October 26, 2021

    Q&A With Customer Success Collective: Parallels between the customer success industry and the Covid-19 vaccine

    blog image CS collectiveWe recently participated in Customer Success Collective's virtual event, CS Festival.

    Brian Nicholls, UserIQ VP of Customer Success, sat down with Grace Gupta from Customer Success Collective for an interview about his panel from the event.

    Brian dove into the parallels between the customer success industry and the COVID-19 vaccine, and most importantly, what we can learn from the pandemic.

    CS Life Since Covid

    Q: Based on Covid-19’s global impact on business, economy, health, and personal lives, it’s fair to say that history will probably refer to time within the parameters of pre and post-Covid. But how do you think the CS function has adapted to life since Covid?

    Good question, I think there are three adaptations post-Covid:

    1. I think CS practitioners have become more empathetic than ever before. One big reason for this is, the effects of our “new normal” were felt by every single person.

    Interactions with our customers went from, “Hi, how are you doing, good, ok let's dive in”, to truly asking if people are ok and working together to find a solution against a common enemy. As awful as Covid is, it did bring an empathetic nature out in a lot of us and I hope it carries forward as we navigate what lies ahead.

    2. We have found ways to serve more customers on a daily basis than we were serving pre-Covid. This is particularly true for solutions that are high-touch. Gone are the days of flying to city “A” to deliver a QBR to 2 customers, then city “B” the next day, and so on. Today, we can deliver all 4 of those QBRs in 1 day. As important as face-to-face relationships are, not being on the road allows us more time with our customers.

    3. Finally, the pandemic has forced the customer success industry to get creative when it comes to driving value for our customers. Expectations have increased and we have to rise to the challenge of meeting or exceeding them.

    Hindsight Is Always 20/20

    Q: If you are to look back on the last 18 months, what two things would you do differently in customer success with the power of hindsight?

    In April 2020, I would have put a laser focus on having a world-class, online help center. Are your articles up to date and easy to follow? Do you have videos/GIFs that can help customers solve their questions?  How can you connect to more customers without taking up more of your CSMs’ time?

    I would have put into place a plan to use cell phones more to communicate with customers. Pre-Covid-19, people were at their desks and were easier to call and walk through issues. Now, everyone is spread out and it can be harder for CS teams to get a hold of their customer and vice versa. Policies surrounding communication via text or phone call vs. email and having to schedule a meeting are really important.

    Looking To The Future

    Q: What are your predictions for customer success over the next 18 months?

    I have two predictions for the next 18 months:

    Firstly, the CS industry will have to better refine how we become a profitable growth driver for an organization. Historically, we have, in some cases, limited our own thinking to, “I am the protector of the customer, I am to keep the churn number down”.

    In the next 18 months, I believe we will see this mindsight evolve to, “I am going to keep the customer and find ways to drive value that allows me to expand and bring dollars into my organization”. This shift will turn our thinking from negative (fighting against churn) to positive (retention and expansion).

    Secondly, I predict that features and the resulting data – historically thought of as product-related – will make an even greater impact on customer success organizations than they do today. This will allow CS organizations to take a more proactive approach to serve their customers.

    These predictions can be categorized as follows:

    You can read the full article here from Customer Success Collective.

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