The Digital Customer Success Podcast

Short Form Content & Human Language in Digital Customer Success with Anika Zubair of Griffin | Episode 034

January 23, 2024 Alex Turkovic, Anika Zubair Episode 34
The Digital Customer Success Podcast
Short Form Content & Human Language in Digital Customer Success with Anika Zubair of Griffin | Episode 034
Show Notes Transcript

Enter the contest for a Gold Pass ($1300 value!) to the Customer Success Festival in Austin (Feb 13 & 14, 2024) by following these steps:

  1. Review the podcast on your platform of choice and send a quick screenshot to alex@digitalcustomersuccess.com
  2. Go to this LinkedIn post and Like it: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7152780848642068480
  3. Leave a comment on that same post about what aspect of CS Festival you're most looking forward to or any questions comments you might have about the event.

Today's Guest Anika Zubair is a CS household name and award winning customer success leader who is constantly providing insanely valuable content to the community. She has led and scaled many functions throughout her career and is currently Head of Customer Success at Griffin. 

There are so many valuable nuggets of information to pull away from our conversation in this episode including:

  • Leveraging technology to meet our customers where they are with what they need
  • Covid normalized digital engagement
  • The resurgence of QR codes
  • Transitioning from full-time gig to consulting and back
  • The difficulty of the current job market
  • Using ‘CS Trailers’ to solve for customer engagement via short form, TikTok style video and how this style aligns with how people are consuming content today
  • Combining short videos (max 90 seconds) with analytics and strong call to actions can lead to strong customer engagement
  • Practical example of a short onboarding flow
  • Things like 'Spotify Wrapped' are HARD to get to but so effective if you do
  • Celebrating customer wins and demonstrating value digitally
  • It’s ok as B2B to communicate like B2C - we are all just human

Anika's LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anikazubair/

Apps:

  • Cast.app - Virtual Digital CSM
  • Bagel - Tie product features to revenue opportunities and customer feedback

Content:

Shoutouts:

  • Dan Ennis
  • Jay Nathan
  • Jeff Breunsbach

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The Digital Customer Success Podcast is hosted by Alex Turkovic

Speaker 1:

I find it always amazing because B2B or B2C were all humans. Like a business is created out of humans, the person you're speaking to at the other end isn't Coca-Cola incorporated. There is someone who there's a human on that other side.

Speaker 2:

That is your customer. It's just Bill.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, exactly.

Speaker 2:

And, once again, welcome to the Digital Customs 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 digitalcustomsuccesscom, 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. Well, hello and welcome back to the Digital Customer Success podcast. It's so great to have you. As always, we've got a great episode lined up for you today, featuring none other than Anika Zubair. And. But before we get into that conversation, just a little bit of housekeeping. Real quick, if you listened, last week we announced a contest for a gold pass into the Customer Success Festival in Austin. That's happening February sorry, february 13th and 14th 2024. If you're listening to this in the future sometime, this doesn't mean anything to you, so you can ignore this part, but regardless, we've had a lot of engagement so far, but you still got till January 31st to enter that contest. Again, it's for a gold pass. It's like 1300 bucks. You might as well enter. The way to do it is linked in the show notes. It's a it's a LinkedIn post, but essentially it boils down to this you need to leave a review for the show and send me a quick screenshot of that review. You need to like that post. That's linked in the show notes and you need to comment on that post. That's linked in the show notes. Couldn't be easier. Might as well do it. Winner will be announced on January 31st and I can't wait to see you there because I'll be speaking at a session and moderating a panel. So come say hi for sure If you're going to be there. Onto the episode for today featuring my conversation with Anika Zubair. She is a CS staple, a CS powerhouse, and I was so happy to have a conversation with her. She's also a podcast host on her own. It's always kind of nerve wracking having podcasts set, you know, for, like fellow podcast hosts on the show, it's not the first time, but anyway we get into the nitty gritty of a bunch of different things, including kind of career stuff. She spent a lot of time as a consultant, still still consults, but is now also full time CS leader once more. So we talk a little bit about that. We talk a lot about short form content, like TikTok style content and how to use that to drive, you know, engagement and call to actions and those kinds of things. We spend some time talking just about practical. There's lots of really great practical examples in this, this episode as well, of stuff that you can go implement. One of the things that I found quite fascinating is that we do spend some time talking about taking things from B to C into B to B. There. I don't know why there there just seems to be this reluctance to do it. Like you know, in B to C we should be able to talk like humans, or B to B we should be able to talk like humans, and, and there's just a reluctance to do that, and so we spend some time kind of talking about that a little bit, because I know I know that has been a topic of conversation and some of the Slack groups I'm in and on LinkedIn as well, but really cool stuff. I thoroughly enjoyed this conversation with Anika Zuber. I'm sure you will as well. And here we go. I'm just, I'm just going to stop talking. Here we go. Anika, it is amazing to have you on the podcast. I've been looking forward to this conversation and which you wouldn't have picked up on given how Tardy my prep email went to you, went out to you. It's a classic case of like stuck in draft mode, but suffice it to say I'm excited to talk to you today because you are one of the mainstays in like CS content. You have just a ton of experience. You're currently head of CS at Griffin, which is a new kind of a new gig for you. You've been kind of, you've held, you know, all kinds of amazing leadership positions in CS, including I think you were an insider for, for a scosh You've done, see, wanna, you know, before I let you speak because it looks it seems like I'm never going to let you speak at this point I want to go like way back and ask you about your kind of formal education in political science and you also, from what I said, you got a. You got a masters in Berlin in something like international relations, something like like a welcome and be. What was that all about?

