Customer Playbooks: When is it useful and how to create one that evolves?
Ramki - Welcome to the experience dialogue. These interactions. We pick a hard topic. That doesn't have a straightforward answer. We then bring in speakers who have been there? Seen bears and approached them in very different ways. This is a space for healthy disagreements and discussions, but respectfully, just by the nature of how we have conceived this, you will see passionate voices and opinions. Friends. Having a dialogue thereby even interrupting each other or finishing each other's sentences. At the end of each dialogue, we want you and our audience to leave with valuable insights and approaches that you can try at your workplace and continue the discourse in our slack channels. The topic for today. Customers' success playbooks. When is it useful and how best to create one that is evolving? Customer success. The playbook is a series of actions that are meant to be executed by customer-facing team members to achieve the desired outcome for your customer. If a series of past events can be delegated to a group of users at different measures for the customer journey to help them. Adopt your product successfully when the, but when is customer success, Playbook is useful and how best to create one that is evolving, that's why we're going to talk about.
I am. So privileged to be joining our introduction, our speaker Emilia She's a Management Consultant board advisor author, educator, and partnering with companies, to create scalable growth, and metrics, driven, customer programs, from onboarding to adoption, renewals, and advocacy. She's also the founder of a management consulting firm. Her area of expertise is building high-impact and measurable full lifecycle customer programs across the voice of the customer, renewals growth operations, customer education offshore BPO support, team management csat, and NPC initial initiatives.
So, you can see it's such a breadth and the depth that she brings to the table. She is part of Gainsight top seven influential women in customer success. And as being awarded the Stevie award for customer service, so much pleasure to welcome you to this speaker event, Emilia.
Emilia - Thank you for having me on your show today. Ramki.
Ramki - Awesome. So just to get started I've seen your goal of the Playbook from your standpoint. The way I understand this, we need to arm CX teams with tools to manage risk and mitigate them, right? Right. So you had recently written about enabling more channels to use data to answer questions raised in those channels. When would you enable more channels can you comment on them?
Emilia - Yeah. Absolutely. I believe you should start raising channels as soon as you possibly can and what does that even mean? It means ensuring that your product team, customer success, and support are aligned. So once you create a Customer Journey that everyone adheres to, and thought that is the customer Journey because remember it's not like this, it's not like this, it goes up and down all the time. So it's really important that you identify the key opportunities to engage with the client throughout that journey and understand what is the best channel to meet that client sometimes it's customer success with the more proactive and sometimes it's customer support and that is often reactive, but But the best way I can describe it is something like for anyone who owns a Tesla there no keys. There's no customer support per se. There is an app on your phone and that is how you engage with the app and the car telling you when you need to proactively engage with their customer service. Now, that is meeting a client at the client's need not when you want to engage with the client. So that's just the best. Well, you need to have channels where the client will engage with you, in a way that works for them and sometimes it's in different ways. Sometimes they want phones, sometimes they want to chat slack. So really understanding the client's journey and their needs is when you should start engaging with the client through various channels.
Ramki - That's perfect. So, you kind of covered the channels from bread, and then I hope support or services to look. Proactive, you also talked about data, right? When you save data, what data are you referring to?
Emilia - I'm talking about the data that you can pull from your client’s usage of the product and actions, there are so many products out there that you can interact with your product team with Customer support success sales to see, where is the Klein engaging most and where are they dropping off. So, Able to look at data by cohort. And I mean, when I say cohort, I mean by segment or by quarter, when did they sign up, maybe a new product change was implemented that increased churn or mitigated it. So that kind of data will help you better understand how to serve your customers and what are the key moments in that customer Journey that are leading to growth if you those key moments, maybe it's a decision maker, downloading a report, or scheduling a report to come to their inbox or maybe it's getting a decision maker to come to an executive business meeting, those kinds of things that they're proving that you have more adoption and engagement with the client. Then you should be using that data to make decisions for your product moving forward.
