Another Cloud Podcast

A podcast designed to bring you stories from the smartest minds in IT, operations and business, and learn how they're using Cloud Technology to improve business and the customer experience.

Green Egg and Customer Experience at LeaseQuery with Bill Mahoney

with Alex McBratney and Aarde Cosseboom

Don't have time to listen? Read the full transcription.


Alex  00:00

Hello, and welcome to another cloud podcast podcast designed to bring you stories from the smartest minds in it, operations and business and learn how they're using cloud technology to improve business and customer experience.  Welcome to another cloud podcast. We are excited to have Bill Mahoney as a guest today. Bill welcome to the show.


Bill  00:25

Alex, thanks for having me. I appreciate the opportunity.


Alex  00:28

Absolutely. And of course, we've got Aared as the CO pilot with me today already, how How's it going? How's the weekend?


Aarde  00:34

Good, very good. I love that co pilot, co host. But yeah, here to here to help out and excited to hear a little bit more about Bill and your company. And also what you do over there at least query and also how you got into your role. So we'll kind of start there, Bill, give us a little bit of background on who you are, what you do and what your company is.


Bill  00:57

Sure. So I work for lease query, who is a we call ourselves software for accountants by accountants. lease query solves the dilemma that all private public company has who lease things, whether it's equipment or offices or things like that. The faz be changed the guidance on how they're supposed to account for those things effective for public companies, 2018. And private companies later in 2022. And as a result, puts much more of without trying to bore people too much accounting puts much more of the lease liability for any given company on the balance sheet instead of off, it's sort of the offshoot of what happened with Enron. And so customers, our customers have to come into compliance with that. So we're compliant software company with some operational efficiency steps as part of our philosophy and how we help accounting companies. And so we've had great growth, we're number 29 on the Inc 5000 list private companies this year, and I run all of the customer experience side of the business. So once the DocuSign is signed, my team takes over from there.


Alex  02:03

Yes, no more once the ink dries, it's it's the


Bill  02:06

Yeah, I had an actually say something different there. Right. Yeah, once a day science done,


Alex  02:12

I think you're you know, you're a really unique spot, right? Where as a VP of customer experience and operations, you really get to see, you know, a good view of what's going on with your, with your customers, and how they're using the software and how it's how it's affecting them. Talk a little bit about just what it's like, you know, being in customer experience on the b2b side, and how that, you know, kind of is different than maybe the b2c type environment.


Bill  02:37

Yeah, so the things that that I've learned to think about or learn to look at all around adoption, are the customers adopting your product in ways that make them more successful in their current jobs, doing the things they need to do before they had your software. And so that spans all parts of what we call, you know, what I call the adoption journey from the onboarding, to what goes on in success, to what goes on, which is a huge deal for us in terms of the support side of the business, both technical and accounting, and then how we choose to communicate customers about all these things they can do adaption wise to make themselves better at their software than better at their job. So that whole gamut from the education of communication, is what we tend to think about and try and measure and improve all the time. And so that's sort of the core of it. And then it's just how do you link all those experiences for the customers in ways that allow them to get to that best usage scenario for them, that solves problems are trying to solve with your software.


Aarde  03:41

Let's drill let's drill into that a little bit more talking about adoption. So, you know, b2b, and supporting customers and software as a service type world, you you have to market and sell to them. And then after they implement, you almost have to continue the marketing to them, but it's marketing them in a different way. The ink is dry, the contract sign, but in reality, you want to keep them engaged, you want to keep them in the product, using the product, adding more users, things like that. So what are the things that you guys do to get them to that next step? Maybe like right after implementation? How do you keep them going?