Speaker 1:

Awesome, alex. I'm so excited to be here. Thanks for having me on. I'm usually the one asking questions, so this is fun to be in the hot seat, as it's known as. So I'm excited to be on here. But, as you mentioned, anika Zubair, I'm head of customer success at Griffin currently, but I have spent the last 12 years in customer success and a number of leadership roles. We can dive into that. But to answer your question specifically about my formal education, I did study political science and did a masters in international relations, and a lot of that was due to the fact that in a formal life former life I wanted to actually be a lawyer and I went down the route of studying political science or in that realm of international relations to someday possibly pursue law school. I even was a legal aid at 1.2. And all of that resulted in me realizing I definitely do not want to be a lawyer but I enjoyed studying political science and enjoyed the topic and the relation. I always knew I wanted to do a masters and I continued down the formal education side of things because of personal drive to get a masters. But it has nothing to do with what I do in work in tech today. But I have to say I know a lot of people question education or further education and if it really applies to getting a job.

Speaker 2:

To me.

Speaker 1:

I think you don't need it, but it's amazing to have, because it taught me so much more discipline and formalities around who I am and structured me as a human being not necessarily as a professional, but as a human being, and I am a lifelong learner. So I think it also set me up for success in that way. So that is the backstory of why political science, international relations and why Berlin is. Because I am an expat, the accent is Californian, but I have spent the last coming on 13 years in Europe, first in Berlin, germany, and now I find myself in London, england, for the last eight years. So I say that I am an expat, I'm also British, but I just I don't have the accent yet and I'm definitely waiting for that one to get good.

Speaker 2:

Your soul is British.

Speaker 1:

It is in some weird way.

Speaker 2:

Yes, well, that's cool. I can't remember which guest it was, but you're not the only one with a political science background. I'm trying to remember who that was, or somebody else that got a poly-side degree, and we actually talked a little bit about kind of the implications of that in CS, because I do feel like there's probably some skills that you acquired in that education that probably help you out in CS. Would you? Would you agree with that?

Speaker 1:

I would have to be taking back into my memory, thinking about that. But I would say that the formal part of all of the writing I can imagine like that affects me every single day and how communications and how that works as well. Like I just think back to my thesis and everything I had to write and actually first read and understand and then reiterate and deliver back. I feel like that can definitely come into a big part in customer success and how we communicate with customers. But also again, how do we take jargon that is political science and then put it into place in everyday language or in everyday examples, and I remember my thesis was all about connecting social media to a lot of political events that have happened in the world, and because of that again, I was taking jargon that we know from theory or practice, which I think of in CS. We take product jargon and we then make it easy to understand and absorb in front of our customers as well. So if you want to draw that parallel, maybe I'm reaching here, but maybe that's that's where you're talking about?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no, yeah, it's very interesting because it's true Like a lot of what we do in CS is really just boil it down to like, hey, what do you want to accomplish? Here's how you're going to do that and here's the technical documentation for your teams to go execute on it Exactly.

Speaker 1:

But then we have to be the ones that answer the questions when the technical jargon doesn't make sense.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, exactly Demystify it a little bit. That's awesome. So obviously this is the Digital CS podcast. I ask all my guests kind of the same question, which is roughly like what's your elevator pitch for Digital CS? Because everybody's is a little bit different and I like to ask everybody, because there's different flavors that come to it.

Speaker 1:

Definitely. I love this question because I think you are probably going to get so many different answers, depending on what the heck digital customer success means to someone. But to me personally, in today's crazy world of tech that we live in, customer success has taken on a whole new meeting and with the rise of technology, but also with the rise of all the different software that we use, businesses really have to adapt and change to ensure customers are getting what they really need to have a seamless experience across your product. And I think that, whether you have a high-touch model that's bringing in digital customer success, or whether you are only a PLG motion, everybody needs to have some sort of digital engagement. And because of that, digital customer success is all about leveraging technology and making sure it fits in to your customer journey, depending on what that journey really is. Is it using analytics, is it using AI, is it using personalized communication? All I'm saying is that, once you understand your customer needs, it's putting some sort of digital element into that customer journey and addressing their pain points in new strategies and ways, because, honestly, no one has time to deal with one-to-one meetings. As much as we'd like to say is the norm.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, for sure. I mean, you can only grow so much if you're just focused on that one-to-one high-touch, which early stage is super important, because that's all that kind of and as you start growing, you can't throw bodies at.

