The Digital CX Podcast

Celebrating 50 Episodes: Your Digital Customer Experience Questions Answered | Episode 050

April 30, 2024 Alex Turkovic Episode 50
Celebrating 50 Episodes: Your Digital Customer Experience Questions Answered | Episode 050
The Digital CX Podcast
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The Digital CX Podcast
Celebrating 50 Episodes: Your Digital Customer Experience Questions Answered | Episode 050
Apr 30, 2024 Episode 50
Alex Turkovic

Send us a Text Message.

As we pop the champagne on our 50th show, a heartfelt thank you is in order for every listener & guest who's joined me on this wild ride through the evolving world of digital customer interactions. It's a transformational moment for the show as we shift from focusing on 'Digital Customer Success' to encompassing the broader 'Digital Customer Experience', ensuring we capture the essence of every digital touchpoint. As such, we are changing the name of the show to 'The Digital Customer Experience Podcast'!

In this episode, I'm going through and answering some of the most frequently asked questions that I get on a regular basis, which leads to the following topics:

  • 00:47 - New Podcast Name Announcement
  • 06:34 - What is Digital Customer Success
  • 07:38 - Digital vs. Scaled
  • 09:49 - Where to start with Digital Customer Success
  • 11:52 - Commonly overlooked vehicles for digital motions
  • 13:13 - Building health scores without product telemetry
  • 14:31 - Identifying user personas based on their activity within your resource
  • 15:05 - SaaS economics and how they impact the proliferation of digital
  • 18:43 - Measuring the success of digital CS
  • 21:54 - Team structure for digital cs
  • 26:54 - Technology recommendations
  • 30:45 - Outro & Thank you!

A couple of links from the show:

Support the Show.

+++++++++++++++++

Like/Subscribe/Review:
If you are getting value from the show, please follow/subscribe so that you don't miss an episode and consider leaving us a review.

Website:
For more information about the show or to get in touch, visit DigitalCustomerSuccess.com.

Buy Alex a Cup of Coffee:
This show runs exclusively on caffeine - and lots of it. If you like what we're, consider supporting our habit by buying us a cup of coffee: https://bmc.link/dcsp

Thank you for all of your support!

The Digital Customer Success Podcast is hosted by Alex Turkovic

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

As we pop the champagne on our 50th show, a heartfelt thank you is in order for every listener & guest who's joined me on this wild ride through the evolving world of digital customer interactions. It's a transformational moment for the show as we shift from focusing on 'Digital Customer Success' to encompassing the broader 'Digital Customer Experience', ensuring we capture the essence of every digital touchpoint. As such, we are changing the name of the show to 'The Digital Customer Experience Podcast'!

In this episode, I'm going through and answering some of the most frequently asked questions that I get on a regular basis, which leads to the following topics:

  • 00:47 - New Podcast Name Announcement
  • 06:34 - What is Digital Customer Success
  • 07:38 - Digital vs. Scaled
  • 09:49 - Where to start with Digital Customer Success
  • 11:52 - Commonly overlooked vehicles for digital motions
  • 13:13 - Building health scores without product telemetry
  • 14:31 - Identifying user personas based on their activity within your resource
  • 15:05 - SaaS economics and how they impact the proliferation of digital
  • 18:43 - Measuring the success of digital CS
  • 21:54 - Team structure for digital cs
  • 26:54 - Technology recommendations
  • 30:45 - Outro & Thank you!

A couple of links from the show:

Support the Show.

+++++++++++++++++

Like/Subscribe/Review:
If you are getting value from the show, please follow/subscribe so that you don't miss an episode and consider leaving us a review.

Website:
For more information about the show or to get in touch, visit DigitalCustomerSuccess.com.

Buy Alex a Cup of Coffee:
This show runs exclusively on caffeine - and lots of it. If you like what we're, consider supporting our habit by buying us a cup of coffee: https://bmc.link/dcsp

Thank you for all of your support!

