The Digital CX Podcast: Driving digital customer success and outcomes in the age of A.I.

Transformative Digital Experiences through AI and Customer Education with Eric Mistry of Contentsquare | Episode 059

July 02, 2024 Alex Turkovic, Eric Mistry Episode 59
Transformative Digital Experiences through AI and Customer Education with Eric Mistry of Contentsquare | Episode 059
The Digital CX Podcast: Driving digital customer success and outcomes in the age of A.I.
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The Digital CX Podcast: Driving digital customer success and outcomes in the age of A.I.
Transformative Digital Experiences through AI and Customer Education with Eric Mistry of Contentsquare | Episode 059
Jul 02, 2024 Episode 59
Alex Turkovic, Eric Mistry

Send us a Text Message.

Eric Mistry (Strategy & Shared Services Operations Manager at Contentsquare) has a very unique background and set of skills in education that afford him a fascinating perspective on the customer experience.  Eric joins Alex to discuss the evolving use of AI in the workplace, the importance of connecting cross-functional dots, and the future of customer education and digital customer success.

Topics in this Episode:

  • 03:00 - From swim coach to software
  • 05:19 - Higher education and academic technologist
  • 06:59 - Joining Heap and instructional design
  • 10:26 - Connecting the dots in scaling functions
  • 12:26 - Data management during mergers
  • 15:15 - Adapting with a growth mindset
  • 19:49 - Practical use of AI in the workplace
  • 31:45 - Future of customer education and AI
  • 39:54 - Enhancing automation with AI

Enjoy! I know I sure did...

Eric's LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericmistry/

Resources:

Shoutouts:

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

This episode was edited and sponsored by Lifetime Value Media, a media production company founded by my good friend and fellow CS veteran Dillon Young.  Lifetime Value aims to serve the audio/video content production and editing needs of CS and Post-Sales professionals.  Lifetime Value is offering select services at a deeply discounted rate for a limited time.  Navigate to lifetimevaluemedia.com to learn more.

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

Lifetime Value Media
Lifetime Value aims to serve the audio/video content production and editing needs.

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.

Eric Mistry (Strategy & Shared Services Operations Manager at Contentsquare) has a very unique background and set of skills in education that afford him a fascinating perspective on the customer experience.  Eric joins Alex to discuss the evolving use of AI in the workplace, the importance of connecting cross-functional dots, and the future of customer education and digital customer success.

Topics in this Episode:

  • 03:00 - From swim coach to software
  • 05:19 - Higher education and academic technologist
  • 06:59 - Joining Heap and instructional design
  • 10:26 - Connecting the dots in scaling functions
  • 12:26 - Data management during mergers
  • 15:15 - Adapting with a growth mindset
  • 19:49 - Practical use of AI in the workplace
  • 31:45 - Future of customer education and AI
  • 39:54 - Enhancing automation with AI

Enjoy! I know I sure did...

Eric's LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericmistry/

Resources:

Shoutouts:

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

This episode was edited and sponsored by Lifetime Value Media, a media production company founded by my good friend and fellow CS veteran Dillon Young.  Lifetime Value aims to serve the audio/video content production and editing needs of CS and Post-Sales professionals.  Lifetime Value is offering select services at a deeply discounted rate for a limited time.  Navigate to lifetimevaluemedia.com to learn more.

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

Lifetime Value Media
Lifetime Value aims to serve the audio/video content production and editing needs.

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:

I think we're going to see more people with their blind spots removed. If I am that traditional engineering trope, maybe my AI is going to help me think about. Okay, how are people who are using software, how are they going to react to this? And if I'm a much more social dynamite but I like a little bit of the technical skills, it's okay. Help me get my code up to snuff with the way more technical side of things.

Speaker 2:

Once again, welcome to the Digital Customer Experience Podcast with me, Alex Turkovich. Okay, help me get my code up to snuff with the way. More technical side of things. 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.

Speaker 2:

Greetings and welcome to the Digital Customer Experience Podcast. My name is Alex Turkovich. This is episode 59 and I'm so glad you're here today and every week, but especially today because we have Eric Mystery on the podcast who is with Content Square. He is currently a kind of shared services operations manager, but has a rich history in educational technology and AI and customer education, and so we dig into all of those kinds of things in today's show. So you know, you'll get a little bit of customer education, you'll get some AI stuff and some automation stuff and a really cool kind of dynamic conversation with Eric, who has a lot of great things to say, and I found out about him because he was actually a guest on the Customer Educated podcast not long ago and decided hey, come on over and share your wealth with this audience as well. So he was gracious enough to lend us the time.

Speaker 2:

We've actually had one of his colleagues on before, if you remember, lane Hart, who was on I don't know 20, 25 episodes ago, is also with Content Square, so we're getting the dynamic duo from there. So I hope you enjoy this conversation with Eric Mistry, because I sure did. Hello, eric Mistry, how are you doing Good?

Speaker 1:

How are you?

Speaker 2:

doing I'm fine. Welcome to the show. It's nice to have you on.

