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.
Set Expectations and Beat Them
with Alex McBratney and Aarde Cosseboom
Don't have time to listen? Read the full transcription.
customers, team, people, ptc, customer success, customer experience, industry, business, services, data, snowblower, sales team, technical, tech, gave, cs, bit, technology, marina, professional services
Aarde, Alex, David
Hello, and welcome to 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 customer experience. All right, well, Hey, welcome to another cloud podcast today. We are very excited to have David Katzman. He is the head of customer experience and strategy for onshape Division at PTC. So David, welcome to the show. Thanks for coming on.
Thanks, Alex. Happy to be here.
Absolutely Aarde, the CO pilot for the day thanks for coming on to be the co host as usual. Co pilot as usual.
I got to get my pilot's license, just look at officially be the CO pilot but a pleasure as always. And David looking forward to the show.
I'm saying here thanks Aarde. Yeah, well, we gotta get your little wings and a hat. And then it'll be official.
And we'll see what happens. I know we've got little kids running around, they might pop into the door here to your ear.
So we'll see whatever it is, it is. it's the new way of working these days.
Is the new way with work from home. So we'll see how that goes. But, David, let's just take a quick background. So people that don't know you can get an understanding of who you are, where you came from in your career and how you ended up over at onshape in that division for PTC. Give us like a two to three minute just background on on your career path to getting to customer experience there.
Sure My pleasure. So my background actually starts I was a computer engineering degree in economics undergrad. And so I was very much on the technical side actually interned at a company called SolidWorks. And then, which we'll come back to later in the story for how I ended up at onshape. But decided I didn't want to go directly into the technical field right away. So ended up going working for Deloitte Consulting at a college, in strategy in tech consulting for a number of years on a bunch of great projects all around the country. And after that one got my MBA at a tuck up in Dartmouth. And then towards the end of my MBA, I was actually going back to Deloitte but I had this amazing offer to go join the onshape team. JOHN Hershey john McElhaney gave me a call, I knew them from my SolidWorks days and just previously in life, and asked if I'd come You know, join the team jump on board, I gotta be honest, was a tough decision. I actually I love to like, and I thought very highly that I was going back. But there was just this, this pull towards onshape into this transformer technology. And so actually, with the support of some of the people I knew at DOJ decided to jump ship and give it a shot. And so I've been with the onshape team now for for six years, we were acquired by PTC about 18 months ago. And over those six years, I mean, I've had a variety of roles. Most of the time, my job was to either close the gap or find a new problem to solve, started in what we call business development, a lot of partnerships in some of our technical relationships with, you know, the likes of Apple or Google. From there, actually, we will talk about this, I'm sure. But we started selling the product at this point. And we realized we needed this other thing called, at the time, this whole industry buzzword of customer success, we didn't really know what it meant. But we started it, we created a group. And it's morphed and changed over the last four years since then, five years, I think, actually now into a variety of different things that what we do, and how we work with our customers. But built that out, we built that a whole new way of working with our customers from a technical perspective, which we created this group called tech services, it's a combination of a lot of factors. And then eventually, a lot of my time was spent really understanding our product market and the fit and where the technology aligned with the market. And how do we bring the two together. And so
What we realized was our value really was much more in the mid market enough where we could really transform how businesses did their design work. And so we actually built that our enterprise sales function, enterprise sales, another loaded term, it means a lot of different things, but built that out. And then towards the end, before we were acquired, went full circle and rebuilt a lot of our go to market strategy around this in market and, and really attacking the industry. And so we were acquired back in the end of 2019. By PTC. Love it there, it's actually been a blessing for the entire onshape family and hopefully our industry. And now my my role is I'm responsible, we call it customer experience, and strategy. But it's really several functions. And it's kind of an umbrella of what we call customer success, which for us means post sales, account management renewals, really focusing on the outcomes of our customers and working with them. To me, and we talk about this all the time on round on shape nptc. More broadly, the term Customer Success is really kind of a misnomer, because everybody's really involved and invested in the success of our customers. So that's one function. We also have tech services, which again, we can talk about, but it's really the pre and post sales, application engineering for our customers working with them everything from first demo to implementation in tough challenges down the road. And then we have our strategy which is more business development partnerships, tech partnerships, business partnerships. And then last, we have business and
Linux in business insights. And so we work on that with the data side of the equation. So we have all this data as a modern SAS platform you can imagine. So how do we harvest that data into knowledge. And so that's what we put under the umbrella of customer success and our customer experience and strategy. And it's been a lot of fun. I've been very lucky to work on some pretty cool projects, or some great customers. And the team as a whole, every one of the team is so impressive, and our technology is so much fun to be around. So it's been great.
