29 minutes | Mar 6, 2018

EP 16: Customer Success — Why Company Success Depends on Customer Success with Allison Pickens

This episode is all about customer success! My guest is Allison Pickens, the Chief Customer Officer at Gainsight, the leading customer success platform whose aim is to help companies orient themselves entirely around customers across departments. She runs the Customer Success Organization, which includes customer success management, professional services, customer support, customer marketing operations, and product ecosystem strategy. Her educational background at Yale and Stanford Business School, as well as her experience in Boston Consulting Group and Bain, have lent themselves to her acumen in the field of customer success.   Allison and I discuss metrics around customer success and ways of measuring the effectiveness of the customer success team. If you think it’s all about customer retention, that’s just scratching the surface — Allison takes us through the other factors that help evaluate the success of the customer success team. We discuss the role that creating customer advocates as well as customer success qualified leads plays in the success of the company. Allison also has some great insights about the role of AI in customer success and shares some interesting perspectives on leveraging international offices, so be sure to tune in!   Key Takeaways: [:22] Jaspar introduces his guest for this episode — Allison Pickens. [1:48] What is Gainsight? [2:31] What drew Allison to Gainsight in 2014? [3:18] What was Allison’s title when she first joined Gainsight? [3:49] What was Allison’s experience with customer success before 2014? [4:48] What does Gainsight do to help customers, and within the organization, how does Gainsight leverage its own software? [8:25] What are the metrics that a customer success leader looks at? [10:57] What is the difference between customer success and customer support? [12:37] How does customer success influence the product of the company? What role does feedback from customers play in product development? [13:46] What are some of the common mistakes in approaching customer success? [14:52] What are some leading metrics that Allison looks at to assess the benefits of customer advocacy? [16:31] Most organizations deal with customer success in a B2B setting. How does customer success apply to the B2C context? [17:33] Voice of the Customer is another area that overlaps customer experience and customer support. How does this program work? [19:08] What advice does Allison have for executives that are looking to get more attention for the customer success aspect of the business? [21:03] Gainsight believes that Customer Success = Customer Outcomes + Customer Experience. What does this entail? [22:39] How does Allison manage the balance between ensuring positive customer experiences and crossing the line into bothering customers too much? [23:54] What is Gainsight doing to integrate Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the customer success platform? [26:32] Gainsight has an office in India. How does Allison break out the functions from the U.S. to India? What advice does Allison have for businesses looking to leverage international offices? [28:32] Find out more about Allison and the work that she does through the links below!   Mentioned in This Episode: Allison Pickens on LinkedIn Gainsight Pulse 2018, Gainsight Conference Slack Customer Success Best Practices (Gainsight Resources) The Customer Success Podcast by Gainsight   Tweetables:   “We think of customer success as being a combination of generating great outcomes for your clients and great experiences for your clients.”   “If you give me a blank sheet of paper and say ‘build something,’ to me that’s the most exciting thing I can work on.”   “We’re always thinking about how do we create new best practices for the industry.”   “Every customer success organization needs a methodology for getting their customers to success.”   “How do you track, not just the utilization and gross margin on a given project, which is what I think a lot of services leaders are focused on, but instead, how do you think about whether the engagement is actually driving towards success?”   “We also think of customer success as a more higher level concept that’s really a company-wide imperative, that every department should be involved in.”   “Customer success is about proactively generating strong outcomes and experiences for your clients.”  
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