Episode No:03

Key Challenges in Customer Success with Enterprises

Erika Villarreal

Senior CS Manager, Condeco

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Ep#03: Key Challenges in Customer
Success with Enterprises ft. Erika (Senior Customer Success Manager, Condeco)
Ep#03: Key Challenges in Customer Success with Enterprises ft. Erika (Senior Customer Success Manager, Condeco)
  • Ep#03: Key Challenges in Customer Success with Enterprises ft. Erika (Senior Customer Success Manager, Condeco)

Episode Summary

In today’s episode, Erika talks about her journey from being in the financial industry to becoming a senior customer success manager at a known company. She talks about some of the touchpoints, including automated emails and communication systems that detect customer’s issues in real-time to be resolved before the customers reach out, which would increase customer engagement to many folds and ensure retention. Erika Villarreal is a senior customer success manager at Condeco, a global leader in providing enterprise-level workspace solutions and is trusted by over 2000 of the world’s largest companies. Its software tools are designed to equip employees with all they need to manage their flexible workday effectively. Erika’s role in Condeco at this point is to address enterprise customers. She looks after everything from onboarding to adoption to ensure that the customers check their success outcomes.
Key Takeaways Time
About Condeco and Erica’s role as a CSM 5:13
What makes Erica passionate as a CS individual? 6:52
How did the term “Customer Success” come into being over time? Plus Erica’s experience in a similar role but in a different industry. 9:06
Some general touchpoints defined at Condeco and what touchpoints if added would make the engagement go 10x with the customer? 12:46
Erika’s perspective on what would be the magic wand that would really transform the CS process? Automated Email templates based on usage i.e. having the right info all in one place to reach customers proactively . 19:00
Automating the manual CS processes: usage of software and tools 24:25

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Erika: Right now, that’s a challenge for me, because sometimes we have limited access to data, especially usage data. And we have to be exploring Excel spreadsheets and analyzing information in a very manual way. Right? So that becomes very inefficient and does not necessarily help me trigger a right communications at the right time. Because by that time, I am bellowed without downloading this information. Probably the red alert has just passed, right? Maybe it was two weeks ago. And I realised three weeks later because I didn’t have access to that information in time, right. Adil: Hey, welcome to the HyperEngage podcast. It’s a weekly interview started podcast series, we will pick the brains of some of the best customer success leaders across the globe, and try to unearth customer engagement beyond onboarding, expansion and churn. So let’s get right in. Shahrukh: My name is Muhammad Shahrukh. I happen to work with multiple SaaS companies in the past and have built and led international customer success teams for a couple of companies now. One of them being KeepTruckin. And yeah, hyper engage is a podcast, we are bringing people on board who can share a lot about their experience in the world of customer success. And this is not just confined to the North American side of the world. So he must have noticed we look a little different from Pakistan. And we have a massive population here, which is 60% of our population is under the age of 30. And they’re absolutely thrilled about digitalization that’s happening. So I think it was a perfect time for us to start something like this that reaches the audience, even far out the north north America itself. So really excited to have you. And I’ll pass it to Adil just for a quick intro, and then we’ll pass it back to you. Adil: Thanks for the great intro. Yes, Erica. I’ve been in the customer relationship and customer facing goals for like, since 2010. And it’s been bought a decade now. And I’ve worked with a couple of businesses that are truly focused on, you know, the SaaS and digital sales.I was more of, you know, doing customer relationships, and, you know, demos and all. And this mission with with Shahrukh was to just enlighten our own experience and transform it towards something really bigger than ourselves and contribute to society. People that need this knowledge people that need need to know all the challenges any SaaS business face, in the customer, success operations. So it was really great having you today. Thank you very much Adil. I’m really excited to be here. And thank you for considering for joining me for this podcast. So really excited. And I can talk a little bit about myself. I’ve also been in the Customer Success industry a little bit over three years, but I worked with customers my whole professional experience ever since I graduated from college, I’ve been working with customers at Fastly. So customer success is one of my biggest passions. I am very active in the lean team space. I like sharing a lot of my learnings during the space ever since I started doing customer success. So again, thank you very much for having me. And let’s pick it up. Shahrukh: Sure, perfect. Erica view. Again, as I mentioned, we’re thrilled to have you and it’s it’s just so awesome. You’re actually the first guest on our podcast. And we aim to meet