Yeah, and David, tell us a little bit more about Onshape. And what you guys do, and then also, what the customer journey is, you know, what, you know, what is the first time they contact you? second, third, fourth, what's the life cycle? How often do they contact you and things like that,
Happy to do so. So in a nutshell, Onshape is a modern, cloud, SaaS based product development platform. So think CAD, computer aided design, everything from parts and assembly and drawing modeling, you know, the old school, you know, everything that was used to be done on paper and pencil then went to Windows. Now our job was to really transform the industry, what we believe is one of the last industries to lag, to the modern era of modern way of thinking. So everything from collaborative design real time, there's no such thing as files in our system. And really, what what we try and do is the technology is really cool, and but really, it's the underpinning the foundation for what we try and do is help our customers transform their business. So if you think about an old process for designing products, you know, if you think about a whiteboard, and you put their whole design process on it, and you took a couple products, you said, Okay, we're gonna switch out those products with onshape. It's interesting, and it's probably gonna add value, because going to get rid of some of the real natural pain points of crashes. But if you really say, Wow, our process is 45 years old, or even more, if you think about paper and pencil, it's not that different. How can we change it with new technology, that's the value we try and bring to our customers. That's the message we're trying to really resonate with them and spending time on it. And this comes from our US level, our journey, from the first time they land on our website, as prospects that know nothing about us through their self discovery through working with our sales team. And then eventually, on the customer side, after they, you know, there's a whole journey of when you pay money doesn't always make you a good customer. Yet, there's a lot of work that comes after the first transaction of actual adoption and learning how to actually succeed. And that's our job as a business across the board is to, to make sure that journey from again, the first land on our website, through hopefully years of renewals, and be an advocate is successful. And as fruitful. And as fun as possible. I think there's no such thing as an easy transition in our industry is no different. In fact, my guess is our industry is one of the hardest to help people transform and migrate their data or their process. Because we're working with engineers who are incredibly typically risk averse, which is ironic, because their entire job is innovation. But they have deadlines, just like everybody else. They have costs, so they have to manage. And so what we are there to do, especially on the CS and customer experience side, is to make sure that they feel safe, and they feel comfortable moving along the journey with us. Because it is a journey. And it's not gonna happen overnight. There is no Quick, quick fix, and there will be bumps along the way. And that's just the reality, unfortunately.
Yeah, well, absolutely. And especially working with with developers and engineers, right. And like you said, they are risk averse. But I think once they get used to the product, and once they get used to the to the new process that really can grow their organization by leaps and bounds.
Well, it's exactly and actually they don't wanna go back. Right? You hear this story all the time. It's their fear of switching fear of transformation. But once you get there, you realize, oh my god, you don't even know the pain that you've been in for years. Because it's natural, right? work arounds become just work. That's just the way you do things. You don't even necessarily appreciate it when, you know, I remember the old days of you know, using a program and I was in computer crashes and you go when to the last one hit save, like that fear that panic that always kind of comes and now I just it's gone. Like I don't even think about that anymore. I haven't thought about that in forever. The you know, go back to the old consulting days you start saying around the PowerPoint with you know, version final two, it's like well, now what is there a version final three? who finished it? Is it done? It was not done. So, you know, all those artifacts of the legacy way we were doing things and that's no no one's fault. That's just the way the technology was. Now our job is to make it better.
