Guest: Chris Hicken – CS Ops is the Secret to Customer Success

CS Ops is the Secret to Customer Success
The Jasons Take On...
The Jasons Take On...
Guest: Chris Hicken - CS Ops is the Secret to Customer Success
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Episode Description

Join us with guest Chris Hicken, CEO of ’nuffsaid, a workflow intelligence tool that lets you focus on the work that matters.

Today Chris talks about the criticality of building out effective Customer Success Operations. We will look at the role of CS Ops, how it helps you scale, and the value it delivers to customers. We will also talk about when and how you should build out your CS Ops capabilities.

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Success Chain provides the tools, services, and support you need to build your change management, user adoption, and customer success capacity. You achieve greater results faster, more effectively, and cheaper than you can working on your own. 

Meet Our Guest

Chris Hicken

Chris Hicken

CEO - 'Nuffsaid

Chris Hicken is a Co-Founder and CEO of ‘nuffsaid—the Proactive Intelligence product that helps Customer Success teams do the right tasks with the right customers at the right time.

Chris has 15 years of experience as a leader, investor, advisor, and board member, and was formerly the President and COO at UserTesting.

He is an advocate for Customer Success leaders and was recognized as a Top 100 Customer Success Strategist in 2020.

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Transcript

[00:00:00] Jason Noble: Good afternoon. Good morning everybody. And welcome to another episode of the Jason’s take on podcast series. We’ve got myself, Jason Noble here in London, just before a long bank holiday weekend here, which we’re all looking to looking forward to.

And my cohost, Mr. Whitehead, over in the states say, hello.

[00:00:16] Jason Whitehead: Hi, everyone. Great to have you join us here.

[00:00:19] Jason Noble: Thank you for joining us again. It’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve done our last podcast, but we are super excited today to be with a guest that most of you I’m sure know. We’re going to talk about the good old topic of customer success, operations, and the criticality of that to businesses where it’s come from.

And we’ve got the one and only Chris Hicken from NEF said, so Chris is the co-founder and CEO of said I am sure the majority of our listeners know you. Chris, you and I have spoken before, had some great conversations. You are a very well respected member of the customer success community.

You’re one of the top 100 customer success strategies I think last year, and I think at least this year as well, you’re a huge advocate amongst the customer success leadership committee. And you guys as a business are doing some amazing things and I know you’ve published some awesome articles received on this.

So Chris, a huge welcome to you and thank you for joining us.

[00:01:09] Chris Hicken: Yeah. Thank you. Obviously we’re, we are huge fans of the two of you in the show, so very happy to be and delighted to be included. And thank you for allowing me to attend. And I think customer success ops is a super interesting topic, so I’m very excited to get into the detail.

I,

[00:01:24] Jason Noble: I can’t wait. It’s something that I think we’re just going to have such a really, we said we do the prep for this, just a really cool conversation because it’s one of those topics that is even newer than customer success and still developing. I think a lot of businesses struggle with where does it sit?

What does it mean? But before we do that, Chris, could I get you to give a kind of a more formal introduction to everyone? So they know a bit more about yourself background and what you do.

[00:01:47] Chris Hicken: Sure. Yeah, let’s keep it short. So I’m Chris Hicken, I’m one of three co-founders at NEF said we’re building an AI powered brain that helps customer success teams focus on work that matters.

And of course, in customer success, the work that matters is identifying customers who aren’t getting value and then helping them get to value more quickly. So the brain helps you do that. Before enough said, President and COO of a company called user testing, which is an enterprise software company that helps people, helps companies develop world-class customer experiences.

So my background is all around, I’ve lived and breathed customer experience for, 10 plus years. Now it’s a passion of mine. It’s something I’m really good at some kind of bringing the best of what I’ve learned at that, in that part of my journey over into enough set into the customer success.

[00:02:36] Jason Noble: Super exciting. I love that, that, that kind of background and seeing how you can do better things with this. But before we dive into the topic of the podcast, then what about your journey into nuff said to me it was the kind of co-founder there. What was it that taught you to talk you, to see this opportunity and need to create what you guys are doing

[00:02:53] Chris Hicken: now or the products.

