How Optimizely, AppsFlyer and Clearbit approach their unique churn challenges.

Luke Diaz


VP of Customer Success


Luke Diaz
Luke Diaz

Episode Summary

Today on the show we have Luke Diaz, VP of Customer Success at Clearbit.

In this episode, we talked about why Luke made a career switch from working at a Hedge Fund to diving into Customer Success, and how Optimizely shifted their go-to-market strategy to address churn and retention.

We also discussed how AppsFlyer identifies strategic opportunities to drive expansion revenue, how you can show the impact of a team that doesn't own revenue, and how Clearbit approaches their churn and retention challenges.

Mentioned Resources



Why Luke made a career switch from working at a Hedge Fund to diving into Customer success and what was the biggest shock he faced 00:01:63
How Optimizely shifted their go-to-market strategy to fix churn and retention. 00:04:09
How do you show the impact of a team that doesn't own revenue? 00:13.46
How Appsflyer identifies strategic opportunities to drive expansion revenue. 00:18:04
Clearbit’s unique churn and retention challenge and how they approach it. 00:19:10
How Clearbit measures and communicates ROI to it’s customers. 00:21:54
What’s Optimezely’s, Appsflhye’s and Clearbit’s one common challenge when it comes to churn and retention. 00:25:07
How would Luke fix churn and retention for a company in 90 days. 00:28:45
What's one thing Luke knows about churn and retention today that she wished she knew when she got started with her career. 00:31:05


Andrew Michael: [00:00:00] Hey Luke, welcome to the show.

Luke Diaz: [00:00:02] Hey Andrew. Thanks for having me.

Andrew Michael: [00:00:03] It's a pleasure. Yeah. for the listeners, Luke is the VP of customer success at Clearbit, the marketing data engine for all your customer interactions, you can understand your customers, identify future prospects and personalize, every marketing and sales interaction with a data enrichment service.

Prior to Clearbit. Luke started out his career in hedge funds, then moved on to a career in customer success. We has been the director of customer success at AppsFlyer director of strategic partnerships at Alta pharmacy and manager of customer success for us and APAC regions at Optimizely. My first question for you, Luke, is what drove you to make the switch from working for a hedge fund to a career in customer success?

Luke Diaz: [00:00:42] That's a great question. I think it was, I was just tired of wearing suits. I wanted to ditch the tie and, joined the exciting world of tech. that was basically it. And I wanted to explore, a different type of company, a different type of industry. And so I made the jump from hedge funds, to technology in about 2009.

So [00:01:00] that was the timing. Yeah.

Andrew Michael: [00:01:01] And what was like the biggest shock for you coming from a hedge fund working internet, like into technology company?

Luke Diaz: [00:01:08] Yeah, so we were a long, short equity hedge fund in China and finance is a little stodgy, it's not particularly transparent and, The Facebook motto of move fast and break things I think would terrify most people in finance.

so the biggest shock was the radical transparency. I remember my first day at Optimizely and, the founders were talking about how much cash they had in the bank. We're talking about, everything at the most transparent level. And I think the radical transparency was the biggest shock.

Andrew Michael: [00:01:42] Yeah, I think that's one of the amazing things. When you do work in a company like that aswell, when you have the ability, similarly, at Hotjar, where I used to work as well. They were like, literally everything was open book. So we had the company financials and the Google sheets that everybody in the company had access in any time to take a look and understand like the performance.

And, it's [00:02:00] a comforting feeling, like knowing how much transparency there is. there's no nobody ever has to ask why. and I think that's like a, it's a really cool place to be, . So you've worked now as well. Like I mentioned, if your companies like Clearbit, AppsFlyer Optimizly  all really well known brand names now as well in the markets, in SaaS specifically as well.

I want to touch today on, like the connections between the three and maybe some of the unique challenges you had in each one of them. So maybe we can start out with Optimizely and I'm interested. what would you say is one unique challenge that you headed optimize the, when it came to churn and retention and how did the team approach it?

Luke Diaz: [00:02:41] Yeah, I think the biggest challenge I was at optimizing for five years and the number one challenge we saw in the turn-in retention front was. How do you help the customer build a program experimentation? I think most of the listeners might know who optimize the is, but it's an AB testing [00:03:00] platform, that evolved into being able to test server side, do personalization.

