You're responsible for a customer’s success in using your product or service, and helping them on that product adoption journey.

Product is taking center stage. In our discussion, Rachael McBrearty explains that product drives the overall customer experience and suggests how Customer Success teams can adjust their methods accordingly.

I'll just talk about the world of software, because that's where I live. I think we're just seeing this huge shift to product-led growth… Using your product as that main vehicle to acquire and activate and retain customers.

Rachael has a background in book publishing, graphic design and much more, but it was software design that developed her interest in the end user, eventually leading her to the world of Customer Experience and Engagement. Rachael shares:

1. In the future, product drives the process, while Customer Success ensures a great experience:

I think we're seeing a huge shift to product-led growth. If you think about it, you're using your product as that main vehicle to acquire, activate, and retain customers. I mean we use Slack, Dropbox. I don't need a salesperson to tell me the value of collaboration. I don't need a salesperson to tell me the value of putting my files out on a shared drive. 

Product experience becoming an essential part of the buying experience is going to create a shift. A further shift in what is going to be the role of Customer Success.

Look at Adobe, it's a great example. You don't need to reach out to a sales rep to start using Photoshop or Illustrator, you just download it, right? It might not be the full suite, but you start using it. And so I get to try it, I don't need to book a demo, I don't need you to take me through the sales process. But further, once I'm in there, now it's about, hey, what do you really need? What other capabilities? Do you need it for 10 people in your company or only you? There could be a discussion there. But that could also be the Customer Success Manager understanding your needs and helping you figure it out. But we're seeing a shift overall in the market. And look, buyers don't want to interact with salespeople. It's not that you don't want to... you want a consult, but you want an experienced person who can take you from that initial trial.

2. Set customers' Product expectations then build a great experience tailored to them:

You have to think about what is the right experience based on your brand. So for example, let's take Cadillac, right? Cadillac is a high price point, their brand is about the expression of arrival. If you get a Cadillac, it's kind of a big deal. Maybe not as much as it used to be, but it's very high-end. So you expect a high-end experience, because you are dropping a ton of money. There are certain expectations. Experience is really thinking about, how do you build the right focus and structure? And where do you have to spend to justify those prices? Apple Store too, right? 

There's certain kinds of experiences you're expecting them to deliver. So you need to think about that experience on behalf of the company. And ensure everybody's orchestrating the right way.

3. It’s no easy feat to be responsible for the culmination of everyone’s efforts (Product, etc.) and still have empathy.

There needs to be a therapist dedicated to helping CSMs through the next three to five years. [Laughs] I mean, they're amazing. You had this question around this superpower. 

I think what is critical is they're very empathetic people. And empathetic people who are very in tune with what's going on around them are people who need to be taken care of. 

And taken through a journey, because they're very sensitive too. I mean, that's part of the superpower. But it's also why I think the change management and the shift is real. And I definitely feel that in a CSM team. It's a lot for them, as the changes can come pretty rapidly.

Thanks to Rachael for sharing her wisdom & experiences in with Customer Success!

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