Trusted Advisor. Customer Champion. Trainer. Churn fighter. Renewal saver. Escalation manager. Advocate creator. Customer Success Advocates (CSAs) are all of these – and more.
At Lifesize, I have always pictured our CSAs as spiders — one leg in every department of the organization. Pardon the visual, but I hope the metaphor resonates. Customer Success is not a siloed department on an island by itself; CSAs work hand-in-hand with sales, product management, engineering and marketing on a daily basis. This strategy stems from our mantra of Customer Obsession — an organization-wide commitment to ensure that we provide the best experience for our customers.
With so many hats to wear, however, what does a Customer Success Advocate actually do on a daily basis?
To best answer this question, let me walk you through a day in the life of Patricia, a CSA veteran of three years.
8 a.m. — Meet with Customer ABC for Quarterly Business Review
Patricia connects over video with Mary, IT administrator at Customer ABC, to discuss successes and challenges over the past six months. A recent Net Promoter Survey reveals that Mary is a strong “Promoter” for the brand and is very satisfied with their solution. Mary faced very few challenges, but she shares an idea for a feature that could be included in the next release of the solution. Patricia opens a feature request and makes a note to discuss with the product management and engineering teams. Patricia and Mary review key success and usage metrics, current and future use cases, product roadmap, support cases, operational items, upcoming events and opportunities to further engage users and deliver additional value. Happy to hear about the positive impact the solution is making at Customer ABC, she asks Mary if she would consider participating in a case study in the near future and also asks her if there are other people she knows who might benefit from the solution. Mary agrees.
9 a.m. — Participate in sales meeting with prospective customer
Paul, director of IT at Company XYZ, is looking for a cloud video conferencing solution. He requires many capabilities in the areas of implementation, security and administration. With the company’s large employee base, he also worries about training and user adoption. Patricia’s focus is not sales, but she is well-versed in the implementation process for a company of this size and can offer insight into the logistics for this prospective account. She walks Paul through the support efforts and resources she will offer him throughout this process and long after, assuring him that he will see a return on investment for his company.
10 a.m. — Manage an escalation
Patricia just received an alert that Customer WXY gave a “Detractor” rating on a recent Net Promoter Survey. Challenges with recent changes to the customer’s network led to degraded product performance and have caused frustration amongst the user base. Patricia is moving quickly to offer solutions and calm nerves by spending two hours on a video call with Lucas, IT administrator, to understand his and Company WXY’s frustrations and the impact this is having to their business, and to collect all technical details needed to come to a swift resolution. Patricia pulls in a top tier support engineer to ensure she has all the resources needed to get resolution as quickly as possible. She determines it will be best for her team to support Lucas on-site. She schedules an on-site visit — accompanied by support and product engineers — for tomorrow morning.
12 p.m. — Break for lunch
1 p.m. — Cross-department meeting on upcoming product launch
The product management team gives a presentation on a new conference room camera that is due to be launched in just a few months. Development of the new product stems from many conversations with customers — just like the one Patricia and Mary had earlier this morning — about features and capabilities that users would like to see in a new camera. Patricia is excited to see this product come to fruition and is asked to help test the update during the internal beta process before its official public launch. Familiar with how customers are really using this technology on a daily basis, she will be able to give the team accurate and helpful feedback.
2 p.m. — Onboarding with new SMB customer, Customer OPQ
OPQ is a brand new customer. Patricia connects over video with IT Director Johnny. She understands why OPQ purchased the solution and the business problems they are looking to solve. She logs their use cases and any success criteria that will be critical to them. She customizes her onboarding to focus on those things that are important to OPQ by drawing on her knowledge of their business and best practices of companies like OPQ. She does a product walk-through, helps with remote setup of conference rooms, and introduces him to crucial management tools available to him through the solution’s administration console. To ensure that he gets all the support he needs after their on-boarding session, she guides him through the online community where he can find additional resources or connect with fellow customers or product specialists, log feature requests, find answers to questions and more. She also shows Johnny all of the different ways he can get help should he or his users have questions or run into any issues. Before the on-boarding session commences, Johnny asks Patricia if she can conduct end-user training for a group of employees who will be the first to use the solution. Patricia schedules this at Johnny’s earliest convenience.
3 p.m. — Check-in with Customer LMN
Customer LMN has recently rolled out five HD conference room camera and phone systems. Patricia receives a notification for LMN’s 90-day check-in. Due to quick adoption and positive user feedback, LMN tells Patricia that they would like to purchase two more systems. Patricia is excited to hear that the implementation has gone well and that they are eager to expand their investment. She connects LMN to Peggy, the sales representative that handled the account three months ago. Peggy owns the sales conversation and Patricia focuses on supporting LMN with implementing the new systems.
4 p.m. — Marketing internal meeting
The Marketing team meets every other week; this week, they have asked Patricia and Frank, another CSA, to join them. The Marketing team frequently refines their messaging to prospective customers and asks to hear feedback from Patricia and Frank about what types of customers they feel are succeeding the most with the company’s solutions. “Who is our ideal customer?” “How can we adjust our marketing messages to help attract those customers?” Patricia and Frank share their perspectives and experiences and help the Marketing team craft a new campaign that they are going to test run next month. This collaboration, even outside a weekly meeting, allows our joint teams to move with speed to capture opportunities to grow and keep the base.
5 p.m. — Check-in with Product Management and Engineering
Patricia sits down with the Product Management and Engineering teams to give feedback on conversations she has recently had with three customers. All three customers — one of whom was Mary at Company ABC — have requested the same new feature be included in the next solution update. Given that she has heard this request multiple times, she shares the idea with the product teams to discuss viability and a timeline for a potential update.
Patricia’s day finally wraps as evening sets in. Today, she met with multiple customers, a prospective customer, and members from her company’s sales, marketing, product management and engineering teams. Tomorrow, she will spend half a day with a customer on-site.
Like most CSAs, Patricia wears many hats and owns significant responsibility. At Lifesize, CSAs are fully empowered to make decisions in real time to drive the best experience possible for customers. While her job is a busy one, the entire company supports her.
Patricia leverages a robust customer success system to help her track customer trends and flag problems; she receives support from sales representatives so she can focus on helping customers get value out of the product instead of up-selling. The Product Management and engineering teams connect with her regularly to improve the products and make sure that Patricia’s customers are being heard. Patricia is not a one-woman show; she is the driver of customer wellbeing, backed by every team in the organization — that’s how and why Customer Obsession works!
Edited by Alicia Young