Bill  04:16

So there's a couple things that that that we tend to think about, which is the people that sign the contract or make the decision are usually not the people that are in there using right so we wanted to continue to communicate to that decision maker, show them the ROI, that we're fulfilling the promise on what they bought. So that's sort of a different conversation. We do that through QB Rs, or through feature functionality releases or talking them specifically about their data. But to your point, we spent a lot of time focused on the admin and the users and making sure that they really know what they're doing. They're really hitting the best process to use your software, that they're really well aware of the new product feature releases. We have and that they're able to understand where they can go to get more help from a self servicing perspective, or webinars they can listen to our KB is something we spend a ton of time on to get in a place where customers can really find things well and use it. So you're you're not only talking about getting people where you on on adoption perspective, but like a different audience and maybe either made the decision, you're now impacting their sort of work lives differently with your software and your process. And we so we do, you know, through our CSM, we do sort of, you know, verbal communication, but we do a lot of customer marketing as well, that'll drive that adoption message that'll talk about tips and tricks that will try and drive the drive the key pieces that we know they need to have in place in order to be successful with the software. And the whole, the really the different thing about lease query, there may be other software's that I've worked for within the past, like sales loft, or some others is, we people are not in lease query every day, in fact, their lease query maybe two or three times a month to run their reports and their journal entries that they need to do financial clothes. And so that's something we think about a lot as well is what is if the users only in there two or three times a month, what things are critical that they know how to do what they need to do and get in and out easy that if they have a problem, our technical support or accounting support teams are ready at a moment's notice to fix their problem, because they've got compacted deadlines, that we have the accounting knowledge in order to help them reconcile the the numbers the way that they think they should see them. So it really has changed the things that from the past that I've done, where it was more software that people are in every day, it's it's a little bit different, where we've doubled down on this, and that that's an example, I would say, our support organization, we've worked really hard over the last year on reducing, you know, full time of resolution on our tickets, because if you're only getting there two or three times a month, and you've got this financial deadline of closing in front of you, we have to get you taken care of quickly, in a way that you can get back to doing things you do to get to make your clothes process successful. And so that that's where we've doubled down, I would say that's something that I've learned over the years is like once you know how your customers should be interacting and what their situation is, or what their need is around interacting with your software, then it gets a little clearer about doubling down where you need to double down to help them the most


Aarde  07:29

sounds like high impact. And you know, when when they have an issue, they need an answer right away. That's a different type of support than just a standard just call in when you have an issue.


Bill  07:41

Yeah, it is. And I think we've you know, we've done a couple kind of cute little things are a little like we don't go through like we make you go through tier one or tier two, and then on, like, we have somebody looking at the ticket and going okay, that needs to go right to accounting support, and we just send a ticket there, or, hey, our junior engineering team can take care of that right in house, we're trying to move customers to where they can get fixed right away. And then we do things like we'll point it back to the KB so that the next time they want to just go get the article themselves will include the KB link, we have office hours every day where you can just call in and ask us questions, just availability, right, and trying to be available in the ways that our users and our admins are likely to engage with us whether they want to read whether they want to, you know, dive into zoom at two o'clock every day, whether they're good with KB articles, we're trying to make all those available. So again, because of the time crunch and the pressures around that we're available in many, many ways to them. How does that work


Alex  08:39

when you're and that's a great point, because it's really knowing by customer, right? And knowing what their journey looks like when they're in the software, like you're saying if it's only two or three times a month compared to the sales loft or right, some others whether in there on a daily basis like a CRM, right. How do you how do you account for that just with metrics that you track? What I'd imagine there's some unique ones that maybe you track more heavily than some other people that track, you know, maybe KPS or NPS and whatnot. So what type of metrics Do you track? And like, how, how has that changed from other ones that you've done in the past?


Bill  09:16

So I think a couple things you mentioned are interesting there. So one is we have I would say, you know, not unfamiliar to other SaaS company adoption metrics, like when do they go in? When do they run their last set of reports, which are critical to our software? What reports are they running? We, and we're still we're still in our journey here. I don't want to make it sound like we've got this perfected. We're still like we have that data. It's available to our CSM, so they can take action. There's a whole nother layer, we want to get into around like, hey, if they're in there fooling around with their leases or making changes a lot like that's a real red flag, something isn't set up, right working. We're working towards that right now. And the thing that we've chosen, I know it's not exactly how the NPS people would have You measure things perfectly right. But we actually asked for cset or NPS after transaction. So like when you graduate from onboarding, right, we do quarterly cset surveys for our CSM. And that is all around. Do they know enough accounting? Are they able to get your issues fixed? are they responding quickly? Right, same themes we talked about before. And in support, we every ticket you put in will send you back cset survey? And so with with that kind of feedback mechanism, we're looking at, you know, kind of testing and poking for response on are we fulfilling the promise? And our, because we know the things we know, like we talked about, are we getting there. So we're heavy on on soliciting feedback on the on the cset side. And I would say we're in what I would call very much v1 of adoption data. So the kind of the very basics, what I would love and what we've what I've seen done the past like at sales loft is take some of those take just have somebody grab a bunch of data from the platform, and do a bunch of testing around data science around what what is meaningful and what's not. Because I think it's good to start somewhere with data and make some assumptions around, hey, it's good that they're in the software every 30 days, or it's good that they're running reports. But then you really want to see like, if you've marked this customer green, what things are they doing and if the customer is red, what things are they not doing and see if there's any correlation there. I'll give you one just off the off the top. So we people assume putting a lot of support tickets in is a bad thing, right means they're having trouble whatever Well, it sails off, we found that was actually meant they are an engaged customer, they're trying to fix problems, they wanted to talk to us more, that was all good in our eyes. And so it was when they kind of went silent, or weren't asking for help. But there was more of an issue. So we're definitely in our journey on data, at least query and like I said v ones probably right word he's reading, there's a whole set of other things, I'd love to learn about where we are with customers who have turned or customers who have, you know, expanded their relationship with us that we need to get into.