The Digital Customer Success Podcast is hosted by Alex Turkovic

Speaker 1:

Hey, it's episode 50. I've got a little bit of an announcement for you and a different format for you for this episode, so stay tuned, let's go Once again. Welcome to the Digital Customer Experience podcast with me, alex Turkovich. So glad you could join us here today and every week as we explore how digital can help enhance the customer and employee experience. My goal is to share what my guests and I have learned over the years so that you can get the insights that you need to evolve your own digital programs. If you'd like more info, need to get in touch or sign up for the weekly companion newsletter that has additional articles and resources in it. Go to digitalcustomersuccesscom, for now. Let's get started in it. Go to digitalcustomersuccesscom, for now. Let's get started.

Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome to episode 50 of the Digital Customer Experience Podcast. It's great to have you back this week and every week. For those of you who've been listening, for all 50 accounts, thanks so much for your listenership. And those of you who've been listening, for all 50 accounts, thanks so much for your listenership. And those of you who've recently found the show, I appreciate you just as much. Um, so, thank you. Thank you for all the support. Um, I I when I started the show about a year ago, um, I set myself the goal of getting to 50 and then evaluating, like are we doing the right thing? Are we hitting the right audiences? Do we have the right messaging? Are we towing the line between strategic and tactical, practical advice? And you know there's been some fine adjustment over the course of this past year. But, thanks to a lot of your feedback and input and just response to the show, you know I'm energized and I'm really grateful to you for listening and just being a voice and interacting with the show, because sometimes when you put these things out, you don't really know how they're going to land, and so once in a while, you get a note here and there, and the good notes are great. Obviously, the little constructive feedback here and there is also great because it helps to improve the show. All of that to say is that we've gotten to a year, I've gotten to 50 episodes. I'm going to continue going because there's so much more to talk about and digital keeps evolving and so does this show.

Speaker 1:

And so, as you might have noticed a couple of times already, the mention of digital customer experience and, yeah, we're changing the name of the show slightly from digital customer success to digital customer experience. Why are we doing that? Really, one of the things that I wanted to do at the outset of the show was try to talk to a pretty broad set of people, and I would give myself, if I had to give myself a score on that my own personal health score on, you know, speaking to a broad set of people cross-functionally I would give myself probably a C. Maybe. I mean, we've had some customer education folks on. We haven't touched digital support at all. We've barely touched. I mean, we've had some product people on, but that's because they're building, you know, digital products. I want to talk to a few more product managers as well.

Speaker 1:

Um, I want to broaden the scope of this show to basically encompass the entire customer experience, specifically from the lens of digital, because so many other functions are operating digitally and, and, um, as some recent guests have pointed out, one of the most important skills of someone in digital customer success is collaboration, especially on the leadership level, being able to collaborate cross-functionally with other functions, especially marketing, product support, sales, operating product support sales. I mean that collaboration with peers in other departments is key to operating a truly successful digital program, and so, you know, I kind of want to force my own hand, so to speak, of really broadening the scope a little bit outside of CS so that if you're in CS, great, you can, you know, you know exactly what makes other people tick and you can relate to those other other folks um, a little bit better. But if you're outside of CS, I mean, you know, uh, there there's tons of stuff happening digitally and support, especially in you know product and with with telemetry and in product and all that kind of fun stuff. So, digital customers experience podcast going forward Um, I'm a one man show, so, um, you know, if you see the old logo kicking around here and there, I may not get to all of them We'll see Um, uh it, they look exactly the same. They just, you know, one has a different word in it. So, anyway, that's the announcement Not a huge shift in terms of you know, phonetics and grammar, but a huge shift in terms of our scope and really broadening things out to BCX folks.

Speaker 1:

That said, today I'm going to do a solo episode, and it's actually the first solo episode, except for episode number one, where I want to do a little bit of Q&A. Specifically, I get questions all the time from the audience and I want to spend a little bit of time going through some of those questions that I get frequently. So I's, it's I guess it's an FAQ episode to try and help out a little bit, because you know we're we're five people ask a question. It probably means a hundred more have that same question. Um and uh, I'll do my best to to answer that in a kind of one way forum.