And the truth about it, Andrew is that it takes a real program in resources and planning to execute an optimization personalization program across your tech stack. So our biggest challenge was how do you help the customer build that program? it was bordering on professional services, which we eventually built, but it was very challenging to take teams with limited, marketing folks that were very busy and guide them to.

Introduce all this cross-functional structure. so is that process of transformational change? That was tremendously challenging. And if they didn't get up that program learning curve, they didn't have the ROI to renew and then, retention would suffer. So that was our biggest challenge, in my opinion.

Andrew Michael: [00:03:50] Yeah, I can definitely say that. Like it also, I think maybe having the level of sophistication required to run an experimentation program as well. Like it's definitely a [00:04:00] specific size of company, that has the resources and the bandwidth to actually embark on a really powerful experimentation program.

And I think this is one of the things I actually noticed as well with. Optimize you like following over the years is, you saw this significant shift in the go-to market strategy. where, like in the early days it was still accessible. If you're a small business, you could use Optimizly to a certain degree, but then the pricing just took a big shift and then it became restrictive and you really like. Had a target and you knew who you were going off to, what were the motivations behind that? And I'm assuming as well, it's like just the market size and the problems we discussed now. But how did the company transition through that period? What were the, some of the conversations going it's okay, we see, we have this problem.

we really need to encourage and teach people how to use the service. There's only a limited number of companies that actually are at this place. what were some of those early discussions like.

Luke Diaz: [00:04:54] Yes. I think there's risk of me being a revisionist historian here. So I'll try and answer this as objectively as [00:05:00] I can.

At the time we had three self-serve plans, bronze, silver, and gold, and, everything else was enterprise. And I think at its core, Th we, for those that aren't, ha had not experienced this, we basically deprecated our entire self-serve, channel. and that was painful. We got a lot of backlash in the marketplace.

I think at its core, it was a pricing and packaging problem. Our gold plan was a phenomenal deal. It was three 99 a month. And you got basically everything that an enterprise customer would get with a little less traffic and, more customer support. And it was just a real, it was the bane of our sales team's existence.

Like so many people were like, no, we'll just stay on the gold plan. So it was cannibalizing enterprise sales. And I think the dirty little secret of, of experimentation is you need quite a bit of traffic to reach statistical significance in a reasonable amount of time. So no one had optimized. It was like, Oh, we can't [00:06:00] wait to screw all these like smaller midsize companies we definitely wanted to, but we thought it was, better for the business and better for like intellectual honesty, if you will, that Experimentation isn't for everyone.

and so that was a huge pivot for us because our initial mission was let's democratize experimentation. We wanted to bring it to the masses and due to some statistical challenges. If you're doing stats right, stat SIG is really hard to get, especially if your changes are minimal or modest, So long story short, I don't want to mince words.

The retention rates, the unit economics of bronze, silver and gold were terrible. They were not a healthy business. We were not confident building the future of optimizing on that. on that foundation, in enterprise was just doing so well that we put all of our chips in that direction.

Andrew Michael: [00:06:50] That makes a lot of sense as well.

And I like how you framed it as a pricing and packaging problem more than anything else. Obviously, like I think, like having the right [00:07:00] pricing, that's fitting the right markets with the right products, is just like one of the key pillars that needs to get nailed, efficiently and. You mentioned you'd totally deprecated, the, self-serve plan.

Like how did that go? Like from a customer success standpoint. So obviously it's almost like a hundred percent sure. And I'm assuming they're like, was there any plan to try and save any accounts, move them over to enterprise? what did that look like?

Luke Diaz: [00:07:24] There was, and it was brutal. it was a very hard process.

We're right. In the thick of it, we were trying to, sunset those plans while also giving them the option to join the enterprise plan. What we called platinum at the time, the conversion rate was rather low as you might expect. I think we saw a lot of, customers go to VWO. maximizer and, if there are any commerce, they might've gone elsewhere, but I think we just gave a lot of the, our long tail to competitors.

