Customer Success Leader
Customer Success Leader

Episode · 1 year ago

How to Scale Customized CX w/ Teresa Anania

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Being on the receiving end of a customized customer experience is the warm, fuzzy feeling every customer loves. But how do organizations personalize their CX at scale?

 

Can every customer get the warm fuzzies?

 

Teresa Anania, VP of Global Customer Success & Renewals at Zendesk, thinks — to some degree — every customer can have a customized experience. She shares her CX strategy with Eric, as well as… 

 

- How to develop an outcome-based approach with high-touch customers

 

- How to engage an entirely remote CS team

 

- Advice for new CS leaders

 

For more info, check out customersuccessleader.com or send a message to hello@flatfile.io.

 

To hear more interviews like this one, subscribe to Customer Success Leader on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

How do we scale the experience? How do we scale our organization drive those outcomes, but basically do it in a way that allows us to sustain a really healthy customer success practice. 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, y'all, thanks for joining us this week. I'm are crane, cofounder and CEO of flat file, and I'm here this week with Teresa Nanya. She's the VP of global customer success and renewals at Zendesk. Hey, Teresa, how are you doing? I'm great, Eric, thanks for having me. I see you're in Pittsburgh. Is that correct? That's correct, the undefeated steeler town. I was just about to ask that because I've been a lifelong packers fan and it just bugs me to know and how the steelers are undefeated and somehow the packers have taken a couple holes this year. Well, the last few games have been amazing. Really shows some great comeback. When I was definitely was on the edge of my seat a couple times, but we made it happen. I'd I think that the steelers are just like a case study and how much of a difference great coaching can make in an organization where you have a coach who's really aligned well with the players and understands how to motivate them and get the most out of them. Yes, I quldn't agree more. Well, thank you so much for joining. We can talk about football all day, but we're here to talk about customer success and so I love to just ask like how did you get into customer success? Telling me a little bit more about your story. You know, that's an interesting journey. I spent a lot of time in sales prior to that consulting, which also has a very big sales aspect, and then when I joined Autodesk, I really did a whole lot in the product department, you know, with product management, building out a platform experience there, and then marketing and finally...

...sales again, and really customer success once we decided at autodes to move to a subscription based company. It really put all of that together. So I find customer success to be the greatest intersection of you know, the importance of customer experience, but then also that sales mindset and then certainly the important feedback group with both marketing and the product teams. Yeah, that's a really interesting approach. Sort of like defining customer success is like this intersection where you have growth goals for your business but at the same time you also want to keep customer experience in mind. So, like, tell me just a little bit more about it now that you're at Zendes, like kind of what you're doing specifically in your role as the VP of global customer success. Like what is Global? First of all, I'd love to learn a little bit more about that, but tell me a bit more about what you got going on right now. Well, it's kind of coal because Zend us is a service focus crn platform. So actually what we build and sell is actually what we do all day, building a great customer experience. So it's really awesome because the customers that I interact with to learn our business are peers of mine. There are people that are doing just what I'm doing, building out a really differentiated customer experience. So, you know, I say it Zend us, you know, starting a company in February, right before the endemic was a quite interesting time. I really didn't get that opportunity to just sit back and listen and learn. I had to jump into the fire. So you know, my strategy and some of the vision that I have for building out the best customer experience at end USK has been, frankly, informed by some of those, you know, customers and a time where they had the greatest need and we rose to the occasion, but also working with customers that expect digitization in some of the new outcomes from this challenge we've all had, putting us in a greater place now than when we came in. So I've been building out...

...primarily the all emotions of high touch, medium touch and lowtouch and really thinking about how do we scale the experience, how do we scale our organization drive those outcomes, but basically do it in a way that allows us to sustain a really healthy customer success practice. Yeah, so tell me a little bit more. I want to dig into that sort of like build out of the customer engagement model. I know a lot of folks are going through changes, especially because of COVID. As a result, and since your time, it's end disc has entirely been during the pandemic. I'm sure you can provide some great insight for our listeners as to how you've been able to effectively build that out and make sure you're still serving your customers in the best way possible. Yeah, well, it's been a journey in itself and I think the engagement model is really about putting the customer first. So, yes, it is a global organization that I run, but we each have, you know, I have regional leaders in each of the critical regions we have customers in, which is obviously the globe. So really thinking about how do we want to develop an outcome based approach with our top talk customers, high touch, thinking about that white glove treatment, that fast time to value during the onboarding experience, you know, certainly in their adoption of our solution, ensuring that they're moving along that maturity code, and then, ultimately, how do we maintain the renewal or even grow the lifetime value of those talk customers? Those are playbooks Eric that we've developed that really help us take dating insights about our top customers and then use that to inform what is the actionable play we're going to drive at each moment of truth and then from there. Like our segmentation strategy has really been to then say, okay, if that is the ideal customer...