several other different leaders in customer success as well. So let’s kick things off. I know we have a limited time with you. So we try to pick your brain as much as we can. And learn learn from everything that you have to share. So we keep this fun, we will keep this very lightweight. I have heard we have heard a lot of podcasts other than I and I think some of them kind of keep circling back and forth around the same topics. So instead of focusing our podcast around the topics of customer success, we would love to focus it on on you and then have you share your experiences which I think people can learn from the most. So starting off. We did briefly go through what, Contecco, I think that’s the name of the company that you’re working with. I think a bit about your role there. What does customer success look like? And what does your day to day look like? We’d love to take a stab at it. Erika: Awesome. Awesome. I’ll talk about like a software, of course. So I’ve been working on the software for eight months now, I, Bernie new, I still feel kind of like new to a role in a company. But we do have software for workspace management. So right now with a return to office, it’s a very hot topic, you know, people bringing all their employees back to the office, looking for a safe place to be at. And our software allows companies to bring your employees and enable them to reserve best since spaces and meeting spaces as well. So it’s been an exciting journey. So far, with all these new rules, a new normal coming back. So it’s a very exciting product, I am loving it. So far. My role as a software, I’m a senior customer success manager, I am managing currently enterprise customers. So customers are paying somewhere around 50,000, in Euros.We always use high touch type of model. High touch type of models in customer success. And it’s like my my main roles I take over from the customer journey sees onboarding. So I have to do everything from onboarding, adoption, making sure that the customers are checking their success outcomes. So everything around business reviews, success plans, and building strategies to help them achieve those outcomes. Shahrukh: Love it, thanks for sharing. And I think this exactly works as a good segue into my next question. And I’ve heard people answer this very differently. But I would love to hear from you. And it’s a very common question. What what aligns you as, as, as somebody or as an individual to customer success? What makes you really, really passionate about it? Is it something that matches with your personality, or, would would love to learn a little more about your passion, towards customer success and what you do every day? Erika: Sure, of course, I do believe it has to do with my personality. I’m a very outgoing person, I love building relationships, I am very, I’m always looking to help people that we my personal life, and in my work as well. So that relates very well to what customer success is all about. It’s all about helping customers, when customers come and buy their product, not because they’re looking to use the software, right, they’re looking to solve a problem, right. And I am a problem solver as well, in my life, and in my work. And I’m always looking for ways to solve things. And this is one of the main characteristics of being a customer success manager. So that’s one of my passions, and being able to help my customers achieve those goals makes me really happy. And it’s something that excites me, right. So and one of the things that I think I am very passionate about this is sometimes when when I’m looking into a product that I get, or if I am going to get this positive experience, and I’m happy about it, I want to make that happiness to my customers as well. Right? So if they’re gonna have like a really great journey with me, and they recommend my product, so making them smile and say, Hey, I’ve solved this problem, I reach this goal, that that really makes me really happy. So I guess it’s perfectly fitted to my personality in what I do. So I love my job. Shahrukh: Yeah, that’s, that’s so awesome. And just frankly speaking, I I stumbled upon Customer Success back in 2014. And we used to call it account management back then. So yeah, I think this is exactly how I and Adil would normally share our passion about customer success and then how it fits in in the world of SAS. This is more or less the same reason. And I, very candidly and when I’m joking around, I would just tell everyone that okay, maybe now after spending about seven or eight years I cannot become a doctor or an engineer. Why not just be a customer success professional. So yeah, I love that and kind of unexpected that answer and thank you for sharing Erika: And now when you say that you’ve got into this role, and he was called account management, that brings me to the way I started into customer success. And I think that would be something really great to share here. So 10 years ago, I started my professional experience in the financial industry, so nothing to do with software, it was finance, right. But I have working with customers, of course, and in my product was this credit they did to women who were building their own businesses, right. So so it was not software, I was still working with customers, but my my role was called strategic planning at the time. And in my in my job was to make sure that this customers were happy with the product that because there weren’t a lot of competition, such as in the