They might've gone to Google optimize or Google content experiments, for those [00:08:00] back in the day. But yeah, I think comp competitors benefited. Very few con actually converted. And, I think the brand took a hit. it was really hard for the brand to sustain that. as we continue to focus, it was really a focusing endeavor to exclusively serve larger companies that had the resources and the sophistication to attempt to do, experimentation and personalization properly.

Andrew Michael: [00:08:24] Yeah. like I think the conversations, it must've happened during that period, must've been pretty intense and, pretty nerve wracking. Cause I think like you're essentially killing off a big portion of your business, knowing that for the longterm, it's going to be better, like from a brand perspective as well, because you don't want to be taking people's money.

Who's not really right for this from like you mentioned the statistics stat SIG. The sector, but at the same time, I'm pretty sure that group was fueling some of the growth as well. So although they might not have been long-term retained customers, they would still be able to help you drive growth from that perspective.

So how did the team like go about weighing up [00:09:00] this decision? like what were some of the things that you considered before making the decision to say, okay, let's just cut it.

Luke Diaz: [00:09:07] It was primarily driven by unit economics and the need to grow quicker with more focus. This decision was made well above my pay grade, as I was leading a customer success team at the time, but this was a board level decision.

one of those crucible moments, in the, to use a term, I've heard a lot in venture capital. I think I heard that with Sequoia, but this was a crucible decision and, Everyone on the board weighed in the entire leadership team had very strong opinions. It was hotly debated. I would love to have had a different story to tell yeah, like a Github or a Twilio or a Stripe who's successfully been able to serve the long tail while building a thriving enterprise business.

It's just really hard. But ultimately this was a board level decision to strategically move forward.

Andrew Michael: [00:09:53] Yeah. Nice. and then you mentioned also one other thing, I think in the sense, like moving towards like a service driven [00:10:00] business as well and adding that service layer to the business.

this is an interesting, perspective, I think because of Tulsa not only, helps like onboard customers and activate, but it's also another revenue generating. And what also, like how much does customer success play in this service layer? and what was the strategy behind getting that set up?

Luke Diaz: [00:10:18] We quickly realized that in order to help larger midsize and larger companies do better, we needed to build professional services. my good friend, Janeane Pang, who was leading the solution architects team at the time he got an opportunity. Hey, Janeane, build professional services. At Optimizely, Janeane, might be a familiar name for some of your listeners as he also leads the San Francisco customer success meetup group, which if you haven't joined, I couldn't recommend more.

he's currently a director of customer success at Slack. So this was a task for Japan. To build a net new function. I believe some of the early goals were let's carve out some of the solutions. Architects let's get a good project manager in there [00:11:00] and let's try and run this at P and L breakeven to simply offset the costs of the people that we're taking to deliver professional services.

so I believe it was. Initially ran to just be a P and L breakeven, a million bucks in payroll, let's try and carve out a million bucks in revenue for pro serve just to offset the cost. And most importantly, let's learn what are the project management skills and the technical. in strategic resources needed to help a customer go from zero to one with experimentation and personalization.

At times that meant sending a solution architect onsite for, to a customer in New York, a large media company for a week and a half to help them set up personalization on the homepage. And that's a, that's the degree of heavy lifting we were. We were willing to do.

Andrew Michael: [00:11:52] And doing things that don't scale to begin with to figure out the roadmap and the path forward.


Luke Diaz: [00:11:58] Yeah. The old Paul Graham playbook, [00:12:00] for sure.

Andrew Michael: [00:12:02] Cool. so let's jump forward then a little bit in your career, like moving to AppsFlyer now. and maybe if, as well as you want to give a little bit of a view at episode as for the audience, but what would you say is like one of the unique challenges you had to adapt, fly from a customer success perspective?

Luke Diaz: [00:12:18] Sure. So AppsFlyer is a phenomenal company. Israeli based, they are a mobile measurement provider, so they're essentially an SDK that helps. Mobile marketers know where their installs in their marketing efforts are, where the installs are coming from. And they are this, very much behind the scenes technology that is phenomenal in terms of unit economics.

It's something that once the SDK is in there, you basically run the entire mobile business off it. so it's an MNP, in the parlance of the industry, the unique challenge there was my CSM team actually did not own. Renewals. So we were purely technical enablement and [00:13:00] customer service. So the question becomes, how do you show the impact of a team that doesn't own revenue?