Yeah, gotta love the autosave feature now. And also when you're, you know, leveraging the cloud and got a SaaS based product, it's, you know, you're designing things in the background for your your end customers and users to, to leverage without even knowing about it. That's, that's pretty amazing. Let's talk a little bit about Your team. We talked a little bit before the podcast and we talked a little bit about professional services and tech services. And it would let's drill into that what's the difference is the same, you know, is it all unlocked aligned underneath the customer success umbrella? How do you guys define it? there at onshape?
Yeah, sure. So and this is specifically on shape a little bit PTC, so PTC has a professional services arm, which does a lot of what you would think what do I think about his professional services have a statement of work and a deliverable at the end. And so we typically don't work that way on the CSR, tech services side of the onshape. Family today, we are more partners on a journey. And so their journey is using our products successfully. And we are there to support them along the way, if there was a where I would draw the line is if they needed to do a custom coding implementation of something, that's professional services work, that's where we engage our professional services on with PTC or maybe another partner that we have, we have a great network of partners. But our team will advise in support, they won't actually write the code to do that independent professional services. The reason we actually created what we now call tech services, and rather than application engineering or pre sales demo guy one or woman two, is because we really wanted to blend the experience across the their trajectory for our work with our customers. And so our tech services engineers are capable of doing everything from a demo to an implementation call to a you know how to troubleshooting with an implementation or an execution or how to model something better. They're, they're well versed in all those now they specialize in their day to day, but we brought it as a program, and we have leaders that think holistically about all of those pieces of the puzzle. And it's been, I think it's been a great success. Now, I have to admit, whenever you create a new name for something, you have more time explaining it than you actually have anything else. But I think it's worked really well. And we have, again, we have the best in the industry, in my mind. So it helps.
Yeah, it's interesting, because tech services requires a lot of technical expertise of the horse, right? How does the organization look as far as so you have a customer, I'm assuming, like a customer success managers that manage the accounts, and then they align with the tech services team, as they need more comp, you know, complex thing solve for,
It's exactly itso that the customer success team is not responsible for the technical implication that the relationship team, they're there to, they run the QPR, they'll run the kickoff calls, the technical team is there as their partners. And that's exactly what they are. They know where their strengths are, they know where their weaknesses are. And so they try and balance each other out as best they can. And we've gotten to the point with, again, some of our tools, and just the team where they've grown. Now, it's you know, this is a CS driven call, and tech services may or may not even be on it, or this is a tech services call, and CS may or may not even be on it. And it lets us scale, especially globally, much more quickly, much quicker Than we would have been able to had we not kind of devised and figure this out. We also have the we cheat a little bit, right our system because it is asked, we know a lot. We know a lot about what our customers are doing, we understand where they're struggling, they can share data with us real time, you know, we can't see anything without them giving us explicit permission. But if they choose to, we can be incredibly efficient with that. And that's gone a long way for us. Really kind of what I would say creating the best experience possible.
Let's talk a little bit about how your team collaborates internally. Are you guys using a ticket ticketing system? How are you recording the interactions internally so that, you know if if I'm on CS, but I gotta pass it over to tech services? And vice versa? If I got to collaborate well on the call, maybe with like a real time communication tool like teams or zoom or slack? How do you guys organize that? Is it has it been successful? Has it not been successful? What are the what are the pros and cons?
Yeah, so we use a variety of tools, we use the, you know, fastball down the middle, if you will, from a baseball reference, we use, you know, we use Salesforce, we use Slack, and we use teams are the kind of primary tools Across the teams. And we also use what we use turns zero, which you may know of as a customer success tool. A lot of that is for our automations. And for our segments for how we do that, when it comes to the team collaboration. Everything has to get recorded in, in Salesforce. And we also have these these in called next actions where we actually can record our CSI items, we can record Hey, this is a good check in for this next person to go to this next thing with this customer. And what do we weed each other down a path and so it's just very transparent. And that's the key is that it's very easy to know what's happened, who's doing what and who has the next action on any, any account any situation. And we actually use the same collaboration with our sales team, our sales colleagues. And so when it comes time, we're on a call with a customer everyone here hey, we're actually gonna add a few you know, a few people the company next month Hey, great, why don't we bring in our, our sales team to talk about the commercial aspects of that and, and they're really good about really aligning on the roles and responsibilities across the different teams. And so it's really a triangle. It's not just CS and tech services, but sales as a part of that journey as well.
