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.

Breaking through with Customer Success

with Alex McBratney and Aarde Cosseboom

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



Aarde, Blake, Alex


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. Hey, welcome to another episode of another cloud podcast. We have Blake Swanson here from sabians. And he is the director of customer success. Blake. Welcome to the podcast, man. Good to have you on. Yeah, thanks,


Blake 00:31

Alex. Good to be here.


Alex 00:33

Very good. Aarde of course, you know, we're co piloting this thing together flying the plane. So I'm glad to have you on.


Aarde 00:41

Yeah, thanks again for for co hosting with me, Alex. And before we get started, Blake, I see a guitar there. Do you know how to play guitar? What's to tell us about it?


Blake 00:51

I do, man. I will go I'm better at drums. There you go. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So you know, very big in the music, when I can find some time. Find some hobbies, it's a good way to kind of peel out and there's distress a little bit. But now the guitar is mainly just to try to talk people into playing drums with me right? I got to learn a little bit just to coax them into the room so I can play some music with some folks.


Alex 01:16

He just dropped the beat. And they follow along. If they're good.


Blake 01:20

just about anybody comes in my house. I'm already playing a beat just saying Come on. I got instruments hidden all over these drums.


Alex 01:27

So anytime someone knocks on the door, does it like trigger you? You're like, Knock knock. You're like, Oh, wait, that's that's a good?


Blake 01:36

It's a good knock.


Alex 01:37

Yeah. Yeah. So like, you know, one of the things we do at the beginning of the podcast is just with the audience to get to know you learn your learn your story a little bit on where you came from, how you got to save it, and how you got into customer success. Typically, they don't have degrees in it. People just kind of learn it as they go, or they start in the trenches on customer support or an IT or something like that. So give us like three to five minute highlight of how you got to where you're at today.


Blake 02:06

Yeah, sure, sure. And, you know, that's part of what I love about customer success. It just collects the most interesting characters from all kinds of backgrounds, you know, there's not some degree get right, you can get here at a variety of different ways. It's really, if you just have a passion about people and like get out to like to solve problems, it comes together pretty quickly. But Oh, geez, for me, you know, I got to start my career in operations and customer service. But where I really fell in love with customer success was eight years ago when I joined my first five cybersecurity firm, and was really hired in as the second customer success manager and had an amazing experience to build that team up to 12. But what was uniquely positioned about that first experience was, it was really a cohort of companies, right? We started out. And we took an acquisition of five companies. And then we merged and then we d merge. And the reason I mentioned that is because then that first four years of that many acquisitions and mergers, we really had to reinvent the Customer Success Program over and over and over again, was fun, but also a little frustrating as an individual contributor, and then no one leading the team. But really, I look back to that experience as what really got got me and keeps me excited about customer success. What I realized through every acquisition, every new product that we do company, the way you attack this, whether it be from a customer point of view, or a product point of view, or the size of customer enterprise commercial, right, however you dice it up, really changes and your success planning and the way you approach those businesses really changed based off of what you're selling and what you're trying to accomplish. So that first round with core security, which again, was through this Drake, K, one investment firm, that really tried to build a strong acquisition plan, it was just a wealth, a wealth of experience, having to kind of reinvent the wheel, each new customer set, but I think it really, what really got me excited, I found the niche that you know, the constant problem solving, right, being able to look at things from a point of view, show up with empathy. That's what really got me excited and got me to really stick around and customer success. But after that first four years, I really got my taste of building a team, putting in customer health metrics, advisory programs, you know, really trying to draw on the data become predictive. That's where I really found my next adventure in savion. Really joined here to help scale and grow the same program. I think when I joined, we were around five or six. Now we're up over 20 csms just managing the region. So the growth has been exciting. I think, you know, a big part of that next stage of my career was, you know, in the beginning, you focused a lot on churn reduction in risk management, right and really get my customer base than the adoption into the right portfolio, you know, on this next run was saved, it's been way more about, you know, I would say, you know, the full customer lifecycle, really trying to look at how to use customer success as a growth engine, not just something that's going to attack churn or attack adoption problems, right. So really over the last eight years, I've been focused in that area and kind of seeing the full spectrum of what what different customers and with different organizations will bring. Yeah.