same industry here in software, right and have all of our products do the same. And in keeping customers is hard, right? So even though it wasn’t software in finance, my role was very close to making sure these customers were happy, loyalty programmes, and all these things that are customer success related. So So it’s funny, because I was not doing customer success, I didn’t know that it was called customer success. And it was customer success. So so I’ve been doing this for a very long time. And it kind of like hit me when it’s like, Hey, I found this role feels like feels like it’s something that I’ve done before, just with a different name, right? So just like a funny story. Shahrukh: Isn’t that awesome? I mean, again, thank thanks for sharing. And it’s, it’s, it’s insightful, and at the same time, so interesting as well, that something that we really love doing and kind of you’re already doing in in some shape or form. But we don’t realise it until we have a name to it. And I remember, and just just like yourself, and others make a comment as well. Back in 2014, when I first got introduced to this account management side of things, I was I was training doctors in the United States for two straight hours or maybe three straight hours at times. And whenever I used to tell people what I do, they used to say, Okay, how come you can have Doctor stick for that longer on a phone call. And then I felt okay, there is something magical happening in here, which is the power of software, aligning it with your personality, and then delivering on the right. On the right needs. I think that that combo is is is definitely very, very meaningful when it comes to people just interacting with technology. So yeah, love that story. Thanks for sharing. All right, I do have a couple of couple of questions that are that would maybe require you to dive a little deeper into some specifics around your day to day. And one thing as a Customer Success leader, I have experienced and I think other we can double down on that as well. We have always at times found engaging customers for meaningful reasons. Very hard. And when I say that, so let’s just say you have a book of business of 10 or 15 enterprise customers, maybe 12 of them are doing absolutely fine. Or, or maybe 10 of them, let’s make it a little more interesting. And five of them, you’re having a hard time engaging with them. So my question to you would be, what are the what are some general touch points that you have defined for yourself at Condeco? Or other companies that you’ve worked for? That Okay, these are the reasons why I would definitely want to stay in touch with with my customers. And then once you answer that, I would bring you back to the second part of this question where I’d love to know what other touch points you think if you had access to would make your engagement go 10x with your customers. So part one would be your current general touch points that help you engage with your customers and and when they happen. And then the second part would be if there are any other touch points that you think would be fantastic for you. As somebody in the world of customer success, interesting. Erika: Awesome. Thank you, man. Okay, so first, to answer the first question the touchpoints that enable me and the customer to be engaged with me during their journey with us. The first thing and the first touch point, touch that I feel It’s really, really important is that sales to customer success handover, sometimes at sales has all of these great information, but they’ve put together from the customer that they’ve learned on this discovery calls and demos and everything and all these questions that they asked to make sure that they’re a good fit for the product, right. So one of the main challenges that sometimes CSM face is that all of this information, sometimes it’s lost, right? It’s not stored in the CRM, or it’s lost in their notes in their notebooks or elsewhere. And we cannot access that information. And that it’s really, really important for us to build all with all these action plans, and maybe building a strategy to make sure that we’re touching the that we’re solving, but they are here. And the reason I got our product, right. So this customer success, I’m sorry, the sales to Customer Success numbers for us are really important. In the first touch point, I’d say for a relationship to be successful, and to make sure that the customers engaged throughout our journey. So once we have one, once we have all of that information, and there’s a proper transition. With that, we have the first questions of the customer, the first goal, we confirm these desired outcomes and the value they’re looking to get out of our product. And based off based on that we build our strategy and our adoption plan to make sure that they still are engaged in reaching their desired outcomes, right. So okay, so the first touch point will be customer success. Sales-to-customer success, handover, and then during the onboarding process, I feel that a multiple touch points need to happen to make sure that the implementation goes in place, and the application has been set up properly for them to achieve their outcomes. Right. So once the onboarding is complete, then there’s another plus point for me to put together that adoption plan. So we have a conversation with the customer and say, this is what needs to happen for you to achieve your outcomes. And then we build that adoption plan and share it with the