Speaker 1:

And you've got to evolve all the time, yeah, as you grow, not just the bodies, it's just like we live in a different world. I just think that like. I've been in customer success for 12 years, coming on 13 years. 10 years ago I would meet my customers in person. It would never be questioned to be like, yes, we're going to have round tables, but now people's budgets look different, but also the way people interact are so different. Pre-pandemic, it wouldn't be an issue to jump on a plane and go visit a customer. It was almost baked into the idea and concept of being a client relationship manager or an account manager. But in today's day and age, that is just not part of your business plan to have that sort of budget to meet customers in person. But also customers aren't doing it as much anyways as well. So it's all evolving and changing and that's what I mean where we need to leverage technology to really service what our customers want.

Speaker 2:

It's almost an expectation, quite honestly, and I think COVID had a big hand in that and kind of changing that a little bit, because everybody got used to operating digitally. I mean, I think pre-COVID my father, for instance, who's 84, something like that he never used Facebook, he never used FaceTime, wasn't that we Did? And he's on more Capolo. Now he's posting on Facebook, he's doing all the Instagram stuff and it's like this whole. It's a weird example, but I think, just in general, the world got a lot more used to operating digitally, and I think in the world of business and SaaS, I think that's super true. One interesting thing that I like to point to, too is kind of like the resurgence of the QR code, because you remember, when it was kind of laughed at for a while, the QR code was a cool thing, like in I don't know 2010, or whatever, and then it kind of faded away, it was laughed at, and then all of a sudden, qr codes are everywhere, because it's a really easy way for everybody to access info.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and it's just an easier way to serve up the content that you need to serve up and, like you said, it's used in so many different factors. I've been at a baby shower that's had QR codes on like for games. The QR code was on your little name tag. I was like this is brilliant. I wouldn't think of a QR code to play games on your phone and interact with the whole room. But yeah, like you said, the way we use technology has definitely accelerated post pandemic, post COVID, and the way we serve up content, whether it's in our personal lives or in our professional lives. With Digital CS, it's totally being absorbed in a new way that we have to adapt to.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, exactly, and I think that financially too, it has implicated, like the other day I was driving my school and there's this one intersection where once in a while, you'll see police officers and firefighters, whatever, collecting donations, especially around the holidays, and they're walking around with a boot or whatever. But this time they were walking around with like laminated QR codes for Venmo and I was like duh, like, of course people don't carry cash anymore, right?

Speaker 1:

No one carries cash. You could just you know. Venmo me a donation.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, exactly. So it's interesting. Anyway, not here to talk about QR codes, maybe we are, I don't know, who knows. Let's see how many times we can mention the QR code in this episode. So I think one thing that I've noticed anyway over the past few years is there are more and more people kind of stepping into consultancy, whether it be kind of a part-time side hustle type thing, starting their own consulting group and things like that, and I think especially, you know, job markets kind of nutty, and so you see a little bit more of that, obviously at the moment. You've actually recently made the switch back. You know, I think a few months ago basically, you started as head of CS at Griffin, and so I was just curious to get kind of your insight into how that transition has been for you personally. Congrats on the role, by the way. But you know, how has that transition been for you? Are you still working with some clients and a divorce yourself? Like what does that kind of look like for you?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, backstories. I have been doing consulting or some sort of advisory role since the pandemic and, much like everyone else, found themselves in lockdown with a little bit more time and I have to say I'm grateful for my network because a lot of people do reach out, especially at early stage startups, saying, hey, nika, based on your experience, you seem like a great fit, but we're just not ready to have a senior leader on board, which makes sense and a lot of times they are looking for advice or help on getting things started when it comes to building out whatever they're looking to build out. And that's how it originally started actually working in consulting gigs and, let's say it was more of a side hustle thing in 2020, and again we found ourselves with more time. People were looking for new avenues of help because it was a difficult time all around in tech and so that's where it actually started. Where I really leaned in and decided to take it on full time is due to what I think a lot of people are facing is layoffs. I was laid off for my last role and at the time I was like okay, let me lean into finding a new role, which the last year and a half, two years now has been absolutely mental when it's come to the job market. It is so heartbreaking when I see people reach out to me saying I've not only been part of a layoff in the last few months, but this is my second in the last 18 months. Right, that is just wild and I'm feeling for everyone. Like you know, hearts are breaking because it's a lot. It's like if you said, it's like going through divorce, you're like trying to figure things out, discover a new you. But I decided to lean in to consulting because the job market just wasn't producing what I was looking for and I was like, okay, at least this will keep me busy. It'll keep me like enjoying doing what I love to do, which is building and growing customer success teams, and I think a lot of this last year has also taught me or shown me that a lot of fractional work is out there at the moment, and whether it's because CS is being rebranded, whether it's because it's not afforded or companies are really watching budgets, what I can say is there's lots of fractional work out there and because of that, I just leaned into it and decided, okay, I'll go back into consulting full time. I had a few clients that I was working with. I also coach one to one as well. So, whether it's a CSM or a early stage leader, I have a few coaches that I work with. But again, that was because of what the job market produced at the moment. And, yes, I have moved back into a full time operator role, as you've mentioned, which is amazing. I always knew I wanted to be back in an operating role because I really enjoy the team side of things. I really enjoy building not only customer success departments but businesses. I find myself in startups over the last 12 years, so I wanted to be back in that environment, but I am still, yes, doing a bit of fractional work here and there. I still coach as well. So it's something that I don't think it's an end, or or I think it's something that becomes part of you, because you almost get to see this whole new world of helping people in different scenarios, in different situations.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah that's. I mean you hit the nail in the head like there's a there's a joy to helping folks be successful in their own right and growing whether it's growing their careers or kind of being a fly on the wall and help advising on on growing different things and there's a there's a satisfaction that comes comes with that as well, and and I think the CS community is is so tight knit. We're having these conversations anyway like we're. You know, we, we tend to be quite a connected people and so kind of you know, might as well make something out of that connectedness and and help so yeah that's cool, I love it. And you know, we, we, we were joking a little bit before you know, before we started recording, about the fact that you know you have joined a FinTech org and you know, and that's notoriously kind of hard FinTech and and in like security or whatever notorious they come to you. So I think it speaks highly of Griffin that you know that they've they've pulled somebody from outside the fold, so to speak, and you said that there were a lot of team members that actually weren't originally in FinTech.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, we are an organization, we are bank, we are a fully licensed bank, but we operate in a way of a SaaS business. So when I was interviewing and when I was speaking to the founders and members of the board, they were like no, we function like a SaaS business. But on the outside, we are obviously a fully fledged bank and because of that we get the FinTech badge of honor, or or not. Honor maybe, but yes, and in my experience, the finance world and especially cybersecurity world tend to be very particular about who they hire and what experience you have, especially when it comes to industry experience and knowledge. And I was questioning OK, will a FinTech really embrace the true meaning of what customer success is? And after speaking with the founders and really having deep dive discussions with a lot of the executive team, it was really clear to me that they value it, and not only do they value it. I am one of the first hires in CS because, while we still have only single digit customers, because of the fact that they want to build something around their customers and that was really really priority one for them, and it really sank to my own values hearing that from them as well. And, like you said, yes, about 50 percent of Griffin is actually from that finance world, of ex bankers or ex FinTech, and then 50 percent of us are from the tech SaaS world. So it's a nice blend of personalities and people, but also it's an amazing blend of intelligence. I think that that makes this really unique like melting pot of us building something together.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and probably an awesome learning opportunity along the way too, which is cool, Definitely.