Yeah, let's talk so one of the things like we like to, you know, bring up is, you know, customer success community. All we mentioned is before it can mean a lot of things to different people. And we've had others on the podcast as well, like we're when it first came into the The Fall, there's no blueprint for it, right? It's not like you can look to the past and say, Okay, let's take what's already been built, make it better. It's actually something completely new, how have you transitioned into that to the newness because, you know, the infancy of customer success, customer experience and, and found a blueprint or created a framework around customer success.
Yeah, and I'd say, I don't think there's ever a one size fits all. And that's one of the big thing is some, you know, anyone who comes and says, Well, for this industry, this business, we should do CS this way with these responsibilities, it really depends on the dynamic and as it's kind of unfolded. And so we've found our sweet spot with the roles and responsibilities between the technical team, the customer success team and the sales team, for instance. But what we do and how we divide and conquer may or may not make sense for different industries, our industry, for instance, happens to be incredibly technical, you know, incredibly unique in that mode, if you're not a mechanical engineer, you're not gonna be the one talking to some of the engineering design problems that you can face when you switch from one system to another. So you have to have that level of expertise. You can't have a CSM that happens to necessarily it's very hard to find it, you can't know that you can't but have their role be so broad as to run every QPR and every, you know, business long term goals, but also be tactical enough that they can go and teach somebody how to do left handed fill it the next day. That's such a unique set of skills. And so we specialize where we have to specialize. And that's one of them. For us, we decide Customer Success is the relationship post sales up to but not including the commercial aspects. So we don't do the transactions for expansions today. But we will facilitate with our sales team to do those and work with them very closely. So we're doing our jobs, well, it should be the easiest sales our sales team ever have to do, they should just kind of get on the phone and close it as they would because it's very transparent to them. But everything else in terms of relationship, make sure they're doing the check ins x very much in the CS perspective, CSI. I've seen a lot of different models. And it really depends on I think segments and industry in customer sizes. And ASP where do you draw the line on account management? Who's there to farm? Who's there to hunt, who's there to gather, if you will, there's a lot of different models. For us, we found this works very, very well with our segmentation. And that's how we do it. Now. To be fair, we actually have three tiers of customer success into how we engage with our customers depends on on those tiers. And so That's actually helped us be really, really efficient and scalable.
Yeah, let's, let's drill into those three tiers a little bit. And let's talk a little bit about your leadership style, what your leadership practices are, and how how your team members grow or evolve. You know, do they have pipelines? Do they eventually go to a tier two, tier three team lead supervisor, manager? What? What is that kind of career path for your internal team?
Yeah, it's actually it's so it's interesting. We're actually going through this right now. We're growing so quickly, which is great. It's, it's, you know, success is a great thing. And we enjoy it. We've been very, very fortunate our teams. But with that, so how do we think about the next level of next structure? You know, we started to see that there were two people, myself and someone really technical Fellow, and now we're at a team, the, you know, much about 10x 2015 with 15 times, right? So how do we think about that? How have we grown it? What's been really great is our team, every leader on each of those teams has come up to launch it. So every person on our team, the head of customer success, worldwide, Jocelyn, she started as a CSM franci, when we were just getting started, she was one of the first CSM, and now she leads the CS team worldwide. And she's phenomenal. And she you know, what's great about that is the natural intrinsic qualities that we care so much about the customer first and all the aspects that come with that. She's she's, she embodies it, because she's lived it for so long. And that helps because as we hire people, that's the stuff that you can't really teach is actually one of the hardest things about being remote. You know, and I'm all for I actually, I love one aspect of this, which is we can hire the best talent wherever they are. and embrace that, that I love. The hard part is it's how do you get the culture? How do you teach them what it means to be customer first, you know, saying the word is really nice, but until you really live it and feel that everyone around you lives it. It's hard. And so what we've tried to do is by one, by having these great people on the team, and embracing in wheat and letting them grow, that has naturally kind of happened, right? You've naturally kept that in the family, if you will. But part of that is just kind of continuing really challenging people creating opportunities. I don't have all the answers. So you know, why would I have to have every answer every solution for everyone. But we've done I think a great job of really embracing our our teams and it helps that we we bring on great people, you know, we always talk about you know, hiring the most important thing we do, and that comes through every day, especially when you have rapid growth. You can't can't grow quickly. Well without great leaders.
