Mitigating the Impact of Customer Champion Turnover

Natalie Onions


VP of Customer Experience

Natalie Onions
Natalie Onions

Episode Summary

Today on the show, we have Natalie Onions, the Vice President of Customer Experience at

In this episode, Natalie shares her in-depth insights into the crucial role of customer champions in driving customer success and what happens when these key individuals leave the company.

We delve into the strategies that employs to mitigate the risks associated with customer champion turnover and we wrapped up by discussing the importance of maintaining continuity and engagement in customer relationships and how to ensure the high standards of customer experience are upheld even in the face of such challenges.

Zone to WinTeam Topologies

Mentioned Resources



Introduction to Natalie Onions and Customer.io00:01:09
Career Progression: From Customer Success Manager to VP00:01:46
Addressing Churn and Retention at Customer.io00:06:17
Identifying and Responding to Early Warning Signs of Churn00:16:13
The Role of Customer Champions in Retention Strategies00:20:00
Maintaining Customer Relationships Amidst Champion Turnover00:30:36


[00:00:00] Natalie Onions: The way that we look at it at Customer,io is that if you're doing a good job with your marketing strategy and you're using our tool the way that we hope people are and the way that it was intended to, those marketing efforts are going to prove fruitful and therefore you're going to have more people signing up for your product. And so that's why growth is a good measure for us.

[00:00:32] Andrew Michael: This is, the podcast for subscription economy pros. Each week, we hear how the world's fastest growing companies are tackling churn and using retention to fuel their growth.

[00:00:45] VO: How do you build a habit forming product? We crossed over that magic threshold to negative churn. You need to invest in customer success. It always comes down to retention and engagement. Completely boosts the strategy, profitable and growing.

[00:00:58] Andrew Michael: Strategies, tactics and ideas brought together to help your business thrive in the subscription economy. I'm your host, Andrew Michael, and here's today's episode.

[00:01:09] Andrew Michael: Hey, Natalie, welcome to the show.

[00:01:11] Natalie Onions: Hey, Andrew, thank you for having me.

[00:01:13] Andrew Michael: It's great to have you. For the listeners, Natalie is the VP of customer experience at, a versatile marketing automation tool for sending relevant messages based on behavior across web and mobile products. Prior to, Natalie was the director of client services at Big Button. So my first question for you, Natalie, is you started at almost six years ago as a customer success manager and now currently the VP of customer experience. What would you say has been the biggest reason you have consistently progressed at

[00:01:46] Natalie Onions: I think, you know, it's, I've definitely been given a lot of opportunities at, so I've got to give a lot of credit for them for putting trust in me. But essentially, I was brought in to build a customer success team from scratch. And so we didn't have a blueprint. There was no real path to follow. And so a big thing that I would attribute my success to was just the openness of experiments that I was planning to run and then sharing what I learned from them. So there were a lot of things that I was convinced were going to be the key to success and it turned out that they weren't. And so, kind of just being able to own that and say, this was the process that I went down when I was thinking about how to achieve something, this is what I tried, and this is why it did work or didn't work.

[00:00:32 Natalie Onions: And so we're either gonna progress with it and continue growing that idea, or we're gonna move on from it and learn. So I think, you know, definitely having leaders above me that were supportive and would kind of put me back on the right track if I was going too far astray. And then just be willing to try anything and be flexible and adapt to it. And then see that through so that I wasn't just leaving any untethered threads out there that we weren't properly closing.

[00:03:16] Andrew Michael: Nice. And it sounds a lot like a very transparent process as well, sharing what you're experimenting with, gathering feedback, allowing others to be able to see into what's going on, what's working. And I think that's a great way as well for everybody to then buy in and see the momentum that you build up along the way.

[00:03:32] Natalie Onions: Yeah, definitely. I mean, that's one of our core values as a business is transparency. And it's something that I try to set a strong example with, you know, all of my teams and my leaders is that we will never learn and progress and innovate if we're not transparent about what we're learning. And, you know, a lot of the time we're learning from things that didn't go the way that we planned. And so it can be awkward to share those things. It's never the fun conversations, but they're far more necessary in my mind than just gathering around and telling success stories.