And I imagine a lot of your listeners might. resonate with this. If it is a CSM team, that's more focused on enablement in the relationship, then driving revenue impact. So that was the biggest challenge. And we got pretty clever with how we quantified the quality of the relationship. So the number one battle cry from Ziv Peled, who is an amazing chief customer officer and someone I admire greatly.

He was the biggest champion for creating. Honest advocacy based relationships with our customers. And he was able to build out a system where we could actually quantify that. And so the challenge is how do you take relationships and make them a little more, how do you go beyond net promoter score and make it more, more real and more tangible and more operational than a simple survey result?

[00:14:00] Andrew Michael: [00:14:00] Yeah, we actually had to have on the show, we chatted a little bit about that. And he's also asked to have the episode one hundreds. We definitely have him back on the show again. And to hear a little bit more

Luke Diaz: [00:14:10] about listening, I

Andrew Michael: [00:14:12] really enjoyed that episode as well with him. so you would say from your perspective, AppsFlyer, that was one of the challenges that you had from a customer success standpoint was really just trying to, how do you show the value within the organization that customer success provides?

You said that's it.

Luke Diaz: [00:14:27] Precisely. And I'll also mention it was one of the more technical CSM teams I've ever led. it is a very technical product and you have to know to a high degree of fidelity. So it was also how do you take folks and encourage those jobs skills to be able to work with massive quantities of data?

so it's. The CSM team also skewed highly technical. They were all very dangerous with data and Python. And I think that was a unique challenge, to recruit for, and also train them on given the needs.

Andrew Michael: [00:14:58] Chuck you're hiring like a group [00:15:00] of analysts to do customer success. Yeah,

Luke Diaz: [00:15:03] indeed. Okay. a very capable team with a high skill sets.

Andrew Michael: [00:15:06] Interesting. Interesting. and then like from a churn and retention side of things. So I think definitely apps fire, sure. And I know just the net retention is really strong due to the fact that like you mentioned, sorority, becomes the backbone. Once you install it's very difficult to pull out because it really helps, drive all your marketing, initiatives on the other side.

What did that look like in terms of general retention? what was some of the focus points that were pain points for your team that you tried to focus on improve?

Luke Diaz: [00:15:35] I'll be quite candid. Having worked at quite a few SAS companies. I have never seen a company like AppsFlyer operating at nine figure revenue scale with as low of churn as we had, While it was certainly a focal point and we did post-mortems and learn from the customers that left usually to a competitor because MNP is something you need.

The churn was so small and so marginal [00:16:00] that it really wasn't a key focus. The business, the underlying unit economics of the business was so fantastic that most of my team's effort were focused on how do we help them with the product? How do we build relationships? How do we. When we used to do events, I think they, their event budget was, very strong and we would do these amazing events to build in-person relationships as well.

I desperately miss that's that era, in the COVID era, but, yeah, th the effort was very much not about churn mitigation or even retention because the product was so strong.

Andrew Michael: [00:16:36] Yeah. And we talked about that, I think with Ziv a little bit more the shift and the focus, I think, of the success team as well as more like you say, building those relationships, I think all the things you mentioned though, do aid in a lecture and mitigation.

but it was just coming from a different perspective. It's really just about like, how do we make sure we maximizing value? And we like have their customer centricity, more than anything else, like underlying business value that comes as a result of [00:17:00] it.

Luke Diaz: [00:17:00] Yeah, precisely. One of the metrics that apps flyers, the CSMs were able to drive or, just.

Identifying opportunities where the customer can benefit from evaluating more products. For example, their fraud product, which I consider best in class was one of the fastest growing products. I think it got to $10 million in under a year or something. It was insane. And we would just, the CSM role was like, Hey, do you have any fraud issues with your.

your installs in AMEA and they're like, yes, like a third or fraud. And we're like, maybe you should look at our fraud product. So CSMs are, instrumental in driving up, sell opportunities, for the sales team. And I think that was a big impact on the business and net retention.

Andrew Michael: [00:17:42] Very cool. so moving now then, to current day, Clearbit, what would you say is one of the unique challenges you have exhibit when it comes to general attention?