Speaker 1:

It's been a bit.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, but we made it happen. Yeah, obviously there's a lot of stuff we want to get into with regards to digital and customer education and all that kind of fun stuff, because that's your, that's your wheelhouse. But you know, I usually try to, you know, start these things with, like, you know what's your background and all that kind of stuff. But I was doing some digging. I did a little bit of. I didn't do a lot of digging, I did a little bit of digging and I always love. First off, you spent a lot of time in the hospitality and restaurant industry, which I love, because I think everyone should go through that kind of experience at some point in their life.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you truly learn how to work with the public when you go through that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, you truly learn how to work with the public when you go through that. Yeah, it teaches you a lot right About that kind of stuff. So it would be interesting to hear about your journey there.

Speaker 1:

But you also spent time as like a swim coach and a swim instructor and stuff right, Exactly, yeah, I spent most of my time growing up as a swimmer and then naturally, if you're a swimmer lifeguard and swim coach and swim instructor, they're the jobs that come most naturally. And you know, I haven't had a job since that. I can sit outside in the sun and get tan and stay in a pool and get paid for it. Not so much as being in digital, it really isn't Customer success, but we'll get there.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

There's no such thing as digital swimming, unfortunately, unless it's like video gaming, unless there's some VR thing that's coming down the pipe that we don't know about.

Speaker 2:

Right VR Michael.

Speaker 1:

Phelps, you can see what it'd be like to be, like you know, over six feet tall. That'd be a magical thing.

Speaker 2:

Look down at everything. Right, hit your head on walking through doors. Yeah, exactly, yeah, that dude is a beast, but uh, yeah. So you spent some time that you know. Talk to me a little bit about your journey into, like CS and CE and all that fun stuff.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So after all the fun of being a swim instructor and you know, swimming through college and then graduating as, looking at what do I want to do, and I knew I wanted to do problem solving, and I went into healthcare software. I worked for about a year for Epic Systems they're one of the largest healthcare software companies in the world and then after about a year, I wasn't particularly liking my role. It was sold as a creative problem solving role and it ended up being a lot more just go down a spreadsheet and run tests. Oh yeah, an ai would be able to do really well these days, right, yeah? So I found myself doing a little bit of a pivot and going into higher education because I found what I was really good at was being a translator between technical people and non-technical people, and so there's a role called an academic technologist, essentially, and so I was that person that lived between the faculty and it department and helped them translate for each other and helped really do cool, uh, improvements to the pedagogy via technology. So that's cool, not so much the oh, my computer doesn't work, but the. I want to teach using video in the classroom, using virtual reality in the classroom or using want to teach using video in the classroom, using virtual reality in the classroom or using some sort of advanced technology in the classroom. How can I do that and make it pedagogically sound?

Speaker 1:

So while I was doing that, got a master's degree in instructional design and educational technology and then found myself a little bit post-pandemic or mid-post pandemic, wanting to move out of higher education.

Speaker 1:

There's just a lot of demographic trends make it and I found myself a little bit post-pandemic or mid-post-pandemic when you move out of higher education.

Speaker 1:

There's just a lot of demographic trends make it not a great place to be right now and a friend from college is working for Heap posted about it.

Speaker 1:

I was like this company looks awesome and then an instructional design role came up and it was a perfect fit, met the team and then started there and so I started out as an instructional designer working on customer education and then slowly I started to find myself solving a lot of just small problems, like with the scheduling, with the way things were set up, with our, how we get requests in and out and you know the back end of the learning management system. So my job went from 90 instructional design and 10 problem solving to 90 problem solving and 10 instructional design, and eventually they changed my title to suit that. And when content square acquired heap, they said you know, we can use this skill set not just in customer education. So I'm now part of a larger team that serves customer education, digital skills, cs and a few other teams as well and tries to work pretty cross-functionally on customer education and customer success.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, what a cool journey. That's a really cool journey.

Speaker 1:

It's been a lot of ping pong, but it's been productive ping pong?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, for sure, I mean, you know it's a really cool journey. It's been a lot of ping pong, but it's been productive. Yeah, for sure, I mean you know it's a steady, a steady, steady path. For sure. And and you're not, you know you're not the only content square slash heap person who's been on the, on the podcast. We've had a lean heart.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so you had lean, and that's why that's how I found out about the show.

Speaker 2:

It's like oh, this is great, that's awesome. Yeah, I hear you on kind of the. You know you get into like this area of expertise and then all of a sudden you know if you're working for an organization that really understands what people do and understands, like the value of what people do, it's like's like okay, yeah, that's totally applicable over here as well and yeah, we can plug that in over here as well. So it makes sense that you've got a little bit of an expanded scope as part of the new org.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I've been. I've been really lucky to have in multiple spots but particularly with heap and content square managers who recognize that skill set and say this is, this is where we need to apply. We're not just going to say this is what you were hired for, this is your job description, stay within that. They're going to say you got this talent, we have this need, let's work with that. So that's been a really great kind of blessing along the way.