[00:04:08] Andrew Michael: Yeah. You learn a lot more, I think that way from the stories, the hard conversations.

[00:04:13] Natalie Onions: Yes.

[00:04:13] Andrew Michael: Nice. And then so today as VP of customer experience, maybe you can just walk us through your role a little bit. What are your responsibilities? What does the team look like that you're looking after at the moment?

[00:04:25] Natalie Onions: So I'm responsible for all of the post sales, customer facing experiences, customer success, technical support, and contracts. So that includes renewals and upgrades. So we're not not talking about from scratch brand new contracts. It's a team of 60 people at the moment. And sort of the way that it's split is I have three wonderful directors heading up each team reporting into me. And then we sort of cascade down from there to through team leads to individual contributors.

[00:05:01] Andrew Michael: Nice. And so this growth has been over the last five years. Like you started out as a single customer success manager and now scaled the team to around 60 members. That's quite a lot of growth over the last few years and must be very interesting along the way with those experiments, trying to figure things out as you scaled as well.

[00:05:20] Natalie Onions: Yes, definitely. And, you know, a lot of it is based on our customer demand, you know, where are our customers in the world and what size are they and therefore, you know, how much help are they going to need? And then as a business, making decisions such as, you know, how hands on do we want to be with customers that are, you know, scaling out our revenue line. And then we should be bringing the touchline up to meet that as well. And making sure that we've got the right resources to make their experience great.

[00:05:54] Natalie Onions: So yeah, just really growing, growing with the business, growing with our customers and making sure that we're able to maintain something that was already in place when I joined, which was this really excellent customer support and strategic experience. Just never letting that standard drop.

[00:06:17] Andrew Michael: Yeah, absolutely. And then today, what are some of the main responsibilities for your team? And maybe as well specifically like talking about churn and retention, because I know it really varies within companies. Like a lot of companies give the ownership over to customer success. What does it look like at

[00:06:34] Natalie Onions: Yeah. So we, the team that I'm directly managing, they all take a lot of pride in customer retention, customer happiness and sentiment. So they're all really striving towards the same thing. And that's keeping our customers with us for as long as possible. And we can... Now, I see it in people's faces and their feedback when they're sharing positive interactions that they've had with customers who have been around for, you know, upwards of 10 years. Sometimes there's just something really special about that. So everyone is, is very focused just on, you know, again, maintaining that, that really high standard of care and support that we've been known to give to all of our customers.

[00:07:22] Natalie Onions: I would say that our customer success team and contracts team, they're more directly involved in mitigating churn because they're the teams that are responsible for our contracted customers. Whereas TS has a wider span of control. And so they're working with our self-serve customers, which make up around half of the business revenue, as well as our contracted customers. So they've got a lot more to keep their eyes on across the business and try to influence.

[00:07:56] Natalie Onions: So when we're looking at the really impactful retention, we're looking at those contracted premium customers, which is where our customer success team takes control and then they will sort of hand those over and work with the renewals team as it comes to locking them in again for another year or two or three in some cases.

[00:08:20] Andrew Michael: So it sounds like you have a mixture between high touch and low touch, depending on the customer base, how you're servicing that audience. And when it comes to sort of high touch, larger customers that you're working with, how are you typically working with them as a team? And I know like your team shared a few notes with us as well. One of them was like how you identify early warning signs of churn as well.

[00:08:43] Andrew Michael: So I'm keen to dive into that aspect a little bit now and see like is there something that you're monitoring across the board for all customer segments, or is it something specifically for your larger customers? How are you monitoring early signs?

[00:08:55] Natalie Onions: Yeah, so we're actually monitoring that across all of our contracted customers. So I think, you know, the tipping point for value there is that our contracted offering begins at $9.95 per month. So that's kind of the revenue line where we are using tools and proactive CS outreach to try and prevent churn. So over the years, we've learned that there is a lot that correlates between product adoption and a customer's growth rate. I think that those are probably the two biggest contributors that if those are going well, if we're seeing that the customer is making good use of all the tools that we have on offer, clearly they're getting value. And so they're much more likely to stick around.

