Customer Success Leader
Customer Success Leader

Episode · 1 year ago

Start Speaking Your Customer’s Language w/ Leigh Hamer

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

We’ve all heard it before: Communication is key. So why are businesses still so bad at it?

 

Leigh Hamer, Director of Customer Success at Lumavate, shares her strategy for crafting communication dependent on the receiver in this episode of Customer Success Leaders.

 

Plus, she and Eric talk about… 

 

- Measuring success based on your platform’s ease-of-use

 

- Mitigating the scariness of new updates

 

- How Leigh has been accounting for a new customer profile

 

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.

... the obstacles getting there right, and let's tackle those together. 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, welcome back to the customer success leader podcast. I'm your host, are crane, flat file, and I'm here today with Leehammer, who's the director of customer success at them of A. Hay Lee, how you doing good? I are. Thanks for having me on. Yeah, no problem. Where you calling in from today? NOBLESVILLE, Indiana. Noblesville, and not really heard of that before. Whereabouts in Indiana are you? Are we talking like Pawnee or we talking? Yeah, it's a pawn e. no, we are just north of Indianapolis. I really love just driving through the Midwest, especially around that area. It's so cool seeing all the windmills lit up at night, especially as you're driving through the cornfields. It's a gorgeous area. Noblesville is a very quaint little town, effectually a city now, but we have an adorable little town square. It's a nice homeie feel. That's cool. So I mean, tell me how you wound up as director of customer success for a Tech Company in Pawny, Indian. So you know, like any great marketer, it's been a winding path. So I started my career a little over FIF teen years ago and actually went to school to be a journalist and went into publication, so what, and work for some newspapers, and then I switched into marketing and really fell in love with communications and working with people and that gave me the opportunity to work with vendors right and so marketing agencies hiring fast companies to fill our text act and then it just slowly evolved into I really liked working for small startup companies. That energy, the drive of the people really just it energizes me. It makes me want to get up early in the morning and tackle new challenges. So my good friend Stephanie Cox was running marketing at limavate and an opportunity came up to join the team and I just jumped at it and have enjoyed the last two years with the company and we've experienced phenomenal growth and we'll get into a little bit but you know, lumovate is really committed to accelerating the growth of our product and, through that, really valuing our customers. So to be in that position is a just like I said, it makes me want to get up every morning. It's a great feeling. Yeah, that's an interesting path that, I imagine, one that's pretty helpful for someone in customer success who's constantly thinking about communications all day. So what do you pull from your comes background to help you in the day to day of leading a customer success ord? Yeah, absolutely, it's not what I thought I would be doing. You know, no Cittin in my college classrooms. So you know, I think good communication is the foundation of success in any role on a think about your inner personal relationships with your colleagues, your vendors, your own customers that you have to deal with. Clear communication just...

...makes that relationship grow and thrive and avoid the strife and the confusion that happens when there's miscommunication. So I draw from you really my ability working with the C suite. So I used to run her for some pretty large organizations, including Scott Trade, and with that you know you have to do executive summaries. You have to boil down the big pieces into biteside bullet points that they could digest, and I take that with me when I write summaries to clients. You know, how much time are they going to have to commit to that email or that powerpoint presentation or whatever it is we have to deliver to them? And how do I get them to see what I need them to see and understand what I need them to understand? So we have that mutual goal met right, the projects delivered, they're happy, they renew, we can grow their account and service them and get ahead of any of their needs. So I think the communication is what ultimately makes those relationships so productive and successful. So I hear great communication, clear communication, straightforward communication, just so often right and it's one of those things it's like, okay, well, yes, I could go tell them the thing exactly as it is, but it's really hard to interpret that sometimes in a business. So like, what are some frameworks or tools or tips you can share with the listeners here around crafting that clear communication? That's such a good question. So many things come to my mind. The first one is how that message is delivered. So you know, to your point absolutely. People talk about clear communication, transparent right, and those are all buzz words and at the end of it you're like, what does that all really mean for me? What it means is there is honesty, but there's a little Jiu Jitsu going on with it, to be honest. Right. So how do I flip the narrative so that way what feels like a negative becomes a positive, becomes an opportunity. It's an opportunity to grow that relationship. I talk with my clients a lot about do you want to be a client or do you want to be a partner? And the difference between that is trust and the ability for them to bring us into their strategic planning and trust US enough to give us those insight so then in all of my communication, I can get ahead of anything that I can see might be impeding their growth or their success when they think of how we fit in with them. I think also, when you think about clear communication, sometimes you have to deliver edits or you know what might feel like a negative feedback, and I often think back at some of my best mentors and experiences, and I had the pleasure of working with one woman in particular who taught me how to edit, and I remember we would have to edit our directors, press releases or whatever he felt like he needed to draft right, and instead of marking it up with a red pen she would mark it up with a pencil, and that has always stuck with me because it's just it's not as glaring, it didn't feel as harsh to him right, and that was part of that delivery and I think about that often and obviously transpose it for the use case. But how am I going to give that...

