In this episode we sit down with Chad Hornefeldt, Director of Customer Success at Kustomer. Chad shares his insights and experience in building trust, and using trust, to drive relationships and success.
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Meet Our Guest
Director, Customer Success at Kustomer
Chad has 15+ years of experience building and developing Customer Success teams, including implementing Customer Success strategies resulting in exemplary customer satisfaction, retention, and growth rates.
Chad’s reputation to drive and create outcome-focused programs drives long-lasting relationships based on trust and creating a culture that puts the customer at the center of everything that he does. He specializes in hiring the best people, leveraging technology to increase efficiency, and above all is committed to fostering the Customer Success community.
Chad was named one of the top 150+ global customer experience thought leaders and influencers of 2020 and a top 25 Customer Success influencer. You can read more about his Customer Success journey at enlightenedcustomers.com
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Jason Whitehead: [00:00:00] I want to thank you for joining us again today. For another episode of the Jason’s take on. We’re really excited to be here today, and I’m here with my co-host Jason Noble over in London. Good afternoon, everybody. And yeah, we’re really excited to have with us say our very special guest, Chad Horenfeldt.
Chad is a leader in the customer success space and has been for many years. He’s a frequent blogger and presenter. I’ve seen him at conferences. He really has some great ideas. And Chad’s been recognized multiple times as a top influencer in both customer success and customer experience. So he’s got a world of knowledge and wealth of ideas.
Currently he is director of customer success at a company called customer that’s customer with a K and previously he’s worked leading up customer success and experience at companies like updater Bluecore Influitive and Eloqua. So we’re really excited to have Chad with us. Today Chad’s going to be sharing his thoughts and experience on building trust and really using trust to drive relationships and success both in your organization and with your customers.
Chad, thank you so much for being with us today.
Chad Horenfeldt: [00:01:00] Yeah. Thank you. And thank you both to you. Jason’s for having me on, and it’s a pleasure. I love the podcast and level what you guys are doing. And anything I can do to help is great.
Jason Whitehead: [00:01:08] We appreciate it. And when you and I were speaking earlier, it was just fascinating.
Some of the things that you’ve done and just the approach that you bring, I think is so positive and exciting can help so many companies. So I’m really looking forward to your ideas.
Jason Noble: [00:01:19] I think that the background you’ve got as well challenged, it’s like you say, you well known in this space and it’s just going to be, some of these insights are going to be great.
And these, I love these conversations where we can share kind of our thoughts and get your ideas and insights as well. So I’m super excited about this.
Jason Whitehead: [00:01:34] Awesome. Awesome. Yeah. So to kick us off Chad, before we jump in I did a bit of an intro, but why don’t you go ahead and tell us a little bit about your background and your career how you’ve gotten to be, where you are and the the perspective that you bring.
Chad Horenfeldt: [00:01:46] Sure. So very early on, I was a consultant and I was building out custom web apps and I saw a software company didn’t really know anything about SAS because it was pretty early on in SAS. And it was a company out of Toronto. Cause that’s where I’m from in Canada and it’s called Eloqua and that’s in the marketing automation space.
So joined there and I was a solutions manager, which we just didn’t have the name customer success just yet. And. Was a customer, essentially a customer success manager. I was renewing customers. I was helping customers. And we know we knew early on there that if we helped our customers and we help them build value, then they would tell other people and that’s how our company would grow.
And that’s what we found. And I was very lucky. I started in customer success and then worked my way into a senior role and then into management and then, in more into leadership. And then made my way out to the New York area and now live in Northern New Jersey. Wow.
Jason Whitehead: [00:02:41] Fantastic.
Jason Noble: [00:02:43] I think that this, that, that thing about trust and kind of solutions and services is so important because it is, I love a lot of us have come from backgrounds where we used to do something, not called customer success.
But the essence of what we do is exactly the same. It really was all about this, but we’ve just never called it customer success. We always talk in customer success about the idea of a. Trusted advisor and the need for a CSM to be that trusted advisor and really help our customers create that value. Why do you see that as something that’s so important and how does trust help
Chad Horenfeldt: [00:03:14] create value?
Yeah, I see, like from my definition of customer success, I see that trust and value almost the cornerstones of customer success. And I think because you can’t have one without the other. If you don’t build trust with that customer and a customer doesn’t trust your product, then they’re not necessarily going to see the value in your product or in you.