...experience at the very top, how do we know scale that for medium touch and even in the low or tech touch segment of our customer base? And that is just been again an exercise of developing the right dating insights to inform the right actionability, using that to trigger outreach at the low touch way where it's one too many. So it is proactive, but it's really building out this personalized experience where we're blending both digital and human and we're basically seeing are the outcomes we expect during onboarding, during adoption and ultimately renewal making a difference from that human engagement? So that attribution is essential because that's when you know if your engagement is actually driving an outcome versus waiting for, let's say, the renewal event, which is a lagging indicator. Yeah, I love that. I mean that's right on the nose, you know, like if you're waiting till renewal to understand the value that your customer is getting out of your solution, you're already too late. And I also like the idea of doing things that don't necessarily scale and then learning from those and trying to teach systems how to replicate that type of customer experience, even when it's more of a one too many type of motion. And so tell me a little bit more about like maybe some specific areas where you're able to say like, okay, Hey, we saw our CS team doing a great job helping our enterprise customers in this way and be able to take that thing and turn it into the type of experience I could actually be automated to an extent with some other parts of your customer base. Yes, for sure. So one of the things is starting with the maturity curve of your solution and customer outcomes expected. So if you can gage at that high touch, you know, enterprise grade experience, where is the customer? What inspired them to buy your solutions? What are the goals they want to have? You can then take some of those...

...goals and Roi Expectations and basically, you know, assume that other customers like you, have similar goals. So we took a maturity assessment framework. We use that in the very high touch, you know, white glove experience. We bake that right indoor customer success plans. But then we found in the lower touch and even medium touch segments that if you take that same data and you might want to validate it with the customer to say this is where we think you are from all of the information we can gather about you, let us know if we got this wrong, then you could put customers on their own personalized journey and just tailor it based on the behavior in the adoption that you see from there on. So some of our uplift that we're seeing in the enterprise on that ultimate outcome of renewal rate is actually something we're also achieving in that longer tail because we're able to attribute much of what the enterprise customer expects to some of our mid market and even our smaller customers, and it's been a great way to basically balance both digital and human so that you can get this great outcome but still not just throw humans at the problem. I absolutely love that. I mean that's in line with our company missions. Of course I love that. But this idea of like hey, we we can model what success looks like and actually, you know that little bit of personalization where the customer can tell you whether or not that's their vision of success. I think it's really critical because every customer, I think about it, just slightly differently, and the more they can feel like you're aligned with their business objectives, the better exactly. And so you can also learn a lot from failures as well. And so, along with learning from successes about where things went well, how do you learn from where things go wrong? Yeah, I think that's great. So we have an entire product escalation motion. When customers are not feeling like they're getting the full value out of our solution and...

...their needs and their growth trajectory does not seem to be matching what they're able to see in our platform, this is where an escalation can happen, and that's actually that's a failure right, because we weren't proactively identifying a customer that might be off track or a customer that might not be getting that full rol out of the solution. So I feel like you need to have a great combination of the healthy path approach, like how to keep customers moving along that maturity curve, but then how to deal with product escalations. And it'send us. We built like a swarming concept, so when a customer escalates, they are triaged and grantite. You know, we are going to look for some method of determining with self serve, can we help them in that manner? First, when we can't, we will swarm the account. That means we will have, you know, obviously a lot of discovery with the customer to understand where things went off. What are they looking for in the platform or in our solution that they feel they're not getting? And then how do we bring and see customer success? To me, is the quarterback and bringing back our steeler. Example, is the quarterback of putting all the right resources and plays together for that customer that, let's say, Zend ESK has to offer, without expecting the customer to know where to go, so that swarming brings in professional services, might bring in our product managers to show the road map of something that's coming. That's an example where, yes, a failure, yes, we didn't meet the customers needs before they even had them, if you will, but we are reacting and making sure that we're standing up as a company that is there to serve them and get them through that rough patch. Yeah, it's really interesting how you see similar types of solutions emerge in different places. At full story, we called our CS folks huggers, and whenever someone was having trouble, they get a group hug because there would be a customer hugger and a hugger and code and all these other different types of...

...huggers who basically are saying, Hey, we want to show you the love. Make sure that you understand that we care about your value here too. So I love that example. Tell me a little bit more about the the team that you're kind of building and growing over there at Sen desk as well. I know, especially because a it's a global team and be or in the middle of a global pandemic, managing everyone's objectives and doing something like a swarming might be a little more difficult, because it's not like you're sitting everybody on a plane and sending them to a particular place. So tell me just a bit more about the team and how you think through scaling the organization. Yes, it's so true what you mentioned, Eric. I think the job of customer success has been in the spotlight during times like this and it's probably more challenging than it's ever been. Just to the point you mentioned, how do we get that energy and excitement from a customer meeting where you could whiteboard some things. How do we bring all the right people to the table and get them all scheduled and and also engaging on a virtual remote call all so I agree with you and I also think it's important for CS leaders to recognize how they need to care for their people, because this is in ordinance times and they do have both work and personal life challenges and if you make their role that much more I'll say fun something, that they wake up every day and realize that, with all these challenges, they're still loving what they do. That, to me, is the job of my managers and my leaders. So you know, we've been doing a lot to basically, first of all identify the job requirements, really get the hard and the soft skills down on paper for each role. Hiring makes you know, it makes it easier for hiring because then we know exactly the kinds of qualities and the culture fit we're looking for. But then even what we took that to is a is a framework in order to do a self assessment for my entire organization. They've been able to stack rank themselves against some of these critical hard and soft skills...

