The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode 133 · 8 months ago

133. The 4 A’s of Customer Experience w/ Leah Chaney

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Not only should everyone want to have customer experience as an integral part of their org’s DNA, but they should also be accountable for the fact that they are a part of the customer’s experience.

In this episode, I interview Leah Chaney, Founder and Chief Experience Officer at BetterGrowth, about her brilliant 4 A’s of Accountability bucketing system.

Leah talked with me about

- How customer experience is like a theme park

- The 4 As and how to scale them

- How to weave retention into all of your goals

- Cultural impediments to the CX conversation

Check out these resources we mentioned during the podcast:

- Buc-ee’s

- BreakoutCS

- Revenue Collective

Subscribe, listen, and rate/review the Customer Experience Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play or Google Podcasts, and find more episodes on our blog. Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Customer Experience Podcast in your favorite podcast player.

I've created what I call the asof customers success bucketing system, and it's basically for as. So it's acquisition, activation, adoption and advocacy, and within those four a's are all ofthe members of your organization. The single most important thing you can do todayis to create and deliver a better experience for your customers. Learn how sales, marketing and customer success experts create internal alignment, achieved desired outcomes and exceedcustomer expectations in a personal and human way. This is the customer experience podcast.Here's your host, Ethan Butte. If you're paying attention, you've probablyheard some version of this several times over the past year or so. Retentionis the new growth, or retention is the new acquisition? Those directionally true. I don't think it's new and I'm excited to hear what today's guest thinksabout it. Throughout her career she has served as a customer success leader almostexclusively in the text base. She's founder and chief experience officer at better growth, a team that helps companies accelerate revenue growth, increase retention, drastically improveexpansion and provide world class customer experiences. She's also a community builder, servingas to Portland Co chapter head and lgbtq moderator at revenue collective and as organizerof breakout CS. Leah Cheney, welcome to the customer ex Arings podcast.Thank you. Wow, it's exciting to be here. It's always really interestingto hear people talk about you, isn't it, and I'm like, Oh, I did do that. Yeah, absolutely, especially with the privilege ofall of the hindsight at having years of experience behind you, which I'm reallyexcited to get into. I think you have a really cool and unique perspectiveand obviously a ton of valuable experience, and so I have a several thingsI want to get into, but I want to start with retention. Isthe new growth or the new acquisition? Obviously, when I see directionally true, I think it's consistent with the rise of Sass, the rise of CS, the rise of subscription in membership at the same time. Repeat, referral, expansion, share of wallet, these types of things have long been partof any healthy business, probably for centuries. Like what are your thoughts when youhear something like that? Yeah, listen. So I think anyone hasheard me talk before I'm really passionate around certain things and this is one ofthem. Right. Like, I've heard a lot of people say that retentionsthe new hot topic. I don't think that's the case. I think what'shappening is that we're in a down economy and all of a sudden keeping moneyin the bank is really noticeable, right. So it's always important, I think, the customers that get it right find a way, even in thebest of economic times, to keep retention front and center, make sure theircustomers are happy and make sure that they're staying. But particularly right now,yeah, it's a big hot topic right like when, when the cells pipelineis not as strong, all the sudden keeping money in the door becomes kindof keeping the lights on. Yeah, what do you you've seen out there? I mean you can salt a variety of businesses, like are we turning? Is that is is still kind of in the wait and C mode.What do you think about new revenue into obviously it varies, of course,by the product or the service, but kind of what is the tone orfeeling out there right now? Yeah, I mean, look, some peoplehave done really well in this right. Like, if you are a softwarecompany that focused on working from home. You did pretty well in this,you know, pandemic and challenging economy. However, I think what I'm sayingout there is that most people are struggling. Most people are struggling. Most peoplereally had to cut back right and and what's interesting to me is I'vebeen a startup junkie for, you know, a couple of decades now, andworking in startups, I've been through a recession, not a pandemic,but I've been through a recession and I can tell you that a lot ofstartups are doing this for the first time right, and so if you've beenthrough it before, it's like, oh no, this is totally where.You nurture relationships even you know more. You you ask for Renewal Yeses,like you know way in advance of what you might have been before. Youreally make sure you understand what your net...