Maybe let us know a clear bit as well. Cause I gave it a little bit more detailed,

Luke Diaz: [00:17:58] be good to share your, [00:18:00] your elevator pitch was fantastic. You should, you should

Andrew Michael: [00:18:02] join our website.

Luke Diaz: [00:18:05] I was like, that sounded very on brand. yeah, Clearbit is a data provider and so we, have clean data on company and contacts and we have a platform where you could.

Pipe that data into other systems like Salesforce Marquetto. pardon? we call that the enrichment product, but we really want to be a platform to power your growth engine. we found that our product works particularly good with product led growth companies, that have a lot of website traffic and have a needle in the haystack problem where they have a lot of inbound interest and they need to, capitalize on that interest in an intelligent way.

So at our core Clearbit is a data provider. I'd say the churn, the retention challenges we faced are actually related to the nature of the product consuming API APIs, and the moment that, [00:19:00] that enriched record in Salesforce enters another system, we lose touch of it. And it, as a result, it's hard to show the business impact, when you're powering other systems.

So it's a little bit of an agency challenge for this customer success team at Clearbit at optimize that you could show them the results of an experiment. And you're like, okay, this drove 2.3 increase in conversion. Average conversion is $70. ROI is X, but it Clearbit it's takes a little bit more creativity and.

When you go through a pandemic, when every CFO started striping their budgets, we were in a precarious position. I think we managed it quite well, but it was just tough to show concrete impact in ROI on the spend. And so that continues to be a theme. That we're focused on and something we're trying to integrate and better build out and showcase in the product while also giving CSMs tools to make that, value impact, [00:20:00] ROI story, more tangible, more concrete.

Andrew Michael: [00:20:03] Yeah, I can definitely see that with Clearbit as well, using it in the past in a couple of different companies. I think it's like one of those things that adds, quite a lot of value, like having that knowledge, having that insight, but you don't really relate back to that insight. Like when you close that deal or when you set up the marketing automation that sort of drives that close, how.

Do you go about Slack communicating the value. So how are you measuring the ROI, for clear bits when you communicate to your customers?

Luke Diaz: [00:20:34] Yeah, I'd say it D it differs very, it differs a lot by product. So we have an ad product that's in the market. it's doing quite well over a million or 2 million in revenue, and it basically lets you do.

business like targeting on Facebook, Instagram. So you can create these business audiences and then target that, target them on social media to show them various [00:21:00] offers the ROI. There is more tangible because it's the ad funnel. And I think a lot of effort has been spent quantifying. the efficacy of ads and a top of funnel metrics for other products, like reveal, which is, on page IP, intelligence, it comes down to form conversion.

It comes down to, just the general behaviors of users when they come to your site, are they engaging and so forth? So we have some onsite metrics that are useful there with our reveal informs product. And then I'd say the one that is more, a little more nebulous, but we have to do more work to tell the story is enrichment.

So enrichment is where the data goes. In other systems, we just did an internal interview with bamboo HR and some other folks. And we asked them that question. We're like, what's the ROI of Clearbit. And they're like, it allows us to do awesome stuff. And I'm like, I can't take that to your CFO. But it [00:22:00] becomes a challenge of what is that stuff?

And what is the impact of said workflows? if your time to lead time to touch the lead goes from 10 days to four. What does that extrapolate out to if more. Interesting opportunities are being routed to your enterprise team. What is the value and impact of that incremental, pipeline that we generated for your enterprise sales team?

So we have to be more curious. we have to ask better questions to truly understand the pain and impact on the enrichment side. So that's where a lot of the challenge lies.

Andrew Michael: [00:22:35] Yeah. I can see that as well. And it's, you need to be a little bit of a, more of a detective trying to see and understand where the value lies, but I think you mentioned a few use cases and I think it would probably be very similar for other companies, like the value that is driving.

So just matter of trying to figure out which one of these use cases is playing out at each company.

Luke Diaz: [00:22:54] Yeah. I think that's right. I think that's right.