Aarde  12:04

Yeah, and I think a good temperature check on customer health, every month or so is good, it sounds like your customers contact you maybe once a month, or sometimes a little more often than that if needed. But doing those cease out surveys. Every single day is overwhelming for the customer. I'm doing an MRIs more than like, right once a month is a little bit too much. So I think it fits for your business model. I did have a question around your knowledge base. And just wondering, since you you do have an adoption kind of curve, and you have some customers that are using certain areas of the product, while other customers are using potentially other areas? Do you have an online community base or an a way for people to help each other I know, it's kind of hard to do with the industry with accounting, because there's not a lot of things you can share? Or even like screenshots that you can share from you know, a peer to peer level. But is there some sort of sense of community? Maybe it's within your knowledge base today? And if so, how do you foster that community?


Bill  13:05

Yeah, I wish we were further along here. And I think we've had some internal debates on where we want to go with this. For today, the knowledge base is simply a place to if you're if you're a reader, and you want to do step by step, the knowledge base is the best possible place you can go to get info from us. We're publishing guides, like how tos all the time on how to try and do your transition as a private company, how to do financial clothes using lease query, how to be successful at that. So customers again, can learn the way they want. We have not gotten into the community aspect yet. Some of the things that we we have done are on it is we have customer advisory board, which we'll have our second meeting here mid month where we get, you know, manager and up level to execs to sort of give us feedback on our roadmap, on the things that we wish we had and least created from a product feature perspective, we're looking at where else can we expand the product line as well. So we are doing that from a community aspect. And then the other thing I would say is, we we are really working hard on the advocacy side of getting our customers to talk about how they're using these queries and all the various successful ways that they are. It's a it's a fast growing market. There are time deadlines on when customers have to comply with these new regulations. And so that land grabs super important and then so utilizing our customers who are having high success according our NPS surveys and our retention rate all these things to talk about us to prospects or help us with case studies or things like that is something is probably our number one focus candidly in 2021 so that's another way we're trying to foster some sense of queues getting customers to talk about their use cases and then publishing those so we can a close more deals and prospects of our value prop right and then be get customers to think about how other customers are you In the software and make them more sticky with us as well. And you know, I think we do some things really well, we have a really strong referenceable base of customers, I would say that I know from a percentage standpoint makes me very comfortable. You know, I wish we get better on that we got I'd like to get more case studies and more referrals from our customer base and things like that. But it's a work in progress, we're dedicating a lot of effort and time behind it. I mentioned customer marketing before. So we're communicating with people who give us good survey results like, Hey, would you give us a review on capterra? And g two? Would you be a likely person for a case study and those kinds of things, right? So we're saying, Hey, if you're if your experience was great with us, are you willing to put your voice to that? And we're just trying a bunch of different stuff around this advocacy piece and trying to get customers talking about least query so that we can, you know, use those in different form and fashion?


Alex  15:52

Yeah, absolutely. And you mentioned earlier, I think it really is a journey, right? Don't in this CX, you know, experience world where, you know, starting with different, you know, if you have a, you know, user groups to use, but the knowledge base is what we've seen, the knowledge bases have been huge for clients that really do it well, and have that resource there. Because there's a lot of people that don't want to jump on the phone, they don't want to wait for an email, and they had the time, they just want to go in there and find the answers themselves just like googling it. Right? So how do you see you know, that maturing, but really, I think, how do you see it, which is working with accountants? What do they like? What do you what do you know about your end client, that's like the preferred way of communication for them.