...revenue retention is. And so yeah, I mean I think that if you haven't been through this right, ifyou're three, four, five year old company, you probably got splash withsome cold water on this one. You probably made some big mistakes, youprobably lost a lot of revenue, you probably had pretty high churn and yeah, I mean basically, I think companies right now, because they cut back, have a choice on what they're spending money on. And if you didn'tmake sure that your customer experience was really solid, you probably got cut.Yeah, and that's a it's a great transition point. You're one of thehandful of people who has a customer experienced title. I would assume you're ableto give it to yourself, and so I would. I'm especially excited.I love asking everybody this question, but special especially interested in your take.When I see customer experience, what does that mean to you? Leah?Yeah, so a customer experience doesn't have a definition because it's a movement,right, like I like to explain this. If you go to a theme parkwith your kid, all right, and I have an eight month old, so I'm going to talk about parenting a lot and I'll Jeez, butif you go to a theme park with your kid, you're going to havean experience, whether or not that theme park put any attention towards what yourexperience was or not. Right. And so the customer experience happens with yourproduct or your service, regardless of your participation in that. They have anexperience as they go through setting up your platform or going through your consultancy orwhatever it is like. You know it was it timely? Did people careabout me? Was the return on investment there? Didn't sells sell me somethingthat was actually valuable? Or, you know, did they just sling meinto no no man's land and it was nothing like I signed up for?Right? And so customer experience and putting an attent, putting attention on thator a title to that is saying that, Hey, I'm here to actually makesure that this theme park is solid and that when this customer leaves,they're going to want to come back love the theme park. Analogy. Sowhat would you say to someone who's trying to decide whether or not to makeit a role or a team or a function or whether to carry it aslike a guiding philosophy that transcends silo even in a healthy culture we get siloedand so like. How do you because obviously people land successfully and people failwith both at with both directions, how do you encourage people to think aboutthat? Yeah, I actually don't think people really succeed without a focus onit. Now, it doesn't have to be the title of customer experience,like I like. But you know, going back to the analogy of ifyou have a museum, right, and you have someone that walks you throughand explains everything to you, right, like I'm from Austin, Texas,and I remember going to the state capital and I joined the little tour andsomeone talk to me through everything I was going through, and if I hadn'thad that person there, I would have just been staring at a lot ofold paintings and really nice chairs and doors and been like this is cool andold. So the customer experience guide right, like somebody WHO's dedicated to that makesure that that experience is valuable but that they're getting the most out ofit, and it's somebody paying attention to that as a fulltime job. Ifyou don't have that, what inevitably happens, in my opinion, is that peoplestart to create the customers experience based on what their experience is. Soif you're a CTO, you're building a product based on what you want thatproduct to be and not what your customers actually using that product or or experiencingit. I see this a lot and senior executive teams at startups right,like they mean well, they have a passion and a vision and something theyprobably wrote on a Napkin that they put blood, sweat and tears into andhaven't slept in a year and a half when they got it off the ground. Right. But regardless of what you started out for, once customers actuallystart to use it, they create their own path and if you have somebodythere that's paying attention to that, you can really make sure that the productis growing with what the customers actually need and not just what you wrote downon a cocktail Napkin years ago. Totally Fair. And now, what doyou think about the type of role that lends itself? Obviously I think themost common or the most consistent is someone...

...comes out of cs or you havea chief customer officer that takes on or oversees this responsibility or function. Doesit matter to you where this comes from within an organization? No, Imean, my favorite thing is further to be a customer experience committee, right, and it's one person from each of the major pillars, because, again, I want to make sure that the people understand that there's a difference betweencustomer success, which is a department like sales and marketing and products and customerexperience, which is a movement right, and so ideally you would have acustomer experience committee where somebody on product, somebody on customer success, somebody onsales, the CEO sit in and like talk through the customer experience. Andmajor companies do this right, like the really successful companies like Amazon have alwaysdone this and their own way. And then I also like to recommend thatyou rotate them out. I think the CEO should always have a permanent seatin that committee, but I recommend that you rotate those seats out within otherpeople within those departments, so everybody's kind of got this customer experience in theirDNA right, and so I'd like to think of it in my recommendations moreof a movement internally than just a person. Love it. Any other advice aroundmaking CX part of company DNA again, titled Or Untitled Committee or team,however you want to do it? Any other insights, because I likethis idea of a cross functional effort dedicated to Cx. Especially I like therotating seas. Do you have anything else? They're like just from this DNA perspective? Anything else that brings it deep into how the company operates. Yeah, okay, so this is so kind of a little background about me.So you get this, I'm going to get you to something proprietary that I'llgive away, that I've built myself, and so I call it the asof customer service and it's basically an accountability bucketing system. I think again,not only should everybody want to have customer experience as a part of the DNA, but actually everybody needs to be accountable again, for the fact that theyare a part of the customers experience. And I think oftentimes where companies failin this is they put a customer success team together and they put the weightof the world on the customer success team to like be responsible for all thecustomer centiment tracking, like any net promoter scores or back to them anything else, and you know, I have my beliefs on what's good and bad aboutnet promoter score as well. But going back to this, you have tohave accountability across the board. So when you're doing a customer experienced journey map, if you will, I've created what I call the as of customer successbucketing system and it's basically for a's so it's acquisition, activation, adoption andadvocacy, and within those four a's or all of the members of your organization. So this way nobody's hiding behind the curtain of Oh, I'm an engineerand I what, what do I have to do with the customer? Well, you actually have the majority to do with the customer actually as an engineer. So again with acquisition, activation, adoption and advocacy, I put thatinto okay, acquisition is anything that goes out the door. So, goingback to the theme park, that's your flyers that are going out about thecompany. That's the the cold calls that are going in from like the salesteam about, you know, the company, etc. And so that team isgoing to house anyone that is responsible for top of the funnel or yourfirst brand image to that customer, because that's their first experience, right andthen from there they go into the activation phase. So that's your onboarding team, that's your product team, that's everyone that's a part of getting the customerup and running, your customer success team, probably your support team, and thenfrom there's the big chunk of the business, the most important part,which is the adoption phase. And this is where most companies just set upa customer and leave them and forget them. Right, we got months before therenewal by I'm going to go focus on revenue. This is when yourcustomer decides that they're staying. This is when your customer decides if they likeyou. This is when your customer decides if there's a return on an investment. And so this is the most crucial part, and this adoption phase iseveryone in your company. This is everyone.