Speaker 1:

I would imagine you're kind of learning purpose has been so steep. But I've again. People have been amazingly nice. And then I'm like, I'm sorry, I thought SaaS had lots of acronyms, but banking has like 10 X, the acronyms that I have to learn now and I'm always like is this the SaaS acronym or the banking acronym?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I didn't even think about that. Like you know, fintech, of a ton of acronyms, just like, I mean, I guess, any industry, but I would imagine that's astronomical kind of like. You know, I don't know, rocket science or something might beat it out, but who knows? You recently took home of an Ever After Most Creative Leader Award, so congrats, that's awesome. Yeah, it is a very short and distinguished list of winners there, but it was. You mentioned that it was basically around a CS Trailer program that you had built up, correct, and I would love for you to give some insight into what that program was and what problems you were trying to solve and those kinds of things.

Speaker 1:

Sure happy to. So it was based on a initiative that was launched at my previous organization, carbon, and Carbon had a very large amount of customers in their long tail, so really dealing with truly SMB or low touch digital touch customers. And the idea was, or the issue that we were facing really was the fact that a lot of our single user or single or singular license users were asking for a lot of our time, but we just could not dedicate the one to one time for those customers. Like some of them were our OG clients that have been with us from the start but they are no longer our ICP, we realized that there was just a lot of customers that we're sold to, but also a lot of people that continue to come on that were only like solo preneurs that were using our product, which is fine, it's built for that purpose too but it was hard to service them the same way as someone who had 20 or 200 seats with us. So, very much realizing that we had this huge gap to fill, but also the issue was that a lot of the things that we were already doing weren't impactful. With our digital led program meaning we use Loom to create videos in order to make sure our clients got some sort of update from a human or a CSM, and I, as a leader, on Fridays would spend time reviewing either our GONG recordings or Loom videos that were being sent out. So I can fully understand. Are we approaching the problem correctly? But also, are we being impactful with what we're doing with our customers and are we driving value in these conversations? And I started to see the analytics out of Loom and it was very rare that any of it was being watched through.

Speaker 2:

Really.

Speaker 1:

Open rates were very low of emails, but also the Loom video was just not being watched through and these are like 20, 30 minute videos that we were doing because they were in depth of product education or what's on the roadmap or what you're missing and not using in your account correctly, almost like an account health check call as well. So a lot of the content was very valuable but just wasn't being watched and because of that I decided to apply something in the VTC world that was on the rise into B2B and the idea came from me, from being on TikTok. I will openly say I'm addicted to that app. I sometimes scroll and I'm like oh my gosh. An hour has gone by. What has just happened with my life?