Aarde 05:29

Yeah, let's, drill into that a little bit more. Customer Success is a very data driven organization, you want to take a look at what people are saying about you what your churn rate is, what adoption is, how are they using the products, you know, to what capacity, things like that? So let's talk a little bit about how you, how you organize that, do you organize it, how you organize it? And for people who probably aren't there yet? What would you recommend for them to do? What's a good first step for them to kind of get their head around customer success?


Blake 06:06

Well, absolutely, data is a great place to start, right? I mean, the whole thing you're trying to get to is how do I turn insights into action? Whether that's an actual data point, whether that's something your customer success manager just knows? Or it's something you've learned recently in the meeting, right? How do you take this information, and action, that's what changes customer success from a reactive era, you know, reaction, churn, fighting firefighting approach, to really making it a growth engine, and really pushing out revenue and expansion and adoption, and really changing the way that you, you know, manage the lifecycle. But I think Dave is a great place to start. I think any organization, if you're coming in a new customer success role, you got to know what your best customers look like, you got to know what your worst customers look like, you need to get out there and collect, collect, collect information, if you don't have a health program, you need to put a basic one in place, he really could start to look at your stuff, from a regional standpoint, understand the health by stage by revenue by focus, right? If it's really about segmenting with as much data points as you can, as early as you can, if you if you don't know where to start, just start with revenue, right? Just just start with your high revenue and go back. If you have more complex data points, then you can really start to look at a variety of different things, whether it be adoption, expansion, potential, upcoming renewals. And I think it all starts with that data. And we might get, I think, depending on where you're at, in your company, how clean and how serious you take data hygiene, if you're at a good place, then that's when you can start looking at Customer Success tools like gainsight, and a variety of other ones out there. You know, because you have the right information and you have the right connections, you can really empower an engine to do it for you. But I wouldn't wait for that. I think it's so important to dig into the information you have whether even if you have zero start calling the customers that had the best and worst story and documenting it yourself. It's you know, I've seen too many people fall start off with no data where they really just pick up the phone and started starting tracking it.


Aarde 08:07

Yeah, do you guys have any of those? those tools today, like a game site or something similar? are you guys doing it all back of a napkin? You know, Excel formulas or ccsm? Something like that Salesforce, how do you manage that today?


Blake 08:22

Oh, man. Yeah, well, geez, for today, you know, savion has every great tool, you know, under the cloud, I should say, right? So we have access to a lot. I mean, for me, I've used to tango in the past, I haven't used gainsight yet. Um, you know, for us right now, we're managing a lot of it through Salesforce and a couple other back end tools. But as far as diving into again, say it again, I love that company, Nick met mentai it's just like the godfather of customer success, right? For me, you have to really have some strong quantitative data points to get what you need out of that tool. Right in the cybersecurity, you know, realm that I work in. A lot of times, I can't use those data points, or actually map an API from our product to a tool like that, to really get some of that benefit benefits of the risks, work that those tools come with the robust workflows and plays that you can really manage through them. Why I love that software. And I really like working with it. I've implemented several of it. But I think for us, we're not really at a point now where we we really have the outputs coming from a variety of different apps to kind of give us the full story through a tool like that. I think a lot of a lot of ours is relationship based, right? It's qualitative. It's based off of, you know, relationship based information that we're gathering through our different governance and cadence build.


Alex 09:48

One thing that, you know, struck as a question for me, as we talked about, at core core security, all the acquisitions, the acquisitions that you guys are going through and mergers. What was that process like bringing those two teams and bringing those different systems in, and how to managing all that. I mean, that couldn't have been easy as your work to do. I know it's not easy. So tell me how you did it.


Blake 10:11

Yeah. So that was, you know, again, just, I felt like a decade worth of experience jammed into around three years. I mean, there's a variety of different things we had to take into account. I think, in hindsight, I think the number one issue that made it hard is that we were hopeful that we would be able to combine these different sites, cybersecurity tools, and really drive them through a single sponsor, or entity, right. And it just turned out that they were all had different buyers. So the way that we would approach driving value, the way that we would have business conversations that are going to try to identify a 12 month Maturity Model form, right, drastically changed based off of the product that we were talking about, which made it really hard to go in with a holistic story. And you know, do consumption based pricing right, or, or do expansion oriented contracts, right, and really trying to drive that net revenue retention across my whole portfolio, right as this is such different audiences. Obviously, from a data hygiene perspective, it was mess, right? You had different information coming in from Salesforce and a variety of different see it, you know, CMS CSM tools are really just content management tools that made it really difficult. So, again, we started at the same spot is just what data do we have, let's analyze what's working what's not, and try to rebuild back processes that are going to, and we started kind of holistically realized that we needed to pare that down based kind of at a company level. it's definitely definitely it went with some trial and error. It took us a long time to figure out the way we were going to segment because you couldn't just segment regionally, you had a normal segment by business type than regional, then you know, vert be a variety of different ways you could cut that thing up. But it was it was a difficult task. But again, it was worth it was worth its its weight knowledge. For sure. Yeah,