Everyone should have something to do scalablyin this part of the customers experience and journey. And then, finally, instead of a renewal phase where you panic and try to get the customerto renew, if you've done it correctly, you have what I called the advocacyphase, and that's when you're asking. That's where sales and marketing come backinto your customer success and leadership team, because now you're taking all the greatword of mouth, the white papers, the case studies, the referrals andyou're using those to generate more business. So instead of looking at this likea map that's flat, where you start here and you finish here,you're actually looking at this like a circle, because if you do this correctly.It never ends, right. It's like this renewal loop, if youwill. So you highlighted adoption as probably one of the greatest opportunities for mostbusinesses to improve in general. I know this is going to be variable bybusiness, but in general, are you talking like first ninety days, oryou talking about like, like what is this adoption window, and maybe whatare a few keys to success here? It's everywhere. After the onboarding experience, and I think that a lot of people, and so depends. Somepeople are up and running within ten minutes of starting your platform. Other peopleare, you know, sixty down, ninety days if you've got a reallycomplicated API connection right, and so whatever you're on boarding phases, which Icall that activation phase, it's everything else. It's everything after that up until you'vesaid Yes to your renewal is your adoption phase, and so that's your, you know, first day of being up and running through your renewal,as, the adoption phase. The one thing I really like about the forays, of course, is that it maps the entire or it accounts for theentire customer life cycle from the first touch through healthy years long relationship where youhave double or triple the commitment as the initial commitment years ago in the Dand All of this. It's one of the things, it's the most excitingto me about customer experience and one of the reasons I'm so glad I havethe privilege of hosting this podcast is that I think that that is how everyoneshould be thinking. Something that I think has been similar, similar in it'show popular it's become, is is the CRO roll. One of the thingsI like about the Cro roll is that it accounts for, you know,it's not just someone overseeing kind of sales or sales and marketing and this acquisitionpiece and then we'll let the CS team figure it out. It's this ideathat revenue. It takes a more holistic view of revenue, kin to theway x and the forays take a holistic view of the customer experience in thecustomer journey. Any thoughts on the parallels there between Cro or any cautions orany hot takes or opinions? Yeah, no, absolutely, and plug torevenue collective, who's doing a crow school right now. Sam Jacobs and theirteam there came to me to lead the customer success part of that and Ifound a great partner to partner with me on doing that, because C ro, you know, the the chief revenue officer, is so pivotal to thecustomer experience, right, and so I actually do think there's a lot ofparallel. I'm seeing more and more that companies are aligning customer success like alike to go up to a crow and then you know, and I don'tknow how I feel about that. I mean, like, ideally you wouldhave a customer a chief experience officer, right, that that would report to, but this cro is a huge part of it, regardless if customer successis reporting to this person or not. And so I think that what itreally showcases is that for the customer experience, if you put in the time tobuild a customer experience, you can expect that to generate revenue for you. Right, like it should have a large, large, large seat atthe revenue table. Right, your customer success team has a has a seatat the revenue table if you're doing it correctly, where they're getting renewals andexpansions and referrals, and the customer experience is what's making all that happen becauseif it's a good customer experience, they're...