They’re not going to necessarily listen to you and want to listen to your ideas. And on the flip side, if a customer is not seeing. Value. Then there’s a lesser chance that they’re going to trust you and want to continue to work with you. So those are really, very closely related.
And, just as a very small example, when you. Join a call with a new customer, just looking and seeing any news about them and you can reference something about them. And that helps to bridge that divide of that kind of cold conversation coming in. And especially now when we’re not visiting our customers in person.
So you really need to do that. And even looking at the ways that your customers. Use certain terminology, whether they don’t call them their customers, maybe they call them patients or something to that effect, using that terminology can really help build that trust. And there’s a greater chance that they’ll listen to them.
Jason Whitehead: [00:04:27] I think that’s so true. And even just from the experience we’ve had doing the podcast now for a couple of years, I’ve been amazed how many people when they contact us or if we reach out to them, they’re like, Oh, I’ve prepared your podcast. They’ve never met us. Having listened to us and understand how we, our perspective, how we bring, it’s warrants that opening and there’s already a level of pre trust there in some ways. And then when we actually engage with them directly, I think that helps a lot. I’m curious about a seat when we talk about building trust you do it both internally and with your customers. Can you tell me a little bit about your experiences building trust internally, some things that you’ve done and how has this impacted relationships within your own team, but also within your larger organization?
Chad Horenfeldt: [00:05:02] Yeah, the whole idea of that trusted advisors. It’s not just with customers. It really is internally. And it starts with the customer success team. I think that in many organizations at the executive level, they almost look at the customer success team and the sales team in the same way. And in some cases it’s okay one’s bringing in new customers and one’s managing existing customers, but I’d say one of the fundamental differences is that the salespeople are very independent.
They have their that number and they have to hit that number. And. Yeah. Like they can ask another sales rep for advice, but it’s really on their own. And I think with the customer success teams, and I’d say the most productive ones, you really have to have that internal trust where they can rely on each other.
And I think that the best teams. They may not even be working towards their particular goals. In some cases, it’s almost like they’re working to help each other. So when things really hit the fan that they’re wanting to help each other. So they get through this. And if you create that type of environment, they will hit their goals.
Unless there’s something fundamentally wrong with the product, I would say typically that trust is there. In terms of how I manage our team, I think that for me, the team isn’t going to trust me unless I one is that I’m putting in the right processes to help them. And so I think that’s a really important part too, on the trust side.
And so some of the things that I do there is I try and be vulnerable with them. I try and, provide information that they should be aware of and also let them know like how I’m feeling, if I’m struggling during this whole COVID environment, But I also want to be transparent and how I can help them and where they need help.
So some of that is giving them a bit of tough love at times. But I think that does build that trust. And I think the other thing too, is that from a value perspective, Just as a customer is looking to achieve outcomes and they’ll see that as value every person on your team has some sort of outcome that they’re trying to achieve.
And it could be, just helping a customer through a problem or it could be, a longer term goal that they have and they just need some advice. And so again, like if you’re helping build those opportunities for those particular people, Then they’re going to see that value and then that will lead to trust and it has that circular effect.
And the other part of this internally is with other teams. And if you’re a larger customer success team or customer experience team, then it could be with professional services making sure that customers are transitioning in the right way. It could be between the support team and the customer success managers.
If those are different teams, that the best performing teams I like to describe support and the customer success managers where, you know, if the. A customer success manager falls backwards. The support person there grabs them and the other way around. So again, like they have to look to create value for each other and that creates trust.
It can’t be that one team is dumping things on the other team. There really needs to be the trust there. And then again, you can extend it beyond the customer success customer experience teams to sales, to product. Gosh, with products there really needs to be trust. And what I coach my team is.
Always assume the best, if you’re getting an item and again, product, unlike customer success wants to say yes to the customer. The product team wants to say no, they’ve got other larger objectives. Yeah. I They literally, their first response is no. And it’s, that’s a good thing at times, because sometimes you’re asking them to do crazy things and, the, you need to have.
You know that voice of reason, that healthy tension, but there has to be trust and there has to be mutual values. So if it’s looking for shared metrics between the groups and, speaking to someone from marketing today, and, they’re trying to get references and to do webinars and it’s okay, how can I help you get that done?
Like what are things that I can do to uncover those things? Yeah, that’s where again, where I see these two are so interconnected. And it’s not just outwardly with your customers, but it’s also inwardly. And it goes to that other thing that we always say that customer success is not just a team. It’s part of, it’s an organization, it’s your approach.