Aarde 12:13

You talk a little bit about a health program. Tell us a little bit about that. How did you work orchestrate it? What do you measure? Is it a objective or subjective? Are you basically pulling some data together and putting a customer health score? Or are you serving them and saying, Tell us what you know how happy you are one through 10? Like, tell us a little bit about that whole program, what the methodology is. And if someone's starting out from scratch, where are they start?


Blake 12:44

Great, great. Oh, so yeah, customer health again, data and health are so dear to my heart. I think it's so important. I mean, number one thing is get started, do not wait to have this perfect. Don't wait to buy a software to do it for yourself. Put a simple stoplight red, yellow, green health in tomorrow if you don't have one, right, because you've got to start understanding it at a national or global level, depending on your customer. Um, but yeah, similarly here at CVS, again, we read just on our own, it's such a fast moving train, right? I mean, we started as a product company in 2015. And it just skyrocketed to the 1.3 billion valuation quickly. So when I got here, the customer health program was a little basic, right? It was just that kind of stoplight mentality. And what we're doing as far as how we output a health score today, again, it is very qualitative based, right? It's based off of our CSM engagements, professional services, engagements, we do the same surveys as everybody else, right? You know, and that doors cost c set and take those into account as well. But the majority of the way we're managing it is really again through Salesforce and against the risk framework. So we actually break it down to five categories, we actually have blue, green, yellow, Amber red, and we expand them a little bit, because what we like to show is, you know, your your red is revenues at risk. And your blue is this is referenceable. Right? We thought that there needed to be extra categories to talk about the depth of risk, or reward, right and really strive to segment not only who's at risk, but also Who's that growth potential, because we want to develop plays that are going to manage both sides of the outcomes, right? We obviously want to attack our red amber and yellow customers and ensure that we're putting the right kind of mitigation plays. But we also want to understand that of our green customers, they often get too neglected and this is why companies are back against net revenue retention because they're not managing plays on their healthy side. They're trying to not make sure the back doors not open but you also got to stay focused on when your customers are healthy, when's the right time to push for product expansion, right so the right time to have consumption based pricing conversations. So we put we put that into play, you know We do have a risk framework that you can identify kind of what constantly as each one of those that we built into Salesforce. And that risk framework is typically broken down cross functionally, right? We identify where the risk was with delivery with support, potentially partners, right product and engineering. And you kind of identify the category potential risk criteria. No, it all rolls up into an overall score for that customer. But for us, it's actually managed weekly, we look, we look for these updates weekly gets reported up to executive chain weekly. And depending on the segment of health, there's follow batches managed on a quarterly and monthly basis as well.


Alex 15:43

That's great. And, you know, so we're, since we're talking about saving some of the things you're doing over there, give us a quick background, what is CV? And do what's what's the what are the main product lines? And how does support work with success? You know, and clients and customers coming in to get to get what they need?


Blake 16:01

Absolutely, I mean, you know, just very broadly saving is an information and governments cybersecurity firm, right. So we focus on governance, administration, certifications, basically all the things to reduce the risk of an organization, as well as increase the business efficiency, right? So people coming on, you want to make sure they got the right access to the right stuff at the right time. Right. When you look at a lot of the breaches, whether it be target or Equifax or a variety of things that you see in the news, right? It all comes down to an individual, right being compromised, it was somebody's access that got elevated and they pivoted across a great organization. It was, you know, an individual that got that hacked, you know, off of his personal profile that led them to a poor password, got them in the organization, crown jewels, right. So what we what savion, a lot of the industry has realized is identity is the new perimeter. So it's all about protecting the people in the organization. And that's really where we focus on that Savior.