Speaker 1:

If you do want to interact with me or you have some additional kind of notes on the questions I'm answering or want a little bit more detail, a couple of ways to engage, I mean, if you're on YouTube, leave some comments, let me know your thoughts. If you're listening to the podcast, go to the website, sign up for the newsletter, but email me, alexatdigitalcustomersuccesscom. Sign up for the newsletter, but email me, alexatdigitalcustomersuccesscom. We'd love to hear from you and engage with you that way. So we're going to kick off with question number one.

Speaker 1:

So the first question we are going to talk about well, we're not going to talk about, actually is a question that I still get quite often, which is what is digital customer success? Um, on this show we've beaten that to the ground, uh, because it is one of my standard questions that every single guest um, I ask every single guest to answer. All of those answers are collated on the website, um, in the in the digital CS word definition word map. So, uh, go check that out. Um, you know, uh, the the. The crux of it, though, is that it's different at every organization. Fundamentally, digital cs is a thing that you can define, and our guests have mostly given, you know, some similar themes around that answer. Um, you know, but, but the exact definition of what constitutes a digital customer success program differs at every single place that you try to implement it.

Speaker 1:

So we're not going to go into depth about that question, but there is a question that does come up quite a bit, that is tangential, which is to say what's the difference between scaled customer success and digital customer success? Comes up a lot, and the way I want to answer that is well. First off, it also kind of depends on your specific set of circumstances. I want to start by saying that a lot of teams that are called scaled CS are actually customer-facing teams. Right, your scaled CS team can be, you know, a team of pooled CSMs, for instance, that operate on a little bit more of a one-to-many basis, but do a bunch of outreach based on triggers and things like that. Right this, but do a bunch of outreach based on triggers and things like that, right. We're not talking about necessarily scaled CS teams in this definition, although that is a part of scaling CS.

Speaker 1:

Really, when it comes to the difference between scale and digital, digital is a vehicle by which you can help scale your customer success function, but it is not the only vehicle. It's a part of you know a blended way of scaling your CS team, whether that's you know helping your CSMs increase their account coverage by making certain efficiencies you know doing. You know efficiencies you know doing. You know webinars and other outreach focus on. You know learning materials via an academy or something like that. There's all kinds of things that go into scaling a CS function and digital CS, which is to say you know the automations of things helping CSMs be more efficient, doing customer facing automations, digital QBRs, distribution of things helping CSMs be more efficient, doing customer-facing automations, digital QBRs, distribution of content all that kind of stuff that falls within. Digital is a healthy part of a good scaled program or a way to scale your CS team. Tons of different ways to talk about this tons of different flavors depending on your specific environment, but overall, that's what I would say. The difference between scaled CS and digital CS is.

Speaker 1:

One other very common question with regards to digital is where to start with your digital programs, and again I'm going to say it depends a little bit, but generally speaking, there's two guiding principles that I would share with somebody when they ask this question of where to start with digital. The first is to really you know, know what your desired outcomes and objectives are with your customer success team by knowing what your core objectives are and also by knowing where the problem areas lie in your customer journey. That will help you identify what to start tackling first, because you're not going to overnight build a massive digital program and have it all in place overnight. You're going to want to start where you can move the biggest rocks with the least amount of effort, and so that includes really understanding what your core objectives are, what your highest priority objectives are, and then also looking at where the problems are Do you have an onboarding problem? Do you have a retention problem? And starting with those areas where you can make the biggest impact quickly On a tactical kind of ground floor level.

Speaker 1:

A lot of people like to just go invest in tools because it's going to help them do digital, and I would say start with what you have in place. I guarantee you there's some sort of email vehicle in place. You know whether you have access to it directly or marketing or in sales. There's all kinds of free kind of automation tools like Zapier out there where you can just start and start with zero investment, making those small improvements and incremental kind of improvements over time on those key areas of priority that you identified earlier. So that's really where you should start looking at digitizing within your CS program.

Speaker 1:

There are a couple of ideas that I can share that a lot of people kind of tend to overlook, but tend to be things that are already in place, where you can start, you know, doing some digital motions without having to invest in technology. One of them is LinkedIn. Invest in technology. One of them is LinkedIn. Unless you're in some weird industry, I guarantee you a lot of your champions and executives are on LinkedIn. Why not engage them that way?

