Customer Success Leader
Customer Success Leader

Episode · 2 years ago

Building and Measuring a Customer Success Program w/ Steve Hueber


Customer Success Programs are popping up at companies everywhere and with good reason. If you aren’t yet familiar with what goes into developing one, or have one up and running, you’ll definitely want to check out this episode.


Today I talked with Steve Heuber, Customer Experience Strategist at Genesys, and he shared some valuable insights from his experience putting together successful CS Programs across the country. 


We talked about: 


- Introducing the concept of a Customer Success Program 


- Tailoring programs to meet needs on a project by project basis


- Building and earning a trusted client partnership


For more info, check out or send a message to

Being able to account for and measure those business outcomes. Is really what I see is at the heart of customer success. Want to create delightful customer experiences. You're in the right place. Welcome to customer success leader, where you'll learn about the successes and struggles of leaders who are passionate about their craft. Trust me, you want to stick around. Here's your host, Eric Crane. Hey, this is Eric Crane. See You and cofounder here at flat file and today on Customer Success Leader. I've got Steve Huber from Genesis. Hey Steve, how are you? Hey Eric, I'm great. How are you doing? I can't complain too much. It's getting pretty hot here in Georgia, though, so they acs are really cranked. What about yourself? Well, I can't imagine it's any hotter an Indianapolis and it is in Atlanta Georgia. So I won't complain. I think we were in the vent s here today, so nothing to complain about our my in Nice. So so answer. Shorts or none of the above? I'm more of a George S guy, but no, it's shorts and flip flops right now. By actually my wife. A little bit ago she said you look really nice from like the sternom up, and so that's that's all. I'm dressed these days for these zoom calls. Hey, I feel I'm in the same boat. Well, thank you so much for taking a time to join us today to share a little bit about your perspective on customer success. Yeah, absolutely happy to do it. So the first question I like to kick off with is just how you like to define customer success. So if you just put it in your own words, yeah, I think that's a that's a really good question because as you you look at different organization and so many organizations, I think, define customers success the same way as kind of in the name. But where the how they define the word success and and really how they prioritize that is going to, you know, be the difference and how they treat that Xuite. I've seen organizations at are, you know, their success organizations are largely care organizations or largely sales organizations, and so they might define that a little differently. But the way we work in customers success within our organization is customer success is really understanding the business outcomes that your customers are striving for and...

...then having a measurable way to track and work towards those to ensure that we are meeting and exceeding our customers expectations. And you know, there's a lot of things I go into that, but it's that being able to account for and measure those business outcomes is really what I see is at the heart of customers success. Got It makes sense. So tell me a little bit more about genesis and then talk about some of those metrics that measure successful business outcomes for your customers. Yeah, yeah, absolutely so. You know, I genesis are our customer success organization, I want to say is going on, Oh, seven or eight years old night, maybe maybe closer to a decade at this point, you know. So it's a pretty mature in terms of a customer success practice is. You know, a lot of companies are just now starting to adopt or in the early adopter phase, but you know, we've really seen the evolution of customer success throughout Genesis and and really where we've landed in what we where we sit on that court tendancy is, is that business outcome. We understand our customers are investing a lot of money in, you know, subscribing to our service and they're looking for a return on that investment and it's our job to really either a ask them and understand what that is. And certain companies that might not have as sophisticated of a customer experience practice, they might not have those things to find yet or they might not have the specific Kpis developed yet, and so we want to talk through that with them and help them develop those. In a lot of customers that that do have that is just a matter of working with them to track those and so, you know, you'll see everything from when you look at the business outcomes a customers might be working towards. You know, it's usually the key. You know, there's there's very high level. It's, you know, revenue, customer experience, employee experience, and there's some of those very high level things. But depending on what they're wanting to do with their contacts and or they might be our customer experience center, they might be looking at specific apis a little differently. You know, for instance, a one customer might be implementing a Self Service web experience because they want to drive more revenue or reduce cost and another customer might want to be doing the same thing but to...