...person that feedback in a way that doesn't insult them or put them on their heels and in the defensive position? I want to engage them because we both have, you know, mutual goals. So let's focus on those mutual goals, not the obstacles getting there right, and let's tackle those together. Yeah, I love that. It's all about Katering your communication to the relationship that you're in with that individual. That makes a whole lot of sense to me and I actually went through that a couple times already earlier today, where it's the same type of information that we're delivering, so we're delivering it in slightly different ways because of the type of relationship we have for that individual. Totally makes sense. So tell me a little bit more. We're going to dig in a little bit deeper to a recent customer success push that involved a lot of communication with your customers. But tell me a little bit more about momivate, just to help educate our listeners as the context before we dive into that situation. SOLMIVATE is a lowcode platform for marketers. It's where marketers build APP period. It's that simple. So we have been in business for about four and a half years, those two five now, and our product has evolved over that time. We have evolved to very much focus on the marketing community and understand that they are are get it done marketers right. These are the people who want to just tackle every opportunity. They are our focus on speed right and getting to market first and seizing every opportunity and they're not going to let any question of technology get in their way. They are going to solve it themselves. There's different buzz words that get thrown around, right, citizen developer or folks like that who can do low code, you can do a little bit of html or just dangerous enough all of those sayings and so we were catering to them. We're building a platform where they can jump in and build a mobile APP and then manage it and launch it into the world. It's really cool. So what's some examples of the types of APPs you see your customers building? Yeah, so many before the fandemic, the business was really thriving in events. So when you think about the investment that would have to happen to have a native APP for an event, it's pretty high. With our platform it's significantly lower than they're able to actually deliver a progressive web APP and manage it themselves. So event marketers were using US quite frequently because they could make you know on the spot changes as the event changed or the messaging change between pre event, during event and then post event and all those CTAs that change with it. We do see, you know, use cases around CPG and the unboxing experience or in Ile experience. So we've done a lot in that space. We also have a lot of success actually with internal calms, so with large corporations talking to their you know, three thousand two thirtyzero plus and a ebase. We have a solution within our platform where admins and authors can collaborate to push out articles and different pieces of content to the...

...right personnel based on their role, their region or whatever their job duties are. So a wide variety of use cases that we've seen success in and seen our customers build ups full. So you've got some really fast, moving forward adopting customers who are using your platform to build whatever they want. So how do you define success with them? That seems like a bit of a challenge. It can it can be, but I think the best way to understand luminate is, I think, sometimes to compare something new to something that is pretty well established and understood. Right. I think Canava has done an exceptional job, right, and the fact that they're a Unicorn is a testament to that. But their idea was okay, Adobe Photoshop is too confusing and Clunky, right, and it takes an expert. So let's make this really simple where people can build their own designs, right, and we'll give them templates to do that. What is success there for you and I is different. I might just need a twitter banner, whereas you might want an entire presentation and you know, designs for your website. So their measure of success is likely based on users, as is ours. So we're building a platform where you can come in and easily build a very lightweight APP to, you know, create a lead general form and an event information page on your APP right, very light, whereas I'm going to come in and say I need an internal calm solution for my three hundredzero employees that are global. Those are two distinct use cases. So we measure success by how easy as our platform and our solutions to use for our customers. But then the metrics of success on each APP is really dependent on its use case. But we do monitor how many people are using our platform monthly and, you know, weekly even, and then my role is to gather their feedback. How happy and satisfied are you with our solution? How easy is it for you to use? And then with that, like any good, you know, Customer Advisory Board, getting their feedback, getting their input on where we're headed and making sure that our roadmap matches up with their desires in the market that were building. Yeah, so let's talk about how you incorporated some of that feedback into the recent platform update that you did. So it sounds like you've made a major transition. I want to hear more about it, but also hear more about it from like the customer success perspective. But were the ways in which you had to communicate with customers? How did you set a reset expectations and what was the ultimate sort of mutual benefit there? Yeah, great question. So I think you know, the platform needed just a refresh and a reconsideration of how fast is it to make an APP? Where were people getting hung up or where was it taking them in an ordinate amount of time to do something right? And so one very simple example is, when you build an APP, you likely want to have a header or a menu or some kind of footer with icons, right, so your navigation around the APP. The way that we had it set up was you had to manage that on each individual page...