customer, we go back also a success plan, if you will. And we make the customer accountable of that success plan as well. So we both work together as a team to make sure that they achieve those outcomes, right? post, post, post Customer Success Plan, and I like to have touch points, depending on the customer. And depending on the time that they have and their availability, sometimes it could be monthly touch points are quarterly touch points, or six months or whatever. But those those touch points are important for me to meet with the customer again, and review our progress towards those outcomes, which which milestones did we achieve, which ones we didn’t achieve, and then look into the ones that we didn’t accomplish and say, Hey, this is a strategy that needs to happen to make sure that this other x, y, z or goal that you have happens, right. So as you be, as you start your relationship with them. It’s all about delivering value during these touch points, like customers do not want to meet just because hey, hi, how are things going are how are things going on, we’re not wasting their time, we are making sure that the time and the setup are delivering value to them. So we can eventually and finish the contract or minimal cost point as well. And they agree Hey, this is this idea. These are my outcomes, and everything’s in place. And then you can move forward to the remote conversation. So retention happens, right? Shahrukh: Yeah. Love that. And I’ll just rephrase my the second part of my question, in a slightly spiced up way. So let’s just say we all go back to Hogwarts and we have a magic wand. So if in the world of customer success, you have a magic wand all your customers who are let’s just say you’re trying your best and they’re not responding to you that and you have a magic wand and you want to do something about it. What other touch points would you think would be absolutely game changing for you as to maybe engage with them proactively and let more advanced before we find out okay, the customer was ghosting and now they are no longer want to talk about churn, I don’t want to talk about maybe expansion or just just those general topics. I’d love to explore the process side of it and and hear from you. What other touch points you think would be critical for you to not let that happen in the first place? Erika: Sure. Okay. So if I had a magic wand, what other touch points would I implement to make sure, retention happens? Let’s see. One of the things that I think would be very helpful would be automated emails, emails, or communications that could be sent out to customers based on their usage, right. So right now, right now, that’s a challenge for me, because sometimes we have limited access to data, especially you have staff, and we have to be exporting to Excel spreadsheets and analysing information in a very manual way. Right. So that becomes very inefficient, and not necessarily helps me trigger the right communications on the right track, because by the time I am downloading this information, probably the red alert has just passed, right? Maybe it was two weeks ago. And I realised three weeks later, because I didn’t have access to that information in time. So if I had a magic wand, what I would do is I would create a process or create a system that allows me to understand this user stack in the moment that’s happening and say, frightened, because something unusual might come up. And I didn’t realise it until three weeks later, right? So if I could pick off these activities, that, for me are important, what are for our customer important to make sure that they’re adopting correctly, if I could pick up this reflects in the moment and says appropriate communications and emails that are sent out automatically, that would help me touch, have a touch point with a customer and say, Hey, we’ve noticed that this happens, during this day, are experiencing any trouble logging into the application, or like proactively reaching out instead of them having to be reached out to me, and have all these different email templates that have been created with all of these resources that could help them drive adoption, right, instead of me having to write one by one. If I could have 10 email templates and say, hey, if this is not happening, send this email template. If this is not happening, send this email template. And that could help improve product adoption, if the packet from has been improved. The value is the value delivery happens faster, they see time to volume, it’s shortened, which means they’re happier. So I guess my answer would be, I would automate email templates based on usage and send those at the right time instead of having to wait just instead of having to do that, for me would be amazing, would be the cherry on top. Shahrukh: I love that. Adil: great answer you you made a scenario. And that was pretty much resonating with a lot of people that that has changed customers in the past. So what I feel like a lot of times you don’t have like these days, when there’s a lot of tech, you’re missing out on a lot of data points, you don’t know you’re not all the time, you’re not on the top of all the like data, you need to engage in the right way at the right time that you cannot forecast without asking the right questions. And those questions matter only when when you have the right information. So this is just like you said, you gotta have the right information all in one place, before touching the customer to forecast