Speaker 1:

Data cleanliness is actually a phenomenal place to start your digital program because guess what If your data is ratty and if you haven't figured out what core data you need and haven't started cleaning that up. Down the road you're going to encounter a fair amount of issues getting a digital program off the ground, and so start now cleaning some of that data, even if it's just basic contact data cleanliness, knowing what certain personas are. That will make a huge difference down the road. Another great place to start is an area like info handoff and handing information from one department to another and also just setting clear expectations with your customers along the way. That is a very commonly overlooked area. For digital programs to really make a huge difference is that info handoff.

Speaker 1:

While we're talking about data, I do get a fair amount of questions related to scorecards and gauging customer health and also predicting churn via scorecards. One of the most common questions is you know, what do I do if I don't have product telemetry? Because there's a fair amount of us, myself included, that operate in you know, in a mostly on-prem kind of environment or there's just no tooling to pull insights out of. You know the platform that you're supporting and, in those cases where you do not have product telemetry, look to the other points of engagement that you are driving your customers towards, whether that be your community, your LMS or your learning resources, your documentation. Most of those platforms will allow you to see level of engagement by person and tied to an email address or some sort of Salesforce ID or whatever that may be. Some data lives there which will tell you how active not just your customer as a as on the aggregate, is, but individuals within that customer. You know that, that specific customer, what they're doing in each one of those platforms, and if you get really sophisticated with this, you can start to tease out what kind of persona a customer contact likely is based on their activity, especially in things like a knowledge base where you can see what articles they may be looking at. Or you know your academy, where you can see what courses they've been enrolled in, for instance, so you can start what articles they may be looking at. Or, um, you know your, your academy, where you can see what courses they've been enrolled in, for instance, so you can start to tease, tease apart Okay, is this an? This is an admin, or an end user? Um and uh, you know, or an executive, if they don't log into any of those things.

Speaker 1:

I want to go back to kind of that earlier question about digital and scaled real quick, because I think there's an important point about why digital has become such a, I guess, a popular thing or an important thing within CS over the past few years, and it's really directly tied to the economy, yes, but specifically the kind of investment landscape when it comes specifically to SaaS software. You know, a few years ago, if you were looking to, you know, purchase or sell a SaaS company, a lot of times the valuation of that company was directly tied to growth rates and it was that whole growth at all costs era that we all enjoyed, where we just threw warm bodies at stuff and hired like crazy and, you know, really increased the human capital investment, especially within CS. And now you know, fast forward to really the last couple of years, that has shifted dramatically to where investors are looking at profitability over growth period. Profitability has become, you know, really the vehicle in order to get your valuation where it needs to be if your board is looking for an exit or something like that. So I feel like that's incredibly important context to have, not just to understand why there's such a proliferation in digital programs but, unfortunately, also why we've seen so many layoffs in recent years, because companies are really trying to control their EBITDA. But as somebody who's building a digital program guess what? That is a place where you need to focus, and you need to focus from a metric standpoint of how are your programs and the things that you are implementing driving the company profitability and, specifically, cost savings or EBITDA. You know how are the motions that you are putting in place driving. You know your renewal rates, your retention rates and all those kinds of things that lead to a healthy SaaS business that is actually profitable. So, just figured, that was, you know, important context to bring up in this particular episode.

Speaker 1:

We could probably do an entire episode of that particular topic, and I do want to give a shout out to Jeff Brunsbach and Jay Nathan, who have launched this phenomenal course that is really relevant for anyone in SaaS. It's called Cover your SaaS, which is a great title, but it is a, I think, like a five, four, five, six module course that goes through all of the through, all of the minutia of you know the finance elements behind a SaaS business and, as an individual contributor as much as a leader, it's super important if you're in SaaS to know these. You know these topics inside and out so that you can speak intelligently to them and also drive towards those company metrics that are really going to make a huge difference in, you know, ultimately, your career, because you're going to be able to display, like you know, how well you know this stuff. So go check out that course. I'll put a link to it in the show notes for you.