...of the APP right, so that you could have something unique per page if you wanted. But that takes a lot of time and we actually had one customer who had over sixty pages in their APP right, so different pages that you're building on. That's a lot to change. If you want to make one change to your menu list, right, you have to go to sixty one plus pages. So what we did is we rolled all of that up and really talked about. Well, what is the branding? Let's start talking the way that marketers talk branding. Okay, what falls under branding? Well, this is going to be my pallate of colors that I want to be able to access throughout the APP. Here's what I want in my menu and I'm going to manage it in one place and then I can just turn that menu on for each one of my pages if I want it. There so little nuance things that we just thought that's going to save somebody like hours of management time when their APP is big. But then beyond that, it was also incorporating help content and so having contextual health content throughout our platform was just something we know is a good practice and something that we really lacked in a lot of depth. We had some in there, but not to the extent that we wanted. So we went through a major effort to document all of those changes so at every step our customers could click on the little, you know, question mark and get that contextual information to help them keep building and keep moving through their process. Yeah, and it is someone who's been in customer success as well as product I can understand that sometimes less as more right, like giving people a fewer options actually helps improve the experience. But then you have a set of folks who already used to doing the more and they don't necessarily like that there is now less. It's like, can you talk me through how you communicate that type of change to your customer base? Yeah, I mean it starts internally, right, and so those were some internal debates for sure, and conversations around. Our customers can make bad apps like they're they're going to have the freedom to put green and read together right and not adhere to Usui Best Practices, and we're going to allow that because we're putting the power in their hand. So I think internally us really accepting those factors and saying, okay, how do we relinquish control? Right, we are not going to be their agency and we're not going to limit what they can create, just like we don't see that limitation in other design studios. You can build whatever you want. So that comes through, I think, in our messaging, both with our website redesign. So we overhauled all the messaging there, so it starts to sound very consistent to both are existing and our new customers. And then in the you know, mass communication that we had to our customers, as well as the one on one communication, whether it was through meetings and phone calls or emails to our customers, we explain to them that the fundamental building blocks that they were accustomed to and had become very acquainted with in the platform we're still there. They just were in different places. So you could still do what you had been doing, but here are the ways that it's been improved. Right. So I think we allayed any concerns about new is scary by just communicating all the things are there.