Yeah, you brought up a really good point there now now that we're still in this pandemic world and you know, people won't be listening to this post us getting better. back to business as usual, who knows if that will ever happen? Or if it'll be even close to what it used to be. But a little question I kicked myself if I didn't ask this question, what is your strategy going forward? So as you know, as we return to business as usual, are you still going to hire people within a specific region? Have them come into a home office of some sort? Or are you thinking about diversifying a little bit more, and having remote workers and really just pulling from that great, amazing talent, your regardless of where they live, because we know that you can do the work from home.
Yeah, so it's a little bit of both. So a little bit of our team is actually very remote. We have people all around the world, our, our head of tech services for the Americas, plus a few of the worldwide functions actually is remote. He himself is in Fresno, Cody. And so his team has especially on a specialist like that, when you get into the specialization of technical talent. And the covering different time zones, geographies, it's nice to have that flexibility. I at the same time, there's there's something about having more people to overhear each other, and talk around each other and be around the energy. And so I don't think it's a one size fits all approach, I will have happily say I love Boston, I'm based out of Boston, our PGC headquarters in Boston is phenomenal. And so I look forward to having opportunity to bring our teams together and be around each other there. But it's not a that's the only way. And I think what we'll do is on a hire by hire basis, a case by case will will evaluate the position and feel what makes the most sense for the business. And in general for our customers the end of the day. So, you know, it doesn't make a ton of sense to hire everyone in Boston, if we're going to serve people around the world. So we got to balance those two. But I'm also very fortunate we work at a place that actually embraced that, too. So I can say that knowing that that's actually exactly what we want to do as a business is really support each other like that.
Yeah, it's absolutely been a challenge for a lot of the businesses that we've spoken to and had on the podcast and just is made people have to be more flexible and open minded to this concept. And some the tech companies were used, they're typically ahead of the game, because they're already like using tech, they already know like, Oh, yeah, we can do this remotely, we can be flexible in the work schedule, already. You had the same the same thing over at textile, right? Where you can have that flexibility, but industry by industry, right? And not the one size fits all, but I think you do you point to a great, a great aspect of it being that you can find the talent, where you need to see if you find a great programmer, that's an Oklahoma City that's fits the bill to a tee that it's like, let's get that person on board and and part of the team and the culture is is a challenge. And what are some things that you see that you try to do to build culture when everyone is remote?
Yeah, you know, it's, I don't know, if I have the magic answer on this, you know, what we've tried to do as best we can, as we do. A few more huddles a few more cross functional experiences where we actually have you know, more of the technical team and CS team engaging together with more people, which is not always the most efficient, but it lets you kind of get a sense of personality, right, you get some energy, when you see how the team interact with each other, you get a sense of that. That just really the culture, I mean, there's no other way to put it. Yeah, but that's something that is we've done, we've done some more social experiences. And then the other thing that we've done is, we've done more inclusive customer calls. So we'll add more people than maybe typical for even just for onboarding, but to customer calls that they may not have been on otherwise, but just to see the cross functional dynamics that we're trying to show, especially with some of our, you know, larger accounts that are well known. We'll bring some more people into that. So they get to experience just how do we think about every customer, it's not just the margins, they'll do the same thing with the smaller accounts that they see that it's a, every customer of ours, from one user to 1000 users is really important. And so the best way to do it, I think, is to show it and then to live it every day.
Earlier, you talked a little bit about how your customers are really technical, not only because they're, you know, mechanical engineers, or engineers, or you know, that like minded. And you and your team must be very technical as well. Do you have some sort of either community or self service where some of your customers can help support other customers, or maybe just an area where they can put together some feature requests, maybe there's some like, you know, product feature requests, and everyone comes together and says, You know what, that's an amazing tool. I wish we had that as well talk to us a little bit about that community feel.