Ramki - I love the way you're talking with the data, right? You don't typically either talk about all the internal events and we are, we talk about external enmity. When the customers onboard it, it is the first 90-day experience. First, 30 days of experience is kind of a thing, right? I think what you're talking about is this? Yes, you want to look at the customer journey and also see the main events that might be happening. Like product announcement products, upgrade product changes, new modules, you're trying to connect both of them and then, and then see from the customer angle. So, have you seen success or support in making this call and making the decision individually? Jointly? How does this work between success and support or I guess?
Emilia - Yeah, I will tell you that in the times when one of the teams has made a decision and not informed the other, there has been a breakdown in the client experience and when I was a vice president of customer success at a previous company that had of making a product change decision failed to tell support and success. And you can imagine what happened the next morning, my WhatsApp, my cell phone, my text email exploding, and that product leader was fired almost immediately afterward because there was a breakdown. And so, what I recommend is making sure product operations, success, and support are continuously aligned with the Customer Journey, especially when you're making any product changes, communicating with the clients, and how you're servicing them. If there are any changes you need to ensure that first, your internal team feels confident to speak to those changes and then notify your customers proactively, especially if it's a massive change, you can't just announce it. You need to announce it leading up to that change, just like for anyone who uses Google. I know they're Some changes to their services. We've been getting emails about it for months so it won't be a big surprise when the change comes.
Ramki - That's right. Because yes, it’s not like, depending on the changes I assume, right? Some changes you can make short early. I guess. Big changes where you need some internal time and you're saying think of it from a customer angle and not what you've done a prod complete is not enough, there is a big difference between product complete versus Product consumption. Yes, awesome, awesome. So, you mention getting feedback from all interactions. um When you say all interactions, I would love to understand what you mean by them and how you act on them. What does this mean to you?
Emilia - I will give an example to illustrate an answer for you. This past week. I was stuck in my stripe account so growth molecules we have a customer Success Academy. For training, I needed to make a change in my stripe account. And the support experience asked me, would you like to chat with us? Or would you like a callback? And the Callback will be in 3 to 5 minutes. The Callback was in about 10 seconds and not only did the woman help me and stay on the phone until I was successful with my change immediately afterward an email was sent to me explaining exactly what we went through. Should I need to make a change again? And then not long after I received a support survey with a simple question. Well, 1, how was your child's experience, and 2, you did you, did you complete what you intended to complete through this support experience? I was blown away that I was able to do much in just a few minutes and that is an experience of a very proactive successful supposed support experience that you should be measuring and ensuring that the clients are happy because I could have been telling you right now, very different story. So that is one of the best in class. They're not only ensuring that the client is successful with the product. But also afterward, confirming that yes, I agreed with what the support agent had closed the ticket with.
Ramki - Yeah, it's complete. Close the loop. I think what you're saying is too few things I can see, right? One, when you had the issue and reached out to them, they kind of expected it. What you were going through. , they unloaded already understood even before coming to you unassuming, right? That's one. So, he understood what the issues were too. I think they were working with you and they kind of set the right expectations and beat the expectations, right? Five minutes versus ten seconds is kind of a thing. So, they are, the first response time or quick response, time was the first thing. A, when you have a problem at least there is somebody that helps you. I think. that second one. The third one is when they were on it, they didn't make you repeat all the problems. Again, they kind of understood. They were well prepared for it and you are really in there to solve the problem at that time and that changed the game, right? And I guess closing the loop did solve the problem? Make sure that you are good and with cap problems, how do you get back? I think that's your problem with that. Fantastic, fantastic. So let's talk about switching the gear right now, Playbook assessment. So, give some examples of how support metrics are tied into this kind of Playbook: what to do, when to do it, and who is the best student? I know it's kind of a broader thing, you can split it into multiple things. So I thought I was just asking a broad question.
