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Charlotte Ward 0:13
Hello, and welcome to Episode 135 of the customer support leaders podcast. I’m Charlotte Ward. This week we’re talking about supports relationship to sales. So stay tuned for five leaders talking about that very topic. I’d like to welcome to the podcast today for the first time, Liz Love. Liz, it is lovely to have you join me. Would you like to introduce yourself?
Liz Love 0:41
Yes. So I’m Liz, I’m Chief customer officer at prodpad. We make product management software, to make sure that we’re listening properly to customers, making sure that we’re understanding insights about the kind of problems they’re experiencing, and turn that into roadmaps and actionable items that can be developed to help the customer and solve their problems.
Charlotte Ward 1:06
Awesome. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for joining me as well. I’m particularly excited because I think you are I think you are my first chief customer officer. And I know that that that will bring some some bearing on our discussion today, as we talk about supports relationship to sales. It’s about joining up these two ends, isn’t it?
Liz Love 1:29
Yeah, that’s absolutely right. So one of the things that we made a conscious decision about in prodpad was that that customer journey should be joined up and that it doesn’t matter. At what point the customer is through that journey, whether they are discovering prodpad, and learning about who we are and the problems we solve, whether they’re investigating prodpad as as a potential solution for them, whether they’re implementing it, whether they are using it in anger, and the support they need throughout that process. And we wanted that to be a joined up journey. And so although my role is chief customer officer, which tends to make people think more of sales and success, and we also have marketing within that team so that we can make sure, first of all, that everybody has the same perspective on what customers are trying to achieve. But also that customers feel like it doesn’t matter where they are in the journey with us. And they’re dealing with people who are aligned and understand the problems that they’re facing.
Charlotte Ward 2:31
Yeah, that’s interesting. So having them all under one branch of the organisation under one business function is part of joining up that journey. What does it look like in practice for you though,
Liz Love 2:42
and in practice, what it looks like is that we have some work that is very cross functional across all branches of that customer team, whether it be marketing, sales, success support. And there are some things where we’ll split out into like breakout groups where it doesn’t make sense to have particular team members involved. And I think what it means also is that we are very much aligned on solving the same problems and we’re pulling in the right direction, there’s a lot more awareness, a lot more transparency between what’s going on across the team. And hopefully that does result in customers feeling that we’re listening to them, and we understand them. And I certainly see you know, right from the the Twitter posts that we post and the way our social media is run, that all of that stuff is focused around customer problems, and it helps us to get better engagement on that side, as well as right through to supporting customers when they’re they have issues that we need to help with.
Charlotte Ward 3:41
Hmm, I know from a conversation I had last week with Andrea at prodpad, that that’s a particularly key part isn’t it, it’s about framing all aspects of the customer relationship in terms of the customer problem, really the cut the thing you’re trying to solve for. So when when we think about this, this journey, specifically from sales through to support then when I think of support, I think of a function that is very reliant on metrics, very driven by metrics and, and also very reliant and driven by process. Do you have I guess, I’m kind of trying to figure out like, you talked a little bit about virtual teams and like work, almost working parties to attack particular aspects of the work. Is processor important to you in that as
Liz Love 4:32
well. They’re hugely important. And I think as a team, one of the things I’ve noticed is that as a team, we are very process driven. We are very much aware of learning what works and replicating that and processes a great way to make that happen. So everything that we do is focused on how can we make things happen in the right way, but also in a way that’s smooth and easy. Obviously from our sales In order to support point of view, the lack of friction is important. You know, we don’t want customers to experience friction at any point in the process. And by having processes that drive all of that, that does reduce the friction, it means we all know what we’re doing. It also makes for an easier working environment between us all because if the friction is lower, there’s less friction between, you know, a team members or departments within the team. And everybody knows what’s going on. So it just helps everybody if you’ve got those processes in place.
Charlotte Ward 5:33
Yeah, absolutely. How does that? How is that reflected as well then in metrics and measures of success, because I think this is the other set of polar opposites, traditionally, from sales to support, isn’t it.
Liz Love 5:47
And again, we’re very, very driven in a couple of ways by metrics. So first of all, we use okrs. And we have a company, okay are in a company North Star, which really takes into account success from a company point of view, but also from a customer point of view. So it’s not just an OKR. That’s around success in terms of revenue. It’s around long term success. And it’s around success based on customers who have renewed and been with us for a long time. So we’re not just about the sort of big quick sale, we’re look, we’re about sales that we knew, and therefore, customers are experiencing value. So as a company, we have that Northstar, that’s around understanding what successful us looks like when our customers are successful. But then on an individual basis, when you look at conversion points, or you know, managing customer success, managing churn, managing retention, all of those kinds of things. We keep a close eye on all of those and report on them on a very regular basis and have reports that people in the company can go and look at at any given time to see how we’re performing. So everybody in the business is very much aware of what those metrics are how we’re measuring success. And we constantly learn and iterate to make it easier for us to see that and to determine if something’s not quite going as planned so that we can you know, right, right, because if you’re like, Oh,
Charlotte Ward 7:14
yeah, figuring out what leavers in any part of that come home, I
Liz Love 7:18
need measures, not just oh, you know, this has gone back down, or this has gone up. But these are the things that we can see that are happening that we know, if we carry on that way, it will lead to things further down the road and going in the wrong direction. So we try and keep an eye on things that are lead measures rather than like measures.
Charlotte Ward 7:36
Yeah, that makes sense. That makes sense. So thinking again, then about support to sales. Aside from having that single measure of success, that single OKR that everyone understands, and everyone’s striving to achieve and improve.
Liz Love 7:53
Do you have any final words of wisdom around what any organisation out there can do any of our listeners can do can go away and action today, that would just improve that relationship between support and sales, that reduces all of the friction that you just talked about? I think for me, and something that we we try to improve upon and continuing to improve upon, is having an understanding of for sales, what it’s like in support or for support, what it’s like in sales. And so that when we have interactions with customers, whilst the customer might come to us with a particular question in mind, having sort of the ability to to hear between the lines or read between the lines do, that’s an opportunity for the other department. So if it’s sales speaking to a customer, and the customer mentioned some friction in their trial of the app, making sure that support are bought in to guide them and to help them and to alleviate that problem. It’s overcoming an objection towards the sale and it’s giving the customer confidence that we’re aware of what’s important to them, saying the other way that if somebody comes to support with a question about using the app, it’s support having the ability to listen and go are actually they would benefit from a chat with sales in a certain area. And so having that shared understanding, they don’t have to do each other’s jobs, but just an understanding of what is important in each of those jobs. And to be able to raise a flag to say this is something I think you want to be aware of. And I think that leads to a good working relationship, but it also helps the customer to achieve their goals and shows that we understand what their what they’re going through.
Charlotte Ward 9:41
Today, go to customer support leaders.com forward slash 135 for the show notes, and I’ll see you next time.
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