Sure. So we have we have a forum, public forum, which is incredibly well received, and well, self moderated, I'll say, by our customers and our prospects in our, in our user base. And you know, for us, there's a lot of different dynamics, internal customers mean a lot of things it's people who pay the money, and other people use the product. And what we really focus on heavily, especially internally, the people use the product, the users, right those that's the committee that we really spend a ton of time with. And too often it's in my opinion on aren't necessarily With us, especially but he has been just a lot of time on that person is going to close the transaction or who's going to slim. But what we always have found that by embracing the users at every scale, and that's what we do with our forum as well. And then the other thing you asked earlier, and I didn't talk about about you, so ticketing systems, and how do we engage? Well, we also have a support team, that's very transactional. And they use Zendesk and actually, in our product, you can create a support ticket, it's part of our, frankly, our secret sauce, not that secret. But the fact that because it's SAS, if there's only one ID one version in the world, and there's only one version, the data and the world, user can be struggling submit a ticket, and our support team can, in real time, see it respond to it, if they were shared into it, get into it, solve the problem with the customer, it's twofold. One, we solve a problem much more quickly, because we know we can reproduce any problem or anything like that. But secondly, we teach the user, right we actually do it in with the user in their in their world in their environment. So they're actually worrying how to be better for the next time. So it actually it's a win win for us, it's a win win for them. And it's it's something that I think at first people really nervous about the fact that we do everything this way. And so asynchronously, was very concerning in our industry was in the past was very account focused at the bar level, right? Everything was solved by your bar locally, and you had this really close relationship. So how do we this comes back to how do we create customer success in the first place? How do we recreate that sense of belonging, that comfort, without having to build out, you know, a regional distribution of teams everywhere on the globe at once? So that's part of what our strategy has been is how do we recreate the best part of that experience, while minimizing the worst part or the scalability challenges? And that's what we've tried to thread that needle at different ways.
One of the things that, you know, we see a lot of, you know, as far as like trying to track the analytics and reporting, and what KPIs are you trying to follow and things like that? How have you utilize the technology that you use, and then using that to be able to track like, what metrics matter to you and which ones don't? Because there's a lot of data that comes that comes pouring in that you can use for, you know, as a competitive advantage, like, how do you how do you see that? And how do you use, you know, metrics on your end.
So first, I'll say is very carefully.
And I mean that in two ways, one is very careful in terms of, we have access to a wide data and a wide data, we don't have access to it. So we'd be incredibly careful with confidentiality, and at that, so we don't actually we can't access anything that would be considered customer confidential, we just don't have it, we don't look at it, we don't do that. In our teams know that. That's very, very sensitive. And so that's one aspect. And we have to maintain that, because that's our promise to our customers to write when they're accessing our service, they have to know that what we do and don't have access to so we don't have that access. And the other reason i say, safely is, like you said, we have a lot of data. And you can use data in a lot of different ways. And data without context is really dangerous, in my opinion. And so what we try and do is have, we utilize our data in a way that we can gain insights and add the context to make better decisions. And I think that's a nice and tough balance at times. The other thing you talked about with modern technology and tools, what can we do? We've used a lot of machine learning and AI technology to take some of this data, and some of the outcomes and then do some predictive analytics, or maybe machine learning to help us, you know, understand what we couldn't understand naturally.
And so we do that we actually have objective health scoring. So we actually objectively based on usage parameters, and, and there's a lot of them, and it it works differently based on different size accounts. But do we think this accounts healthy or not? And but that's not the end all we call it objective health, because it's also the concept of subjective health, right? When we talk to customers, we talk to as many as we can, as often as we can. We have an instinct, and we have insight from that. And so we put the two together. And that's how we really understand the big picture about our customers, how are they doing? What the renewal probability will be, etc? And where do we need to intervene? When do we need to know we have a weekly at risk meeting, if we feel like there's a concern for our customer, we bring a lot of people together more probably than we necessarily need to from everything from r&d to customer access, and it's a company wide effort. We talked about it earlier. But the term customer success in a team Customer Success is, is overloaded. The reality is our entire business is the success of our customers. And I've already said that, but that's the way we think about it. And so whatever we can do to make sure our customers successful, no matter the size of the customer, no matter the challenge. That's important. And that's how we use we use data as much as we can to support those decisions and the challenges and solutions. But we add in our personal context to help inform.