Vision version of this company is that people are overwhelmed with information and communication at work and the brain just isn’t good at processing, email chat, LinkedIn updates, newsletter, Salesforce, JIRA, all the different places. We have to go the brain. Isn’t good at looking at all these different things, customers and figuring.

What’s the one or two things that I can spend time on right now to move the needle for my job. And you see this more and more as companies grow people, people are very busy and many times they’re putting in lots of hours, they’re not working on the things that matter. They’re not working on the things that will move the company forward.

So the original idea for the company was can you build software that understands who people are at work and what their goals are? Allow the brain, the intelligence engine to do the things that the brain, the human brain isn’t good at and help people to figure out. Okay, what are those? When I sit down at my desk today, what are the three things I have to do?

So that’s the original vision for the product. And in doing research into the enterprise, we discovered there were six departments that were really good candidates for this AI powered brain and for a number of reasons which we can go into in a different conversation. We decided to focus on customer retention first.

Customer success managers and account managers,

[00:04:12] Jason Noble: I think the way you’ve described that kind of describes how my brain works. It’s a huge problem. I think we’ve all got, and there is so much data coming at us today that everyone’s looking for that way of fixing this and having the solution that you guys are.

Really critical.

[00:04:26] Chris Hicken: Yeah. And I think, if I could double click on this a little bit more, I feel like the productivity tools, software category has failed us in many ways. And what I mean by that is productivity apps. A lot of the focus has been, get more things done. More effectively, more efficiently.

But if you look at your, Jason, if you look at your desktop computer your workspace, your workflow, your data is now spread across probably a dozen different tools. So you’ve got communication, data, workflow happening, all these different places. It’s no wonder it’s difficult for people to focus.

And so that’s the, it’s going to take a new. Way of thinking to break us out of the productivity mold that we’ve been conditioned to work in for the last decade.

[00:05:11] Jason Noble: So I think you picked on some of these super critical it’s like you’re looking at my desktop, you know exactly what I’ve got here.

You as we dive into the topic of CS ops now, you guys publish, so you published an article recently about why CS ops is the secret weapon behind the future of customer success. Could you tell us a bit more about the article and also about the collaboration behind it as well?

Because there’s quite a few of the people that you worked with.

[00:05:36] Chris Hicken: Yes and no. When enough said published this piece. Yeah. We don’t sit in an ivory tower and, dictate how the world should work. All of our pieces are super well-researched. We work with members of the community, people who we believe to be really excellent operators in their kind of core functional areas.

And so we recently published a piece. Customer success ops and all the different facets of it, meaning what it owns, how it matures over time, who reports to it, et cetera. And that was done in combination with customer success leaders, lots of customer success, operations folks. CS ops leaders, CS ops individuals.

And so the piece is a summary of what we’ve, what we heard from the community and kind of the state of customer success ops as it is today, this piece may not be right. Couple of years from now, but at least today, I think it’s a very good reflection of what is happening in the world and in the CS ops world today.

Yep.

[00:06:29] Jason Whitehead: I I re-read the article this morning thought it was fantastic and we’ll include a link to it in the show notes below. So thanks for that. One of things you said that the sort of the preamble that I really enjoyed was the future of customer success, which we refer to as 2.0 requires leaders to spend less time running a better success team, instead of focusing on using customer data to run a better.

And I just thought that was so impactful and powerful. What are you finding right now in terms of how many people are actually using their data to run a better company versus just to run a better success team? And how do you see that shifting in the year?

[00:07:00] Chris Hicken: I’d say there’s a very small handful of very powerful CCOs that are using data to drive a better company.

The majority of us though, are still in one dot O mode, which is let’s run a better customer success team, which means better playbooks, better product usage data. Better health scores, better onboarding. That’s where all of us are spending our time today, even though most of the factors that impact the customer experience and ultimately churn are happening outside of customer success.

