Sometimes customers just need to be listened to. They just need to be heard. And it doesn't mean anything more than that, sit down and let them talk to you about whatever it is that they need to talk to you about.

What happens when you put a research scientist in charge of Customer Success?

At Gremlin, Kristin Covert runs her Customer Success department inspired by real-world ecosystems:

I actually spent 18 years as a scientist: studying, publishing on our real ecosystems and when I switched to technology, I realized, “hmm, same thing! Looks like infrastructure is just one big ecosystem and all we're doing is injecting fires into that infrastructure, and they call it Chaos Engineering. This is perfect for me”

Well-versed in applying the scientific method and hypothesis testing to technology, Kristin shares:

1. It’s important for Customer Success to report directly to the CEO instead of Sales:

“... what that does is allow Customer Success to be more than a lagging indicator of Net Retention. It allows me to directly communicate to the CEO about CS functions, and the way that the functions support a customer in getting mature at a practice using our application across their journey with us.

The CS journey is full of leading indicators. If we're helping customers use our application to solve pain points and business use cases, it's not all about that lagging indicator of getting the renewal. I can actually show the value of all touchpoints by measuring them, and iterating. That is value to the customer externally and internally to Product”

Don't have CSMs report to Revenue. Have them report directly up. I think that's critical. You’ll have a voice for Customer Success, still continue to work with Sales, have checks and balances, and through CS work use cases and business goals that take longer but create powerful impact on the customer.

2. Working sessions with customers can co-create solutions of which you might not have even thought:

[...] customers want to give you their opinions! You can have working sessions where you invite customers -- it's like a mini customer advisory board -- but a working session on a particular topic is much less effort.

"And ask their opinion, “what do you think about this idea/feature enablement/use case? We're thinking about doing this along our customer journey, do you think that will work?” 

And then when you have a whole bunch of customers in a group, one will say “no”, and another will say “yes” and then another will say “maybe”. You'll watch as the solution for how your customers want it to be solved comes to a conclusion, and they'll give you the answers, because they're the ones using your product, right? It's so cool!

I felt like I had to know all of it ahead of time and I was like, “No, I just need to ask them, they'll tell me!””

3. Solving problems for customers creates a better future for humans:

“Making sure that you actually solve that pain point that they purchased the application for makes customers happy! You actually make their lives easier like, “yeah, I don't have to go to work and feel that pain!”

It translates to being happy, and the younger generations really value that. All generations to be honest.

[...] And I think we'll see more of that going forward, which actually is better for the human species anyways.”

Huge thanks to Kristin for imparting knowledge!

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