In today’s episode, we’re revisiting some important takeaways shared by 4 customer experience leaders in the SaaS industry who were previous guests on the show. You’ll hear thought-provoking insights, as well as lessons learned by these leaders who’ve lead transformations in their organizations.
These takeaways are valuable even for those who are not in the SaaS space. Additionally, you’ll hear their responses to my pay it forward question, “what do you know now, that you wish you knew then?” which I know is a favorite for some of you! Enjoy the show.
In this snippet, Yamini Rangan, former CCO of Dropbox, shares the importance of providing employees with a common purpose in order to improve the experience for employees and customers. She mentions that this purpose should be centered around amplifying the voice of the customer; she has found that this changes the way employees think.
Another tactic that Yamini shares for C-Suite leaders is to go back to customers and let them know how you’ve integrated their feedback, saying, “it’s important that you listen, but it’s even more important that you’re taking action.” You will need to close the loop on what you’re doing based on what you heard.
I ask Yamini, “what do you know now that you wish you knew then?” and she says, “when you are on the right path and you know that this is improving the lives of your customers and also improving the lives of the employees because they feel like they’re having an impact, it is super gratifying.”
Eleanor O’Neill: How to Build Your Customer Success Forecasting System
When chatting with Eleanor O’Neill, former chief customer experience officer at Workshare, she tells us that she’s a big believer in celebrating wins and encouraging awareness of success. She shares a useful tactic about work and mindfulness, stating that you need to “allow your brain to connect with the work. Wrap up at the end of the week and reflect on the wins. Go into the weekend carrying the successes of the week with you.”
Eleanor also shares a great point about having compassionate curiosity while working in customer experience, stating, “Effectively we are a vendor, and we are selling to other people. And so everybody should care about the sort of quality they’re delivering to the market and the quality of the written material. And is it, if I was on the receiving end of this piece, would I find it easy to use, easy to consume, easy to read? And so that was one element and the other one was just impactful delivery. I think they really stand up to support a better customer experience.”
Eleanor shares what she wishes she knew when she first started in this role, here.
Allison Pickens: 4 Tactics to Building and Managing Customer Success
“We all have to wear this CEO hat and think about, ‘how do I make this company successful?’ I’m a huge believer that the client experience can be the most important driver of company success,” says Allison, former chief operating officer at Gainsight. Then she goes on to say, “I think sometimes when we’re only speaking the language of our narrow departments, we can be perceived as being narrow-minded as a result, and perhaps not thinking about the best interest of the company. But instead, we end up thinking about first and foremost the best interest of our function and our team members. So, wearing the company hat, I would say, would be the most important thing to do.”
In response to my question, “what do you know now that you wish you knew then?” Allison shares, “I think sometimes we get held back. We get held back by what we think is acceptable within our organizations. We get held back by worries, about whether folks might think about our own self-criticisms, and I think when you do the right thing, and you have conviction in it, it will work out, right? You’ll find the way to communicate it, to get other folk’s buy-in, and people will respect you because they can see the conviction.”
When you do the right thing, and you have conviction in it, it will work out. You'll find the way to communicate it, to get other folk's buy-in, and people will respect you because they can see the conviction. -- Allison Pickens,… Click To Tweet
Jon Herstein: Make Customer Delight about Delivering Value
When it comes to customer success and customer delight, Jon, CCO of Box, stresses that “customer delight is important but insufficient,” going on to say, “don’t make it the only thing. Make sure that as you’re building out your capabilities, that that’s a component of how you talk about the work that you do, but don’t make it the only thing. I see some teams that are called customer happiness. I think, your job is actually not to make the customer happy, right? Your job is to make sure the customer is deriving value from their investment in your product or service.”
Similar to Yamini Rangan, Jon also makes a point about closing the customer loop, stating that you need to “make sure your advisory board is truly advisory. They should be providing you with feedback on how well your company strategy resonates with them. Close the loop with them. But if you don’t actually act on the advice that you get from your advisory board, don’t call it an advisory board because you’ll just upset the customers.”
In this snippet, you’ll also hear Jon share his framework for the six areas of focus for a CCO. For Jon, he believes these areas are: customer experience, voice of the customer, customer centricity, customer relationships, customer advocacy, and thought leadership. He shares examples of how leaders can get work done within each category.
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