First 90 Days of a Chief Customer Success Officer, with Duygu Cibik – CB22

Episode Overview

Duygu Cibik has a robust history in operations and change management and transformation.  So when she took on the role of the Chief Customer Success officer at Reval, she knew she needed to create a very deliberate path to gaining understanding, acceptance and traction in her role.

About Duygu

Jeanne Bliss Duygu CibikDuygu has 15+ years of leadership experience in enterprise technology with a strong track record of growing 100+ million dollar B2B technology businesses with full P&L responsibility.

Some of her proven expertise is in retaining and growing enterprise clients through value-based selling & servicing — and identifying clients’ critical needs, translating them into product & service features and developing value propositions.

Prior to her recent time at Reval, she was VP of Product and Customer Success at Gartner for three years (2013-2016), as well as COO at Pixable, a tech startup eventually acquired by Singapore Telecom. She’s also been head of enterprise product management and marketing at Turkcell.

The Value-Add Of This Episode (Or “How To Use This Podcast”)

Duygu has only been in her role at Reval recently; she began in 2016 (i.e. this calendar year). I thought it would be interesting to have a guest with a lot of experience — but someone who is nonetheless new to his/her current company. Enter Duygu!

I’m fond of saying that CCOs need to “earn the right” to their work and growth. We all know that the first few months on a job, especially at higher levels of responsibility, can contain lots of learning and growth — but also missteps and confusion about role. Per Deloitte, the size of the C-Suite has doubled in the last 15-20 years. Oftentimes, those new roles (the exact number of C-Suite positions varies by company, but the stats say 5 to 10 was the doubling) include a CCO. If the other, pre-existing executives don’t understand what a CCO is there for, it can get fraught. (This is why I often talk about “one-company leadership.”)

Here’s how I would use this episode: listen to it. (Well, hopefully you’d start there.) Below are some notes on how she handled the first 90 days, but listen and take some additional notes. If you’re working your way up the ladder in customer experience, or if you think you might be tasked with a big undertaking in 2017, this is invaluable advice.

The First 30 Days

Everything begins with understanding the business. That’s the crucial aspect of the first 30 days (so, give or take, one month).

Within that idea of understanding the business, you need to:

  • Know the unique value equation the business provides
  • Understand who the key players are, what they do, and where they report
  • Establish hypotheses regarding opportunities and situation

The first 30 days for anyone — but especially a new executive — can be tough because some people existing in the business like new hires to be “seen and not heard,” i.e. observing but not contributing. You should be heard in situations where it’s relevant, but the first 30 days does involve a lot of fact-finding.

The Second 30 Days

This is where you begin to understand and map out the customer journey. You want to make sure that you:

  • Speak to/listen for customers
  • Evolve your understanding of how they relate to your company and its offerings
  • Deepen the metrics — what are you tracking? Why? What else could be tracked?
  • Look at the true value drivers
  • See where the needs are
  • Correspondingly, see where the gaps are
  • Understand the overall customer journey and different touchpoints
  • Use this to develop root causes and analyses

At the end of your second 30 days (i.e. two months), you should be able to package together three hypotheses around change. The hypotheses must be rooted in actual, observable customer information and metrics/facts/data. In an ideal situation, you’ve already begun moving out of silo-by-silo reporting at this stage. (It might be a little too early for that in large companies, though.) But here’s where you are earning the right to the work. You’re looking at real data and customer stories and developing change hypotheses off that.

The Third 30 Days

By now, you’ve:

  • Learned the business
  • Figured out the key players
  • Done customer listening
  • Deepened the metrics
  • Developed hypotheses

The third 30 days — and the next few months — are about turning these hypotheses into action plans and getting engagement from other leaders on moving forward with those action plans.

Now I’d Love To Hear From You

How have you approached the first 90 days — or even six months, 1 year, etc. — in a customer experience type role? What tips and tricks do you have? Leave them in the comments if you’d like!

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