...going to spend more money with you. Right, and one of my least favorite things that I see is people, especially the old school mentality of customer success, being, Oh, wedon't want to ask the customer for money, we're friends, we have a relationship. Well, if you've done your product right, if you've gotten yourfeedback and you've digested it and done something with it, then you're doing yourcustomer a favor by selling them more because your product is evolved to help themmake more. Right. So they're putting ten dollars in and getting a hundredout based on what your product is doing for them. So the customer experiencebeing strong across the board makes that really easy to tea up for a customersuccess person or a sales individual. If your organization has sales that takes onexpansion opportunities. It's not my favorite, but if you do that, goodfor you, right. And so yeah, I mean I've more than answered question, I think, based on my opinion. So one of the cautions, I feel like that I inferred from what you said is that, youknow, revenue is a reflection of a great experience. I think outcomes obviouslyhave a role to play there too. But that there's more to the experiencethan just revenue and if we use revenue as the proxy for a good experience, that we might be missing something. Did I infer that fairly? Isthere something there? Yeah, absolutely. I mean, listen, the experienceis also what's going to bring you word of mouth marketing, right, andso, depending on what, regardless if you're a baby start up that wantsso badly to have the first big logo to if you're a huge, youknow, Fortune Fifty Company, you want a good experience to happen for peopleto speak well of you, right. And so I think it's beyond revenuebecause it's your brand. It's like, you know, we spend so muchtime thinking about what our logo looks like and what our color looks like.I was just bragging about how I love you guys, you know, likeyour website. Right, we put so much thought into those things, butwe don't put hardly any thought into what the experiences for the end user andhow they're going to talk about us. Right. And so yes, Ithink it goes beyond revenue because it is also what people feel and what theactual tangible brand image is of you, beyond just smoke and mirrors and youknow if people paid more money. It's what's really going to be solid aboutyou. It is what is going to get you through a difficult economy,right, like if everyone knows that your company has this amazing customer experience andthat they get a lot of Roi on it and that people care about them, like, that's not easy to cut back, right. So when you'retrimming the fat of your text act, you're probably not going to trim thatone. Yeah, the feelings is such a keyword. I don't think weuse it often enough. I think one of the reasons that it's difficult tomeasure surveys. Get at it kind of. I will not to you up fora go at NPS there, but that I love that you use theword feelings there, and I completely agree. It's that it's foundational to kind ofan assumed yes, it means. You know, we make so manydecisions subconsciously and so much of that is emotionally driven, and so when wehave positive, positive impressions formed by positive experiences, we say positive things toother people about a brand or a company, it further reinforces our positive position becausenow we've expressed it outwardly to other people. I think feelings are oftenoverlooked. Let's go really, really practical here to speak to the sales people, in the marketing people. What can we be doing in the acquisition bucket? To kind of go back to the for Ace, what can we bedoing in the acquisition bucket to improve retention? Tell the truth, don't overinflate it. That's the biggest thing. Okay, and it's and it's usually not evenon purpose, right like you'll have these brilliantly talented marketers that are justsiload right by it, not even no fault of their own silos or fromleadership. They're not from departments. Leadership Create Silos. And if you havesilo departments and you have beautiful collateral going in but it doesn't sell you correctly, then it's a huge challenge for sales...

...and see us. And so youknow, I think one of the things to really keep in mind is thatthat team, if there's a committee going back to that and you're talking aboutwhat's really going out there and using that an analogy again of like theme parks, if you're putting out into you know, the Internet, you know the worldthat you're going to get an experience that you're not the and when thecustomer gets there they realize that and during that adoption phase they're mad about it. So the first thing you can do in that acquisition phase is make surethat your collateral is truthful, that it's detailed. Some of my favorites evenspeaks to what they're not. This is what we're not, right. Andso then when they do get handed over to the activation phase and beyond,the ready to go, and you know that includes your scur teams. Likeoften times people are trying to hit numbers from phone calls and they'll say anything. They'll say anything and I feel for them, but they'll say anything toget the person to sign, to hit their quota, to hit their number, and it never works out good. So again, be truthful. Thatis the number one thing an acquisition and to be truthful you have to reallyunderstand what it is that you sell, not just how to make it lookgood or sound good. Yes, so much good stuff there. I reallylike this idea of expectation management from the get go. I feel it andthat's my language for it. I think disappointment is a function of expectation,and so this idea of seeing what needs to be said to make what youwant to have happen happen is incredibly dangerous for variety of reasons, mostly thatit sets up what a there's an integrity issue, but be there's this alsofalse expectations that you're setting up and then you're just taught kind of tossing itover the fence for someone else to clean up and figure out later on.Drastically improving expansion. I forget whether I got that language from Linkedin or fromthe better growth website, but as soon as I read it I was likethat is probably a really huge opportunity for most companies. Why do you aI assuming you're familiar with the use of this were drastically in this context.Why that word choice and what are a few ways that you help people andadvise people to drastically improve expansion? Yeah, I mean the first thing is,I can't believe you know how many times I've come in as a consultant. You know that's what I'm called for. Right like usually with better growth acompany that I own, a CEO or a senior executive reaches out tome and says we have a problem with our with our revenue generation. There'ssomething broken with our customers experience. You know, we want to be betterin these areas and you know, nine times out of ten, the firstthing I realize for areas that they can improve it is that they don't havea game plan like you would have a sales playbook for expansion. And there'sso much money left on the table I can't I can't even begin to tellyou. Like ten out of ten times I go into a company, there'sso much money being left on the table from being afraid to ask for expansion, for not understanding how to get to a Yes for expansion. Again,we're putting this a lot of times on like a customer success manager, butnot giving them any tools. Right, they just get the guess they're goingto do this, not like hey, so and so's coming up for renewal. How do we get them to go, you know, beyond where they aretoday? How do we have goals like a sales would to have,like expansion its own quota even right, like a percentage of business that grows? And so, if you do it correctly, if your product is strong, if you've been building and improving a product based on customers feedback and basedon what customers need, then you will drastically hit expansion numbers. oftentimes,again, I go into a company and they've got expansion is like ten percentof the revenue target. When done correctly, that should be more like thirty orforty percent. Thirty or forty percent for a company that has built theirbase customers, right, like, if you're still in like land grab mode, get your first customers, you could still have a playbook, you canstill be getting, you know, thirty to forty percent of that, butreally, once you've established yourself, that's...