Speaker 2:

So would you classify yourself as kind of operations?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I would say right now I fit under operations and it's an interesting question of like, where do I actually find myself sitting? Because a lot of my skill set and a lot of my experience sits in customer education. A lot of my other technical side of the skill set sits in what would be traditionally customer success operations or just operations generally. But what I'm finding more and more of is my role doesn't really sit anywhere, and the more I start to move cross-functionally between groups, there's problems that are solved when those cross-functional barriers break down. So yeah, right now I'm in operations, but who knows where I'll end up.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, well, I mean, that's just it right, like the, and a huge reason why I've kind of changed the show from CS to CX is the fact that a lot of what we do because I would say, you know, digital CS is basically operations, just maybe a slightly more customer facing, but, like, a lot of what we do has to impact the entire customer journey. You know, and and because you're, you're taking data and insights and information from one place to the other, to the other, and that all has to inform, like the customer experience and all that kind of stuff, right? So it was like I think any organization that isn't looking at roles like yours in a in a broader sense are really limiting themselves. I kind of think like, okay, you've got rev ops, you've got cs ops, you've got support ops, you've got product operations and all that kind of stuff, and each one in its own right is valid because they're working in certain areas, but but the connecting the dots is so often missed yeah, it really is, and it's.

Speaker 1:

It's that connecting the dots, I think, is going to separate the companies that, as we're looking at this scaling and what we can do at scale, it's those companies that have those dots connected that are going to be able to outperform and be able to actually work with their data. I mean, when we look at the past few years like AI is a big buzzword right now now, but a few years back was big data and all those pieces and even with ai, if you don't have your pieces mapped out, if you don't have those dots and know what those dots are, you're gonna get outperformed by people who do yeah, well, and and we are I mean you and I are chatting, let's see, the week after open, ai released gpt 4.0, which I think is kind of kind of phenomenal.

Speaker 2:

I mean, we say that about every, every version that comes out but I think, I think there's a. There's a. There's a shift that has happened where, all of a sudden, these things are incredibly tangible in your everyday life and it takes, you know, I mean, yeah, the voice assistant thing is super, super cool, and if you haven't played with it, go play with it. But but, yeah, definitely, but also the model itself is pretty staggering in terms of what it can do with image generation and all those kinds of things. And to your point, though, you know, a lot of folks are like, well, okay, how do I implement this thing, you know, into my organization? But, and really the my answer, nine times out of 10, is like it always starts with what you're feeding it, because if you feed it garbage, it's going to give you garbage.

Speaker 1:

Exactly yeah, and it's yeah. Nailing the basics and nailing the oh. You have to have these fields in the CRM properly filled out. Just doesn't always map for folks.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's like table stakes, you know.

Speaker 1:

And it's that idea that when you are looking at the data, if you're trying to answer the really basic questions and you don't have people looking at the same fields for that same question and answer, it's a huge issue.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, one of the things we were talking about just prior to recording is something that you and I have in common right now, which is basically we're going through, you know, merger acquisition process. You know the company I work for just got acquired, so you know same with you, and I think you and I are kind of on the front lines as well of some of the data migration that's happening and the tools migrations that are happening and things like that. So are you approaching, you know, your activities in M&A with like a forward thinking mindset of, okay, we want to plug this into these tools and we want to use our data this way, so we might as well take the opportunity to like clean it up a little bit too.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, there, there's so much of that happening and there's a million different teams working on it, so it's it's really that that trope of you know startup or or you're building the plane while flying it and it's we've. We've got campaigns running right now where it's like, okay, we have to work with both systems as they are right now, but legacy heap and legacy content score, but we also have to have an eye to when we are in that fully unified one. You know one system. How do we want that to function and how do we help move those legacy systems to that, so it's to function, and how do we help move those legacy systems to that, so it's okay? What? How do we identify a customer? Yeah, is such a key thing because it's okay, one person uses an id schema. That's this way, and one company uses an id schema. It's a whole different thing and it's when we move into that unified system, how's it going to work? And what do we use to send people emails? Okay, we use this, use that. We're going to land on this product and how do we move that that pieces? And, okay, we've got this analytics data from this source, of this analytics data from this source.

Speaker 1:

Okay, what's going to be our source of truth moving forward, how far historically back do we need to track in both companies, right, yeah, there's a million interesting questions to answer and I'm thinking about from kind of a growth mindset perspectives. How often do you get to see two companies merge and get to see where are those fault lines that, until you try to combine systems, it's it's not really evident. I I kind of think about it kind of on a larger scale of like, when you know, my wife and I got married, it was okay, we're bringing two, two kitchens together. Whose pots and pans are we keeping? Who's got this, who's got that? Uh, okay, we both got a blender. Do we need two blenders? Do we sell both and get in like an actually nice blender? Right, yeah, all these, all these various things.