Alex 17:06

Gotcha. And so when, when you're working with your CSM, and they're, you know, taking care of the clients, how does that differ for you guys between support? Are you getting more support calls? Or is it mostly the CSM, managing those support calls, because I know there can be some gray lines between those for a lot of organizations, but it's a little we have customer success, but it looks more like support. Sometimes support looks more like success. So I had, how do you got to find that? How does that look for you guys?


Blake 17:34

Yeah, I think, um, you know, I always like that support versus success, you know, categorization, right? You know, and I think a lot of that's just how you introduce and set up your CSM, right, you know, are you in them as an escalation point? or white glove support, right, that they're going to manage? Or are you are you telling you identify pain and communicate values and focus on meaningful interactions? Right. But you know, so we've saved it, and, you know, our products set? It's pretty interesting, right? So the world of governance, and if it's complex, right, these are complicated products. These are complicated solutions. It's not even a product, right? This is a program that organizing, a lot of times, there's multiple products in that program. So the CSM role is way more consultative than it is supportive, right? Obviously, we have our customers open up tickets, they get worked through those tickets, right? It's either a defect, it's either, you know, enhancement, or it's just a break fix scenario, right? We have teams that support that are, you know, managing that entire queue? I think success is roll. You know, at this at this level, it's like I said, it's a complex product, you know, you need the right people working at the right problem at the right time. Right. If you don't, you know, you could delay weeks, right, these, these products don't go in in a matter of days, you don't buy it tomorrow, it's in you know, in the next take three, four months, to put in end to end because they are that complex, right and in some scenarios even longer. So it's more about the CSM, understanding the bigger picture. Now if support is the problem, maybe there are tickets, they need to hyperfocus there, they'll dive in there. And they'll drive a plan to get rid of any backlog and kind of smooth out the operational rigor that needs to be in place. But it's not necessarily their role to just kind of attack all the tickets, right. You know, we expect internal organization to establish their own credibility, what I want my CSS focus is on that top line, what's business critical? What's a blocker? What's going to stop that right? What's going to hurt us, you know, long term or short term, and it's more about managing the day to day with the right business context than it is any single issue or problem.


Alex 19:49



Aarde 19:50

I'm gonna I'm gonna pivot a little bit and ask a question around the pandemic and COVID and you know, a lot of a lot of us are working from home and a lot of us have to pivot, huge workforces to work from home and cybersecurity, is that important piece of that? How did it affect your, your team? Was there more inbound requests were passive customers becoming less passive and more engaged with your organization because they knew they had to lean into cybersecurity and protect their employees and protect their assets. Tell us a little bit about how that changed in 2020. And then, you know, it has it hasn't normalized has it gotten back to what pre pandemic? Or is it still in that hyper hyper mode that started March 2020? Oh,


Blake 20:38

Man, yeah. Geez, I mean, the pandemic was crazy for everybody. I think, you know, if you're in technology, and specifically cybersecurity, we're just thankful that those aren't things that can't go away. Right, you know, you know, so so we were busy, and they actually had explosive growth throughout this, you know, obviously, with, you know, like I talked about with the identities and the risk of individuals, right, when you go from a company, like, you know, a car dealership, or a rental car company, and you take a business that's typically physical, you put a digital right, there isn't a huge amount of risk that's associated with them. We've got all kinds of workers with a laptop and at home, you know, going through unsecured Wi Fi, and a variety of other different things that that really complicates an organization's, you know, risk landscape. I think, you know, depending on the organization in the industry, it hits harder, right? If you're a really an organization, that's, you know, for manufacturing, and you're not used to this, it really changed the game for you. So you did have to invest there. So we really did see a good bit of sales growth. Um, you know, as far as you know, my team goes, and just individually, again, working in SAS working in tech, I've, I've been at home for the last six years anyway, there's offices I can't go into, but variety of myself and my team, we're all remote, right? I mean, we either we live on the road for the most part. But again, that's kind of been another silver lining, right? I think everybody in customer success, realize you don't really have to travel like a sales guy, right? You got to travel for meaningful reasons, right? Let's make sure there's really some value that's going to come out of this face to face I mean, obviously, meeting face to face and getting in person, you know, does wonders for relationships, right? I always say go meet your customer, because it's hard to yell at you if they shook your hand in person, right? Oh, no, but I think that it's created, you know, a pretty cool world for us to engage in a lot of more interactive ways on a daily basis, right. I think a lot of times, using person travel as a crock sky haven't really met them, I haven't really got the right engagement, I need to go fly out there. If that can't be an excuse anymore, there's so many incredible ways to engage. And then you've seen throughout this pandemic, all the other engagement solutions that have come up, I can tell you the amount of bdrs that hit my inbox now the creative solutions are doing to get there has no one. Yeah, that's right. So if they can do it, we all could do it. And I think that, you know, you know, the whole pandemic did create a whole new world of digital interaction that will change customer success. I think it's also going to make the meetings we do have more important and more impactful when we have