Andrew Michael: [00:22:55] Yeah. Cool. so now I want to bring it all [00:23:00] together. so we started out Optimizely, like pricing and packaging, was probably one of the biggest challenges there, moving up markets trying to figure out who the customers are needing to build like this service lab to actually educate and help get them there at ups fly a little bit different, Really strong retention. There is more about how do you communicate the value within the organization from a customer success perspective? and now at clear, but it's, how do you communicate the value to your customers that the product is providing as well? what would you say is one of the, like the common threads between all three of them when it comes to a challenge that you had when it came to churn and retention

Luke Diaz: [00:23:39] That's a great question. I think there's two. The first one is, and there's a quote that I just absolutely love. And I think it really applies to customer success in general, but anticipation is the ultimate power. And if you can anticipate things happening, whether it's [00:24:00] customer doing really well or customer having challenges or becoming a churn risk, the ability to anticipate that event.

With adequate time to take action is this key. A Rubik's cube. We're all trying to figure out and you can come at it from such different angles that I think it becomes a really fun challenge that I saw at Optimizely. I saw it at AppsFlyer, even though the churn was marginal, we wanted to obviously address it.

And then at Clearbit, we've been trying to tackle that same challenge as well. So if you believe that anticipation is the ultimate power, how do you get better at predicting what customers are doing? Or will do well or what customers, are at risk. So that's one. And the other is just, what is the role of customer success in the company?

I think you and I share a bias that step one in Silicon Valley, when you have venture capital, backed, Companies it's grow at all [00:25:00] costs, but then we're starting to see some of these unicorns with poor unit economics. Step two of keep the customer and make them successful. Sometimes isn't it.

I think it should be priority number one. And I think that's how you build a, an industry defining company. So I just. Raising the profile of customer success has always been a challenge for me. And I'm excited for unit economics, particularly CRC, and the CAC to LTV like customer success can own that LTV part of the unit economics equation.

And I think how you tell that story and how you do that while keeping customers at the center of the company and not. on the fringes is a big challenge that I've encompassed. I've encountered at every company I've worked at to what the end goal of. Raising the profile of customer success and by extension customers, which should be the very reason you wake up in the morning and build awesome products.

[00:26:00] So those children in the mind.

Andrew Michael: [00:26:01] Yeah, I definitely agree. we shared this bias, like point number one, I think prevention is better than churn. I think that's a nice way to sum it up and really figure out what are those inputs that might lead to churn at the end of the day. if there was more time, I'd love to dive into that.

So maybe for a future followup session, but, and then the other thing, like you said, I think is just like really. The shift and the mindset and the focus and like how much value retention gets within organizations. I definitely say obviously I have a bias in the people I interview and the weight is typically towards the retention side of things, but definitely within the industry, I think a lot more companies need to catch up and realize like the compounding impact that retention does have and the focus.

And then it's not just all about growth at all costs at the top of the funnel, but really focusing on that bottom of the funnel and keeping customers around longer has a much bigger compounding impact on the business. Long-term. cool. we're running up on time. I want to ask you one question.

I'll ask every guest that joins the show. Let's imagine a hypothetical scenario now that you joined a new [00:27:00] company, general attention is not doing good at this company. This year comes to, you says, Hey look like we really need to get some results fast. We need to turn things around. we need to improve this problem we have with churn.

What would you want to do with your first 90 days at this company to try and make a dent?

Luke Diaz: [00:27:17] I have the benefit of hindsight here. I'd say the things that I've implemented that have had the biggest impact on retention and churn have to do with instituting a simple processes. Done, exceptionally well.

And so one thing that I would do in my first 90 days is start a red accounts meeting. this is essentially a pipeline review of your unhealthy customers that aren't doing well. I've rolled that out at Clearbit and it's helped us at least get a handle on where's the risk. Coordinate off so we can talk about it.

And it's a weekly meeting. That's two hours long and it's, it can be brutal. And, I know a lot of people have heard of red accounts meeting. I'm not claiming this [00:28:00] as my idea or novel in any regard, but just the basic process of reviewing your unhealthy customers weekly for two, three hours has just produced so much crowdsourced creativity and just increased the rigor upon which we evaluate each.

Red account. And I think it also empowers the CS team to have a larger voice. and talk about that risk on a broader scale.