Speaker 1:

So, yeah, there's there's a lot to learn from these times and a lot of things to be careful, but I think, yeah, it's it's also just a golden opportunity, like you mentioned earlier, to move forward with fixed data. That's going to be better. Right, it's this is the time to say going forward. This data is going to be clean. Yeah, we know there's messy data in the past because of legacy things that we had to do because we're shoestringing this together. We don't have to do that anymore. We're not going to do that anymore, drawing a line and saying this is where the bad data ends, and I hope that line stays drawn yeah, for sure, because you know it, stuff always gets messy pretty quickly.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, I love that analogy of the, of the, the, you know the merging of kitchens, because it's, it's so true, like you know, and it gives you an opportunity to to see how the other org was doing things and they may be doing things better in one place, and you know you may be doing things better in one place and you know you may be doing things better in another place.

Speaker 2:

And so why not take the best of both worlds, exactly, which is cool? And I think too, just from a pure career standpoint and you mentioned the magic word of mindset, like a lot of people are really, I mean, I guess, scared, but a lot of people approach, you know, a merger or an acquisition from this standpoint of oh God, you know, like, we're in it, we're in for it now and, yeah, okay, you are. It's hardly ever like a super clean thing and it's messy and usually accompanied by redundancies and all those kinds of things, right, but I think, ultimately, you know, if you're working as part of an integration, as a company integration, there's like opportunities to do stuff that you don't often get to do and it does look good on a resume if you've helped a company to integrate and kind of show the outcomes of that right.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and with everything there's, you know, it's obviously terrifying when it's first hand and so I, okay, do I have a job when this finalizes and that kind of piece, but it's yeah. Also with that it's like, okay, how much of that is in my control versus out of my control? And with everything in life, I just try to approach it from okay, I've got what happens to me and pieces I can control and not control with that. And then how do I react to it, how do I want to solve for it? And yeah, that's the part that's really much more neural because control, and so that's that's where I'm trying to take it with all these pieces. It's like, okay, I don't have control over when we switch to this unified crm, but I do have control over how I need to solve my processes with the current state of things. So that's a lot of where we have to go with these things.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, Super healthy mindset. That's awesome, that's cool. Well, you're going back a couple of steps here. One of the questions that I always ask every one of my guests is essentially their elevator pitch of digital CS and what they would say to somebody who doesn't know anything about it, what their definition would be. So I'm curious you know what yours?

Speaker 1:

would be yeah, and admittedly I come from a total outsider perspective.

Speaker 2:

Which is why I love asking you the question, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, christy Hollingshead, who hired me for Heap, was the head of customer education when I first got there basically gave me a crash course.

Speaker 1:

I'm like here's how the company is built, because I was used to just higher education so I didn't even know customer success was a thing. I didn't even know how these works were built. So the simplest answer I kind of think about and how I really try to explain to folks who I talk to here my friends, family is basically engineering and product build the product, sales, sell the product and then customer success helps people actually use and continue to use the product. And then where digital customer success comes into play is we take everything customer success traditionally does and really apply additional tools to help scale it, help to make it happen on a more consistent basis and really turn it into something that's sustainable. A lot of times when you look at traditional customer success, it's a lot of people doing a lot of things really manually and really hands-on, whereas digital customer success we can take those actions, take those patterns and really help turn one person into four.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I love that, and I think this kind of blends into what we were kind of skirting around earlier, which is this notion of artificial intelligence, because you know, AI, like it or not, is becoming a regular part of our lives and I think those that embrace it now are going to have a much better time of things in five years time than those that don't. But I think you and I are both avid students of not just generative AI but like machine learning and all that kind of stuff in general. I'd be curious to get your insights and what you've seen around, like the practical use of AI today in the workplace versus you know, maybe, where you see stuff going.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I think, getting back to kind of, you mentioned earlier this, we're talking a week after the 4.0 release and I wasn't really sure what I'm more excited about with that whole set of announcements, because the whole new model is great. I'm more excited about with that whole set of announcements because the whole new model is great. I'm super excited for 5 and 6 after that and then simultaneously you have Google releasing their own versions and Microsoft releasing a flavor of GPT with Copilot, so there's a million models being released all the time. So that's exciting in itself. But I think the biggest announcements with that 4.0 model is one that they're getting more efficient. They're getting easier and lighter to use, so it's like it's half the cost, it's twice as fast. Those speed and cost improvements, I think, are where we're going to see it take off for a lot of people, because it becomes actually cost effective to put it into people's frameworks. So I think we're going to see more and more tools that may or not have been able to afford it before or it may have been an additional surcharge to say, okay, we can absorb this into our operating costs and still provide these AI features. So I think that's one place we're going to see a lot of really interesting things. And then the additional piece they've announced is a lot of the price lock features behind the pro account. So being able to use those GPT agents, so kind of a pre-programmed, very specific version of ChatGPT that does specific tasks, that being released to the general public and being able to use the new model as the general public instead of the last generation model.