Alex 23:20

You know, customer success, just I guess the industry, or at least that the coin term customer success. We were talking to another podcast guest he used he's been in the in the industry forever. And he said it came, like mid 90s. It was out there. But it really didn't come in to play until like the effortless office. I think that was it. Yeah. That book came out and really solidified it back in like the early 2000s. Like, where have you seen it in your career, like how it's evolved? And just the view of customer success and what it used to be to what it is now maybe where you see it going over the next five years?


Blake 23:59

Yeah. So get you know, again, I think the evolution of customer success is crazy, right? I mean, I you know, I always get that question like, what is this? This is this is not key account management, isn't it the same thing, IBM was doing a key account management 50 years ago, it's not exactly right. I mean, mentally, the reason why it's obviously changed and ramped into its own category, right, is the difference between perpetual and SAS, right? And, you know, every customers new customers this description, right back in the day when you would sell and you'd make 90% of your lifetime value out of that customer up front, then manage them after the fact it's not so important, right? I think today when you sign a customer in the for the first year payment, you're you might only be getting 5% of what the potential lifetime revenue could be of that subscription base customer, right? So you got to start looking further out. You need better planning can't just be about I'm going to take you to golf and dinner right you know, because you already have all your money. Now, you need to prove yourself show value. year over year, and I think that's just originally kind of been the cultivation of kind of key count management that customer success, but I think what we've seen over the last decade or more is, you know, leveraging it as a, as a growth engine as a as a revenue generator, right Customer Success driven growth. And what people I mean, obviously, it's, it's way easier to sell more to an existing customer than go acquire a new one, right? It's, you know, cost of acquisition and, and even churn rate are starting to go lower down the pole, and you see net revenue retention coming up higher for, you know, a variety of different sass companies. You know, and so, you know, I think not only because of those shifts, but also where customer success and create leaders and other organizations have proved that it can be more about just closing the back door, it doesn't just be about churn and risk mitigation, right? This could be about driving net revenue, you know, this could be about driving a voice and adoption, customer success is really a vehicle, right? It's, you know, it could be used for adoption, user expansion, it could use for retention, it's about understanding what your organization needs, from that, from customer success, to properly drive that vehicle in the right direction, it can't be everything. But I think that's where that's where people are looking at Customer Success is half the organization now, right. And the ones that are putting it higher up on the rain, and having it more tied to their corporate goals are the ones you really see excelling, right, going back to, you know, being seen as a growth engine and taking a customer lifecycle approach, as opposed to looking at customer success, as you know, a risk mitigation for churn?


Alex 26:44

Yeah, that's a great point. You know, I imagine, as you gone through your careers, it's your framework has evolved. And your thoughts have evolved in the blueprint for how you look at it, because it is just more than net revenue retention, or it is more than just closing the back door, so many things and that think, coming from the leadership side, and the executive team really has to understand where what they want from it, and how they want to craft it and how they, you know, push those that vision down to you and your team?


Blake 27:17

Yeah, no, absolutely. I think that, you know, if the company thinks terms of customer success problem, it's really tough place to be right, you know, the company problem, most of the time, you need to solve something in product, to be honest, but but I think it's exactly that not only having that top down leadership, but looking at customer success as an organizational function. And you know, quite frankly, it's more than that, too. It's a culture, it's an attitude, right? It needs to live and breathe throughout your organization. And maybe you need to every organizational across functional leader needs to understand their stake in it, and control it right. Off, right, whether you're in professional services, right? You're in support, or you're in sales, right? Everybody thinks about revenue. Everybody says, Oh, this is my margin I need to keep or this is the number I need to hit. Right, you know, that make that same philosophy should be tied to customer success? Right? What do I do in professional services? If I didn't buy X, Y, and Z, it's going to get them faster, right? Or IT support or whatever organization, the more leaders that that you have asking that then that sells that question, the stronger and more honed in your customer success teams goals are going to be right and the bigger impact you'll make and the faster return, we're seeing results. Because the problems and the gaps that you're asking customer success to cultivate over, right, I've been through pain points for the organization, it hasn't just been seen through one lens, you really taken the time to get them their spec, and it's with leaders that that care about it, right?