...increase an employee experience or to increase a customer experience, and so the way they might go about executing those two things and how they're going to judge the success of that specific project is going to be different, and so it really depends on the customer by customer, project by project. You know what those success criteria or going to be. Gotta how do you keep track of all those for your customers? Yeah, Yep, absolutely what we try to use, as we have each customer has a customer success plan that we use and within that plan we have again, we wanted to find what success is, how we're going to measure that and then, within that, even track what what are the activities in the things that we're doing to make sure that we achieve that, everything right down to, you know, who's got to schedule the next meeting and when does it need to happen? So it's really almost like a project plan to success is really another way to look at it. God, that makes sense. So you're developing these relationships with customer. It's how do you iterate towards that a stable, trusted relationship with a client? Like walk me through how you guide your customers to that point. Yeah, you know that that's been an interesting thing to do, especially these days when we're trying to build that trust and relationship over zoom. But you know, the first hurdle that I've noticed you cross, specially as you travel from the West Coast to East Coast, is you first have to introduce the customer to the idea of what customer success is and who you are and what your role is, and so that's the first thing you kind of almost have to sell the customer on, and so I think that's you know, that's the initial thing, is that these customers out you're on boarding and if you're getting involved in the early stages of their life cycle, you know they're busy with a lot of other things, with an implementation, and so for them to give you some of that time. You know, that's the first hurdle that you have to really cross, and so it's really about being able to come to the table with ideas, with things that you're noticing, things that you're seeing that really add value for that customer. You know, that's really what it boils down to. You need to prove that time spent with you is going to add value for that customer and that you have a legitimate care and concern...

...for their success and for their business. If you can demonstrate those two things for a customer, they're going to give you all the time you need and you're going to have a really solid relationship with them. So how do you effectively do that at scale, though? Well, at scale that can't be a little more difficult. So, for example, I work in the enter price space. So at scale isn't as much of a concern when you're working, you know, in a much more targeted environment. I think at scale the thing that you have to really do is you have to rely on a lot of your systems and processes to do that with your customers. You know, there's a lot of things that you can do with automation that you know, with with automated messaging to your customers that is valuable and viable to them and that they see value in. And so your other ways that you can drive trust in your brand, if not specifically to a specific customer. Success Manager, you know, is another way you would do that at scale. But it's, however, you're delivering that value in that communication that shows that customer that hey, genesis or hey, this company is a partner to you. You know. That's that's going to foster that communication. So what is your favorite tool or system or process that you use in your day to day Oh man, all right, I'm a bit of a numbers Nerd, so this is going to be a little bit different answer. But I actually am heavily into the the revenue forecasting side of things and I like using the REV my revenue forecasting exer size, as the way I kind of go through and put all of my accounts in order, if that makes sense. So I kind of do it from a revenue perspective and looking at you know, if the revenue is changing and that forecast is changing, then something else is changing. That'th let it, you know. So I kind of use it to base that, and so that's a tool we use quite a bit. Outside of that, gainsite is a great tool that we use a genesis. It's where we do things like tracking customer sentiment. You can kind of keep a timeline of your activities, and so we're in there quite a bit updating and, you know, keeping things up to date, and then that feats different automated tools with that data as well. It's great to hear. Yeah, we hear gain side is pretty popular amongst the folks that we speak with.

