I'm not going to claim to have all the answers or know all the secrets, but ... people should spend money on [Customer Experience Operations] way earlier than they do.

The Customer Success (CS) space is experiencing growth in many areas, from leading company-wide decisions to navigating a digital world.

We spoke with Colby Stilwell, Manager of Customer Experience Operations at Calendly about what the future holds for CS.

1. Who supports the supporters?

One of the things that I think is really interesting about the type of work that my team does to enable these customer-facing teams, whether it's Support or Customer Success, or even Sales, is that companies have just been really bad at it for a really long time, internally. 

I'm not going to claim to have all the answers or know all the secrets. But I think my opinion on this topic is that people should spend money on it way earlier than they do.

A lot of companies will wait until they have hundreds of employees and by that point, it's a lot harder to come in and try to build information pipelines between Product and Engineering and your customer-facing teams and to get all that operational stuff in place. 

… People should spend money on supporting the supporting roles of these customer-facing teams a lot sooner than they do. I just think that's just enormously crucial. 

I think companies are starting to get a little better about it.

2. User feedback is the guiding light to a customer-centric world:

People are really starting to understand the importance of user experience or usability research more broadly. So you're starting to see that customer-centric word. It sort of goes hand in hand with collecting data in that way. 

If you're wanting to make decisions about what to do as a business based on what your customer wants, or needs, or thinks or feels, you have to be collecting the information and leading with that. 

It used to be the case that you wouldn't really measure what customers thought of something (especially 10+ years ago) until you've gone all the way through the process of five years of research and development and building. Then you'd bring your product to market and then you would sort of measure how people receive the product once it came into the marketplace. Because of the success of companies, especially like Apple, people started to push you to pay attention to what customers think, as early into the development lifecycle of things as you can.

3. Amazing Customer Success in a remote-first world requires going digital:

I think we're just going to continue to see a shift towards digital. I think COVID made the reality of where we're going apparent to people who were ignoring it. Now we're even moving more towards the mobile app space and shifting away from traditional web. 

Customer-focused teams are going to spend more and more of their time thinking about those digital channels. 

It'll be really interesting to see how this all goes, especially in a world where everybody's working remotely. That's something my team thinks a lot about, how do we support our customers in a world where our own teams are distributed? And how do we prepare the company to give amazing service even though we're scattered all over the country or all over the world?

Thanks to Colby for sharing his envisaged vision with us!

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