Alex 28:53



Aarde 28:54

Yeah, I want to drill into that a little bit more. So obviously, customer success, you guys are the eyes and ears of your consumer and customer base. And oftentimes you have a great outlet to get some product feedback, you know, what, what a part of product is? Awesome. What sucks where the gaps are the bugs? So how do you bridge that gap between your internal teams, your team, and maybe even the product development team? What do you do? Do you bring in user groups? Do you have a sense of community to people? upvote or downvote? new ideas? How do you how do you organize that information and then deliver it over to product?


Blake 29:35

Yep. And that's such a key point, right? I mean, it's often something that's lost in customer success is that we are really advocated the customers. And quite frankly, that's how I measure a lot of my customer success managers is what are you telling me that this customer needs? What are you telling product that needs to be better? Do you know the enhancements that make a difference? You know, the enhancements that would make a difference for our roadmap and for those variables and are you advocating on be half of your customer. So you know, I do I think that's so important. And then also, I keep talking about net revenue retention, but also ways that you'll see a No, I think product lead growth is going to be something that you really start to see something that Dropbox did a couple years ago where they basically just gave it to everybody free, said, Hey, check out this product, and then you know, you're, you're roped in right? In this pro growth, where they were going to really come out and capture i think is going to be a topic of the future that you're gonna start to see more and more companies do. But in order to get to that point, where you're putting a product out there, that's just that kind of forward leaning. You got to make sure you're getting that feedback, right getting those data points, you know, for us, it's it's a constant conversation. I think that for us, we expect product people to be joining our NBR with our customer success managers, making sure there's active discussion there, a lot of that's more driven around maturity modeling and what they want to achieve. But do we do a ton of voice every customer programs, right, whether it just be a variety, different surveys, we do user groups by region, we do use your groups by vertical we do customer advisory boards, technical advisory boards, brain is a key topic, especially with a complex tool like ours, where it just needs constant constant honing and constant feedback, right? You know, with cybersecurity, you got to be you know, better every day, you've got to be taking the input of the attackers and changing your landscape as actively as you can just because it really gets it really just to stay ahead of the curve. But it is so key that our that our customer success managers are making that a point and every MBR to go capture that and deliver it back a lot of times I'll I'll look away the progress of my customer success managers based off of their understanding of what that customer needs in the feedback that they are delivering back to the organization.


Alex 31:54

Yeah, it's a great way to add value, right? At the end of the day, that's how you How are you going to differentiate yourself. There are other security players out there, right. So it's, what kind of value you're going to be able to add the client, and not so obvious way. So if your CSM really understands the business needs of the client and really digs in, if you can measure that, or qualitatively measure that somehow of how much do they actually know about their client, it's only going to help for that voice of the customer, right? As they're saying, Hey, we need this, it's very unique to our situation. And you can take that whether it's a product or professional services, to create something for them that that will work very


Blake 32:32

well, it is just, it's the extension of customer success. It's just you know, products are our internal customer. I mean, the same thing I was talking about earlier about turning insights into action, right, we want to do that just based off of what we know about our customers, so we can go and more get them to renew get them to advocate get them to drive greater success for themselves and us. It's very similar. It's it's take what you're doing as a customer success manager and and give the organization some insights back that we can measure. Right. And I think that really, really good CSM abs are out there. Think about that. But more importantly, they're, they're out there advocating for the customer to go get those answers, right. And when you think about lifetime value, and you do it, I mean, lifetime value doesn't come and getting a support queue down to zero and making sure that you finish that last part of the SM w on time, right? You're going to capture 1020 years from a dedicated customer, because they believe in your brand, they believe in your mission and that their voice feels heard. So those larger things often get passed over because we're looking to retain we're looking to expand. But I think those are the core items that you know, when you think about the brands you're loyal to. It's a lot of those experiences where your voices was heard and you know, something you asked for got done and delivered. That really that really is going to capture that customer for a longer term than a lot of the day to day tactics. Well.