Speaker 1:

I think those two moves are going to be hugely impactful in having more people use it, because now I can actually recommend to my friends oh, get an open AI account, you can use the latest model. It's a little restricted in how often you can use it, but you can use the same thing I'm using. So that's huge. And I think, to answer the question that was actually asked, the use of AI in the workplace, I think there's a whole spectrum on it. Obviously, I think where we're going to see a lot of huge impact is just making people's lives a little easier. So, when it comes to scheduling, instead of having to really look at the calendar blocks and say when is a good time, we can look back and say, okay, you typically schedule these meetings here and this time this person's calendar is moved so you may need to reschedule that. So a lot more of that proactive, almost like having a very good intern or a very good personal assistant.

Speaker 2:

Executive assistant yeah assistant.

Speaker 1:

Executive assistant. Yeah, I've seen a lot with note-taking apps and especially as we get, you know, the issues around security and privacy handled without having that. So it's okay. I'm having a zoom call. There's actually an item that I mentioned and it's like I take my own notes but I miss things sometimes. But it's if my assistant can say, hey, here's your notes and I've already put it in the task management system. You have a different product. That's going to be great. And then really just where AI excels is rewriting content, putting things in a specific format, parsing a lot of the responses. I think we're going to see a ton of AI in the kind of service desk area where you're trying to okay, you've asked this question. The tier one service has to look up that documentation, send it to you. There's a little bit of delay there. If an AI can handle, let's say, 60 percent of those tickets that come through and you can put a human on the more advanced ones, those answers that aren't immediately clear in the documentation. Someone missed or oh, you just need account reset and you have the right credentials, yep, great, let me take care of that for you. So I think we're going to see ai delivering a lot of the, the wider tasks, those things that take time, but you don't need to be a real professional person doing them. Yes, we're going to see a lot of that. And then, additionally, I think it's just the skill set enhancement.

Speaker 1:

So I am a admittedly not great programmer. I'm self-taught. I've read enough books on Python. I program for fun, but I can ask open it, I can ask chat to BT a question. I did this this week. I said I need to parse CSV with this set of columns and this set of columns I need to match on this date and I need all my dates converted to the same sort of format. And then I want to output it with these particular columns and then also create a visualization using Python. Can you do that for me? Yeah, that would have been two or three days of me really doing spaghetti code to do a good output. I got that down in about an hour with trial and error and doing that.

Speaker 1:

And that's me as, like a not admittedly great programmer, you put that in a real programmer's hands, Wow, and you know. Conversely, you put it in a non-programmer's hands and you say, okay, it'll, it'll start to ask you the right questions to say, oh, do you need to have it sorted in this? Do you need your dates the same? We're going to see so much of that where it just turns us into way better at what we want to do, what we want to do For our jobs.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and even you know, in structural design we're seeing quiz question generators is one that I started to use a bunch. It's like here's my question that I have, here's the right answer, here's the training data. Give me some fake answers or help me write quiz questions. Yeah, things that I can do well and I can, as an expert, look at it and say, no, that's not a good question. No, that's not a good answer. So it's also that moving from being a person who produces the content to being much more of an editor is where I think we're going to see a lot moves.

Speaker 2:

Hey, I want to have a brief chat with you about the show. Did you know that roughly 60% of listeners aren't actually subscribed to the show, on whatever platform they're listening to it on? As you know, algorithms love, likes, follows, subscribes, comments, all of that kind of stuff. So if you get value out of the content, you listen regularly and you want to help others to discover the content as well, please go ahead and follow the show, leave a comment, leave a review. Anything that you want to do there really helps us to grow organically as a show. And while you're at it, go sign up for the companion newsletter that goes out every week at digitalcustomersuccesscom. Now back to the show. So much good stuff there. I want to circle back on a couple of those things. The first is the engineering aspect of it, which obviously this is a CX podcast, but hey, we love engineers too.

Speaker 2:

I, very early on in my career, I had the revelation that software engineers were equal parts technically minded people and extreme creative people. The go-to kind of opinion or, I guess, persona of a software engineer is like somebody who's very techie and antisocial and all that kind of stuff. But, like you know, engineers like they're out doing all kinds of like you know they're dancers and they're singers and they're musicians, and they're because they're intrinsically very creative people and I think to be a good engineer you have to be a very creative individual. And I think what's interesting about how good generative AI has become from a coding perspective might open the door for a lot of people who wouldn't normally like get into engineering, to actually get into engineering, to actually get into engineering, and so you, so we might.

Speaker 2:

Just my assumption is we might see a proliferation of like much more creativity in in just the creation of products and things like that. But you know to circle things back, you know to to cs front. The one of the first things you said was around the openness of chat GPT now, where you know, basically even with the free account, you have unprecedented access to these models. So if you're not already like in chat GPT, go now. The other thing that's that they've made available is all of these custom GPTs in their store and it just so happens I was looking through some of them and like churn zero has a customer success one, for instance, and it'll help you kind of draft messages based on kind of what you want to do or what you want to send to your customers and those kinds of things, and so like we're starting to see this stuff become much more available and accessible to the masses.