Speaker 2:

But the rise of TikTok. That happened. I have TikTok guilt on a daily basis.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, like the amount of things I send to my friends or my family on TikTok is ridiculous. But coming back to the rise of short form video content, and. I was like, oh my gosh, because it's like seven seconds or 20 seconds. Yeah, I'll watch it, yeah, I'll flip through it, yeah, I'll absorb that content, because my brain had that much energy to watch that. And I was like, why don't we take the same idea and apply it to our business reviews or our client calls? And this was again. It was on the rise in 2021. So in 22, we decided, okay, let's do what I called a CS trailer, and a CS trailer is basically giving you a little sneak peek into what it is you can get if you book a call with us or if you want to go into for the one to many customers into a round table discussion webinar where a CSM can elaborate on new product feature releases or on educating you on something within your account. So all I did is challenge our CSMs to make Loom videos that were max 90 seconds, and the 90 second video had to be something that was impactful, that captured attention, that was able for the CSM to actually then drive value but also get the customer to do the call to action, which is book in more time to either discuss your account in detail or join a webinar. We thought 33% increase in people actually watching the video and engaging with it and then booking the calls. So for us, we used Loom and the data that it was lacking and then applied concepts of tick talk to what we said was a CS trailer. And we first started with just booking the calls, but we also then started to challenge and do digital QBRs, but in 90 seconds, and again challenging to make sure you're able to capture someone's attention in 90 seconds or less.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it is. It is a challenge to do that because 90 seconds, you know, depending on what you're doing, you can either seem really really short or really long, but like it goes into, basically it's micro learning, is what you're producing, right, it's like a digestible bite size, chunks that anyone can go and consume really quickly, which I think is super compelling, because it sounds to me, like you know before, it was almost like watching the recorded call, right, which who really watches recorded calls?

Speaker 1:

I do sometimes yeah, exactly, but who even pays attention in an hour. Call QBR Like. Are you getting the attention of full hour?

Speaker 2:

Were you getting into like persona versions of that? Would you do something for an executive buyer versus a user or a champion, or is that something that you've dabbled with? We only?

Speaker 1:

had one persona because we were channeling those solopreneurs that I talked about. So it was just like the business owner that didn't have the time but also used so many parts of our product. It was really a great case study story because they were using us so well, but they're a solopreneur, they only had so much time, so they were the executive buyer, but also they were the people that needed the most education but didn't have the time to give us. So we targeted that as our first draft of our, I guess, persona that we were choosing.

Speaker 2:

I love the notion of this because one of the things that a lot of guests say on the show is this notion that digital one of the byproducts or one of the primary goals of digital would be to make sure that your humans are spending their time having valuable conversations with their customer, instead of like sending the same email 50 times in a row. And I would say that if you're pulling up a customer's health score, support tickets, all that kind of stuff, you're spending a couple minutes reviewing that. You're shooting a 90 minute loom sending that out. I would say that's incredibly high value activity that you're engaged with and it is completely like now. It is a really cool combination, but human element and the digital element that I think is kind of the gold standard in digital CS these days.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I think that that's what people forget. I think a lot of. I'm sure you've talked to a lot of guests that feel the same where, oh, I need to send like an email campaign, or it needs to be an AI bot or it needs to be an in-app message or something like that, and there's nothing wrong with all of those pieces by the way. But I have always built Digital CS where you already have a layer of customer success. But how do you add technology into that human element? And whether that's a one-to-one loom video or whether that's a one-to-many webinar, I still think the only way another human is going to engage is with some level of human interaction, whether that's the loom video, whether that's a webinar, whatever it is. A lot of times in-app things are closed off and, yes, they might be good for an answering a question quick here or there, but to deliver value it's tough. I think it's really tough if you only take the digital route and not the human side.

Speaker 2:

And with those short attention spans, man like you got to get on it.

Speaker 1:

It's getting shorter every day. Yeah it is Funny.

Speaker 2:

Actually, this morning I was on TikTok and I saw this. It was a pretty funny video of you know. It was just a guy walking down the street or whatever and he's having a you know he's shooting a selfie, TikTok type situation. And he was talking about how, like you know, kids these days they're all like into the 90s, like the 90s are making a comeback. And then he was saying, like you know, okay, well, you know, your parents relate to pick you up for us. The coach took the balls away. What are you doing? You're staring at the sidewalk and then you're looking back at the goalpost and welcome to the 90s. you know, because you don't have this phone in your hand and it, you know he gave a couple of examples like that, but it's like yeah, art, you know the way we consume things has obviously changed a lot, you know, in those few decades since the 90s. But, like the because, of and reels and all those kinds of social media things that everybody's engaging in. They're expecting kind of like this, this scroll element of where it's like quick, digestible, to the point and let's move on.