Emilia - Absolutely. Well, I will start with just breaking it down and singing. Before you build a Playbook, you need to ensure that you understand the company, the company culture, who is serving the client, and then the client's needs. And if you're building a customer success Playbook, without looking at the customer support experiences, well, you're missing out on the key moments in the customer's Journey because a customer's journey is not just adoption and growth Shirley throughout the customer's experience. Even product LED companies that have no support and are helping the clients. Through the product, never talking to a human per se or support ticket, they need to ensure that they're including the support experience and I love examples. I love storytelling. So I'll give you an example: Ticketmaster.
I recently had an experience with them. They don't have support. There's no way to get a hold of them. The tickets disappeared from my account after the concert was canceled due to covid. And I was never able to retrieve that money, and I've never been able to get ahold of them. That is the worst customer experience. I've probably ever had, and it's because they built a customer success Playbook without assessing the client's needs first. So, before you build a Playbook, and sure, you understand, how do I enable my team to use the book. What do they need to support our customers? And secondly, what does the customer need to be successful? And if there are challenges in that Journey how can we support them successfully? So they're not on LinkedIn life or Twitter or other social media saying negative things about their experiences with your product. So that's why assessments are so important. When you're Building A playbook, you need to understand the employee experience of the product. Experience and the customer's experience and build a Playbook to enable all three to work together seamlessly.
Ramki - I love the way you connect because a lot of times we just think one or the other and how you have to connect them. I mean when you talk about it I was thinking of a recent example, I was in Costa Rica kind of, me and my daughter. We were doing some kind of an event. Of course, the weather didn't cooperate. We had two back-to-back events. First, one got done, some more Wee, Man. Is it true with so much pouring rain? And with a lot of lightning and thunder. So we decided we didn't want to do it and the challenge was for them, The Print office and the back office operations forces, and customer support. We're kind of originally disconnected. They did not know how to handle it. So, they have to make a lot of calls. They understood why they wanted to do the right thing, but they did not have the processes in the Playbook to manage that, while I was talking to them in life and then trying to figure out a solution etcetera. So finally, they came up with a very convoluted way and cut system. But everything got handled the next today that they had no processes to put in, from what you're talking about, I mean the internal person employee they wanted to do the right thing and they were real because it's your cue point. They also did not want to get different, not that I was going to give you any type of. You've got to be very sincere, um they wanted a good review. They wanted to help out the Back office. They also wanted to do the writing but things went all not connected. I can see how you're talking about when you do these things. You have thought about customers and employees in the process of connecting. Connecting them all. Exactly. So, I know you are a fan of the customer journey? I mean I'm just looking at your post and activities. It's fantastic. Tell me. Why does it matter in terms of mapping them, Using a mirror as doing a risk assessment, like CSM checking for a few times? how you do these things. Can you please elaborate?
Emilia - Yes. So the way we do customer Journey building for clients is we bring them together so we bring together leaders, maybe up to eight people in a room on mirrors. Zoom if it's remote and then on sticky paper and big whiteboards. And if it's in a room and we're all together and what we do there is we map out the customer's journey and we include the employee. What does it take from a product? Whether it's a technology or a human touch with the client and what we have found over and over again. Are there a lot of crunchy conversations between product sales marketing, customer success, and support before we can build that Journey that everyone will align with so it isn't it is not a one-time Workshop? First, we survey all of the employees that are engaged in touching the customer experience. Then we gather that data and present it to the executives to mentally prepare them for building that customer Journey from there. We host a collaborative Workshop. It can last anywhere from two to four hours depending on the complexity of the product and then from there we go back and we gather all that data and create a beautiful Journey for them with steps for churn opportunity and growth opportunity. And from there we then present it to them. And from once they have the sign-off, then we can go and start building a Playbook on, all right? Well, if these are churn opportunities, how are we going to build battle cards for your employees to be enabled to mitigate Their growth opportunities? What are the questions? Your employees should be asking so that they can expand with upsells and cross-sells renewals with more seats. Etc. So that's the power of a Customer Journey. It's, it's kind of like me, suggesting you go see a heart doctor and I'm not a doctor and I don't know any. No, I have no idea why you're breathing heavily, it could be something related to your lungs for example. So, you want to make sure you understand the opportunities throughout and that the whole company from the top down is aligned on that before you start building and that's why I believe in customers. Journey mapping is so important.