Speaker 1:

not just accessible in terms of you can actually go there and do it, but accessible in terms of like it's not intimidating you know, yeah, it really removes that intimidation factor and it's that idea of, I think, when we're looking at what else is going to happen in the workplace, it's going to be. There's going to be certain folks and we're seeing a little bit with some prompt engineering roles but folks whose job it is to really get those AI models to produce fantastic results. Yeah, because it's. It's not a. I think that's been the kind of the high curve downfall for AI, as people say. Oh well, I asked it to make a picture of this and it turned out terrible. Or I asked it this thing and it gave me something.

Speaker 1:

And it's like you know the prompts I'm writing right now and the prompts I'm using in these GPTs like one of them's like 30 pages long, to say here's exactly what I'm wanting you to do, and I think that's a really interesting skill set that you know you don't always have to be super technical to do, but you have to be a good communicator and I think, yeah, to go back to your other point about the, the trope of the, you know the anti-social engineer, what I found is, you know the engineers who who make it are the exact opposite of the trump. They are some of the most social, dynamic, interesting people. It's like you need that to understand who you're solving for, and, yeah, it's. It's that I think we're going to see more and more to understand who you're solving for and, yeah, it's that I think we're going to see more and more of to where you're.

Speaker 1:

The other thing is, I think we're going to see more people with their blind spots removed, where it's like, okay, if I am that traditional engineering trope, maybe my AI is going to help me think about. Okay, how are people who are using software, how are they going to react to this? And if I'm a much more social dynamite but I like a little bit of the technical skills, it's okay. Help me get my code up to snuff with the way more technical side of things Right. So, yeah, it's really it's removing the hurdles for people.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I'm also curious to see how the you know the learning aspect of these models is going to enhance, because now you know, it'll theoretically remember you know who you are, who you know and various things that you feed it over the course. It's not like these separate kind of instances of chat conversations, it's like a cohesive thing, and so it might learn over time that you are a hyper creative or you're not.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, that's been a very interesting thing with the because you can see in the setting for GPT what is its memory of you and because I write prompts for all sorts of things and I'm solving for friends and family and like my own personal projects and it's got a little bit of a some strange ideas about me. So I'm like no, that's not true, that's my friend I was asking for. It's like I was asking about okay, what tools do I need to do for fixing a forest and renovating it to build a tree house? I'm like I'm not building a tree house anytime soon, but chat TPT said Eric is building a treehouse anytime soon. But chat gpt said eric is building a treehouse. I was like it's a dream, but it's not true.

Speaker 2:

Once to not is yeah, yeah, true I want to dig in a little bit on the customer education front, because you and I share something in common, which is we both spent time in the trenches as instructional designers, building content. Were you an articulate person or a captivate person?

Speaker 1:

I was an everything person. I did a lot of rise. I did a lot of actually just building by hand, a lot of. Yeah, when I was in higher education, a lot of the the tools that were available to us were just the lms native tools, so got very creative very fast yeah, I remember the first time I cracked the code on captivate variables and I was like, oh wow, here we go.

Speaker 2:

So you know, I think we can both describe ourselves as learning nerds and I think that is very much so. I mean that in the best way possible. Admittedly, it's been a bit since I've been in the trenches of actual instructional design and building content, designing things and, you know, writing quality assessments, because we all know there's not quality assessments out there and I think we skirted around this a little bit. But I want to get your sense on, like, you know what? Where are we headed in CE in general and customer education in general? I mean, sure, we can say micro learning and we can say you know all these fancy terms, whatever that might or might not mean something to somebody. But on the tactical, kind of foundational level, like what do you see the next? You know, few years in CE being.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and it's an interesting question. Luckily, I was just reading the Forrester report Shannon Howard and her team put out and super interesting. If you haven't read it, I got a little bit of early access to do a reaction to it, but it's out now and it's incredible. But I think one of the biggest and most interesting trends we're seeing in customer education is moving out of kind of the videos on a separate academy Like I love that I've built so many academies and all this in my time. Yeah, but I I love that I've built so many academies and LMSs in my time. But I think we're seeing a lot of almost those in-app guide tools starting to function more and more as education. So it's a combination of in-app guide tools plus a strong documentation base. I think is where a lot of customer education is going to start to move to, because these AI tools and this is where AI really can continue to come into play is they can look at this and dynamically say, okay, yep, let me follow your clicks on the page, let me do a screen recording and then we'll build your in-app guides or we'll build your documentation based on what you're doing, with a little bit of guidance from you. Some voiceovers. There's some incredible tools out there that are starting to emerge, because I think when we look at customers, when we look at how do people want to learn people who come to the academy, they do great.

Speaker 1:

But I think I can say as a rule in customer education, it's not always the majority that come to that. A lot of people just want to have that intuitive guide or pop up, just you know. Oh, there's a new tool, let me have a little tool tip that says do you want to learn more? We can give you a little tutorial. Yeah, it's a piece of information like that.