And you really do need to have that trust and that value there.
Jason Noble: [00:09:11] I think that’s some really cool points there chat. And what I love is this, w we’ve always talked about customer success is really a facilitator across the business. It’s a very horizontal function. And then you have to work so collaboratively with all of the businesses.
And I think a lot of organizations still do struggle where we’ve got silos. Every organizations has like silos to some extent. And it’s trust that helps break those silos down. And, you talked about shared metrics and shared goals. I love the idea of bringing product into meetings you have with customers, it’s that shared experience getting in there.
Chad Horenfeldt: [00:09:44] one of the things that we do there actually just on that is if you have something like gong or some other technology where you record calls it’s a perfect example, as a, a customer success manager or someone who was younger, when I was, in the heat of the moment, I would be coming off a call and a customer would be unhappy, happy.
We didn’t deliver on a feature or they’re just missing a feature. And your first inclination is to either take your notes and send it to everybody and say, why don’t we have this feature? And, today what you can do with the technology like gong or something like that, you can share like a snippet of it call, but on the flip side, what you should be doing is to build the value and greater trust is capture the moments where your customer is telling you how much they like a feature and you know how it’s impacting them.
Because I can tell you this, the product engineering and teams, they never hear any of that. And one takeaway from this. Discussion that you can ask your customers. Would you jump on a call? Cause a lot of times, again, it’s always they’re going to tell you what the problems are, but you can always ask them, what’s a success that you’ve had with our product or just what’s the success you’ve had in general.
And you’d be surprised that, sometimes they take a moment and you’re like you released this feature and I have other managers using it now and they really like it. And that’s just a powerful moment where you can capture and share that with others in your organization.
Jason Noble: [00:11:00] That’s so valuable.
And it is you quite often hear for your supporters, example, customers, don’t phone up and say this product, brilliant. This is this feature you’ve rolled out. It’s very reactive. And I think you do product. See that side of it as well. They’re getting problems coming to them. Not very rarely do they get customers saying this is really driving value for us.
Jason Whitehead: [00:11:18] Yeah. And I love what you said too, about the sharing the video. So they hear it from the hospital directly in their words. I think a lot of folks, especially when you are a bit removed from the customer, you don’t hear the thank-you’s firsthand. You don’t get the warm feeling of, Hey, we did something that made a difference for someone else’s job and their company, and that’s why we’re here.
So I love that. I’d love to see more companies, especially now that so much is happening over virtual teams where it’s so easy to record meetings. Now get the customer’s permission to record it and share it within the organization.
Jason Noble: [00:11:47] You need more of it as well. Don’t you? I think it is so important.
You can lose sight of it and you don’t get that kind of feedback to the business. And there is some really good feedback out there. And how do you go about building trust with kind of exterior external customers and with relationships they, and how is that different to building internal teams?
We’ve talked a lot about the need for doing internally, but what are some of the ideas around building that trust with external our customers?
Chad Horenfeldt: [00:12:15] Yeah. I think that with doing it and how it, and quick how you go about building that trust. There’s a few things. There’s one is that, know, you mentioned like early on, like when you first start working with a client that, you establish yourself in terms of who you are.
And there’s a, I think it’s seal Dini, who has, I forget how many laws of persuasion that he talks about our influence, but I know that one of them is around. This idea that, you’re an expert in your area. And if there’s things that you can bring out that make you seem like an expert.
And so one of the things that you can do to hamper that ability to form trust is when you come on the call and you’re like, yeah, I’ve only been with our company for three months. And, you can almost see the depleted effect that has on the customer, even if we can’t see them, if their video isn’t turned on.
And I always coach my team, it’s no, do not say that. Start with. The experience that you do have, and maybe that’s experience outside of being in customer success. So you could say something like I’ve been in customer success for three years, or I’ve been working in this industry for X number of years.
And, I’ve got someone on my team that she was on the customer side. She was like, Oh, I used to be a customer support representative because customer is a customer support software. And immediately you just start to see the bonds form between the customer and the customer success manager.
And so I think that’s a starting point. I think, delivering on what you say you’re going to deliver on whether that’s just following up, sending out action items. After the meeting, working through those action items, those are things that help build trust. And, of course, your products is really that main item that’s going to make or break the trust factor.
And, if their customer is giving you feedback, making sure you’re taking that feedback and acting on that. And something that you can do where. Because a customer is gonna give you feedback and you can’t necessarily build a feature in five seconds and put it out there.