...like a goal that you have goingfor it. And the way you do that is you create a playbook andyou go and you have milestones to check to make sure that they're utilizing whatthey have today. Right, because if I go to you and I'm like, Hey, I want you to spend more money, but really you haven't. Like let's take a gym membership, right, like we all have hadthese before, right, like if I have a gym membership and I'm nevergoing to the gym because it's hard to go to the gym, and thenyou come to me and are like, Hey, I want you to buythe swimming package. I'm and be like, I don't even go to the gym. Right. But if you make sure that they are going to thegym, if you're giving them a good experience, if you're checking in onthem, if you're giving them benchmark data, if you're showing them or other customersmaking a lot of money on putting an extra effort and then they startutilizing what they're paying for, they're probably going to add that extra to it. Right, and so it's creating the playbook for expansion, just like youwould sales. Do you see? Nobody does not sing. You know.I'm thinking about lead scoring. On on the acquisition s side. Are youseeing anyone doing some kind of like a roll up, kind of an earlyindicator that this is ripe for expansion or for the expansion opportunity? Me Liketo your point with the gym thing, this box is checked, this boxis checked, this box is checked. We should talk to them about theswimming package. Are you seeing companies do something similar to I'm using lead scoringand I'm air quoting for those of you who are listening. Do you seepeople using some kind of a lead scoring mechanism to have these conversations at theright time with the right people. Yeah, so the they're using customers sentiment todecide if they should and that's where they're failing, right they're using inpsor five star ratings or thumb up thumb down to be like, oh,they want to expand then, and that's not what it's good for. Right, like customer sentiment has its place. It is a it's like getting anoil change for your car. There's other stuff you have to do. Youdon't just get an oil change, right. You got to make sure your tiresare filled, you got to check on your engine, you got todo other stuff. People are using inps or customer sentiment like the North Star. So that's where the challenge is, because they're saying, oh, theseare promoters, therefore they will expand, and that's not the case. Imean that's why I say the MPs is a vanity metric, because really they'resaying, hey, they like their CSM or something's good, and that's great, put it on the wall. We've got a tend that's awesome. Butwhat gets down to the nitty gritty is one who said that? Who gavehim the ten? Was it a decision maker that actually like you know,can write a check, and that's where I feel like to get something backfrom your customer, like more money, you have to give them something first. So going back to this old school quarterly business review, some kind ofreport that lets the customer know where they stand compared to others, lets themknow what they're doing well and what they're not. And you know, thatis the meat of and making sure that the right people are in those quarterlybusiness reviews, so decision makers are in there, not just on the daythat you're asking them for more money. And then, in addition to that, your health metrics should always include a usage. So, however your productor service is, is the customer using it or they logging in? Arethey using it more right, like going back to the gym membership. Maybe, like you know, at first you're trying to get the customer to showup twice a week. Well, once they start doing that, how doyou get the customers show up three times a week? Right, so makingsure that that usage is growing into like the ninety percent of what they cando with it range and then you ask them for expansion. Love it,and I saw a stat I don't know how long a they'll probably six oreight months ago that the typical product adoption is something more like the thirty thirtypercent range, which that which is its own a when have you seen orheard something like that? Yeah, I think. I think that that's reallysaw. I think I heard thirty forty percent myself, and it's and that'sif you're lucky or, I think, a lot of people. To write. We've got these freemium things where people give something away for free, whichis Great. I don't have a problem with that, as long as youhave a way to make sure people are using it. Because, like again, I'm going to go to the gym analogy, because I have not beenin over a year. I do have a poet on which I enjoy.But if you're if I'm going to the...