So it’s their experience with the product it’s where they, was the wrong use case pitched in the sales process is pricing set incorrectly. There’s all these other factors that actually impact the customer’s willingness to. To retain customer, sorry, competitors. And so those things aren’t broadly influenced by the customer success team today.

However, The most kind of powerful and thoughtful CCRS CCOs are doing this already. And I think maybe the thing for customer success leaders to focus on right now is that if customer success does not step up into a role where it’s influencing the whole company, there are other executives that are seeing this as a problem.

And they’re starting to rebrand themselves as CCO. So for example, I’ve seen several examples of Clev, renamed them, retitled themselves as CCO to help solve this problem because they feel like they have the kind of power of personality and reach and influence to go solve this for the company.

[00:08:33] Jason Noble: Wow. I think that’s incredible learning.

That is something that I think we’ve cause the idea of the CCO role here. We’ve seen a lot of growth in that role in the states and it’s beginning to happen here, but a lot slower. And I wonder if that’s that trend there. Than being internal roles that reposition themselves rather than brand new roles.

I wonder if that’s actually how this will go. And it’s a very interesting way to look at it. Cause I think I’ve seen organizations where that the head of your CSR reports into the head of commercial might be your chief commercial officer, your chief revenue officer, but that person doesn’t understand customer success to the same extent and see.

Opportunity. I can see that really shifting and causing some really interesting and different dynamics. And potentially if you’re bringing in more leaders that have got that sales experience into CS and running as the exec that was responsible for the customer part of the business, it does it bring with it that more needed commercial side of the business, which is really good.

[00:09:34] Chris Hicken: Yeah let’s double click on this concept of dynamics before we’re talking about titles and who owns what, the dynamics that are driving this are that the investors now really about retention rates, which was not the case before. And what I mean by that is if you look at public at least American public companies, nine out of 10 of the top public SAS companies report retention rates as part of their 10 K.

Know their annual reports. If you go talk to top investors at, private equity funds, Vista equity partners, or top venture capital funds, Sequoia Excel, they’re all looking at retention rates as one of the key value driving metrics for what kind of valuation they’re going to put on the company.

So you’ve got this new world where retention rate is now a board level topic. It’s a board level metric and. The expectation out is that there’s a customer leader. There’s someone at the company who is obsessive really focused on retention rate and all the different facets of it. And so the, what the market is saying is we just need a more powerful customer leader right now because this metric matters so much in determining the value of a business.

So I think that’s what, that’s the dynamics that are driving this kind of change in the marketplace where. CCS either have to step up and change or other leaders in the organization are going to do it instead. Yeah.

[00:11:01] Jason Whitehead: Very true. And I thought it was interesting in your article as well, too, how you talked about the maturity of CS ops and where it goes.

And at what point does it come out of the CS department and report to a bigger organizational imperative. And I think that feeds into it. Can you tell us a little bit more about what you find in what you recommend.

[00:11:18] Chris Hicken: Yeah, I think there’s a couple of different decisions that companies have to make around where it reports and how it’s structured.

The first one, maybe the more important one is should CS ops be a centralized or decentralized function. And If it’s decentralized. What you’re saying is that each department at the company will have their own ops function that reports to them. So there’s going to be a sales ops and marketing ops, a CS ops, a dev ops people ops.

The centralized concept is saying, okay, Combine at least some or maybe all of those ops functions into a single group. So a centralized group could be let’s pull CS ops and sales ops and together into one, let’s call it sales ops or let’s combine sales, CS, and marketing together. And let’s call it rev ops.

That’s actually increasingly popular at companies mid-sized companies in the states or let’s actually combine all of them together under, under the COO. We’re under an ops leader. And now all of the ops functions in the company are reporting to a single executive. There are some pretty strong pros and cons of each there isn’t.

There is no there’s literally no silver bullet. In fact, we talk, we’ve spoken to CS ops leaders, CS leaders, and there are pretty strong cons to each choice. But if you decide to. If you decide to centralize, sorry, let’s start with decentralized first. Let’s say CS ops reports into the CCO. There’s no connection to sales ops or other ops teams, obviously from a CCOs perspective, they really like this because they have fantastic visibility on what’s going on with the CS ops teams.