But another thing that you can do is that even invite your leader onto the call and they can, or are there other executives onto the call and they can speak to the client. And really that shows the client that. They’re not just, someone that is, let’s say ordinary or someone that, you’ve heard them and you’ve played lip service to them.
They are really important to you. And there is something that you could potentially do to help them and bringing, a leader or executive on the call shows that, and you can even go a step further. There might be something where if you can’t. Them with a particular feature or maybe there’s something else that you can do, whether it’s professional services or something, those are the things that build those bonds.
And you have to, you can say no in some respects, but in other respects, there’s maybe something that you can do to help them. And then I think the last thing is that customers will respect you more. Also if you challenge them. And that’s a way of building trust, where. They ask you to can you have the speech or, why can’t your product do this?
And then you turned around. It’s let’s say we could do this. Like, how would this actually work for you? And, testing their own hypothesis and if you’re training them and you’re teaching them that can really build that trust because then, you’re not just someone who’s, let’s say helping them fix a particular item.
You’re actually. Maybe challenging and changing the way that they’re doing things and, guiding them. And there’s many ways to do that. It could be asking questions, it could be providing them data and filling a gap. Maybe that’s between the products and what they actually need that’s success gap.
But those are some of the things that I’ve seen work successfully to help build that trust.
Jason Whitehead: [00:16:03] That’s great. And I think you’re sorry, if you want to get the customer to do something they wouldn’t normally do or wouldn’t do on their own. They’re not going to do it without that trust. And I’ve also looked at sort of the flip side of the trust sphere and, if you’re not building trust, you’re building fear with them, but it’s in their mind, at least it’s higher risk to do what you’re asking them to do and do to take a leap of faith to them.
And I’m in so much of customer success. We had wrapped Dolly ball on the show the other day, he was talking about how. No, you need to help in customer success, help your customers achieve value faster than they could on their own or more than you would. And that’s challenging them to get to do things differently than they’re not going to take those leaps of faith without that trust piece.
So I think that’s just so critical than that. You’ve just said related to that though, you’ve worked in some organizations, especially folks who may not think in terms of the social bonds and the relationship building, but think more in terms of functionality or code or what, but maybe.
And just the nature of different types of organizations. You have a lot of naysayers and skeptics, a lot of things. And then, there are many skeptics that, they don’t see the need or the value of customer success without fully understand it up there. So what is it that you actually need to do with these folks to win over skeptics about the value of investing the time and effort?
Because this time and effort, and it is rescue to do things different, but how do you win over skeptics to see the value in building trust and focusing on that effort? And then my thing is so many people are skeptical.
Chad Horenfeldt: [00:17:19] Yeah, that’s a good question. I think there are, there always are skeptic, and I think that it all stems from maybe the backgrounds that people have, whether maybe they can came from product backgrounds and engineering backgrounds, and sometimes the mindset there is the solution is always the product.
If we make the product better, then it solves all problems. But I think that’s we know that’s just not necessarily the case that, there’s. Especially with enterprise software. That’s just, it’s very complex and there’s a lot of nuances and customers have very high expectations as they should.
And there’s just something that you need to do to help that customer get to that next level. It’s just, there’s no wizard. There’s nothing that’s saying, do this and everything will be perfect and, whatever. Yeah. I The fundamentals of typically of software there’s the product is doing something there’s some sort of reporting or data and, there’s ways there’s so much interpretation.
There’s so many different things that you can do to guide them to the right direction. And I think that was something that really has impacted us here at customer was something that I started because a lot of the times it comes down to data. The, what data can you provide to the organization?
So there’s obviously renewal data, there’s churn data and. There’s the voice of the customer. And I felt that we could get more data about our voice of the customer to the rest of the organization. And that can help us build some beachheads where we can start to make some changes.
And so we had an MPS survey, but I think that many are aware like NPS is a good indicator, maybe from a trending perspective, but it typically doesn’t tell you some of the. No nuances and things that are going on that the more detailed information that you need to make real change. And so I had pushed to get a it was a 10 to, I think, 10 to 15 question survey sent to our customers and put a little incentive in there.
And we had a lot of responses and I was pretty floored. At the feedback that our customers wanted to provide us. And I made sure that we got buy-in from marketing, from products. Everyone had a little view into the questions we were going to ask. And so then when the surveys came back and we got the responses, it was really well supported by others in the organization.