[00:09:43] Natalie Onions: And then secondly is, is the customer growing? If they're getting success from our tool and getting a good return, that's going to be reflected in the fact that their customer base is growing. And so if we start seeing those two primary factors take a bit of a dip to us, that's a warning sign. If they were using 70% of our features one month, and then that drops down to 60 the next month and we're starting to see that their own growth curve is either starting to flatten or maybe have, in worst case, reached a peak and started declining, that's when we start to really say, okay, there's potential for trouble here and we need to figure out where that's coming from.

[00:10:31] Natalie Onions: So those are the ones that we can sort of track automatically and we've got some really great systems set up to do that. And then of course, a massive one is that customer sentiment. So that feeds a big part into our health score for that customer. So that's the CSM just knowing from speaking with this customer, from seeing, are they frequent flyers with our technical support team, which is an indicator that they're not having the best time. All of that sort of feeds in as well, so that we're not just relying on data and automations, that we are adding in that very important human factor as well.

[00:11:10] Andrew Michael: Yeah, because definitely, I think a lot of times we've spoken about this on the show is that you can only tell so much from data and a lot of times, things that come out of nowhere and teams are scratching their like, why did this customer churn? If we just looked at the data alone, everything looked perfect, but underlying those issues in different aspects and areas of the business.

[00:11:30] Andrew Michael: The other thing you mentioned is, well, as one of the measures that you're looking at sort of is the customer growing with you? And I think one of the aspects that just crossed my mind now is like in this current market climate, that could be one signal now that could be a little bit misleading considering that there's a lot of businesses are struggling to grow at this point in time. And if some of them even declining, what is that looking like internally for you? Like how are you monitoring these? And probably the next question to that is that you can't really have much influence on your customers' growth. So how do you treat that as a signal then as a business?

[00:12:08] Natalie Onions: Yeah, so it's interesting because I think it has been just a rough year with the state that the market's been in. And then prior to that, 2020 was a rough one, I think, for many people because of the impact that COVID had on the world. And something that I think we've done well at as a business is to sort of diversify the type of customer that we can and do work with and what our products can deliver. So going back to COVID for a very brief example, we saw that all of our customers that were in sort of the live event, hospitality, travel space, they struggled big time. And it was really unfortunate to see some of these customers that we've grown really close to and we're really championing to see them go through a rough time and some of them didn't recover.

[00:13:02] Natalie Onions: But then on the flip side, we've got customers that are things like online workout apps and e-learning platforms, all of these things that people could do from their home. And therefore they saw a huge boost because gyms were closing, but online workouts were a really big thing. So I think just that diversification of the type of customer that you're a good fit for, that's just, you know, a bit of a call out there to where we can see some of that variance and make sure that we're surviving as well.

[00:13:35] Natalie Onions: But what you know, when it comes back to using that growth as an indicator. So the way that we look at it at is that if you're doing a good job with your marketing strategy and you're using our tool the way that we hope people are and the way that it was intended to, those marketing efforts are going to prove fruitful and therefore you're going to have more people signing up for your product. And so that's why growth is a good measure for us, because the desire is that as our customers, customer base grows, their success, they're getting money from that.

[00:14:12] Natalie Onions: They're getting subscription revenue. They're getting potentially sales revenue from that. And so that's why we can use it as a pretty good indicator. And then, you know, like you said, with it being such a tough time in the market right now, if they're not making as many sales or having as many signups. That is a pretty strong indicator for us that they may be struggling as a business. And so they're probably going to have to make some tough decisions. So, you know, it may not be churn in the sense of them moving to another tool. It may be churn in the sense that they are looking at their stack and saying, right, what can we, should we get rid of?

[00:14:51] Natalie Onions: And we do not want to be on that stack where they're questioning it. We want to be there where they're saying, well, we cannot get rid of this tool. We cannot get rid of this team. We've got a fantastic CSM that has really helped us with our marketing strategy. And that's driving the slower success, but still the success that we're having. So it does become a pretty valuable metric for us to see, because it ties in so closely to the return that they're getting from their investment with us.