...gym and I get, or ifI'm looking at a gym and I get a five week, five day freepass, right, if I don't go during that five days and then itexpires, it did nothing to convert me right. And so instead, ifI was to get a five day pass that only counted on the days Iwent and there was a period of time to use it and it came witha coach and that coach checked in on me and was like Hey, I'llsee it at ten o'clock. If they put that kind of initiative it andI went, then I would probably convert into a full gym membership right andso same thing goes with usage. If you're giving away the product for alimited amount of time, that is a pivotal window to make sure that peopleare using it. So how do you do that at scale? What kindof information can you give them where they start getting rowe during that free period? You know? Yeah, we have a we have a lot of freemiumin our space and it's been a really interesting challenge. I think a lotof people, you know, without without proper support, without any kind oflimitations at all, it's just free forever, up to you know, maybe somex amount of usage whatever. A lot of people feel like they checkthe box, like I tried that before. Just didn't really work for me orwork for us, when in fact it was. You know, it'sso easy to start. There's no you have nothing invested in it at all. And yet if you still feel like you check the box even though youmade nothing of it, you probably didn't fully adopt it or even partially adopt. I say like they're burning fields before the crops have been harvested, whichis really kind of partly it's fun to clean up because we're pretty adept atworking with people very directly to map use cases into how to use video messagesand when and where and what teams and how often and, you know,taking things that are working for them now and making them better or taking thingsthat are weaknesses and using video to help kind of fill in the gap.So it's fun, but it's also it like there's an emotional and a mentalchallenge there to help people overcome it. Yeah, when I was thinking aboutthat thirty percent adoption, I could see problems in three of the four buckets, with the exception, of course, of advocacy. I could see itbeing potentially mischaracterized, or the onboarding is not very good or, you know, the adoption phase there's not enough of vigilance or attentiveness there to support peopleinto making sure they fully adopt. I could see a number of ways thatthat product adoption could be very, very low, high level here in general, you know, you're obviously highly engaged in the community, again through thework that you do consulting companies, through your work with revenue collective, throughbreakout CS. What are a few key like mindsets or habits that you're observingout there that hold people back from successfully being holistic about you know, theCX and crow conversation that we've been having. What are a few things that arelike cultural impediments, things that have been normalized over the years that needto go away? What do you wish would change more quickly and more often? Well, if, and I'm really glad you asked that, because inmy experience, part of why I created my own business as I wanted towork for customer experience at scale, to help customers do this at scale,to help companies rather do this at scale. I had, you know, beena startup junky. I had started so many customer success teams, grewthem and I got to a point where I was just like, once itworked, I was bored and I wanted to do this across, you know, multiple companies. But there was also something that always gotten the way andthat was the CEO or the head, you know, executive team, andeven the board. Right, everybody talks about the customer, but so fewcompanies, even the one whose product is all around customers actually put in thetime. You cannot have a successful customer experience initiative in your company if theCEO is not bought in and if she or he does not actually believe it. They have to be front and center on that committee. They have tobe really wanting it. Beyond an MPs score on the wall, beyond justsaying hearing from their customers that they're liked,...

...beyond your gtwo ratings, you haveto actually care about what that customer experiences from the moment they talked tosomebody in your acquisition team until they decide to renew or leave you. Likeeven when you've worked hard in a customers left you. That's valuable data togo and get in a post mortem on why they left you. And theright CEO she knows that, she hears that, she believes that and shedoes something about that and to be successful. And that's why I only at thispoint in my career, I only work with companies that actually believe that, they that they want this. They might not be there today, butthis is their vision, is that the customer actually is valued, and Ican't say that enough. If you work for a company where your CEO doesn'tget it, leave there's a great jobs out there. Hit me up onLinkedin. I'll help you find one. Like don't work for a company thatdoesn't actually care about the customer experience because inevitably they will fail. They willfail. I've seen it happen time and time again in my career. Soagain, like I said, I'm really passionate about that, but you can'tdo it without your CEO. Can't do it. Yeah, it just likeit because it's so fundamental. I think. I think, and I also thinkI'm taking this from other reading that isn't specifically about Sass or really evenspecifically about business, but there's something about leadership roles that reduces empathy because itcreates greater distance from the front line, so to speak, and I feellike that's probably where some of the humanity is lost in some of the empathyis lost. Is is that distance from the actual front lines where people aretrying to figure out how to solve a problem or people are trying to figureout how to make things work and that type of thing. Would you saythat that's is yes, true your experience and Ethan here's a member of theshow undercover boss, if you're CEO listening to this, I want you togo. I want you to start with your acquisition team. I want youto start with an SDR and I want you to sit in their chair fora day and I want you to do the outreach. I want you tosit and be a support rep for the day, like a CEO that actuallysits through and understands these different customer experience points. Like what better use ofyour time then to go through and sit down and be each one of thesefrontline representatives that is supporting you, not to show them how smart you are, but to feel their pain. What barriers are in their way for givinga great customer experience? Are they understaffed? Maybe they're their leader keeps on comeup to you. I need more support reps, but like actually sittingthere and feeling it and understanding it like that. Is That's free. Youjust do. I mean, I know your times money, but like,I just can't think of a better use of your time. So yeah,yes to everything you're saying, and there's easy solutions. Put yourself in everyposition within the company for a day whatever and understand what their challenges are.That might be giving the customer experience and then understand what your customers experiencing whenthey interface with these different departments and Tam members. I love that recommendation.I think that this I mean not a you said something like not to showhow smart you are. I think, if anything, that on one ofthe main reasons people don't do it, like one of the excuses they probablyexcuses the side. I think one of the real kind of motivating factors toavoid it is to is to avoid the discomfort of starting to understand what youdon't understand and having to face how difficult that work is and that you mightnot eat, even though you probably sat in a similar seat years ago,depending on the age or the maturity of the company. You know, everyevery early stage person wears multiple hats. I mean our to cofounders. Oneof them took was making every single sales call for at least a year andthe other one was taking every single support call for at least a year andbeyond. It's funny. Our CMO, who we recruited to come to us, was a customer before he was our CMO and he remembers calling the companyonce with a problem and it was like...