Yeah, it is. What is something that's maybe a little bit less popular. I don't have to say by name. But whereas technology failed you before as a custom success leader, oh my goodness, you know, I would say. You know, it's hard to say that technology fails you, but it's, you know, how you're using it, in the way it's implemented that usually is to blame. But I will actually say the our forecasting process early on, when we had a younger organization, consisted of a probably a hundred and fifty megabyte excel file full of just every type of table and pivot and reference and everything else that you could imagine. That you know, you make one change and it takes twenty minutes for it to render. So that is a significant failure of technology and an example of where it starts really well, when you're working at this size, but at scale. To your point, you can no longer do those things in excel and track that way. So luckily we have a much more sophisticated system now, but that is that was definitely a failure of technology and how we were leveraging it. But it's something you've done in the last week that you feel like a machine should have done instead, I think updating and monitoring customer temperature. The I think, is something that could be more automated with all the different data points that we have now across different customers within our backend systems. I mean, we can see if they're, you know, uptodate on their invoicing, if they have professional services projects at are approaching deadline and aren't nearly complete or our past deadline. We can see how many care cases they have open. We can, you know, how many opportunities are open and maybe close to closing. You know, we have all these different data points and even tracking activity and things like engage you and sales force and things of that nature. So there's so many of those data points that you could put together to give you a better sense of what a customers temperature is versus, you know, more of that relying on everyone's kind of personal feedback, which you have. Kind of an exercise there of making sure you're aligning everyone's definitions and aligning with they're calling red,..., blue, purple, pink, you know, whatever your colors are. What do you think would change that? I think it's just a matter of time. You know, as technology evolves, it's becoming much simpler for your data to be connected. I think right now it's that data lives in such different places that it would be a serious exercise to undergo a project to tie that all together and to determine the algorithm and to put that into practice. So I think it's just a matter of time. You know, even you know in our space and looking at what we're doing an enterprise software, you start to see that you need data in a central place is so that all these different systems can use it, and so I think it's just a matter of that evolving more and becoming more commonplace that you'll be able to leverage a data and more of that, you know, machine learning, understanding, you know, even eventually turn it into like an early indicator type program. Got It. So we talked a little bit before we started recording here about your interesting career path and how you got to where you are the sort of a senior enterprise customer success manager. To talk a little bit about that career path and how you ended up where you are today. Yeah, yeah, it was a really interesting career path and I'll mention one part. I didn't mention the beginning. When I started college I was a outdoor recreation and resource management major because I didn't want to take any math classes. And so after I ended up with business and computer science, I kind of shot that whole no math classes thing right out of the window. But yeah, so I started more in an engineering role, very technical, working on dilogic and acculad carded telephony systems. I would fly around the country and rebuild servers, you know, fixed code, things of that nature, and I really enjoyed it and so I kind of did well there and work my way into a management position and I found myself kind of in a more customer facing role, working alongside our sales team a lot more. You involved in presal cycles, and so I kind of developed this interest in sales and then, you know, so I started in a professional services sales role, so I really learned project project management, you know, the methodology, so I could speak to...

...those things selling our services. And from there I moved into more of a software selling roll, on an inside sales roll, and then once my company, Interactive Intelligence, was acquired by genesis, inside sales became customer success and it just turns out that customer success is a really good spot to be if you've kind of had experience and all the other touch points that your customers might have within your organization to you can really advocate and speak intelligibly about those different things. So it's it was an odd path, but it has served me well. What are some traits that you would look for in a customer success manager that would want to join your team? Oh Man, they need to be outgoing, they need to be able to develop relationships and things quickly, because it's there's a lot of working very cross functionally and needing things from people that don't you know, that don't report to you, that aren't on your team. So it's really about being able to work with folks cross functionally and so being able to develop relationships, being able to, you know, work with people's you know, just those soft people skills are by far the most important skills. We've hired folks that have everything from a specific customer success background to folks that were kind of like who I would be working with at a customer and like a product owner at a customer that have come over and the common denominator across all of them that make them good is, you know, do they legitimately care about their customers and are they willing to kind of maybe have an awkward conversation or, you know, walk into the wrong office to get answers for them for them? So that's what I've seen. So, speaking of Awkward Conversations, I have a background in customer success as well and I know you get some really interesting stories and experiences and serving as an extension of someone else's organization. So tell me about an interesting experience you had in customer success with one of your clients, named or unnamed, and sort of what you learned from that experience. Oh my goodness. Okay, so I do have a good story and you know, it's not something that you know. It wasn't like a mind blowing career revelation or anything like this, but was something that helped me develop some empathy for the folks that I'm that I'm...