And a lot of people listening to this podcast, they may not have an objective health score. They may have things like C SAT scores and MPs it gives a kind of subjective single temperature check at random times. But with you guys, it sounds like you guys have a pretty decently robust To help score, what for the for the audience? Where would people start? You know, where were they it can be a very daunting and hard project for them to start down that path, like, what would you recommend to start?
Sure. And so just real quick, we do also, we do NPS, as you would expect, and it's very important for us it doesn't it's not a decision making statistic. It's insight into what's going on into our customer base and to our user base, actually, I should say, because it's not just our customers, it's all of our professional users. It surveyed the people at the end of the day, like I said, users, not just the vehicle purchasers. And we will get that very often. It's something that's very important to us and how we think about how we are doing, and that's one of our scorecards, but to your question about objective health. You know, it's an interesting point, it really depends on the industry. So we have a ton of like I said, we have a ton of data about, you know, the usage here, what every SAS company has, how often people are using this system, what they what are they doing on the system, how much data they creating, deleting, exporting, importing. And, you know, the key for us was determining what we want to measure. Right? What was the objective health trying to measure? And it's actually we're going through right now, it actually one of the biggest things is, you're never done, there is no such thing as you have a successful objective health score. It's it just like, like anything, you're always evolving it every day, it can get better every week, every month. And so continually challenging yourself to reevaluate it, and to understand it, and to measure the success of it. So what was the purpose of it for us, it's to give us insight into the renewal probability. That's what we really want to understand. And so is it working? Is it helpful, and then we continue to evolve it. And as we add more components to the system, we have to continually retrain it. But there is no, there's no secret sauce, you kinda just have to start, get get into it. And get started.
I love how the SAS companies, you know, look at health scores and just look at because you don't take your customers for granted. You look at the cable companies out there, right? It's like, they're probably not tracking customer health scores closely as you are. Because unless there's, you know, a competitor right there that can do the internet connectivity outside of the cable company. That's the only competition. And so it's like, okay, like, the renewal rate, right? And that's what I was thinking about, when you're talking about that, it's like, well, chances are, the renewal rates could be high, because there's no other option. Or SaaS companies, it's like, we have to focus so much on this customer success and customer experience. And that's where I love the evolution of this industry has been, how do you compete, we see the big Amazons of the world, these big tech companies like Apple and whatnot that have done so well at like, capturing market share. And that's based off of like, how do you make that customer happy and like get them to come back again. And again, again, I just, I just love how the industry is evolved and how companies take it so seriously now?
Well, it's it's, it's critical in the other part of his word, a displacement replacement market, right? People have they today they design products, everything is getting designed around you. So how do we help them see if there's a path forward? And how do we keep them happy and successful for the long term? And so every day it matters does because they do your point, they could weave? You know, our job is make sure they never want to invest? We can.