...is this connor guys like yeah,it is, you know you and it's so funny because you want to putit that impression on that you're bigger than you are, at least we didat the time. But there's no better way to truly understand the customer andthe challenges of delivering for them then sitting in the seat. Such a goodrecommendation. Anything else here? Like we've had this conversation. We still havea little bit more to go. Is there anything that you would that youfeel like belongs here, you're that you would just like to share? Yeah, I mean, I just want to for some clarity on some of this. So let me tell you what it's not. Like a CEO get involvedwhat we're talking about. What it's not is them going to the customer andsay, you know, basically dropping the leadership thing of I see that you'vebeen upset or chow. Talk to me about it. Like being the hero, right say, your team up to be that I'm saying to actually getin on the ground and to your point, a lot of CEOS start this way. They do their own support, they do their own calls, butthen they totally disengage in the world goes on and they're still in their experiencewindow of what their product is or what their businesses and it's evolved over hereand they're like in the dark ages of like the Napkin days and what youknow. So what it is is it's going back to that even it's goingback and just dropping in and like imagine, imagine if, like you're getting ticketsto the Dallas Mavericks and Mark Cuban pops on and it's like, Hayleya, glad you're getting these seats. Suck. You should try these seats. Likefirst I would pass out because I'm a huge fan. But like there'snothing wrong with like a few customer like what a great experience that the CEOis. They're answering their question and if they're afraid that it makes them looksmall, then answer it. I'm doing this because I care about your experienceand this is a this is a check. I'm doing a check to make surethat we're doing this right, right, and so I just want to clarifythat, because I think what happens a lot is at CEOS think they'redoing a grand thing when they like go solve a problem. Really you're justthrowing the team under the bus and making the customer feel like, you know, they couldn't, they couldn't handle that. That's not the same thing as gettingon the front line with different teams to understand the experience. Yeah,I think it makes me think a two key words, curiosity and humility.Taking on this exercise from a position of humility and curiosity, like I knowthat I don't know what I don't know, so I'm going to go see whatI could find out. I love it. Sure, I know thatI don't know what I don't know. I mean, how many CEEO saythat? I love it? I think that's fantastic and I do want tosay there's some great CEOS out there. I have one at better growth.You know there are amazing CEOS out there. So this isn't a dog on theCEO. This is just don't forget what you started. Don't don't gettoo big or stressed that you can't see the forest for the trees anymore.So good. I've enjoyed this conversation and if you are listening at this point, I know that you have to because you're with us right now. Soon recommend to other episodes that reminded me of this a little bit. Oneis episode one and sixteen with Lauren Culbertson. She is also a founder, acofounder and CEO at loop VOC and we called that one closing both loopswith Voice of the customers. So we talked a lot about different ways tobring the voice of the customer into Your Business in an actionable way, notjust in a look at this score. It's gone up in a week,which say as a fantastic conversation. Episode and sixteen with Lauren Culbertson. Andthen a little bit early are in episode ninety nine with Ean Luck, VPof global marketing at customer gage. We called that three ways CX programs gowrong and right, and we talked a lot about account sentiment, customer sentimentand account sentiment as a as an important thing to keep, keep an eyeon and to act against. So episodes one hundred and sixteen and episode ninetynine are two others you might enjoy Lea before I let you go, Iwould love to know if there's a person that you would like to thank fora positive impact on your life, for your career. I've got a lotof people that fit that, but I want to talk about a group rightnow. So break out cs you mentioned. It's it's not my community, it'snot owned by anyone. It's a...