...serving and when the folks that are using our platform, one of our clients that I was working with their a large, very large trucking company, I'll leave it at that, and I was doing some actually sitting with their contact in our agents. It was the first time I was meeting these folks wanted to get an idea of their operation. So I want to sit with their agents and just get the agent experience. What is their screen? What are they clicking? One of the end one of these agents got a phone call from someone. If you can remind you think these this company just rents trucks out to people, right, and this is an agent just sitting in the contact center. Someone calls in and they just start brating this agent because someone was driving one of this company's trucks like kind of crazy, and, you know, the agents like well, you know, ma'am, if you if you have another issue, you know, please call the local authorities. There's really not much we can do here. What you saying? You don't care? Well, no, ma'am, it's not that. It's just we don't have the authority to do you know. And so just the way that that poor age, it was just attacked by this this person calling in, was just an eye opening e experience and you realize like yeah, there's there's people that are dealing with some really tough stuff on like the front lines of the software that we're selling and what we're doing, and it was just a reminder of you know, no matter where you're at, where you sit along the chain of the customer experience. You're going to have those days where you're going to get that call and you're going to get yelled at for something that you had nothing and nothing to do with and no control over, and you just got to shake it off and keep going. Yeah, empathy is a really important in the space. Right you have to understand that these are real humans and a lot of times the systems that we build and share with them are a major part of what they do for a living. So you can expect people to get happy but also very upset about different types of experiences and, oftentimes, customer success services that bridge between the ideal experience and where someone is today. Yeah, yeah, exactly. It's really wanting to understand and you know, I'll even ask customers sometimes like how are you measured? You know, like what are the Kpis at you and your job are being measured on?...

Let's work on those. If you don't have your metrics and understanding what success is, at least let's understand. We know what success is for you. Let's focus on that. But really caring about it at a personal level like that and wanting the individuals to succeed. The more successful I am in my job and helping these customers, the more successful that everyone working on that project is going to be. If I'm doing my job well, everybody went. So what is your favorite part customer success? I would say my favorite part is the diversity of activity, the different conversations, the different things you get to be involved in, the kinds of conversations and the variety of customers I've been able to work with and the amount I've learned through that is by far my favorite part of working in customer success. Well of it. Yeah, I can't have every day be the same thing, you know, you got to have some diversity and variety in your day and dam customer success is a great way to get that. Yeah, there's a guarantee. It's it's I'll put my money on it's a guarantee. So I'd like to wrap all these at the same question. I'd love for you to impart the best piece of advice you've ever received from someone else related to customer success. Yeah, you know, I think the best device I've received around customer success is, you know, as there's a customer success professional, our job is to define and measure success for our customers, but we need to be doing that ourselves as an organization, as a Customer Success Organization, and ourselves as individuals as well. You know, we need to be in the same way. We're tracking and understanding with those things are for our customers. We want to make sure that we have well defined success criteria for our own internal organization, for our own career trajectory, and that we're measuring those things and we're working towards those things. And then once those things are achieved, you know look for that. If you've had the Toyota Kata Book, you know, you look for that next target condition. Okay, let's look for that next milestone of success. What are we going to do to get there? How we going to measure it, you know, but really take that model of measuring and achieving success that we do with our customers and you can really apply that across...

...the board. You know, it's just a good way to almost like, you know, journaling. You know, here's what I want to get done here, like, you know, having a almost a vision board of sorts. Yeah, it's created advice. Leveling up yourself as well as your team, has an effect across everyone you work with. Yeah, all ship thrives with the tide. Great. Well, thank you so much for your time today, Steve. That's Steve Huber from Genesis. I'm are crane from flat file, and thank you for listening to this episode of customers success later you depend on the fastest time to value for your customers, so I let data onboard and sell you down. Stop emailing spreadsheets, creating CSP templates or setting up FTP transfers. Create collaborative, secure workspaces with your customers and their data, saving you time while providing a memorable onboarding experience. Oh and there's no code required. You can go to flat file DOT IO C S leader to learn more and get started for free. Thank you so much for joining us for this episode. Customer Success leader is brought to you by flat file. If you're a fan of the show and want to help us share these conversations with others, leave us a rating on apple podcast. Just tap the number of stars you think the show deserves. That's it for today. Catch you in the next one.

In-Stream Audio Search


Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (28)