Bill  16:35

We used to talk a lot at sales loft about trading 1000s, not hundreds. And the way that you were able to do it, and I've tried to pull that over to least grade, the way that you're able to do that is you have to have different methodologies or different channels, for lack of a better term for them to get a hold of you, some people want to talk it out. And with the, with the accounting stuff that tends to happen is either there's a misunderstanding about the standard, or how the standards applied in the software. And so customers want to talk about that. So call your CSM come to an office hours put in tech support ticket will get you to accounting smart, like we can do that. Or if you're a reader, we've got guides, we've got the KB, we've really worked hard to get our KB, we look at KB visits per customer per month. And we've driven that from about 6x to about 8x over the last last maybe couple quarters. I know it can be driven higher. Next, we've done it before. So we want to keep working on that as well. And then the other thing that's a little bit different in our world that we're able to do is offer accountants have to be have to stay certified right. So they have to take ongoing education classes. And so we've done webinars right both on the prospect side and on the customer side that we're now expanding around what it's called CPE. But it's a it's a chance to get credit towards your certification, by coming to our webinars is a very strict format we need to follow and we have to give a lot of information. There's like not as much time for questions, but it ensures the quality of the class that they're taking, we do that as well. So they can come and learn things as and so we're, I wouldn't say we have the perfect adoption formula yet. I mean, we're doing bi weekly customer marketing emails, but we're trying to just communicate in ways that that we know, we're going to cover 80% of the need. And then then there'll be the traditional CSM interactions on the traditional onboarding interactions. At that point, we feel like between the KB, the written material, we have the ability to come to office hours that we've got the sort of umbrella of coverage. And we'll continue to learn things. I mean, you know, we don't do chat and support. Maybe that's the next one. Just continue to look at innovating the ability for customers get information from us to continue to adapt.


Aarde  18:52

Yeah, let's um, let's talk about technology a little bit. So your customers are communicating with you. I'm assuming via tickets or emails, you guys don't have chat today. But sometimes, they'll pick up the phone and dial a phone number. It sounds like you also have the ability to do webinars and group sessions or what are office hours, I'm assuming like a zoom or tea like that. So tell us a little bit about your technology stack. And then also, Was it easy or hard for you guys to transition during the pandemic to either work from home or Yeah, you know, whatever your new environment is for your employees?


Bill  19:30

Yeah, it's a it's a great question. So from a tech stack perspective, we're a Salesforce shop for CRM. We are we use Zendesk for our ticketing and we have a great partnership with Zendesk and we'll continue to use that and foreseeable future. That's really for the tech support side and then the CSM is obviously have visibility into that. For onboarding we use. We use Salesforce is inherent tool for kind of project management type stuff, then other ones we're using them from a data perspective our data to use this table And so we continually look at like is a better built in Salesforce is a better built inside desk or is better built in tableau. And so that just depends on any number of factors. Relative to seeing what the customer is doing and learning more we have full story. So we can go in and look at what path the customer take to get here that's causing this or is it really is, is something going not as well as what the customer thinks we can kind of look at that. We use user IQ for like, where are they clicking, and how does that sort of impact that and also, we use that as a inap communication tool for surveying for the things we want to do to release product knowledge information or product release information when we do upgrades. And the last one we're using so we've we've moved to for about a third of our customers a tech touch CSM play that's manned by a certain number of CSM is where they take inbound requests, and it flows out to our team via sort of, you know, a way to get them tickets like kind of in a round robin fashion, we use fraud for that, that's really as a great sync with Salesforce, we're starting to get some real learnings about what our smaller customers are leading are needing help with in order to, you know, improve all those programs we just talked about. And so we're about three months into that I don't have anything like substantial that we're going to do yet we know that the data we get from front is really going to drive us towards continuing to be able to support that smaller customer better, because the private company deadline is the one that's coming in 22, those will be a little bit those are skewed a little smaller than maybe the public deals that we did previous to this. And so serving that customer base is going to be critical for us in front is going to help us do that. From a pandemic perspective, I think, you know, we we looked a lot like a lot of companies, as you know, we had to quickly transition everything to zoom, we use zoom with our customers when applicable or when need be. And then we have sort of had to double down on communication. And so I do a couple things to try and help with that, which is I do a monthly, what I call coffee is I'll pick a topic, I've got about a team of about 60. And they can come if they want and ask me questions, I'm gonna start by talking about whatever this topic is, last time. One of the times we talked about was like great leaders that you've had, so we kind of went around the room and talked about that. And then you know, we've we've made the decision from, you know, coming back to the office perspective is we're going to do, I think this is what I'm hearing a lot more of is when the time's right and safe and healthy, that we're going to come in two days a week. And so like RT and cx will be paired, like with product and engineering one day, and we're all going to come back one day, then the other day is will be paired with like product and engineering, who we work kind of the most with around customer issues and things of that nature and will be to win and kind of three out. And you know, I'm happy to say that none of our key metrics have really slipped from a, you know, from a retention standpoint, from a customer satisfaction standpoint, from you know, our employees have pivoted well, and sort of, I think, in a lot of cases enjoyed the new normal even more. But we're, you know, we want to we want to we had a great culture before, we want to continue that culture just in this new environment. And that's kind of where we're heading, post pandemic, I think, you know, we're like a lot of companies, I think people have Xoom fatigue, I think there's there's stuff that goes on. And so we're trying to manage that as best we can and go take your vacation, when we take a take your vacation, get away from your email, and they'll come back ready to ready roll because we've got, you know, big goals for this year. And next and we want to make sure the employee team feels taken care of and cared for and those sorts of things.