...collective, collaborative, safe space forcustomer success leaders to talk to other customer success leaders. This is something thatI stumbled on because I saw a problem and I was just trying to geta group of people together to like talk through it, and we had overtwo hundred C S leaders that we're having the same problem show up for azoom call right and I was like, it was one of the most amazingdays of my life, like to just have that kind of collaboration. Isaid nothing. I was a student, I learned and that's not easy forme, but I listened through the whole thing and and I couldn't let itgo after that. So break out ceus is it's a collaborative community for CSleaders. It's free, it's a great space to just talk through ideas.It's a safe space, it's super inclusive. And then, in addition to that, you know, I just want to give a shout out to allthe members of the LGBTQ I ai community, because it's it's it's not gay prideand I don't think we get shoutouts enough, you know when it's notthat month. So I just want to say that, like you know,it's an underrepresented part of Sass and keep doing your thing. One of thethings I do is I volunteer my time. Any members of my community that needhelp with a resume. Hit me up on Linkedin. I'm always happyto look over and to continue to get more members of our community into customersuccess as well as other, you know, pivotal parts of those a's within asSass organization. Love it and for folks who are listening, it's LeahLah Cheney, ch a and Ey. You can find her on Linkedin.I did. I'm glad that I did, and she is very sincere about theseoffers. So you should reach out. And also, again, that's breakout CS. How about a brand or a company that you respect orappreciate for the experience that they deliver for you as a customer? All right, so I'm from the South and there is a company called Bucky's and Ialways use them. EGS Is an example for customer experience. They have thecleanest bathrooms and I am telling you, that's one of those small things,right that people don't think about but growing up as a kid, I rememberwe would go out of our way to go to a bucky's because of theirclean bathrooms, and I really feel like that is a is a great exampleof putting the customer first. Right. Like you know, in theory,when they were creating this clean bathroom of meant they weren't going to make moremoney by spending more money on cleaning and making sure that that happened. Butthen they did. Revenue came because people went out of their way to gothere for their clean restrooms, and so I know that's silly and it youknow, it might seem crazy, but buckies out in the south, ifyou're ever driving through Texas, if you're driving through Austin, just outside oftheir all the way up to where I am in South Carolina, there's plentyof places that you can stop over and experience exactly what I'm talking about.So yeah, so smart. I really like this idea. I have toimagine that there's a halo effect to having clean bathrooms. Besides, you knowwe're going to go seek it out. To me, the halo effect iseven broader than that and results in that and that it's if they're taking careof that. They must be taking care of everything else, you know,because been in otherwise nice places that you go in the bathroom like, Idon't know about this place. That's awesome. I love that reference. I alwayssaid I love to shot places that pay their employees. Well, thereare another one that like showcases their employee wages publicly, so you know whatpeople are being paid, if people are being taking care of. You can'thave great customer experience without great employees and you can't have great employees without caringabout them, because the great ones leave. So yeah, I think it's fullcircle. Absolutely true. That's been an ongoing theme from almost the beginningof this podcast, which is now more than two years ago, the relationshipbetween employee experience and customer experience. Leah, this has been awesome. I enjoyedit so much. I appreciate you spending time with us. We alreadymentioned that they can connect with you on Linkedin, but we're else. Wouldyou send people to learn more about you or about better growth or about breakoutcs or any anything else you like to share with people? Where would yousend them? Yeah, well, if you go to better Growthcom, ifyou are a company with a leadership team...

...that believes and customers. We'd loveto work with you. You can also go to break out CSCOM and wehave a community there. We use a platform called circle, so as anactual community, we meet up once a month to have these breakout sessions andconverse with other CS leaders. There's no pitching, there's nobody talking at you. It's literally like here's the topics we want to discuss. You go intorooms that are digestible. So we break out the rooms. We have moderatorsthat help the conversations keep running. We're badging everybody. You're a founding membera breakout cs up to five hundred and we're growing like quite a bit everyday. So so get on in there to get that badge and then alsoon Linkedin, like I said. I then eve and I just want totake a second to say I'm a huge fan of yours, so I thinkyou for having me on this show. Like I think you are one ofthose people that's really making a difference by keeping this stuff front and center.So you know, I appreciate all the shoutouts to me, but I wouldlike to give a shout out back to you. I like what bomb bombis up to you and I had a great conversation before this got started abouthow these videos would be fantastic for customers success, scaling some of those customersthat they can't talk to every day if they're client loads too high. Sojust want to turn that shout out back on what all you are up to, because it's really cool to watch. Thanks so much. It's a privilege. Those are very kind words and I appreciate it. And we round allthis stuff up at bombombcom slash podcast. We drop in a few video clipsand all the things that we reference to your including breakout ceus better growth buckies. I'll find them and put them up to it's all at Bombombcomla podcast.I appreciate ely. I hope you have an awesome afternoon. I appreciate youspending time with us. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.Clear Communication, human connection, higher conversion. These are just some of the benefitsof adding video to the messages you're sending every day. It's easy todo with just a little guidance, so pick up the official book. RehumanizeYour Business. How personal videos accelerate sales and improve customer experience. Learn morein order today at Bombombcom Book. That's bomb bombcom book. Thanks for listeningto the customer experience podcast. Remember the single most important thing you can dotoday is to create and deliver a better experience for your customers. Continue Learningthe latest strategies and tactics by subscribing right now in your favorite podcast player,or visit Bombombcom podcast.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (181)