They completely control that team’s focus. Full control over which tools their team uses. And they can quickly pull up new initiatives without having to get other leaders bought in. If you talk to CS ops people though, in this type of environment, they oftentimes don’t like reporting to the CCO. And the reason is they feel when they are disconnected from other ops teams, they feel like they don’t have opportunities to learn.

From what’s going on with other ops teams, they also feel like they have a hard time getting things done in systems that they don’t own. So a typical one is Salesforce, a CS ops person never owns Salesforce, and they have a really hard time working with sales ops to get things done quickly. Because obviously the sales ops team, not because there’s no nefarious reasons behind it, but sales ops has to prioritize the needs of the sales.

So that’s the, the decentralized view. And when you start to centralize it. What typically happens is CS ops, either reports to rev ops, which reports to S C R O or CS ops reports into a centralized ops function, which reports into COO. And we can go into the details of each of those as well.

Again, each of those has strong pros, but also some pretty strong cons as well.

[00:14:25] Jason Noble: I think it’s really interesting to see the mature. Of the operation side of it. And this kind of focus on, as you say, rev ops, commercial ops and businesses really investigated. I think for a lot of organizations, I’ve worked with UCS starting.

I’ve seen it starting sales and then sales ops come out of it. And then the other ones come, but I’ve also seen it start with CS ops. So sales ops doesn’t exist. Marketing ops doesn’t exist. So it’s really interesting that depending on the maturity organization, you’re seeing it start in different areas.

I, I like the idea that there are multiple ways of doing it. Cause one way I saw in one organization not too long ago, was it reporting and ultimately to the COO and it became this centralized function, all of the opera and that, that worked really well. But I think a lot of that was specific to that business specific to the personality of the COO at work.

You could easily see it not working while, as you’ve said, when you should have the decentralized model,

[00:15:21] Chris Hicken: I would say that let’s just rule of thumb. This is not true for every company, but rule of thumb is small companies have CS ops report into CCO midsize, or maybe late Midstate mid-stage companies, CS ops as part of rev ops, which reports to C R O.

And then for every enterprise that we entered. CS ops is part of a centralized ops function, which reports to COO.

[00:15:45] Jason Noble: Do you see that model causing any challenges for the CS leader in the organization? Who’s not at sea level. So it does. Does that model. Introduce any delays, any frustrations in processes and data for the CSC?

[00:15:59] Chris Hicken: Oh, sure. Yeah. The cons of so let’s say CS ops reports into a centralized ops team, there’s a bunch of problems that come up the needs of the ops team oftentimes can supersede the needs of the customer success team. The ops leader will have their own. Priorities for example, this quarter, we’re going to centralize all of our data warehousing tools together into one.

And so the, all the ops teams will have to work on that. The CA. A leader feels like they have frustration around the lack of control they have over the CS ops function. And CS ops can push back or say no to things that CS wants to work on. CS has less control over the tools that they use because the tools are controlled by a centralized ops leader.

And. In some cases, this happens less frequently, but in some cases, because the CS ops team is not as embedded into customer success, they lose sight of the customer journey, the customer pain. And so they become disconnected from the customer, which can hurt the overall quality of experience that the CS ops team can deliver.

[00:17:04] Jason Whitehead: Chris is I’m listening to you as well. And having read the article. I’m curious, I imagine there’s a lot of differences across organizations in terms of. What’s actually included in CS ops and what remains in the CS team itself, especially as you get migraines, can you let us know a little bit what you do?

I definitely see, or the things that get included in ops that might get sent to report to different groups outside of the customer success leader, what typically stays in CS. And what are some of the main functions such as, tools and processes versus having analytics and a data expert data scientists maybe remained in the kind of the CS team and things.

Just to level set expectations around how this actually shapes on practical terms.

[00:17:41] Chris Hicken: Sure. I would say a mature customer success ops team owns up. Let’s talk about the categories first standardization. So how the team works, intelligence you to think about, reporting health scores, et cetera planning.