Speaker 1:

No, definitely. I think in general, like, if you think about it, it applies to our daily lives, to the more technology we get inundated with, the more we just want the quick answer or the quick value add of what we're here for. I mean even an email you want. If you want something for me, just tell me in the in the first few lines, like giving me three paragraphs is, I will glance at it, but you will get a response much later because I need to give you much more of my attention span for three verses. Even nowadays we have slack, external slack channels with our customers and usually a quick slack is much easier, like a one sentence, like hey, did you do this or did this work well, is much easier than sitting and composing an email and thinking of like all this jargon and attaching these documents and doing all these things.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, exactly One. One kind of tactical thing or practical example of kind of short attention span, but also contextual. You know relevance that I picked up on the other day. I don't know if you're a Notion user or if you have ever used Notion.

Speaker 1:

I'm seeing a lot more people using it.

Speaker 2:

I recently onboarded on it and I've been getting these onboarding emails not like once a week, not once a day, but every like few hours. They're short, they're sweet, they look really good, but I think one of the most brilliant elements of it that I don't know why more people aren't doing this is, the subject is literally the action. That's your next step. It's like this one I'm looking to give your team a home. That's the subject. But next to the subject is three slash eight, so three out of eight being in the subject line. They're giving you the contextual information of where you are in that journey, which I think is brilliant, because that's something that a lot of people lack Like in their onboarding journeys. It's like, okay, they're expecting folks to do XYZ, but the problem is the customer doesn't know there's only XYZ right of where they are in that whole journey. And I just either thought so many things about the conciseness, but then also, you know, moving the relevance of the position in the journey is absolutely brilliant.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I've had notions since the dawn of time, so like I remember being on the waitlist to even join notions, so they definitely didn't have that level of onboarding for me. But that's really cool that they give you, like, bite size. Do this today, like, or this hour do this, and then the next hour do this and tomorrow do this, based on again I'm guessing what their typical user journey flow looks like to them on their end and they've taken that data and then translated back at. This is what most people see success with. That is what digital is really is translating back the data to get you from point A to point B as quickly as possible.

Speaker 2:

Yep, that's, that's so true. Anyway, figure, that was a little fun side branch. You know we try to be as as as as full of contextual examples of what, what digital is in the pod. But anyway, speaking of which you know, are there, are there some things that you've seen, like out in the wild, or things that you've developed or have been part of your programs, that have been, like you know, particularly like memorable digital motions. I mean, we all get those things once in a while and we're like, oh, that's cool, I know what they're doing and that's really cool. Like, are there some examples of things that you've seen recently or in your past that you think are are cool?

Speaker 1:

The one thing that comes to mind that isn't new but I think is brilliant and has always done well. As Spotify wrapped, I always think that that is just. That is hard. If I think about that from a CS perspective, I know they don't care because it's beat, let's beat to see, and they're mostly just trying to show you what you've listened to. But subliminally, they are trying to show that you got value out of using our software to listen to music over this last year and this is how you got value. And they did it in a joyous manner, which I think is something that is can be absorbed and learned in customer success and in digital customer success is. They gave you stats, but they made it fun and they made you want to go through that as well. And I think YouTube does this as well, and I recently saw that, like your most viewed videos, like what you've watched this week, like what's been searched for, like what have you searched for, and they give you like summaries in this way, and I think that they're just showing you that, hey, you have logged on to our software or application, this is what you've done and this is the value you've seen over it, but they didn't even have to give you any hard revenue numbers. Once I get my Spotify wrapped every year, I'm like, well, duh, I'm going to keep using Spotify because income and, like Apple music and every other music provider, has not caught on to how joyous. They deliver data. They deliver transactional data in a fun way that makes it super engaging for their end user to want to know what they've been up to. And if you think about that, that's customer success and its simplicity. And I think that if we were to apply something that simple in the sense that we are delivering data or metrics or ROI of our product to our customer, but can we do it in a way that is joyous and enjoyable to them?

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Then amazing, right yeah.

Speaker 2:

Well, so many times we're not celebrating, we're calling out, we're reacting to things that have gone, we're looking at telemetry and focusing on the things that are typically signs of churn or whatever. But I think we should be doing more of these celebratory type things, and I think some of the best brands they're the best brands because they do that kind of stuff you know celebrate your wins, whatever that may be, whether it's uploads or downloads or sideloads or whatever else.

Speaker 1:

I don't know what that is. Oh, maybe it's a QR code.

Speaker 2:

Can I throw that in now? Yeah, oh good. Excellent Point to Nika. But, like you know, it's that celebratory aspect of things that builds camaraderie, builds rapport, builds kind of a sense of team and togetherness and collaboration. That I think is crazy important, especially, you know, since we're all being bombarded with 5 million negative things these days. It's nice to celebrate those things, I know.

Speaker 1:

And it did it in a celebratory way, but also it's a delivered value. Like I tell a lot of my co-g's, like when you are speaking to your customer, you have to deliver value in what you're doing. You don't have to have an upsell conversation, you don't have to sell hard in an email, but you have to deliver value because if they see the value, they're going to pay, just like we see the value of using Spotify. When Spotify does their Spotify wrap, I'm like I don't even question like, oh, I'm not going to use Spotify now because they just delivered value and they just told me how much I use their product. So, if anything, I'm probably over utilizing and paying nothing for it, because they made me feel that, oh my gosh, and you could listen to so many X hours of music and she got joy from it Great.

