers of customer success, you could say so he also has kind of Strong and different view on customer success. I'm to almost customer success focused stuff I'm doing besides writing is really thinking. Yeah, right, and thinking about the things I've said in the past and things I've done in the past and reflecting on it, and then I'm really focused on evolving my own game. You could say.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, and I do think there's a lot of need for that. I mean, your content specifically, I think, provokes a lot of thought and I like the way that you structure it and that you put things out that are obviously well thought through and aren't just a regurgitation of what everybody else is saying. And there's some uniqueness there, and I think we can all take some lessons from that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's something dear to me, because I think what is called customer success echo chamber it's one of the reasons why so many customer success managers really have a hard time right now.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

A hard time working with customers and also a hard time of promoting or demonstrating the value they bring to the company. So there's the classic question what is the ROI of customer success? So if you're getting asked that by your CEO or CRO whoever asked the question then you have a problem, because it should become obvious that you're creating value for the company.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, exactly.

Speaker 2:

One thing I'm also a bit worried about is there's also some kind of movement, you could say, towards building communities for customer success. Right so, to connect customers with each other. I think it's a great idea, but it often feels like that people think it's a one and done solution. So you create that community and all your problems are resolved, right so. But the community is only one part of what you're doing, because everybody's part of the community, but everybody that is part of the community will be active there. And then you have I know, if you have a thousand people in the community, you have 20 people that are writing and 98 people that are only reading.

Speaker 1:

Right, exactly.

Speaker 2:

And you never know what they're thinking. Yeah, that's what we are seeing. A LinkedIn, for example, I don't know 900 million users, and I mean I'm some kind of statistics, but I think only 1% of the people are creating content.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I think it was. Something like 1% is creating content, some kind of 10% is reading it. The rest is only using it when they are looking for a new job.

Speaker 1:

Right, yeah, yeah. And you know I see a lot of people who go in spurts. You know they'll. They'll go a month intense and then six months. Six months silence and then a month intense.

Speaker 2:

Building a community is not not your savior, even though it's, it's a great idea, as I've mentioned before, but I really think customer success, the most important thing, is to focus on the customer and then add or the build a community, or build resources, or create courses and everything that's possible, or even create the customer academy, whatever.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

But it always needs to focus on the customer that needs Well, and it's like you meet the customer where they are, you know, and whatever that looks like.

Speaker 1:

And I think, again to mention an earlier point you need to ask them. We all just make assumptions. Sometimes it's like I'll just write these articles, we'll put them here and that'll be great. It's like, well, you know, they might like some video, they might like a new learning course, they might like to talk to each other about it, they might like an SMS from you. Who knows?

Speaker 2:

People have stopped asking.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

It's. It's funny because whenever I'm talking to customer success managers or leaders, I always ask them do you know whether our customers are really successful? And most of them, they don't know. They they believe they are successful because they're still here.

Speaker 1:

Yeah right, Exactly.

Speaker 2:

But that's obviously not. Not that it's kind of playing with fire, because you don't know what happens next.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and you're almost I think you're almost afraid to find out, maybe, if you don't know.

Speaker 2:

Of course it's kind of embarrassing if you've never talked to the customer for six months and then you suddenly reach out to the customer and ask hey, your customer, are you actually successful?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you know, I think that part of customer success is not just, is not just about yes, it's about driving outcomes and value and, you know, making sure that the customer set up for renewal and making sure that you're, you know whatever. But I think a big part of it is just being human and like it's okay to fall on your sword a little bit and, and you know, be a little bit transparent about the fact that, hey look, we want to engage with you, we want to engage with you the right way. Tell us what that is. Have we not been doing it the correct way? Like it's okay to be wrong, as long as you understand how to correct it and and get that information.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, your customers. They will value the effort, of course, if you're taking the time to really talk to them and not send them another survey, but you already get 50 different services every month in the mailbox. They will be happy to actually talk to you.

Speaker 1:

They will be. Yeah, exactly, well, look, this has been a great conversation. I've really appreciated you coming on the podcast and spending time with me, and I want to give you an opportunity to just tell everybody what you're up to, where they can find you, reach out to you, engage with you, and all of that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so the easiest thing to reach out or engage with me is on LinkedIn. I'm really active there, posting stuff every day, and, yeah, from there in my profile, you can find links to my newsletter, to my course, to my website, etc. Etc. Everything that you could possibly find about me except for the podcasts I've been part of that are spread out on the Internet, but if you like to listen to them, I can share it with you, of course. But, yeah, the best starting point is simply LinkedIn.

Speaker 1:

Sounds good. Well, thank you again, and I can only wrap it up by saying Servus.

Speaker 2:

But all I can say is oida, oh yeah.

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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