Speaker 1:

I think that is also looking at that barrier of breaking down, because traditionally and for our team it's true, that tool tip, like the in-app guides, either belongs to product, belongs to scaled customer success, which is the team I'm kind of housed in right now, whereas they are such a great tool for education. Yeah, I think we're going to start to see a lot more breaking down of those silos of, okay, everyone needs access to this tool and everyone's going to be using this tool. So how do we make it? All all those different functions and goals work together to achieve that thing, because really, customer education also shouldn't be living in a vacuum. I think sometimes it's. It's shunted around and put in a little box somewhere and not given the resources it needs. It really should be an integrated part and you know customer success similarly should be integrated into the whole idea. You shouldn't have your sales folks not know what customer success is doing, and vice versa yep, I couldn't agree more.

Speaker 2:

And it's interesting because it starts to blur the lines between, like, education and performance support, you know, and, and I think those lines have always been kind of blurry but they're getting blurrier because you know, I mean, say what you want about your audience being, you know, more kind of short attention span or whatever, but, like, your purists are going to say that an education team or a learning team always needs to produce courses with a strong, you know, learning objectives and assessment, and Kirkirk patrick modeled this and kirk patrick modeled that. But at the end of the day, I think, especially in customer education, like, if you, if you're putting the content in front of your customer when they need it, where they need it, job done, like, let's go, you know yeah, and it's the the you know, traditional instructional design.

Speaker 1:

Like I got, like by the book, trained on every model, everything, and it's like that is fantastic when you have the time and energy to to fully go through that and sometimes product is changing on you on the hour, like by the time you've created a training for something, it's outdated. Being able to adapt those models and adopt that. What does make a really good course, what? How can we take those same principles and say, okay, this is our target audience, so we can start to design for this person. These are the things we want to teach and, like we know this wording maps of their audience. So you can take a lot of really good foundational pieces of instructional design but then apply it at speed and scale.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the age-old problem in SaaS and customer education is the button moved, the platform changed color, the added fields, all the blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And now I have to spend a week updating all of my learning content and all that kind of stuff. And now I have to spend a week updating all of my learning content and all that kind of stuff. Like every customer education person in SaaS and software struggles with that phenomenon because it takes the more content you have. It takes an inordinate amount of resources to update all that content. So it'll be interesting to see and I want your take on how long it's going to be before generative AI helps us solve that problem specifically.

Speaker 1:

It's already kind of happening. There's a company I've been following for a while called Clue so that I think does a really good job of this, and there's also like Vidiate, where your videos are produced by essentially running a web extension that re-records your video, but it looks for those code blocks instead. So the button might move, but if the button name or the button ID is still the same, your tooltip is going to be pointing at that button and your voiceover, if the button text changes, says the new button text, and that, I think, is where we're going to see a lot of that. And with those in-app guides too, it can say essentially where I see it going is running an audit scan every day to say we're going to have an AI agent essentially go through this, take screenshots, as it goes, which we know they do already and try to run your process and if something goes wrong then we'll try to fix it.

Speaker 1:

If you can't fix it, then we send you a human alert, so you go in a human and fix it.

Speaker 2:

It's like an automated change log.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Instead, those are the kind of things that used to have to be done by a human. It's like every day, someone from our education has to run through our flows and check to see if they're working and check to see if product has changed things. No, that, see if product has changed things no. That's the kind of stuff where ai and automation are really going to come and play it, and I think it's that's really another key element that I think a lot of folks with this ai piece are missing is ai is one half of the equation. Automation is the whole other half, and if you're looking for who's doing the best in this, zapier is absolutely incredible. I don't like I should just get a t-shirt and just say sponsored by yeah, yeah, maybe just you know I'll take a meal a month, zapier, if you're listening, but the ways they're tying together ai and automation is incredible and having really good automation compounded with ai, you can move so much faster.

Speaker 2:

Yep, I'm actually.

Speaker 2:

It's funny you mentioned that because just this week I was working on a flow in Zapier to help me kind of stay on top of some of the you know, some trends and stuff that are happening in customer success, because Lord knows there's stuff happening all the time.

Speaker 2:

But, like, I'm using perplexity which, if you don't know, is the greatest thing since google because it totally has replaced google in my day-to-day but perplexity, using perplexity to like, give me some digests of like what happened this week in customer success, you know, feed that into a spreadsheet or whatever, and you know, like it's, it's amazing what you can do. But, to your point, like it's like the enterprise interprison is that a word? I think so. Sure, it's like the enterprison of all these different disparate tools, because the cost of building this stuff has gone so low that we have all these people building all these different things and they all have different bespoke use cases and niche things here and there. But there's, you know, you got to have something like zapier or make to like pull it all together yeah, and and it's.

Speaker 1:

And it's interesting seeing, just yeah, historically thinking about how did we get to this point All the companies that have been building APIs to interact with each other and interact with Salesforce and interact with all these other tools. The fact that we have such a strong API backend architecture to all these tools makes all this automation platform work well, and it also means that if you an api bit of documentation to something like chat, gpt, you can start to ask hey, what can I do that I can't do in this product? So even on our lms, it's fantastic. It's like I just want to update all these courses. Can I feed this a spreadsheet and you give me some api commands to make it happen? Like that's the kind of stuff that we're going to be seeing more and more.