And it actually led to some fundamental changes, both in terms of product priorities, as well as. With just in terms of metrics overall. Those are things that if you are looking to change those skeptics that these are things that you can do, data talks. And so th those are things that it wasn’t very difficult.
We were using a survey tool. We had a marketing automation tool. Got it, spun up and sent out, and you really also need to focus on. Those people that aren’t responding as well as the follow-ups. So making sure that you’re not just collecting that feedback, but you’re responding to that feedback. And so there is some planning, but I would say it’s pretty easy to get something like that up and running
Jason Noble: [00:20:08] that’s me once you’ve built the trust of her.
How do you go about recognizing if you built it in a sufficient level both with customers and internally with your team. And then what what are the kinds of size you’d look for when it’s not there? And then how much time and effort you actually put into it to making sure that you’ve got the right level of trust there?
Chad Horenfeldt: [00:20:27] Yeah, that’s a good question. I think that the, the main indicators. Are some of the things like retention rates, like you look at your trending, are your retention rates moving in the right direction? A lot of times that’s a lagging indicator in some ways. So I would say that things that I tend to look at are some of the feedback that we’re receiving from customers, whether it’s through those types of surveys, whether it’s through even MPS trends are very helpful.
And then through things like, recorded calls, I have some. Some filters that are set up that look for specific words that are mentioned in these calls. And those give me an indication that there’s a positive thing that’s happened in those particular calls. And then I’ll get those clips and I’ll listen to some of them.
And I like to share them with my team and with others and anything that we get back, like any type of positive comments, we had one comment recently from a customer and they said something like, It was something like, if it wasn’t for you and they were referring to the CSM, then, I would probably not be going through all this trouble, with this particular, contractual discussion or something to that effect.
And that’s just a a very good indicator that we are doing those right things. And we’re moving in the right direction.
Jason Whitehead: [00:21:35] Wow. That’s such a great comment. But your CSM was probably thrilled in that as I’m sure where the executives I’m to hear that you’ve got a team that. That has that kind of trust and loyalty from the client is
Chad Horenfeldt: [00:21:44] that’s huge.
Yeah, definitely. The other thing too is like expansions or upsells obviously is a good indicator depending on what that particular upsell is. If they’re purchasing more products sometimes, if they’re adding more seats, I wouldn’t say that’s the best indicator because they just may need to add more seats.
But I would say if they’re adding more products or if they say no to adding more products, then that’s a good indicator. And another one that I like to do is to ask a customer if you’re not sure. How that trust level is with a customer. One thing to ask them is, would you be a reference and how they respond to that?
We’ll give you a great indicator in terms of the relationship that you have, either they don’t respond to you. That’s an indicator in itself, or if they turn you down. So that’s a good way to test that trust relationship.
Jason Whitehead: [00:22:28] Absolutely. I was speaking with a loan executive in customer success.
The other day, he was talking about wanting to improve his team in their practices. His simple thing was for me if the customer will take your call, it means they’re trusting you and seeing value. And it’s just amazing how many times customers won’t even get on the phone with TSM, Google won’t respond back.
We won’t show up to the meetings. And I think even just in some organizations, the simple piece that they get your, you get their time and that’s pretty huge.
Chad Horenfeldt: [00:22:53] Yeah. It could also be just from the value. I flip that around to the value side. If they don’t see that there’s value in meeting with you.
But if there’s a trusted relationship, they might just write back. They listen, I’m busy. I’m sorry. W maybe we’ll meet, get in a few weeks or something.
Jason Whitehead: [00:23:07] Yeah.
Chad Horenfeldt: [00:23:09] That’s a really good point. I think that when you do have that trusted relationship, customers will give you more information than they typically wouldn’t have done if you didn’t have that.
And so that’s another good indicator.
Jason Whitehead: [00:23:22] No, that’s a huge thing. I hadn’t thought about that piece. So you shared a few ideas but we’d love to know if you have any other suggestions or ideas around some very practical and tactical steps people should take to build trust. And how long should it take, what should people’s expectation be around here’s the process by which you can build trust in and move it forward and the flip side, what are some things you’ve seen that, that may break trust, or you should avoid doing?
Because it’s gonna really hurt the relationship that you may not even think about, maybe doing them on a regular basis.
Chad Horenfeldt: [00:23:50] Sure. I think that, just some of these basic ones that I think people are fairly aware, but I would say that one is, don’t, if you don’t know the answer to something, just say you don’t know, and that you’ll get back to the customer.