Ramki - This is fantastic. I'm also getting some live questions by the way, um this pretty, similar topic. So I'm going to just interject an Oscar that so when we talk about these playbooks at what Point, do you stop to assess how effective the Playbook is? And from there. How do you move ahead?
Emilia - Yes. So when I let customer success at my last company and several of them that I've been leading, I've always reflected on the customer journey in the playbooks on a quarterly Cadence. And it's not just me, it's in a group of people where we sit down, and we look at the product map and what's changed? We look at the support tickets where they're the most challenging with the product, where's The NPS csat, wavering, and from there we update the Playbook and we get feedback from the teams as well. Because maybe we've rolled out a new way to do an executive Business review and it's at an earlier point in the customer journey. All right. Well, then we need to change the customer journey to move that Executive review earlier. And then we need to ensure that the Team has enough time to roleplay and access. The new questions were asking them to use or to feel comfortable role-playing with any rub Junctions to the new pricing, for example. So, I highly recommend at least quarterly Cadence is the Playbook the customer Journey, supporting the customer experience and the company's revenue goals. That's my advice for times a year. Isn't a lot to ask for when You think of the impact you can have on the company and the client, you'll always have a regular Cadence help site.
Ramki - I mean if you just put it down and then come back to visit after say, one near 67 Monday becomes, you probably will put a lot more effort to start all over again because you don't understand what this Continuum quarterly has. It sounds real, fantastic. When you talk about the Playbook like how does one Define it? The voice of the customer in the Playbook, right? How important is product feedback to support the voice of customers? can you comment on that like the voice of customer Playbook?
Emilia - Absolutely. So there's a school of thought that says NPS is irrelevant and I agree and PS was created by a CEO at a car company. And then two professors from Harvard were hired too. To analyze customer experience and create this NPS score. Now, investors, I believe do indeed, put too much focus on it. But what NPS does or customer satisfaction scores, they're different. So, you want to make sure that you're asking csat customer satisfaction after customer support experience and NPS on a more regular Cadence across the specific Target segments. For example, regardless of what the score is, the voice of the customer is important and you need a Playbook or a way to address any challenges that are uncovered. So at one of the companies, we work with and created a voice of customer program, we added all of the opportunities to experience the voice of the customer into a Slack Channel. And then on their Confluence, we created a guide. So if its product a related product has X number Of days or hours to reply. And here are suggested replies. If it's support related, this is how to address it if its customer success Etc. And through that experience, we were able to expose the voice of the customer to the executives and the employees. And suddenly the culture shifted in the organization because the voice of the customer was being heard now and the customers whom I. Because I wanted to make sure I was diagnosing and delivering the correct experience. They were so happy. They thought that one person said to me wow I thought my reply would just go into some black hole and to have a human being called. I genuinely care about my feedback, I'm taken back. So I suggest you don't just put the voice of the customer program together and say you have an NPS or see Don't do something with it. There's technology out there for you to quickly be able to evaluate and then act upon.
Ramki - that's such a wonderful thing that we talked about like, for example, within Ascendo what we have done is to your point. Yeah, NPS has been a very long-standing one. Simple number. You can just get it kind, but the interactions are not at that time, right? It is that you don't want the feeling of the moment, you want to collect the feeling of the customer. So, we have Modeled, which detects that type of sentiment continuously and also on an aggregated basis. All these things are automatically done and it's given as an alert so that people can take action. So, you're not listening as I have to do this and I'm going to get and then I come back, this happens as a natural course of your day-to-day execution. Our customers are loving it. And, it's just taking the whole voice of customers to the next level.
I have another question for you on this, right? um Some questions, the customer success, our support teams should be asking before they start to create the Playbook, right? One is, do you have a Playbook? Yes, you have to vacate. It's like, if people, there are some customers, early growth customers they may not have a Playbook. Would you just talk From something or do you, how do you what type of question that you may want to ask to start creating their playbook?