Speaker 1:

So a related question around metrics and measuring your programs is one that I want to spend a little bit of time on, because, in a digital let's call it a digital CS program, for right now, you're obviously going to be tracking some of the same customer success metrics that we've, all you know, grown to love, which is your NRR and your GRR, your gross retention rates, churn, all those kinds of things your classic CS metrics are things that you're going to want to track very closely for your digital program, because, ultimately, you want to prove that your digital motions have a positive effect on those KPIs. There is another element to this as well, though, because a lot of what we do in digital have a positive effect on those KPIs. There is another element to this as well, though, because a lot of what we do in digital really borrows tactics and methodologies from marketing, and so I think it's very important to look at digital campaign metrics as well, when it comes to, like you know, open rates, engagement rates and those kinds of things. And I think for a digital program, the goal, the gold, lies at the intersection of those two things, and what I mean by that is getting to a place where you can measure, measure the cohort of people who engaged with your motions versus the people who didn't engage in your motions. That's one element of it. But then for those that did engage in your motions, did you see a positive impact in your more standard kind of CS metrics because of that engagement? So let's take product adoption, for instance, if you did some sort of in-app motion because you've seen some high drop-off rates with a specific module, for instance module. For instance, if you've launched some kind of in-product, you know, tour or kind of help modal, that with the intent of driving engagement, you can measure the users that were actually engaged with that motion and then over time, their long tail usage of that versus those that didn't engage with that modal. And if there's a positive delta between the two, you know that's something that you can point back to when it comes time to do like an internal QBR or when it comes time to, you know, do your annual budget renewal cycle when you're trying to, you know, prove out why Gainsight is so useful to you, those kinds of things. You know you're going to want to spend a lot of time making sure that you can actually measure the digital motions that you've put in place so that at no time, you know, there's ever a question of the efficacy of your program or that your program should exist.

Speaker 1:

Another very common question that I get is around team structure. And you know how should you structure your team around digital? And I think a big element here to consider is how you know how big the company is is how big the company is. Obviously, if you're an early seed series, a stage company, you're gonna be a lot leaner than a publicly traded company or a company that's gotten into the six, seven, 800s in terms of staffing. It's a completely different picture in those. So I'll try to kind of paint the picture of what it might look like in a smaller environment versus, you know, larger environment where there's been some ability to make some investments.

Speaker 1:

So, on the smaller side of things, you know, I think a digital program should be one that closely mirrors ops and, in fact, your digital programs a lot of times will be run out of an ops environment. And so really even pulling one or two people in who are very good with customer data, who have kind of an eye for programmatic improvements that can be made, and people who are really lasered in on the customer journey, really just pulling in a couple of people and having them operate in a generalist kind of fashion to where you know they're looking at some of the customer data that you have, they're making some programmatic improvements for how that you know elements of the customer journey can be improved, but they're also perhaps doing some of that customer outreach and engaging customers where they might be getting themselves into trouble. So you know, I think it's almost like you know when you bring a first CSM into an organization, for instance, maybe even before you have a CS leader, you know equally, you could bring somebody in that is a lifecycle manager who looks after those kinds of things and is really your first stage in digital and the first kind of step towards, you know, doing email outreach and in-app outreach and those kinds of things.

Speaker 1:

If you're talking about larger organizations, the way I like to look at it is in three distinct buckets. The first one is your customer-facing element, which is oftentimes called a scale team or a pool team. Not your full-blown pool team, not your full blown CSMs, so your full enterprise CSMs, but it's a, it's a. It's a. It's a scaled team that operates, you know, ideally in a pooled fashion. That does a lot of the customer outreach for your smallest segment customers and reacts to, you know, telemetry and trigger points and does a lot of the kind of survey response work for the broader customer base and is really the, you know, the customer facing element of your digital programs talk about is is really closer to a product manager, um, where they are, uh, and I really like to advise um people to to look at product management for digital motions, um, as an, as an agile development environment where you have, uh, you know, a group of people who are solely focused on identifying areas where improvements can be made in the customer journey, especially digitally, or where improvements can be made to help a CS team be more effective Gathering requirements, designing what that program should look like, developing it either themselves or, you know, with an admin team, and then doing the testing afterwards to make sure that those things are effective and doing that iteration, so really managing a development lifecycle of these digital motions. So in that way I would consider them more of program managers or product managers for your digital team.