actually forecasts is that customer going to retain or not? So you’re trying to figure out so that’s that’s a great, great answer. Appreciate and you pull it up pretty good. Erika: You know what I actually had something similar done in my previous role, I was working for smart living, which is a smaller startup here in Dallas. And and one of the things that I did and this was not completely automated, but it made it a lot more efficient. So one of the things that I did was identify what were what were the things that were not happening with most of my customers. They say we wanted the customer to complete A, B and C and I’m seeing that B for some reason. For some strange reason B have not been completed by 80% of the customers for example, right? So you go analyse, understand what’s going on, and then build the resources that you need the customer to see or watch a video or webinar or whatever that needs to happen, and then set it up for integration. Again, my only would imagine this could be automated, right to send us some indication and then send the resources that the customer needs to complete that B milestone was not completed. And it was amazing the the response of it right after that, like, hey, 80% have completed that milestone and I send that email manually to around 100 customers or whatever and increase like 80%, I’m sorry, decrease 80% to 40%, or 20%. That’s, that’s a huge leap, right? Now imagine you could do that with 10 different activities from your product, and automate it, but you don’t have to do it yourself. So I mean, as I said, but for me, but I am afraid that every person I looked at data analysis in total, you can tell, by the way it talks, he gets me excited. So we can do a lot of things with that. And I think sometimes we, we we miss an opportunity because we we don’t know or, or we don’t have the appropriate software to do it, or we don’t have enough tools or anyway, it’s just there’s a lot of things that you can do if you have access to that information. Shahrukh: percent 100%. And, Eric, I think this question, for us, throughout our podcast series would be the most critical one. And I think what you shared with us is just so valuable. Because when you think about automation, maybe you generally say, okay, maybe it’s for roles that are reactive in nature, or maybe there’s some marketing goal that a company is aligned to, and we will have automated emails sent out to prospects or exist, I’ve hardly seen having automation for existing customers, at least in a couple of companies that I have been a part of, but wouldn’t be awesome. If we have that and have that insight about our customers and make it easy for for a customer success manager to just make it happen. It’s not it shouldn’t be cumbersome to really draft everything. Because you’re thinking about something based on some data, why not? Maybe within your CRM or within within your any any platform of your choice, you have that ability, and you have that journey mapped out. And in that journey, the system is telling you, okay, based on the data, these are some additional touch points that we think would be fantastic for you to reach out to your customers. And that might even include saying happy birthday to your customer, maybe something very small and sending a $5 gift card saying okay. Hey, coffees, coffees on me today. So, yep, I think that was great. It was definitely very insightful. And one of her best key takeaways from from this conversation. Erica, I know we will be up on time and just a minute. Are there any questions from your side? Was this a good experience for you, we’d love to hear your feedback. And if we can make it any better going forward for people we are going to meet in the series. Erika: Thank you very much, man. This was a great conversation. I I love talking about customer success. And I love talking about my passion. So thank you very much for having me. I do not have further questions for the team. I hope you I hope that this new podcast reaches a lot of people. And I’m happy to be here. Shahrukh: Yeah, love that. Thank you, again, for taking the time. We so appreciate it. And you will naturally see when we process this and when we share it, you’ll actually see how much traction it gets just for the fact that we are wanting to make sure that we give it to our people here in Pakistan as well who are just like us. Some are starting off in the world of startups, and some are already there. But this knowledge, exchange and then and transfer is something that we’re trying to contribute to. So just know that by giving us your 30 minutes, you have helped maybe 30,000 young folks who are absolutely passionate about about Saas. So that’s great. Thank you again for your time. I would share this with you once once it’s ready and you can share it with the rest of the world around yourself. I will do thank you very much again Adil: Thank you so very much for staying with us on the episode, please share your feedback at adil@hpyerengage.io. We definitely need it. We will see you next time another guest on the stage with some concrete tips on how to operate better as a Customer Success leader and how you can empower engagements with some building some meaningful relationships. We qualify people for the episode just to make sure we bring the value to the listeners. Do reach us out if you want to refer any CS leader. Until next time, goodbye and have a good recipe day

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