Alex  23:42

Yeah, that's a great point. And especially, you know, having, you know, the product team there with you there at the same time. And it kind of got it got me thinking about how we talked about, you know, the challenges around getting buy in from different departments first, for a customer journey in the customer experience. It's not just one, one group that helps mold what that's going to be how, how have you worked around the challenges of just working in an office with different departments to kind of find that Northstar of where, where the path is going for, for the customer.


Bill  24:12

So we're because we're sort of compliance based, that's a little bit of a new challenge for me and my seat, the maybe I had been before. So there are certain things that are going to take up engineering and product sprint bandwidth that we have to do to stay compliant to the standards, right? So that's gonna eat up a certain amount. And then what's been you know, I will say what's been fortunate for us is like, we know where our opportunities areas are, and we've sort of got this plan in place, sort of start knocking those out. And the reason I can say that is our last NPS survey that we did to the entire customer base all the users to everybody. We improved our score from negative six to 23. Like 23 is not apple or any of these other ones, but it certainly is You know, far above what I consider to be average. And we made a great improvement during during that kind of nine months. But I would also say that the feedback from the users was sort of like exactly what we expected. So another good thing, which is we're listening to customers, we understand what the pain points are, our teams are communicating that way, and so are about those issues, and we're getting things fixed, or at least have a plan to the the nitty gritty of it is both of my support leaders are tied in really tightly to product. So they use problems and incidents, which you may have heard of in Zendesk sort of like high level products and problems and all the cases that line up to sort of classify and categorize where not only were we having the most quantity of issues, but like the revenue attached to that, so we can make analytical cases around that sort of thing. And then we meet with that team once a week around what are we hearing from customers, I have a team that that goes ahead and works with product that way. And then we do have one of the things that for SaaS companies who are listening, and CX is we established an escalation manager. And so what that person does is serves as an advocate between customers, and our internal teams. And so if a CSA, we have, obviously a list of criteria, they have to fall into become an escalated status. But their whole day is like, Okay, I understand this issue. Let me go try and see who internally can fix it, when we communicate to the customer about how that's going. And when you look at all those escalations, and you can sort of package up what sort of the issues are and things of that nature, we have a terrific product organization, our VP is is new, but he's got us on the right path. And so we just, we just talk a lot, we try to use data in those conversations, I don't think we're as fully baked there as we'd like to be. But we try and have, you know, numbers to our arguments as to what we think should get moved around from a priority perspective. And then you know, you just try and take care of the hot issues as quick as you can. And that's one place where I will say, there is a sense of urgency here on least query, I think it's just ingrained in us because of the nature of financial clothes and dates around that. We have to be good at that, like January's just heads down, get the customers taken care of for financial clothes like that we're not trying to accomplish 27 initiatives, we are just like, get that month and a half taken care of. So they can ramp up their year. And their urgency is couldn't be more heightened. And we have to meet that.


Aarde  27:35

Yeah, quick question around that. So do you guys have peaks and lows with regards to your customer service and support? Does it peak during end of year maybe end of quarter? Yeah, for your customers? And is it a certain time of the month to use maybe it's like five days after the month or five days before the next month? I gotta close what's what's like cadence?