Speaker 1:

And the third bucket would be kind of a hybrid, very ops heavy role that's focused on your tooling and administration of that tooling that's focused on your data. So it's got to be people who are really good at looking at different data sets and comparing them and also people who are well-versed in integrations, because you kind of want to integrate some systems together. So it's really that operations aspect of your digital program. So those are really the three elements. It's that customer-facing element, it's the program management element and then it's the operations kind of data system admin element.

Speaker 1:

Is, you know, like, what's the best CSP, customer success platform for digital? And my answer to that is always it's the one you have, um, especially if you're starting out. But you know I'm really trying to be as platform agnostic as possible when it comes to this particular show. I'm a very heavy Gainsight user and you know I like Gainsight in general, but you know there's others that I like too. So you know, pick your flavor and I think ultimately, if you're on a leadership level and you're shopping for a CSP, you got to put in the time to really, you know, put out a quality RFP that all of the big players can respond to, so that you pick the best system for your environment, because just because Gainsight is good in one place doesn't mean it's going to be, you know, fit for purpose in another. Same goes forurn zero. And to tango slash catalyst, because they're now together, um, you know there's there's a bunch of different players obviously, uh, out there.

Speaker 1:

Um, a couple of highlights. I would say that, um, I like to point to is churned um c-h-H-U-R-N-E-D, uh, which is a really cool company. I had the co-founder brothers on a few episodes ago, um, but they are doing a lot of really cool stuff in terms of churn prediction using machine learning and they're on the forefront of that. There's a lot of CSPs that have been around for a while that are crazy rules, rules based and heavy on rules engine. And then there's a few that are popping up out there that are built from the ground up using machine learning and artificial intelligence, which I think is great, especially when it comes to, you know, collating your customer data and really giving you solid insights into, you know, who's a churn risk and who isn't. So best CSP? It depends Um.

Speaker 1:

There's some cool technology out there that I do want to point to um. A couple of apps that I'm a huge fan of Um first off cast app, and I've had Dickie Singh on the podcast before. Barry is another one. Those are two apps that essentially act as a digital customer success manager, using AI to be the customer-facing kind of first help, if you will. A couple of other cool tools for CSMs I often recommend checking out Gamma G-A-M-M-A, which is AI generated PowerPoint creation or slide deck creation. Based on your own prompts that you put in, it can create actually really really good slide decks in a matter of seconds. Really that can be super useful and huge time savings. There's a ton of apps that I've looked at and I have collated a lot of that information for you on the website. If you go to digitalcustomersuccesscom forward slash tech stack, I believe or just navigate to the DCS tech stack, there's a massive list in categories of cool apps and what they do, so definitely go check that out. If you're kind of hunting for technology but don't quite know where to start, that's a good jumping off point to look at a variety of technology. We covered a lot of territory.

Speaker 1:

I hope that this little Q&A session has been useful. I don't really know how long it's been going, but I feel like I've been talking forever, so I should probably leave you and go about your day, and I actually have a baseball game to go to with the family, which I'm looking forward to. But again, thank you so much for your support over these last 50 episodes. It has meant the world to me and, um, you know, I, I, um, I can safely say that, uh, you know, this endeavor and and producing the show and, uh, you know, helping the CS community has been the most fulfilling thing I've done professionally in my life, and so I want to thank you for your listenership and thank you for coming back every week and listening to me drone on about stuff and, yeah, look for more things to come in the next 50 episodes where we broaden the scope a little bit. So, thanks so much for listening and we'll talk to you later.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for joining me for this episode of the Digital CX Podcast. If you like what we're doing, consider leaving us a review on your podcast platform of choice. If you're watching on YouTube, leave a comment down below. It really helps us to grow and provide value to a broader audience and get more information about the show and some of the other things that we're doing at digitalcustomersuccesscom. I'm Alex Tergovich. Thanks so much for listening. I'll talk to you next week.

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