So this both CS team and ops planning think of things like territory planning, career laddering, right? So all those types of planning, head count planning process execution. Risk management process, the renewal process, renewal process, et cetera tools. Yeah, tool deployment and maintenance.

And then the most, the best CS ops teams also own strategy, or at least there they’re thought partners to the CS ops. So to the CCO. So those are the kind of the functional buckets of what CS ops could own when it’s mature. But of course, depending on. The size of the company and the maturity of the CS ops org, usually, in the early days, CS ops will own a very small subset of that.

And then they’ll add new responsibilities as they level up and mature and as the company’s needs grow. So we could talk about that in detail, but I think at least this gives a sense of, the starting point of the scope of what the role could be. Yeah. I

[00:19:03] Jason Whitehead: think that’s really helpful. Cause I know a lot of our listeners are also folks who are headsets.

Medium organizations that don’t even have a dedicated ops team or even an ops person yet. You’re trying to think of what is this and where do I need to go? And how do I start on this journey?

[00:19:15] Chris Hicken: So let’s sit and answer that question then for everybody you typically onboard your first CS ops person when there’s an acute need to be solved.

And often that oftentimes that acute need comes around. Software. And so you’ll say something like I’m ready for, I’m ready for a Gainsight or a turn zero, and I need to deploy it. And I can’t take a whole CSM away from their responsibilities to go implement this thing. So that’s oftentimes the trigger point to bring on the first CS ops team.

But other pain points could be like, for example, we want to do more automation on the low touch point. The low touch customer base. And so we need someone who understands software well enough to okay. To put in place this automation. So that’s typically the starting point. So CS ops in the early days often owns tool deployment and maintenance.

And then quickly after that, they’re given responsibilities around process execution. Let’s go, let’s set up an NPS survey program or let’s put in place a very strict renewal operations program, or let’s have let’s set up a structured onboarding program, but that kind of process related stuff oftentimes also goes to CS ops in the early days.

[00:20:29] Jason Noble: I think this is something that I saw exactly this at one of the organizations I’ve been with is we had very good CS team as in CSMs, but everyone doing their own thing, inconsistent, no standard playbooks. And there was one guy that actually didn’t enjoy the job and wanted to move, to be a more business analyst type role and actually perfect timing transitioned into the CS ops person role for that.

And it was perfect. Cause his background. What he liked doing was around process. And he was really key about putting this together data, pulling together the data, standardize it, setting up NPS surveys, implementing the tool, and it really came on to be something really strong. And then actually started working closely with sales, took on then a lot of the sales ops functionality himself and his role very quickly expanded after he settled into it.

It had not been created intentionally to start with it came very natural thing to move into and just wear a gap at the time that we needed to fill, which works really well.

[00:21:30] Chris Hicken: Yeah. I think you’re highlighting the need to have the initial sales ops person be a naturally process oriented and analytical personality too.

[00:21:43] Jason Whitehead: I’m curious what other do you see as being key for someone who’s going to really Excel as a C ops person? Cause when you talk about owning tools and processes and things, sometimes that sounds very different to me than the skillset for folks who really understand customers and working closely with them.

And also sounds very analytical. The data sounds very different than someone who’s really got that strategic view of things as well. Sometimes. So I’m just to understand what as the key things to truly driving a successful CS ops person and team.

[00:22:10] Chris Hicken: So that initial person of course, needs to be very kind of process oriented, detail oriented and analytical.

But of course, as the CS ops team matures, the type of person that you need to hire will change dramatically. I’ll give you an example.

One of the people we interviewed for this article is Anna Marcott at LinkedIn. Her sales Herb’s customer success ops team is 30 plus people strong. So the, you can imagine the roles are varied. Some people are really good. Coming up with systems. Other people are very technical and are good at implementing tools.

They’re almost engineers, so they’re very good at going in and writing code. Other people are great strategists, so they’re good at uncovering insights from data and helping to drive goal setting advocating for the product. They’re good at doing those types of things and other folks are good at, forecasting and planning.