Aarde 34:04

Yeah, well, it's been an absolute pleasure talking about customer success. And obviously, cybersecurity. We'd like to end the show, usually with an open ended question. Hopefully we have an example here. But if you don't, Blake Well, we'll pass it over to Alex, he might have one or maybe I'll have a little story. But Blake, tell us a tell us about an experience Have you had as a customer with some sort of brand that's just stuck out as a positive experience and what do they do to make it a positive experience? And if you don't have one off the top of your head, Aleksey, you know we could jump in and do one I could get one off the top of my head if need be.


Blake 34:43

Yeah, no, I like that question, man. You know, I'm always thinking about the experiences I have. I'll just go with you. I'll go with the easy, the easy one with Apple, right. I mean, there's no company that literally owns more real estate on my body. I got a phone on my watch on my wrist. I got headphones my other pocket. Right. And I think it's been all about experience, right? Whether it's the buying experience, whether it's the setup experience, whether it's you know how I use it day to day, it's just been smooth. Anytime you have a problem through there, right, you know, you'll end up don't hear people talk about they've been on the phone with Apple for two hours right now that's Comcast man, you're not? You're not doing that with a brand like that. So I mean, it's an easy one to always pick out. But you know, for me, it's about that day in and day out delivery, right? Obviously, the products got to meet a need, right, fulfill something for you. But what wins me over is just that the day in day out reliance of it, the experience that I've come to expect doesn't change.


Alex 35:46

Yeah, and what's interesting about as they've changed our expectations, right, so well, without us even knowing it. And now it's like when we go to other places of business, and they don't have that. It just brings them down several notches, because it's all out there. The technology is there to do all these things, to have a great customer experience, great customer, you know, CSM, or whatever it might be. But absolutely, I just I laugh out loud about Apple and Amazon and all those cookies, just conglomerates that really like change the game for all their competitors. So they got to play catch up.


Aarde 36:24

I don't know if you remember. But back in the day, I remember having iPhone like an iPhone 3g, it's one of the original ones and I wanted to upgrade, I think it was the four the five I can't remember. And I held out as long as humanly possible because a new migrating to a new phone even back then was going to be hard and you had to like plug it in and download all your apps to iTunes like on a computer and then plug it in again. And like there was no like cloud per se. But man, they have really made it super easy. I lost my phone on a vacation once and didn't even have it for the plane ride back. Which is terrifying, by the way and not having a phone while you're traveling is like the worst experience ever. But once we got to LA and I went to the closest Verizon store, pick up a new phone and within like 10 minutes, everything was restored from the cloud. And I was like this is Yeah, this is amazing. This is probably the best experience I've ever had. And it just takes your stress level from like, Oh my god, I don't have I haven't print out the boarding pass. Like I've got the gate to get on the plane. Which you know, when was the last time we did that to like, Okay, I've got my calendar for the next week. I know who to call and when and you know, crazy to do some more females. It was a great, great experience.


Blake 37:44

Now they're there. Yeah, I'll say the last thing I know we're gonna end But uh, no, I mean, if you're looking to figure out how to do a no touch CSM model or like a digital CSM model go look at Apple you know that Genius Bar is basically a customer success team that they piloted years ago right? I think what they do from a low touch perspectives the same feel like you have a customer success manager but they don't team over right. It's just the way they went through the different touch methods technically, digitally, whatever they do. It's It's impressive. They they got me bought up that's for sure.


Alex 38:16

Yeah, I know exactly. Talking about I've got the watch too. And I left my phone at home. I we've recently moved to the Nashville area, so we don't know our way around. It's like, Oh, I can make it night. And there's all this traffic from a 5k run on Labor Day. Like I'm not gonna sit in traffic. So I try to go around about way I get lost. I'm calling my wife, saying hey, I'm over here in this CrossFit like, died me home. She's telling me to get home and pretty funny man like Dick Tracy back in the day, the comic books. straight man, love playground. pleasure having you on. Thanks. Thanks for jumping in and love that you're jamming on the drums and oh, yeah, show us a shirt so we all can see it really quick. Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Right. Yeah. Thanks for jumping on already. Of course. Good to have any bud.


Aarde 39:10

Absolutely. Thanks Blake. And thanks, Alex, for being the CO pilot today.


Alex 39:14

Yeah, thanks


Blake 39:15

Aarde. Thanks, Alex. This was great.


Alex 39:17

You got it 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.