They're just better. But also, I think Eric keep in mind, we've been focusing on working with marketers who embrace risk, who are forward leaning, who want to be at that cusp of the newest technology, and so I think that's really helped us because we haven't had a lot of pushback on those changes. People are excited by it. Our designer and our DEV team are top notch and I think that our new platform is just sexy. It's seamless, it's very clean, it's easy to navigate. That excites people. I think the visual appeal of your platform cannot be overlooked and so once people see it, it feels welcoming and not intimidating. Yeah, Harken back to an earlier point you made as well, which is, just like you know, these folks who are early adopters, who are just like out there trying that the bleeding edge of everything, oftentimes expect that technology to change right, they expect the product to change. But as you gather more and more profiles of customers, you start to move up that adoption curve, all the sudden you get folks who aren't as used to that piece of change. And so I'm sure now with this new solution, you're starting to see that a bit more, now that it's accessible to those further along the curve. So talk to me about how you've adjusted your specifically processes and practices inside of customer success to account for that new profile of customer? Well, what a great question. So I think first of all, just we we have a laid some fears or any concerns by saying you know, what's there is still there, just in new ways. But we are engaging our customers, especially those that have been most loyal, and we're with us in those early years. We are a close knit team and we very much appreciate those customers. So I personally, with my team, have met one on one with our customers just to make sure we continue to build that personal relationship. But as we grow, like any growing fast company, you know, you evolved who you're targeting and you evolved into a much larger user base, like you're saying. So we certainly welcome that feedback. I think we have a very strong road map that keeps in mind what our core users need. So what are are pillars of truth? What are the things that we're never going to get rid of because if we did we would alienate our base. So we're very conscious of those things. Like I said, I think one of them is let's give people that freedom, but also give them that support of will. Where do they get template right? How can they work within a boundary if that's where they feel safe? So I think what we're going to try to do, as you watch liminator of the coming years, we're going to give you that freedom, but we're going to give you a safe space as well, where you have a templed to work off of or you have things that are are very familiar to you. So I'm excited to see where we go and all the feedback that we've been getting from our current customers and all the new ones that have been on boarding over the last couple of weeks. It's all been very positive. Yeah, and it's interesting to hear a different take on this.

Talk With Jake Dun Laugh from scaled on an episode recently, and one of the things you mentioned was like the job of customer success is to make every user a power user right, regardless of how advanced they are on any particular technology curve. Like your products should be able to let them be a power user if they so desire. Absolutely, and so everything that my team is driving for right now is exactly that. How can we make it so the answers are at their fingertips right so that contextual help being in there? That is owned by my team. So with every new version release or new component that gets pushed to our library, whatever it might be, our team is going to be at the ready creating that content to just help them through knowing how to use it and manage it. Beyond that, we are evolving our training to include both live and on demand. So more and more trainings are coming out. Obviously, as more functionality is released with our platform, those trainings will accelerate. But one of the things we're focusing on is, it's funny to say that is the power user. And so who is that person who does want to get into lowcode? So limivate platform is actually no code. If you want it to be, you don't have to write anything. We have all the components and front end properties, so you can just input it as you want it to appear. But if you did like a lowcode ability to get in and kind of, you know, tweak things, we do give you that access. Like I said, we're going to give you the playground if you want it, and so one of the properties in each APP is an advanced tab where you can actually access the javascript for the APP and start coding away to make other actions possible. So that's one of the tracks that I'm actually writing now is how do we train people to know how to use that and feel empowered enough if they're bold enough to feel like they want to take that route with their APP. You just got to add my space pages to your marketing qualification checklist and see you had the the jazziest my space bases. Hey, yeah, rag on it, but I think my space still has about five million users. There you go a current customer base ready to start using your platform. Thank you so much for our conversation day. This has been really awesome just to hear about how you've managed a major organizational shift pretty samelessly. I do you like to ask my guests one final question as well, which is just what's the best piece of advice related to customer success you've ever gotten? Then you want to just impart upon our listener base. The first thing that comes to mind is just be kind, right, and that goes for both the customer success wrap and the customer. I think remembering that. You know, life has come full circle for me so many times where I have started working with somebody who was a vendor, and don't take that for granted, and you get so much further when you're just kind to somebody else and forgiving. Don't read tones and emails those types of things. Ask and seek clarity because, again, remember that you both have mutual goals and once you focus on that you can have a really seamless relationship.

Hello, y'all. Be Kind, all right. Thank you so much, Lee. That's Lee Hammer, is a director of customer success at limivate, calling in from Nobleville. Nobleville, Noblesville, Indiana. Thank you so much for your time today. I'm Ericrane from flat file. Thank you for listening to this Weik's episode of customer success later. You depend on the fastest time to value for your customers, so I let data on board and sell you down. Stop emailing spreadsheets, creating CSP templates or setting up FTP transfers. Create collaborative, secure work spaces 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 CS 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.

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