Bill  27:56

we need to hire you, because that's exactly what we exactly what we have. So right. So if you think about financial clothes, like so our support organization, for instance, from about the end, you know, call it like, you know, today's the third, I think so the middle of last week, kind of through this week, well, our support team will be there till nine o'clock every night because customers are working late working long hours. We repeat that every month. But yeah, so the month the month is busy, the month end is busy, the quarter end is busier, the year end is probably you know, two or three acts of our normal like support volume, just that's tickets, then the CSM is are handling a certain portion of that we also will do things like we'll do twice a week, or sorry, twice a day office hours during that year end time as well. So yeah, so there is a monthly quarterly and annual cadence to this. And we also like our you know, our CSS No, like our customer don't schedule QB hours in January, February, they're not interested or able to talk to us at that point. So when we think about our journey, we definitely have to move it around those days. Just a little side story there. Like our cab, our customer advisory board that talked about we were very careful to pick dates that were sort of in the middle of the quarter, but past month, and so that they weren't going to these people whose opinion we relied on Super heavily. Were going to be available to give it to us and available to attend the meetings, we plopped it right in the middle of quarter close, we would have had a pretty empty room.


Aarde  29:23

Yeah, I'm sure there's a budget season as well to where all of your customers who are accountants have to go in and help support the business try to figure out what their budget is for the next year. So I'm sure q4 is a busy time for them. Alex, I knew you're gonna ask me a question. So I'll pass it over to you.


Alex  29:39

No, I was gonna say, you know, because there's got to be a lot of value around your CSM, right, as you're saying earlier, have a great knowledge base of their own, just from their experience. How do you I'd say it's kind of twofold. Question one, how do you manage the peaks and valleys with their time and what they do outside of that time? And then how do you manage around People that want to move up, are you? Are you developing them to then, you know, spread their wings and go into other parts of the organization? Or is it kind of like, Hey, I don't want to lose these people? Because Yeah, I've spent so much time developing them, like, how is that like that tug and tug of war kind of handled?


Bill  30:15

I yeah, I mean, I've been there, where it's been like, Oh, we lost this other person, this internal role, but I've learned over my career to embrace it. The CSM seat, if they're, if your people are really good, they're gonna get plucked by the organization, right, they're gonna get plugged for product, they're gonna gonna plug for marketing, they might go into sales, if they're good at sort of the net retention growth of a customer, right? So we've learned to, I mean, I've sort of learned and work with my leaders on embracing that and making sure to your point that we have a well within CX, we have a well defined career matrix of, here's how you go from, here's what you need to do, if you were in support, and you want to go be a CSM, or if you're in a CSM role, where you're in our tech touch program, and you want to go be an enterprise CSM, here's the skills it takes. And it does two things, the manager can work on that path with them that's very clear and least queries good about we do things like we offer $2,000 every year for you to enhance your skills in some way, right that are relevant to jobs, you want to learn how to code, you want to learn how to, you know, learn more about lease counting, or you want to learn more about whatever will will pay for that. So the manager can walk them through that path, the rep can see what it takes. And I think it takes on both sides. It takes some of the excuses away from the career like the career girl thing. It's like, Hey, guys, right here on paper for you, or I'm not a Google file, I guess we're talking about data for you to follow and for your manager to help drive you to write and so we have our leadership meeting tomorrow, at least grant I've got a slide we've had seven of those promotions type of promotions, or we will have seven of those promotions in this calendar year. So I think that that's, that's something that that companies can do to really help their employees. It's it's a, you know, it's a detailed, long process, but it's important you get it right for your employees. And then I think, you know, I think if you embrace really being good at hiring, and knowing what it takes to be a really good CSM and get better at training them. So we've expanded our l&d offering, brought on a director q4, working on new hire, and then we'll work on specific department by department enablement, right. You know, if you know how to hire and how to train really well, then people want to come work for a fast growing company, that's always been an advantage as well. And then, you know, I think for us, it's super important to make sure that the accounting doesn't get overwhelming for people. And so we're constantly reinvesting time and energy, we spent a lot of time we talked about COVID, we spent a lot of time during COVID, sort of review with our training, organization, reviewing offering classes, weekly sessions, or bi weekly sessions on improving their accounting knowledge, they can have those conversations with customers and have to be CPAs or have worked somewhere for five years, they just need to know that enough to get them the help that they need, which is 80% of the thing. So those are some of the things we're doing. But I think if you know, if you're on a CSM organization, and you're you're, you know, you're not ready for the fact that people are going to get plucked, you're making a mistake there, they're going to especially if they're good. Yeah, that's,