Emilia - I would start by experiencing the customer experience. So, going in listening to calls with, from an onboarding perspective, looking at the support tickets, how they're being answered, what is the current state of affairs, and then actually interviewing the people on the front line working with customers. Honoré daily Cadence. So, looking at understanding the customer experience, looking at the data and any processes and systems that have been put into place, and building that assessment to understand the customer experience. And where's the company headed? I've seen companies create products that the customers didn't even rate high on customer needs but the CEO insisted that that was the future of the company. And It flopped drastically. So you need to, put your agenda aside and use data and the voice of the customer and your employees, the voice of the employees who are on the front line to make these decisions. So that would be my advice for this question.
Ramki - Awesome, awesome. I'm going to switch a little bit. So we talked about the customer Journey. Then we went into how all the different experiences have to tie together. Then we went into the playbook and kept it. Let's talk about change management, , I mean, that's one of your passions in that topic. Talk about change management. How are they connected to measure the value?
Emilia - Yeah, I don't have the exact stats but what I can tell you is changes hard and companies waste Millions. If not billions of changes sunsetting systems, implementing systems, only to experience failure. And so, transformational change with products is really hard because we're humans, we like habits, we like safety, and we fear whether it's our jobs that will fail using the new products, it may feel uncomfortable, it may not feel like it's the right decision. So prepare your employees and explain what's in it. For me it is really important and one of our clients recently hired us to do change management. Current workshop and out of that experience, I better understood doing things like breakouts. Letting people talk about the change in their fears, what they understand, the change to be, and then really ensuring that they understand what's in it for me. Because again, as humans we not only fear it but we want to know why are you doing this? Like, well will it reduce the number of employees you're going to have, is it going to have more work to mine? Wait, what are you doing with this change? That will make me more productive. So, if you put change management with that, if you implement it with that perspective and you give people time to practice, to feel confident with the changes, you will be so much more successful. And that's why we offer these workshops and why we build these playbooks to help understand, okay? This is how we used to do it. This is how we're going to do it. And here's why right? So, being able to give people time to absorb the changes is a really important part of transformational change.
Ramki - Yeah, I kind of agree with you disagree with, I mean, this is such an important thing. It is not just listening and building the Playbook and keeping it current really? And a course in and to adapt yourself, people want to do this, right? They just don't want to have to do it, you want to create a Men where they want to do this. And when that happens, the magic happens. The customers get better, the experience gets better, support experience, get better. So um I think we are kind of coming to a kind of a toward the end of this, Emilia, anything else that you want to add a comment? So the team.
Emilia - Yeah, I would say, don't skip out on bringing your team together for alignment, and don't assume that everyone at your company understands what the other groups are doing. This is one of the reasons we're often brought in teams working in silos. There's a breakdown in communication internally, which means your employees aren't happy, which means your customer experience is poor. So ensuring that your team's not only are in the loop of what's happening but enabling them with playbooks and technology that will help us proactively serve them is important, just giving them more work or announcing that we're adopting new technology or new playbook is Bound for failure. So we want to make sure they're part of the decision. They feel confident with it and they've had time to practice it on a regular Cadence because if you don't practice the skill, you quickly use it, especially if you're just doing quarterly reviews. For example, once in a while, you need to practice the Also give your employees time to absorb and practice.
Ramki - Absolutely. I think it's all not just about learning, it's also putting the things into practice, right? And that's exactly what we worked with us in, do we bring such metrics? It makes it easier from a support perspective for customers to see them right on the leaderboard and the execution of the operational theme so they all can make those changes.
So, thank you very much, Emily. This is Fantastic. Fantastic discussion, just for the audience. If you have any questions, always visit. You can also see it on Lincoln Life. Please feel free to contact us at www.ascendo.ai. I look forward to having more of such dialogue in the future. Thank you. All.
Emilia - Thanks for having me. Bye bye.