Don’t try and answer it like that. That will, customers can see through that. And that they’ll just, that just erodes the trust. I think another one, which is a really good one is. It was a kind of a fundamental core of customer success is being proactive. A good example.
I noticed that we were billing a customer in the incorrect way, and it’s like before they get the invoice or look at the invoice, reach out to them and say, listen, your invoice is wrong. We’re fixing it. Don’t worry about it. Those types of things. And another one would be, if there’s a feature delay, they’re expecting a feature to be rolled out before they get some sort of indicator.
Some other way, like just let them know what’s going on, why that has been delayed. And I think a lot of the times that if you just explain why the reasoning behind something it’s listen, we wanted to get the feature out, but we had this catastrophic issue that we had to fix. And I think you’d rather us have fixed that other issue.
And it’s like anything it’s there’s no, it’s not, you don’t have unlimited resources. You have to have that. And you have to have of that give and take. And the last one, just mentioning again, challenging your customers. It’s I like to think of it as parenting.
At times, my kids will say, you’re not being nice or something like that. And it’s like I said, I’m like, I’m not your friend. I’m not trying to be your friend. I’m trying to turn you into a good person. That’s my job. And so it’s really similar to your customers. You want them to be successful and you want them to get promoted.
So there you go. You can, on the Jason’s podcast, I’ve now brought together parenting and customer success. So there you go.
Jason Whitehead: [00:25:30] It’s hard to separate the two know, I think that’s excellent. And when I’ve worked with customer or customer success teams as well, too, I think so many times they don’t set up that relationship, that trust expectation with customers from the very beginning.
And, customers don’t to your point, they don’t want to be told tell me, don’t tell me what I want to hear. Tell me what’s actually gonna happen so I can play on quarterly and can manage expectations in my own organization and adjust my own piece. And the modeling, they say, look, at some point.
Either, we’re going to be delayed. You’re going to be delayed or something’s going to come off the rails. And, that’s a, when this happens now, if this happens and here’s how we’re going to handle it. And then having created that foundation, when it goes bad, you can come back a little bit.
Lance. I remember when we started this, I said, I would be direct with you when things are not quite here we are, and some of the stigma.
Chad Horenfeldt: [00:26:11] Yeah. And a couple other things just to add, like another thing that you can do that, that works really well. And it, depending on the person, right?
Like you have some people they’re all business. They want to jump in and just get into whatever is they want to get into. But I would say somebody that I’ve seen work really well is especially when you’re you want to call it a new customer and you can say to them something like what’s something that you do outside of work.
And I think that’s just a really good thing to start off. And you can be the first one you can say, okay, that side of work, I like to go skiing or something to that effect. And that brings that relationship to a different level because it’s a more personal type relationship.
And on the flip side, Is that sometimes you went reveal too much and that’s not a good thing. So it’s really a fine balance. I had someone that I was coaching and I said to this person and said, listen I understand what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to level with the client and let them know what’s going on.
But when you start saying negative things about our company and our product, like that’s just going too far. Like you, I understand you feel. And I see what you’re trying to do, but there’s a line that you need to, that you can’t cross. And I think that’s really one of the tricky parts of customer success and that whole trust relationship,
Jason Noble: [00:27:24] it is such a fundamental thing.
And it is, we laugh about parenting and customer success, but there are. You know that’s success of others is a fundamental thing that we think about and it can extend far beyond our customers, but that trust is so critical to all of it. I think one of the challenges, and I’d like to ask you this chapter on the challenges we’ve got is that it can take a long time to build up trust, particularly if you’ve not got it to start with you’re coming into a new situation, new customer or new team, how do you.
How do you communicate the value of what trust will be and how do you start it and work through that process versus just getting on with the job, because there’s something very distinct from it.
Chad Horenfeldt: [00:28:03] Yeah. I think that one of the things, especially in my role where I’m just parachuting into situations, many different times, in coming in and meeting a client for the first time, usually there’s maybe an issue that’s come up or something to that effect, but hopefully that’s not the case.
Hopefully it’s just joining, let’s say a business review with my team, but it doesn’t really matter in any of the cases. I’ll typically go through the same type of process. I will go on LinkedIn and I’ll learn a little bit more about that person. I’ll see if we have any mutual connections and that’s a really good approach that you can use is that you go on there and you look for mutual connections, say, Oh, I know so-and-so and I used to work with them over here.