Alex  33:19

that's what we see, we've talked to a lot of guests that, you know, say the same thing, right? where it's like, they've, they've had to learn to adjust within that, you know, with that scenario, where they're gonna want to leave, and they're gonna want to grow within the company. But it's just like, just like a football team or a basketball team in college, right? Where he recruits in, they're gone a year, maybe two years, if you're lucky later, you're always having to bring people up through the system. And it sounds like you have a great process for that to bring him into the success role. We take the long way. Yeah, definitely. I


Bill  33:52

would say the other thing about success that's that I see company, like, you really have to understand what you want your CSM to do, because there's like, are they in charge of adoption? Are they in charge of growth? Are they responsible for the renewal? Are they supposed to get good? See sad? Are they supposed to be trainers? Are they supposed to get advocacy? Like, what value are they providing like? And that's a lot and it's a lot to ask for that role. And I think the more you can get them focused on what ones are important right now for where your businesses is critical, because I see a lot of situations where csms are responsible for all those things. And that to me means you're not going to be good at any one thing. You're going to be okay at all of them. We're really focused on adoption. We're really focused on C sat and advocacy, knowing that if we do those things, well, we're helping the greater good of the company team lease query and growth and all those things. And we're going to get the renewal and we're going to get the other things as well. We're going to be in a multi product world at some point, then we'll make decisions around like who's the actual seller in that conversation. But, you know, I think narrowing the focus to what you need your CSM. tends to be for whatever timeframe you're in, or what stage of your business you're in is critical.


Alex  35:06



Aarde  35:09

Bill earlier, you talked a little bit about having this customer experience buying across multiple different departments. And that sense of urgency when something's broke, broke in, and you could go to the product team and say, Hey, we need to fix this because it's, you know, year end or or close a month. For some of the people who are listening, they may not have that they may not have that buy in vertically versus horizontally across their, their different departments. How did you guys get to that? Yeah, is there any like secret sauce, you know, things that people who are listening, who doesn't, they don't have that today that they can do right off the bat?


Bill  35:43

Yeah, and I would say like, we're like everybody else that, you know, we're still working on a lot of this stuff. And we get surprised as well. But I want to give my boss Joe Shaab, who's our CEO a lot of credit for this early on. He and I were having a conversation, it was like my first town hall with the team, when we're actually in the office. And we could all see each other and, and we had gotten surprised by something that happened in the business, a problem that was both product related and customer related that the people involved with it weren't really raising their hands high enough and loudly enough, and then sort of proclaiming that we had a real problem on our hands. And so we spent a great deal of time in that specific Town Hall talking about a saying called see something, say something, and that we made the promise to them, that there that there wouldn't be any repercussions for raising an issue that seemed important to them, or their customers at any given time. And that's having just gone through the sort of, you know, failure that we had, or this inability to sort of pick up on this problem or the seriousness of it, it causes like a four month project after it that was highly painful and highly personnel driven, all these kind of things, right, that we had to get, right. So I would say, you know, I probably need to go repeat that, again, this next town hall, because it's been a while, but you give people the permission to speak out, and you make it clear that you want to hear their voice, you're not always going to fix everything they're going to bring up or may not get prioritized in the order that even you know, sometimes that the customer wants. But if you don't have your hand up, then we don't know that the people who are interfacing with customers every day have that, you know, have that luxury, I guess of learning all those things. And then we started talking about like, see something, say something when you have a pattern, like if you've heard this four times, it's definitely time to get it in front of Joe and I and and the team has been really responsive to that I think then, you know, we've we've gone and worked with other organizations real clearly on that kind of stuff within within lease query. But that was the first thing you know, he and I sort of came up with this whole concept together, but he was really instrumental in my thinking around, we got to get them to raise their hands. And we got to get them to talk very openly about this stuff. And since then, I think I think we've made progress. But certainly not perfection, but we're making progress.


Alex  38:07

Yeah,  I love that to see something, say something and say a lot about leadership, right? And have your employees be able to trust that they can say something, and that they have a voice. And it lets them you know, keep their eye out or the ears open for things that are happening within organizations and better at for everybody including the client.


Bill  38:27

Yep, agreed.


Alex  38:31

So one of the things we like to do at the end Bill is, you know, go through some of our own customer experiences that we've had as just consumers ourselves. Yeah, so we're gonna put you on the spot a little bit. But instead of finding a negative customer experience, which I think we all can find plenty of those, right? We want to find something that like stood out to you with a product or service, where you're wowed by by how I was handled. And I think as a cx leader, I think we all have our ears open and our antennas up to find like, Oh, they did it really well. And even things you can implement, you know, like, maybe we should do something like that, right? Or is there anything that you can think of where, where you had a great experience with a certain brand or product that comes to the top of your mind?


