Joining us today is Isabel Ruiz, Senior Customer Success Manager at Pluralsight.
Isabel caught up with us before her talk to discuss more about her presentation, her views on CS, and the nature of her role.👇
Q: Hi Isabel! Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your upcoming Customer Success Festival talk?
A: Hi. First of all, thanks to the Future of Saas team for inviting me. This awesome event is full of actionable content on major industry insights. I am excited to be part of it.
I started my SaaS journey in Sales Operations. Then I moved to Renewals and found my passion in Customer Success.
Customer Retention Marketing and Success at Scale are among a few topics of interest to me.
The name of my talk is Customer Success Toolbox: What's in it? When offsites aren't an option right now, I have found other creative ways that go beyond an email or a Zoom call.
I’ll be sharing my experience on how you can engage and add value to your customers with these tools.
Q: How do you define the role of customer success in SaaS?
A: If I were to define Customer Success in one word, that word would be “Resilience".
We wear many hats and we need to consider at what stage your organization is at. The Customer Success function has evolved.
Now, we are approaching challenges with a consultative mindset. We are helping customers achieve their business outcomes, that is our mission.
Q: How do you think customer success teams can collaborate with sales, marketing, and product departments to maximize the opportunities for product growth?
A: We all have a common goal. It is important management encourages and understands this partnership from the very beginning.
For startups, it might be a bit easier to approach a colleague in Product Management and chat about UI feedback.
Or asking Marketing about the current white paper addressing a particular vertical or market.
My advice to Customer Success and Product Managers is to schedule joint calls. Think of it as a light version of a Voice of the Customer program.
The insights you'll get will add context to your next iteration.
Q: How do you go about showing your product’s value the first time you contact a customer?
A: By identifying customer outcomes and what they are trying to achieve.
As an example, if an organization needs to upskill their current DevOps team on Azure, the first step is to align business objectives.
This is going to be a cliche but it’s all about that a-ha moment for the customer.
Once they have aligned business priorities and outcomes, they are to execute on their tech strategy.
Q: Which app could you simply not live without?
A: Loom is now part of my weekly activities.
In second place, I would say GiFox. It’s an app for macOS (sorry, Windows users) that records your screen into animated GIFs. There are quite a few out there in the market but it is my favourite.
Q: What would you say is the most challenging element of customer success?
A: Accurate data or lack of. Data allows us to predict customer behaviour and provide us with insights, it’s key.
Organisations can decide how to do this. Either via a CRM, a Business Analyst or a spreadsheet.
This is an imperative component as part of any operations strategy.
Q: For startups out there reading this, what are your tips for an effective customer success strategy?
A: Startups are near to my heart after my tenure at Intercom.
Echoing my answer from the previous question, my recommendation to founders: encourage your Product Team to schedule joint calls with your Customer Success Managers when applicable.
Get their feedback, gather the data and action it. Did they sign up to your webinar? Great, why? Those that didn’t sign up, also ask why.
Q: What’s the best way to measure success in your role?
A: I'll forget the acronyms for a second (OKRs, MAU, KPIs, etc). The best way to measure success in my role is when my main point of contact and their Management see the value.
When they start describing how their implementation went and how their teams have been developing their tech skills, to name a few.
We can provide all resources available but they have to be the ones executing at the end of the day.
Q: What are your tips for building a world-beating customer success team?
A: Founders should take in consideration the following:
- What is your current vision for customer success?
- Have you built a process or adopted a framework and is it scalable?
- Recruit effectively.
- It is a team effort. Your engineering team, product, marketing and success need to come together.
Q: What’s your customer success prediction for 2021?
A: I have seen this in a few industry blogs and it makes me happy to see that (digital) personalization is and it will be key.
It is a fact that we have found more creative ways to communicate and engage with our customers.
On that note, shameless plug alert. I’ll be sharing more on this during my talk Customer Success Toolbox: What’s it in? I'll be looking forward to your participation!
Q: And finally, in a nutshell, what would you say you love most about customer success?
A: The industry is giving me the opportunity to meet and work alongside talented leaders and individual contributors.
The Customer Success Network would be a great example. And learning from a customer's journey. Not every day is the same, I see that as a big plus.