Speaker 2:

They didn't even have to tell me a price on it there was no money on that Spotify wrap and even as a creator, you know getting those things as, as, as you know, someone who uploads Spotify or publishes to Spotify it's like those stats that they provide you as a creator makes you want to just like be publishing on Spotify, of course. Yeah, exactly.

Speaker 1:

I'm sure you get it. I was like. I was like I'm sure you've gotten your year-end stuff, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. It's fun to look at, and what's interesting to me is what it'll look like next year, because I mean, I, you know this, the podcast is seven months old, something like that, so I haven't had a full year in the hopper. I'm interested to see what next year looks like, because I know at that point they'll switch from like you've had this many X's and this many X's to like hey, this is your growth year over year and and and all that.

Speaker 1:

Exactly and basically doing digital CS, I think in the most amazing way, because it's all in just the short video content that's like hey, you used it this way and you've seen growth and this is your favorite song this year. And the thing is, is it's just part of their bigger strategy, because come January or February I don't, I don't remember when it happened they give you the. You are most played, 2020. They automatically create your playlist from last year. So, if you want to listen to your top songs of last year, it's just, it's just, it's just there for you. So they're almost providing a better experience by doing something for you, which, again, is the follow up to their, to their rap series.

Speaker 2:

I think, I think you know there are so many examples in B to C that we can pull them to B. B to B with very minimal kind of tweaking, like B2C has been good at this digital stuff for a long time, I mean, you think. I mean rewards programs have been around forever, you know, and those kinds of things like that kind of gamification of value is something that isn't a new thing. But you know, for some I think my take on it anyway is that that I think B2B for a long time felt that it was kind of childish and it didn't belong in kind of B2B, when in my opinion it absolutely does.

Speaker 1:

I just I find it always amazing because B2B or B2C were all humans. Like a business is created out of humans, the person you're speaking to at the other end isn't Coca-Cola Incorporated. There is someone who there's a human on that other side.

Speaker 2:

That is your customer. It's just Bill.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, exactly, and I'm just like he's not Coca-Cola or he's not like you know, he's not this major organization that you're speaking to. You're speaking to a human and that human wants to build some sort of relationship with you, whether that's digitally or in person. They want to build some sort of rapport and they want to feel like they're connected to your software and that they're getting value out of your software. So how you facilitate that as a CSM or a digital CS leader or person, it's just a human.

Speaker 2:

Just a human In fact, I've used that phrase a long time when you know, a lot of people get really, really worked up like meeting with executives and meeting whoever. It is, like you know somebody with a big fancy title. I'm just, it's just a person. It's a person. Yeah, they have different traits or whatever. Right, exactly.

Speaker 1:

It's crazy. Like they're like, oh, I want to, I want to like they get so, so much happier when the head of, or VP of, cs is on a call with them and I'm like, but my CSM is going to do way more for you than I can. I can stick it with my big fancy title, but I'm not doing anything for you here.

Speaker 2:

Yeah yeah, it is. It is amazing. That is amazing that kind of mentality around the title. It's a thing, it's a. Thing.

Speaker 1:

It is, and I actually recently shared that you are so much more than your title, because I also believe that, again, someone who's been in startups for the last 12 years, like your title, could be head of nothing. Your title could also then be head of everything. So it just it totally doesn't matter, but it does matter the impact you drive and the value you drive and the value you bring to the business. And the same thing goes when you're speaking to customers. If they're the CEO or if they're just an analyst that you're working with or an intern, it doesn't matter. They just want to drive value, they want an outcome out of that call, and that we're all humans.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, exactly, and a good CSM is going to be head of our relationship, right, exactly.

Speaker 1:

You're the CEO of this relationship, that's right, absolutely.

Speaker 2:

You're a founding member, I believe, of CS Angel, which is an awesome organization, and I'm curious maybe to get some insight from you on. We gave some practical examples of digital CS, but are there some platforms and some technology that's emerging that you're paying attention to, as part of that org or otherwise, that are worth mentioning?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think being a part of CS Angel means I get to see lots of pitches or early stage businesses really showcase their product and what they're trying to bring to market. When it comes to customer success In relation to digital, I think there's been a really hot product around, and I know Dickie's been doing a lot around CastApp and having a digital CSM is, I think, the next stage of what digital CS will be. So I really believe that what Dickie and everyone at CastApp is doing is going to be great. I think foresight is another one. I don't know if it's going to apply to full customer success, just not digital CS, but they are really helping enterprise SaaS leaders really be able to forecast retention and expansion, and I think a lot of everything in CS, whether it's digital or not, is very lagging indicators, and we definitely need a space to be leading, especially with digital. With digital being so heavily influenced by data and making data driven decisions, you do need to have a tool in place that's able to forecast for you with confidence, and I think foresight is one of those as well. And then the last one that I'll bring up is Bagel. I was really impressed by what they're trying to do in digital CS. We are constantly getting feedback on what's working and what's not working in the product side of things and I think Bagel is trying to basically be the glue between product and commercial teams and they're really trying to make sure that they tie feature to revenue opportunities, and I think that that's a big missing piece within the way we collect feedback as CS professionals.