So I th I think there’s not really. A silver bullet personality type for a mature CS ops team. If you’re thinking about solving that first CS ops hire probably safe to go with someone who is naturally good at putting in place, developing an increment and improving processes and also someone who’s very analytical cook and look at a report and help figure out the thing.

The one thing that matters from a report and help you get to the insights. I love it

[00:23:34] Jason Noble: because the kind of job spec almost in this ideal person, it is like a CSM. It’s so wide in terms of what we need them to do. I do think you’re right. That you find certain people that just fit into it and pick it up really well.

What would you, if a business particularly smaller stale when it’s a startup organization, they’re starting to think about this, but they’re struggling to get buy-in. Investment for kind of growing it or building the function. How do you go about best advocating internally with your internal stakeholders, your execs, that there is a need for this?

[00:24:07] Chris Hicken: Yeah, the,

I would say there’s different levels of maturity on how to act. For budget for customer success. It’s probably a losing battle to try to make the case for just one customer success ops hire here. Here’s maybe I’ll take a step back and talk about how budget asks mature. Maturing CCO, the, where things usually start is the CCO makes an agreement with the CFO that they get to hire a new CSM for every $2 million in revenue managed or for every hundred customers managed.

The problem with this of course, is. The CFO looks at CS as just a cost function. So it’s like, how can I squeeze that team as hard as I can? So every year they become a little bit more efficient. So it’s a losing battle to, to approach it that way. The next. More Mo the more mature way to do that is to say, okay, look, if you give me an extra half, a million dollars in budget, I will return to the business, a million dollars in retention rate improvements.

So CFO, where else are you going to put half a million dollars to get that kind of return? That’s more mature to see if those language oh, it is. And the most mature way, which speaks to the truth truly speaks to the heart of the CFO. And the CEO is to say, give me an extra half, a million dollars.

And I will return a retention rate improvement that will grow company valuation by $30 million.

[00:25:45] Jason Whitehead: Nice. Back to your point in the investors, in what they are.

[00:25:49] Chris Hicken: And it’s what investors are looking at is what the CEO is looking at. That’s what honestly, and ultimately it’s how the CFO is judged on the quality of their.

So going in and just asking for more budget for a CS ops person, a losing battle. It’s not, there’s not much of a, an argument there. I think the better approach for the CS leader is to say, look, what impact am I going to commit to the company? Don’t bother me, CFO. I will decide how to deploy that cash to maximize the return to the business, but going in like fiddling with $50,000 or a hundred thousand dollars here or there with the CFO, it’s a losing battle, puts you into a position where you have to ask permission to make the smallest operational changes to your organization, and you lose the freedom to run the business the way that you see fit.

So I’d actually just say as a general rule, I would argue against trying to. Advocate for this role on an individual basis.

[00:26:47] Jason Noble: I, that way of thinking I love, because it also is a maturing of CS. You’re talking on the terms of the business and what you need and the, actually the impact that customer success and the maturity and growing of your function is going to have on the business, not just what you need.

I need another head count. It’s a very different way of thinking. And I think we’re beginning to see more of this, which is true.

[00:27:10] Jason Whitehead: Yeah, actually, Chris, I was going to ask, cause I agree with that is the way you put that makes so much sense. What, how frequently are you seeing those are the conversations people are actually having or is that very few people are having those business-related questions and more people are still asking for

[00:27:23] Chris Hicken: the head count again, it goes back to how strong is the CCO strong.

The best CCOs are using valuation as their north. I’d say, VP director level CS leaders are definitely focused more on the, one CSM per $2 million in revenue kind of argument. And they are going back to the CFO and saying please give me a budget for a CS ops person.

Which of course at that point they sound more like a support leader asking for an additional heads. It sounds like overhead. It sounds like an expense and it’s not connected to company outcomes. It really is about the maturity and the strength of the success leader. And I think you called up earlier at the beginning of the call.

Success is still relatively new. And while I think that’s true the concept of account management and customer retention has been around forever. So it’s up to us to learn from the lessons of, the early days of software, where account managers were responsible for going and selling to data.