And they’re like Oh, how’s that person doing? Oh, I think they’re doing great. And just by doing that, you’re extending credibility through this person that we mutually know, and that can help raise that person that can help raise you up. Hopefully it’s someone, they like that cause the opposite effect too.
So that’s one approach and also I’ll mention, Oh no, I’ve been at your company for X amount of years. Or if you’re new to the company, I’ll say, Oh, you’ve been new to the company, or you may not know that much about customer or something to that effect. I think that I’m just leading in with information that maybe pulls out something they might be thinking is always a good idea.
And not always just throwing in like asking questions is great and asking the open-ended questions. But also I like to use something that I call the accusation audit, and that’s something that is if you’ve read the book. Never split the difference. So it’s on negotiations and this idea of the accusation on it’s if you can phrase it many different ways, but a lot of times it’s just throwing out things like, Oh, I know you’ve had, you have been having these issues over here, and I know that you have a timeline where you need to get these things done by this date.
And by stating those items right away, you’re building trust because the customer doesn’t have to repeat themselves. You’re leveling with them. They know the issues that they have. And then the other thing is hopefully you have some idea what their outcomes are and you can start to stay. I know your key metric is this.
So I wanted to have a Frank discussion around these items and let’s see, we can come up with here’s two to three things that will be takeaways from our discussion today. So those are some things that you can easily do. You can look at Google news, see what’s going on with the organization. Again, trying to learn more about them, their organization, their issues, or their opportunities.
And coming in prepared, and those are some of the easy ways that you can gain trust right away. And they’ve been proven to work very effectively.
Jason Noble: [00:30:31] So kicks, I think it helps you with your own team as well, and other people outside customers, it’s just understanding what you’re going to talk about, what the concerns are, what things have worked.
It’s really important that.
Jason Whitehead: [00:30:42] Yep. Chad, thank you so much for being here. Before you go, we always like to end by asking someone if you would take a bold challenge to the people out there and to the audience let me ask you, what will actions should customer success professionals be immediately take like right after they hear this podcast starting today, starting tomorrow that they’ve never done before to change how they work to focus on building them in maintaining trust, but what should be a bit cutting edge for them that you would say, Hey, I know it’s going to be tough to go do this.
Chad Horenfeldt: [00:31:06] Yeah. I don’t know if this is cutting edge or difficult, but time is like the key factor, everything, and we’re all busy. So one of the things that we may not do enough, and I mentioned this early on about working as a team, is there are people on your team that probably have built those really good relationships with their customers.
And maybe everyone does it in a different way. We all have different strengths. And, but that there may be some people that are doing it in a different way and it’s being really effective. So take the time and join their call. And listen in on their call, you can even listen through gong if you have that too.
But take the time to do that. That’s something very easy that you can do, but if you’re not thinking about it, you’re just not going to do it because you have so many other things you have to do. But I do feel that is something that you can learn from others. And then if you do learn something, share it with others, whether it’s through Slack or in a team meeting, make sure that you’re not just learning yourself, but you’re sharing with others.
Jason Whitehead: [00:31:57] That’s awesome. Great. Again, thank you so much for being here before you go up. We’d like to invite you to do a shameless plug. If you want to share anything about any projects you’re working on by your company or how people can get in touch with you. And we’ll include information in the description below the podcast, go ahead and to share anything that’s exciting to you these days.
Chad Horenfeldt: [00:32:13] Sure. Thank you. And I think the key thing is if you want to connect with me, just connect on LinkedIn. You can also follow me on Twitter. Look for me there. And we’re hiring here at customer as well. So we’re hiring customer success managers. If you’re interested, please reach out. And the last thing is that sometimes I’ll put some writings on my website, it’s enlightened customers.com and really that’s it.
Really, as you guys are aware of very passionate about customer success and we’ll do my best to share things. As I learned them and whether it’s parenting advice or,
Jason Noble: [00:32:44] Hey, we’re all looking for that as well. I love the title of your website. It’s just brilliant. I love it. I enlightened customers.com because it shifts.
The focus is about the customers. It’s about the customers
Jason Whitehead: [00:32:53] and I love your writing and highly recommend everyone to go on and check it out. You’ve got some great stuff out there. All right. Thanks very much until next time. I’m Jason Whitehead here in Washington, DC, and I’ve got.
Jason Noble: [00:33:02] Jason Noble over in London.
Chad, thank you so much, man. This has been a super conversation. All right. Thank
Chad Horenfeldt: [00:33:08] you guys.