...and then from that comes an entire enablement program that we're driving. I think our people have felt super excited about the investment in professional development, getting them not only empowered to do the great job they're already signed up to do, that, especially with new skills like how to engage in customer meetings using, you know, zoom, things like that, but also gives them that investment meant for career pathways. So I think caring for them, making sure that you're doing things in the day to give them those breaks and sure that they're having a good work life balance, and then investing in enablement and getting them excited about being empowered for the job they have, but then future career advancement. I think those are some of the ideas that I've used it. Send USK, yeah, and it's oftentimes I find that a CS leader CSM is going to lean one way or another, which is like the lean a little bit more towards the commercial side of the business or a little bit more towards the customer relationship building side of the business. So how do you leverage your previous experience working in sales, as well as building out customer success at autodesks to really kind of build up those traits where someone is maybe, like, not as well versed in each CSM at the company. So everyone feels like they're contributing not only to customer relationship but also to the growth and sustainability of send US business. You know what, that's such a great question. You're right. I grew up in sales and interestingly, AD send us, the customer success function is actually under the organization along with sales. So it's really a model. I see about half and half of the SASS companies doing it this way versus having more of a CCEO office, if you will, that's separate. I find there to be a great amount of partnership and opportunity when and you are partnering successfully with sales. But you're right, some customers require a little bit more commercial mindset. What we try to do is actually use...

...an approach of what I call dynamic segmentation. So instead of just all customers spending a certain amount get a certain type of engagement, we actually use like a two by two box quadrant where it's really where are high growth customers, where there is still a lot of potential spend that we haven't yet capitalized on, and where are those customers that, frankly, are spending a lot, or maybe not, but they're just not going to be expanding that much. And Eric, I think it's really important to align the right person to the right account. So one of the ways we do that is really for our higher growth potential customers, aligning them to some of the CSMS that really came in from sales or really desire not so much an upsell motion but really taking the customer along that maturity curve to have more unlocking of the offering, maybe not just what they bought but what they could be getting from zendues. That's the kind of person I want on that account and there's others. Like you said, it's more protect and maintained. It's like this is a great account, we want to give them a great relationship, but it isn't really about giving them more because maybe they already have all that we offer. So it's a great concept and I agree with you it is not one size fits all. Yeah, totally, and I remember even myself struggling in the early days as a CSM that was more oriented towards relationship building and getting in conversations with, you know, large customers who would like we're great expansion opportunities and just saying hey, I don't really have the tool set to be able to serve these folks particularly well right now. And you'll see organizations like yours have adapted and said yeah, actually, it does make sense to allow people to play to their strengths in the relationship with the customer as well. As you know, that does require understanding what the customers objective is to and so I think you marry those two things up. We understand this person and what they're excited about and gapable of and what the customers excited about and capable of, and I feel like that really does help speed your path to market, path to...

...adoption, path to engagement, all those things that help drive a CS organization forward exactly. So really appreciate you sharing all these insights with our listeners today on the podcast. I do have like a final question for you. I like to ask it of every single guests, but it's what is the best piece of advice that you've gotten that you like to pass along to someone who is either a current customer success leader just someone who's aspiring to grow in the area of customer success? I would say it's probably three things. One I mentioned the importance of dating insights in building out a scalable customer success practice. I wouldn't wait for perfect okay, I've come from companies like auto dast that had a leg to see of thirty years where we were not assass company. I came and to Zend us. You know, the data isn't perfect. They're either start with what you have use basic information about maybe usage or utilization or the customer experienced really inform how you build out those engagement models. I think the second thing is the importance of caring for your people and really thinking about what is that best balance of not only the job they're doing and matching them up with the right customer, but how do I make their jobs more fun? How do I create an experience that makes them love what they do? Then they pass that contagious excitement to the customer? And I think the third thing is measure, measure measure. I find that building out some of the digital and the human types of engagements, those are levers and determining what is attributing to those outcomes that you want, the leading indicators like fast time to value or adoption. You know, extensive use of certain capabilities within a product that will help you determine what's working and what's not and then, ultimately, the business goal of renewal rate. Attributing your engagement to that outcome is the way in the sea suite you're probably going to be able to get some...

...additional investment and clouts. So those would be my three takeaways. I love that, and just the idea that, like, there's really no such thing as a perfect cs organization and I think once you realize that and say, like, there's always areas for improvement, you can get away from this like, okay, I have this well crafted, perfect model of engage with my customers and said say, Hey, I'm going to solve this problem over here that I'm noticing, and then this problem and this problem in this problem. And when you're measuring those results and you're actually engaging the team around being creative about solving these problems and testing those methods with your customers, I think that's when you can really start humming together as an org. Well, thank you so much, Teresa. Again. That was Teresa Nania. She's the VP of global customer success and renewals. It send us. I'm Eric Crane. Cofounder and CEO of flat file. Thank you for joining us on this week's episode of customer success later. You depend on the fastest time to value for your customers, so why let data on board 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 files 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 a 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

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (28)