Bill  39:17

So this is definitely a product with a cult following. And so I had to think about this one a little bit when when we talked about this as a question, but so I have a Big Green Egg smoker, right? And that brand and they're local to Atlanta, so I might be a little more into with, you know, with them generally. But the warranty is amazing. You call up if something breaks, and they send you to a place where you can pick it up. You talked earlier about community like the community around Big Green Egg is amazing that they've you know, fostered and built and got people to collaborate, whether it's Facebook groups or the festivals that they were able to do, pre COVID and all those kinds of things. Like I just feel like they've done an incredible job. Taking a very cool product and creating buzz around it, and then my own interactions with them when I've needed that and they've been. And this is all I really care about is simple, easy problems fixed. Get me on my way back to cooking on this thing that I love to love to use. And I just think they've they've done an incredible job of creating, you know, this cult following. And now there's all these, you know, different off shoot types of people who have the same kind of product, right. But yeah, I really, I really have enjoyed interacting with them. I've loved I've had the egg for 10 years and really loved using it. I'm not I'm not I mean, I joke around my wife that I all my cooking is outside in the kitchen, like do anything in the kitchen, but I do do well on the egg and it's been one of my favorite little toys I've had for a long, long time.


Alex  40:55

That's  a great one. I absolutely love the I haven't Trager so. But right so that's right. He hasn't yet has an egg, one of the green eggs too. And he loves it because you can get a lot. Yeah, look your flavor. So I guess I just have a fun follow up question like what's your what's your main one? What's your main thing that you like to smoke? I was just like, what, what's your best?


Bill  41:16

So I've really, I mean, I'm going to take a second like my pizzas are really good. I figured out how to do pizzas really well on there. And then the ones that I would say that the whether it's family or friends who have tried it is, you know, doing overnights with Boston, buts that turned into polpark. Obviously, I've had you know, 16 to 20 hour cooks on those that have come out extraordinarily well. And then we you know, the last thing I'll say is like for Christmases, when the family's home, we're all actually under one roof for change. We do i do beef tenderloins, that sort of a thing that gets requested from the kids every time and those three things I'm I can do those are with my eyes closed. And no, it's always good to know pretty well.


Alex  42:00

After 10 years. You're a pro?  Well, yeah, some nice things. And then, you know, like food tastes change. Right. So my daughter's not as much of a chicken fan anymore. So I don't think she's younger. She's still here with us. So yeah, I just kind of adapt to whatever they're we're eating at that point in time. That's great.


Aarde  42:16

 Oh, it's almost lunchtime. So I'm getting pretty hungry. That's talking about Yeah,


Bill  42:19

I did. So I did. I did a cool shrimp thing last night didn't turn out exactly how I wanted it. But yeah, just something something's, again, like a couple guys. I follow on Instagram, do all kinds of crazy stuff and pick up those recipes on


Alex  42:30

Yeah, it's fun. Well, it really does bring bring it all around like community groups, right? 


Bill  42:35

 Right, right. 


Alex  42:36

People that are passionate about the brand, because you can easily go to YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and you can get all the tips and tricks on how to use use it and build like make your your cooking better, right?


Bill  42:49

Yeah, I just I wouldn't. I'm all about stealing great ideas. And I wouldn't figure this stuff out on my own. So I'm glad to try what other people have seen as Yeah, been successful, both there and at work, right, both. So that's awesome. Well, Bill,


Alex  43:01

I gotta tell you, it's been fun having you on it. We've had a great conversation, you have a lot of great insight. And I think what you guys are doing over at least query is amazing. And how you're supporting accountants and and the thing, the software and how it's growing and how you're growing the department. So but thank you. Thank you for joining us. It's been


Bill  43:20

Great. Yeah, I had a great time talking about this stuff. And I think that I'd say is like there's tons of content out there about how to run cx teams, but like, figure out what your customers really use and how they use it. That'll that'll point in the direction of what you need to do every time. Absolutely. Well,


Aarde  43:37

Well said. And we'll close it there. Thank you, Bill. Thank you, Alex for hosting.


Alex  43:43

Well, that wraps up the show for today. Thanks for joining. And don't forget to join us next week as we bring another guest in to talk about the trends around cloud contact center and customer experience. Also, you can find us at Adler,, LinkedIn, or your favorite podcast platform. We'll see you next week on another cloud podcast.