All right. Well, we always like to end our show with something a little bit more whimsical, a little bit more fun. And we talk about customer service and customer experience a lot. But what we like to do is ask our guests, when was the last time they had a great customer experience with some sort of company or brand or service, it's really easy for us to remember the bad experiences, it's harder for us to remember the good ones but if you have one off the top of your head, go ahead. If not, maybe I'll like
I'll go first. So David has a chance to think about it so it doesn't get put on the spot. So it might happen just this weekend and it's embarrassing and it's a little bit like it's good in some way. So I borrowed my cousin's ski boat this week going up to the up to the mountains to the lake up there. First off, I he didn't tell me that there's two plugs on the boat to hole up when you put the boat in the water. I lift this hatch and it's like it's filled with water and I'm just like, crap like this boat is gonna sink on me. I jump in the water the back plugs into my Where's his water coming from? So we pull the boat closer to the ramp I run and get the trailer pull out of the water and it was it probably drained for about 45 minutes. Luckily the boat was okay. That was just the first like setup to what the next problem that I ran to and that was overnight I left the radio button on the radios off I unplugged the iPhone or my phone and I left the radio button on this what drain the battery completely out of the boat. There's two batteries or big deep cell ones for about and the marina that I was that super like small town Marina. Not like huge like fancy or anything like that. But they bent over backwards to help me out they gave me like supercharger things to try to jumpstart the batteries that didn't work. Then they pulled over there. generator plugged in the trickle charger. I sat there for four hours trying to charge these batteries up and still wasn't enough to get the boat started. So it's gonna stay up there regardless. But I was like, Hey, can you give me a big favor? I just gave you like, you know, whatever you want to charge me, but just come in there tomorrow, take the batteries out, charge them up eight hours, whatever it needs, and then put them back in there. Yeah, yeah, no problem, no problem at all. And also, like, I was just so spent the whole day like just sitting on this bill waiting for the charge. But what I love about the customer experience is that they just did everything like it was like No problem, like just a helping hand when someone needed a helping hand. And so I think for me, that's what boils down for customer experience is people just doing what's right for the customer, even though you know, they weren't playing, we're getting charged me. But I offered a little bit to help out. But that's it. That was it for me. So
That's a good one. I'll tell you I can tell you a funny Marina stories, I think Marina is do a great, great job of customer service. It's not that dissimilar from the reason we talked about SAS, but you can go to another Marina a lot of times depend on where you are in the world. And they they distinguish themselves that they have slips in the water, and they have moorings in the water so that this factor has to be their service and what they provide to you and I've found I have a great Marina same similar stories. The one that actually comes to mind the most I feel a little similar, but different from me, actually, I wrote an article about customer experience, and I told the story in there. So, but I had a snowblower repairman this past year. So my wife and I moved out of the city a few years ago, got a snowblower used to have it serviced by the place we bought it from but decided we're going to try a more local experience that that was it was fine, but it wasn't best and found this. This person who comes and does it himself, so came made a piece of Piece of cake came picked up a snowblower, so we just plan on doing sure came and drop it off a week later and charged me less money than he had planned to, because it didn't need some of the service he had planned to do. And then followed it up with some stuff he did extra and gave me a pamphlet on how things I could do better as a snowblower owner, not knowing what I didn't know, which is embarrassing, since I spent all my time in the mechanical engineering world that I should know how to do these things better. But every day is a learning opportunity for sure. And actually literally taught me how to be a better owner of a snowblower in the process, so it created this, he was very transparent, very honest, which I love. And I think goes as a leader. When customers work with your teams, I think leadership, I should say transparency and honesty are huge. So that was one big part of it, set expectations and beat him was another one. And then to top it off, really spent time on the rest of the experience for making me feel like I actually was more empowered to do my part of the job. It just was an all around great, great chance I'll never go somewhere else as long as I can. And I just found that to be just for me, it was very differentiated. For anyone that's done a lot of these service things you never know you're gonna get so
yeah, I love I love the loyalty and the how you can build it so quickly. By doing right.
You can also ruin it so quickly, and they can say trust right through. You can earn it for a long time, but one mistake and that's that's why every day you have to earn the trust, this goes back. But every day matters. Every every interaction matters. And so you got to really be consistent with with height at the right color and height at the right. Focus. And so we've been at the the big thing for me is it starts at the top and we have john her stick and john McElhaney Dave cork and leaders on our teams that just set a very consistent tone about focusing on the customer that I've I've learned through and I have our teams have and I think and more broadly at PTC, it's the same story of Jim Koppelman, the Leadership Camp, etc. How do we put the customer first is always the first thing we talk about it. And so I think that's a big thing. And it's easy to say it, but to actually live it every day. So
Perfect. I think we'll, we'll end it there. David, thank you so much for being on the podcast. Alex, thank you so much for hosting and allowing me to be your co host, your co pilot today. I think sometime soon we'll have to get some sort of costumes in order, at least for a Halloween episode. Yeah, Top Gun, or something like that. But thanks again, David for for being on the episode. pleasure as always, Alex, and looking forward to the next episode.
Thanks, David. 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, advisors.com, LinkedIn, or your favorite podcast platform. We'll see you next week on another cloud podcast.