Speaker 2:

Ah, dude, you know what. You know. What's really great is this conversation. You know what's really not great is that we're running out of time and I feel like we could go on forever, you know. So, you know, I just want to real quickly, just you know, say thanks for coming on and we should probably do a part two, because I think there's a whole swath of things that we haven't covered. But that'd be my pleasure. You did. You did warn me before we started recording that you had a hard time narrowing down your, your list for my next inevitable question, which I ask everybody, which is like what's in your content diet and what you're paying attention to?

Speaker 1:

All right. So the biggest, the biggest hack I have right now for newsletters there's an app called MECO. It's M E C? O attaches to your Gmail and it grabs all your newsletters and puts them into an app so you actually read them. So it's replaced almost all my social media. So instead of pulling up instagram or facebook, I pulled that and I actually read most of the newsletters I get. So so that means you need to subscribe to my newsletter if you're not a great time.

Speaker 1:

If you're not already subscribed to alex's newsletter, click now. Or, you know, pull it up and do it, or ask your ai assistant to subscribe for you. Yeah, yeah. And then also just you. You know podcasts in general. I find the Tim Ferriss show is a really good one, just because of the quality of guests and the quality of interviewing is just fantastic. On that 99 PI. 99% of this will. Just because there's so many things that you look at on a daily basis that you know they're there and someone's designed them. I think incredibly cool. A whole bunch of cooking podcasts.

Speaker 1:

And then books-wise, I'm just a kind of a voracious reader. I always have my Kindle notebook with me, but I also have some physical books as well. Big ones on my list right now that I'm reading. Range by David Epstein is basically about generalists and how generalists are thriving in this. What seems like a hyper-focused world Million Dollar Weekend by Noah Kagan and basically how you can start up businesses and think about scaling and if you're not a startup person, great. It's super applicable to your in-job life too.

Speaker 1:

And then Jane McGonigal she's a futurist. Currently I'm reading Imaginable by her, but I also have Reality is Broken, which is one of her earlier books on my desk. She is such an incredible thinker and such a future-focused person. And then I always like to keep some fiction going too. So there's a Japanese translation book of Before the Coffee Gets Cold which, if you're looking for a short read, if you're like man, I haven't read in a while and I want to get back into it. Before the Coffee Gets Cold, cold. There's four books in the set. Each one's about an hour and a half read. It is beautiful, it's a unique take on time travel and it's just just an enjoyable experience.

Speaker 2:

So, yeah, go for that oh man, I think you get the award for like probably best list of like content diet well, thanks, I'll take that. I'll put that on my on my resume yeah, you should I got awarded that that uh, I'll do a digital batch for it. Yeah, that uh, that nico one that is, that's gold. Yeah, because I struggle hard with.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, miko is it's. It's one of those apps I I stumbled on in one of newsletters and then it has been a mainstay on my app homepage.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, okay, that's huge. Any shout-outs you want to give?

Speaker 1:

Yes, absolutely. On LinkedIn, Joe Ryan. He does customer education weekly Fantastic. Every Monday or so comes out with a really easy, easy-to-digest newsletter, highlights a lot of really cool people doing cool things. And then Shannon Howard I can tell them is just such a good distributor of content ideas. If you just follow those two you're going to see so many more people too, and there's so many more that I can't even begin to count. But those two are kind of my two highlights. I make sure I read every single post they read.

Speaker 2:

I love following people that amplify other people because, like A, they're getting great content out of it that they can amplify themselves with. But you know, it's like the community thing and it allows you to. You know, like you said, like if you follow those two people, you'll be in good shape. Yeah, eric, it's been a pleasure. I appreciate good shape.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, eric, it's been a pleasure, I appreciate you joining and uh, yeah, like let's do it again. Absolutely, it'd be my pleasure. Yeah, we can wait. There's so many more rabbit holes and tangents and if you talk again in a month, there'll be eight more ai things coming out. That's right absolutely yeah, go ahead, rest of your day yeah, you too.

Speaker 2:

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. You can view the digital customer success Definition Wordmap and get more information about the show and some of the other things that we're doing at digitalcustomersuccesscom. This episode was edited by Lifetime Value Media, a media production company founded by our good mutual friend, dylan Young. Lifetime Value aims to serve the content, video, audio production needs of the CS and post-sale community. They're offering services at a steep discount for a limited time. So navigate to lifetimevaluemediacom, go have a chat with Dylan and make sure you mention the Digital CX podcast sent to you. I'm Alex Trigovich. Thanks so much for listening. We'll talk to you next week.

Enhancing Digital Customer Experience
Navigating Mergers and Acquisitions
The Role of AI in Workplaces
The Future of Engineering and AI
The Future of Customer Education
The Future of Content Consumption