Andrew Michael: [00:28:24] Very cool. What are some of the things that you're reviewing in this point? what are some of the questions that are being asked by the team and like, how do people get into this, this red, conversation?

Luke Diaz: [00:28:35] Yeah, the criteria for being becoming a red account is a, it falls into three buckets, product value, or people we've found that. Clearbit is particularly susceptible to stakeholder turnover. So when a head of marketing ops or another, key stakeholder leaves, we need to desperately find a new owner.

that's the people risk value has to do with are they getting the ROI and using it and [00:29:00] product is like, is the product delivering on the promise? Is it, are they having some bugs? Is there data quality issues? So it falls into those three categories. And if they meet that, they become a red account.

There's also one that is just called intuition. I think good CSMs just have a good intuition about customers. Like they haven't heard back on emails. So there's also one where the CSM, could you be like, Hey, I'm paranoid about this account. I want to talk about it. so there's a kind of a safety valve too, to make sure we're including all the risks there.

Andrew Michael: [00:29:30] Nice. you've got quite a solid criteria that you run by and then that list gets filtered. very cool. so last question then, maybe for today is what's one thing that, you know today about churn and retention that you wish you knew when you got started with your career.

Luke Diaz: [00:29:47] That's great. one thing that I've learned that I really wish I knew is that.

You can quantify, churn the churn [00:30:00] risk and detect it in a much more scientific way than I ever thought was possible. When I started, I'm like, Sharon's list when the customer tells you they're having a, not a great time, but as a, as my career evolved and I. Spoke to more. I started as a CSM. I realized that a lot of what they, the customer tells you manifests in various metrics that you can use to burn, build health scores in churn prediction models.

So I wish I had, I wish I had a stronger appreciation for how scientific you can get nowadays, especially with amazing tools like data science. I wish I knew that when I started, 12 years ago about how, quantitative you can make churn. And if you can quantify it, you can manage it so much more effectively than the qualitative assessments.

good CSMs do. So I wish I had. I had a more profound appreciation. Yeah.

Andrew Michael: [00:30:56] Yeah. And definitely I think over time comes, I think because [00:31:00] customer success itself is still in its infancy. so the longer like this, role this, like what do you call Korea? Yeah. Departments within a company team. the more and more time it goes by more and more insights will come out of it.

And this is one of these things, I think, like you said that maybe like 10, 15 years ago, it wasn't even a thing. People were in really thinking about it now more and more teams are implementing health scores, engagement scores, and, I'm excited to see what's going to come next when it comes to customer success.

Cause I think like the teams are just scratching the surface now what's possible as well and what ownership they have and the metrics that they're tracking and following. So yeah. Last thing for today. Is there anything, any final thoughts you want to leave with the listeners? Like how can they keep up to speed with the work that you're doing?

Luke Diaz: [00:31:44] yeah, I'd love to continue the conversation. I do a lot of work on my blog and I post a lot of. Data driven learnings about customer success. So that's it's DVT ventures or do big things is what DBT stands for, but DBT [00:32:00] and try and keep myself honest with some books, summaries, and just doing, trying to figure out customer success and the leadership thereof.

So I'd love to keep in touch, through DBT ventures or, just. Sending me a note on LinkedIn. I think customer success, to your point, Andrew is rapidly evolving and the tools we have at our disposal. I think it would make our former selves blush. it's pretty amazing what we can do these days.

So I welcome, open questions and discussions, offline as well.

Andrew Michael: [00:32:29] Very cool. And we'll definitely drop that link in the show notes as well. So if you want to check out DVT ventures or obviously I think it should be pretty straightforward to spell too. but yeah, thanks so much, Luke. It's been a pleasure having you on the show today and wish you best of luck now going forward.

Luke Diaz: [00:32:42] Thanks Andrew. Big fan of the show. Thanks for having me.

Andrew Michael: [00:32:45] Thanks. Cheers.


Luke Diaz
Luke Diaz

The show

My name is Andrew Michael and I started CHURN.FM, as I was tired of hearing stories about some magical silver bullet that solved churn for company X.

In this podcast, you will hear from founders and subscription economy pros working in product, marketing, customer success, support, and operations roles across different stages of company growth, who are taking a systematic approach to increase retention and engagement within their organizations.


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