Software disc right. To, into an existing customer account. And so I think there’s, there are lots of lessons that have already been learned that we can draw from. I don’t think we have to do this all from scratch. And I think there is some urgency to get better quickly. I think

[00:28:40] Jason Noble: you’re so right there. And that we’ve talked about before Jason, is that, this, although the term is new, the name customer success, we’ve been doing this for.

It’s just a different way of thinking about it. And there are lots of things that we’ve already learned as to how to position this better. And I think it’s now got a lot more visibility on the criticality of it and yes, there have been changes in industry and business models that have made it more important.

Crystal, this has been a super conversation. It’s been so exciting to have you with us. Really I, it is one of the, one of the topics that I love talking about. What we always like to do as part of our podcast is give our kind of guests, what we call a bold challenge question. So the question for you is what’s the number one call to action for our listeners when it comes to customer success operations.

So can you sum it up in one thing that they should be doing, thinking about.

[00:29:35] Chris Hicken: Yeah. Oh boy. I only can take one.

[00:29:38] Jason Noble: We like to make them difficult.

[00:29:40] Chris Hicken: Yeah.

[00:29:41] Jason Noble: Oh, the top one, not only one, but the top one, the most urgent thing.

To the two top ones.

[00:29:56] Chris Hicken: The most important thing, the most important takeaway from this that’s CS leaders should connect their CS ops function to departmental or business outcomes. And customer success ops, even in mature teams today is not very well measured. So I asked every company, how do you bonus, or how do you compensate your CS ops person?

What metrics do you use? And only one company had something that was even remotely. Interesting in terms of a solution. And the problem for this of course is that at some point CS ops leaders will be asked to justify their expense of the CS ops function. And so if CS ops leaders don’t have a case for the value that’s added by the team that will come under attack by the CFO at some point in the future, that function.

Okay. So the key takeaway. Yes, of course invest in CS ops. It’s actually the key to unlocking this kind of new two dot O world of thinking where you’re driving cross company decisions you’re influencing cross-company decisions that impact customer experience in churn. So it’s the secret weapon of unlocking that, but also it’s important for you as a CS leader to think forward about how you’re going to justify.

The best example that we heard of how to do that was to ask. To set up milestones of things that the CS ops will achieve for the CS team could be around efficiency, automation of systems, and then to survey the customer success team quarterly, to ensure that the results of their work, they th the CS team is the customer of CS ops.

So to make sure that CS feels good about the experience that they’re getting, that they’re working more efficiently, that their work has been automated. I think there are better ways to do it, but that’s a really good way to start. Awesome.

[00:31:56] Jason Noble: I love that. I, and I’ve seen things like that happen in other organizations, and I think it’s such a, that, that way of thinking that actually their customer is the CST.

And I think it’s a very different mindset. Chris look huge. Huge. Thank you. Before we go, do you want to give a plug for shameless plug for an offset of what you guys are doing for them?

[00:32:18] Chris Hicken: Yeah. So let’s not talk about the product. I would just say Neff said from a marketing perspective we generate a ton of content to help CS leaders solve the problems that are relevant to them today.

So the most recent article is CS ops, but we’ve covered the low touch customer success. The tech touch model recently we’ve got a very active blog. We post a lot on social media. We have a book sorry, a magazine that we publish twice a year. We do workshops on compensation and how to do do a better job of negotiating for your own comp.

So just think of enough set from a marketing perspective as a partner to you and helping you level up your your operations, your personal compensation, your impact in customer success. And so that’s how we would like to be seen and perceived by the customer success community.

[00:33:05] Jason Noble: Awesome. I’ve got a, I’ve got a copy of your book Airquest or the magazine, sorry. It’s a phenomenal read. It’s really it’s enjoyable to read as well. It’s a really good way, right?

[00:33:15] Chris Hicken: Great. Thanks very much. And of course love getting time with the both with the two Jason. So thanks as always for including me.

Excellent.

[00:33:22] Jason Noble: Chris, thank you for joining us. We really enjoyed this.

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