Speaker 2:

Really is. I mean, there's a lot of emphasis that's put on the relationship between sales and CS, but I think just under the surface there is that relationship between product and CS that's probably equally, if not more, important.

Speaker 1:

So that's definitely how we capture that and how we continue to build for a product that's customer centric, I think is going to be critical and key as businesses scale and grow.

Speaker 2:

That's awesome. That's great. I appreciate that. And yeah, dickie is going to be on the podcast at some point early next year, so yeah, he's amazing. He's such a great guy yeah, exactly, well, you look as we kind of round out our conversations. I've really appreciated your time. I'd love to kind of first and foremost, know what's in your content diet. I mean, you're known for producing a lot of great content and I've been the. I've benefited from your great content. But what are you paying attention to?

Speaker 1:

This is so hard to say because I feel like I consume in different ways and, as a podcast host, I don't listen to as many podcasts as I probably should because I'm hosting them. But I do love three podcasts that I'm going to say that are business related. Is I love this is growth by Daphne. She's done a great job of really connecting CS to growth overall, not just specifically within customer success. But how does it grow the business? I really like revenue today, another great podcast focusing around revenue as well. I do, like I. It's hard to keep listing all the CS podcast because, again, I have my own and I don't even listen to my own podcast.

Speaker 2:

But I think another.

Speaker 1:

it's hard to, it's hard to listen to yourself. But I think other ways that I consume content is truly through LinkedIn. There's just so many people that are sharing so much on there. There's a number of thought leaders, a number of people who have won awards that I constantly have, like star, that I always keep coming back to what they have to share. I personally really love CS office hours through gain go retain, but also through Jan Young's CS office hours, like I just think having those smaller groups where you're able to exchange ideas is great. And I really consume a lot of content via conferences. funny enough, and even though I get invited to speak at conferences, I actually really consume a lot of side conversation content at conferences, meaning like there's a group of people that start discussing how CS is done at their org versus another, and I feel like that's another great way to consume content. So a mix of all the above, but I have to say that I think there's just so much out there that you have to find out what works for you, like podcasts only work for me when I'm driving in the car. Cs office hours is usually like an hour of my day every now and then, and then conferences is only once a quarter, so that's how I tend to break down my consumption of.

Speaker 2:

CS. Yeah, that's great, that's cool. I appreciate you sharing that. Is there any anyone that you would like to give kind of a shout out to, or a group of people that are doing digital?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I would say, in focusing on digital CS, I had Dan Ennis on my podcast and he's at Mondaycom and he is building scaled customer success at Mondaycom and he has so many tips, tricks, insights on everything he's doing when it comes to truly focusing only on scaled and only on digital. So Dan's a brilliant bucket of information when it comes to scale than digital. And I think the other two that always come to mind when I think of digital is Jay, nathan and Jeff at HireLogic. The two of them always share how community is the additional pillar within digital CS and I really appreciate that. They're always sharing about how you can be human as well as digital within using customer communities to leverage that.

Speaker 2:

Totally. I was just looking back at episodes. I think Jeff is episode five, if you want to go listen to that, and Dan is episode 15. Dude, dan is like that amazing combination of like humble, crazy smart and just like open to share, like the stuff that he talked about, how he's like identifying personas based on data habits and data trends. Yes, come on, let's go. Yeah, but it's great.

Speaker 1:

I feel like he's like a data analyst mixed with a marketeer, mixed with a CS leader, and it's just amazing how many levers he pulls on to build out his scaled motion, and it's so cool to ask him questions and watch his mind unfold.

Speaker 2:

What's funny is I ask every guest who they want to shout out on these episodes, and what I typically do is, when I go to publish an episode, I'll just message the people that got the shout outs and just say hey, by the way, somebody shouted you out, dan, I kid you not. Our LinkedIn thread is just like hey so, and so shouted you out. Hey, hey so, and so shouted you out.

Speaker 1:

That's awesome. That's also a great thing. You follow up with that. Maybe I'm going to steal that, by the way, because I asked at the end of my podcast. Who would you next want to have as a guest, or who would you shout out? And I never. I put them on a list, but I never actually message them to let them know. So I should, I should, do that.

Speaker 2:

It just feels it feels good. You know it's one of those feel good things. Look, I am the one that's keeping you from not only a Friday evening but a fun holiday there with the Gainsight crew in London. So I'm going to shut up and I'm going to let you go and I'm going to thank you very much for your time and your energy on a Friday afternoon and it was just awesome talking to you and I can't wait to do it again at some point in the future.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much for having me on. This was so much fun and, as always, it's nice to be on this side of the podcast recording. So thank you so much for having me.

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 digitalcustomersuccesscom. My name is Alex Turkovich. Thanks again for joining and we'll see you next time.