[00:15:21] Andrew Michael: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that's probably one of the best places it is. If you can actually get to the point where you're measuring the ROI that the product's delivering and being able to measure that and understand, okay. And in your case as well, as you mentioned, like really growth is that indicator because you're driving engagement in these products, which ultimately the whole point of it is to increase revenues for the business. So because you can get to measuring that and then understanding how much value you're delivering, I can definitely see how that can be initially... can be a good warning sign for you to monitor and track.

[00:15:54] Andrew Michael: So I'm keen to dive into sort of what are the actions as well then that you're typically taking. So you have these early warning signals that you've set up to identify both qualitative and quantitative. Maybe you can talk us through an example of a situation in the company where you've identified an issue and what are the steps taken then to rectify it?

[00:16:13] Natalie Onions: Yeah, I mean, I think the main point when we start to see that kind of decline or warning sign, red flag, whatever you want to call it, is we've got to talk to that customer. Like you said earlier, you can analyze data all you want, but if you don't actually know what's going on with that customer, you're never really going to have the full picture in front of you. So our intention always is to reach out to the customer and ask them, have you got time to talk? Sometimes as explicitly as saying, hey, we've noticed that you've stopped using this feature or we've noticed a bit of a decline in the way that you're working. We'd love to see if there's anything we can do to help or if there's any struggles that maybe we can talk through together. So that is the key thing is speaking to these customers.

[00:17:06] Natalie Onions: And that's where we've had, when we've been able to do that, that's when we've seen our biggest success stories. And when we haven't done that, in the past where we have relied too much on data and automation, that's where we've come out on the losing end of the battle. So one, one example that always comes to mind is that it was actually when I was a CSM. So this was, I was directly involved in this one. I had a customer that was sending out a marketing newsletter weekly to all of their customers.

[00:17:37] Natalie Onions: And so it was part of my monthly account audit. I'd go in and I'd check how those newsletters had been performing so I could speak to them about maybe opportunities for improvement or hopefully just talking about their growth trend. And I noticed that they'd actually skipped three weeks in a row, which was very unlike them. So I reached out and I said, hey, I've noticed that we haven't got the full data set for this month. Let's talk and see what's going on.

[00:18:07] Natalie Onions: And at that point, they let me know that they weren't seeing as much return on that investment directly tied to the weekly newsletter. And so they were trying to figure out something that they could change. They were a bit stuck with it. And so I said, well, if you're not seeing it from the weekly newsletter, let's look at some of the strategies. There are other things that you can use for other than just this weekly blast. Let's start looking at some behavior-driven campaigns. Let's dig in. You've got great data there. You've got a great product. So let's just pivot.

[00:18:43] Natalie Onions: And so getting them into that conversation, rather than just maybe making an assumption that was not correct, that led to them making some changes to what they were doing and getting them back on track. And then when it came to that renewal, they were like, yeah, we're having a great experience. We've clearly got a team that cares about us enough to try and help us out of this dry spot that we were in. And they're still a customer today. So just having that conversation was definitely a key to it.

[00:19:17] Natalie Onions: And then I think the other one, which is so difficult to kind of navigate and mitigate in some ways, is when your primary user or your champion leaves the business. That's can be a real kicker when it comes to churn because you can be doing all the right things. You can have the incredible health score, great product adoption, great growth. But if a new CMO or director of marketing joins the business and that person you've been working so closely with and so closely for is no longer in the driving seat, it can be very difficult to try and tackle that and retain the customer.

[00:20:00] Natalie Onions: And where we've fallen, onto the losing side of that before is trying to sell our product as if it was a brand new concept to this new person that's coming in. And because that's what we would do is say, you know, great, great to meet you, new person, welcome to the business. I'm going to tell you all about and I'm going to give you a demo of all the potential that it has. And in their mind, they're thinking, well, I've always used a different competitor. And so, you know, I know what your tool does. I know where, you know, where in the stack and in the business it exists.

[00:20:36] Natalie Onions: And so we did lose a fair amount of those scenarios. And it wasn't until we kind of pivoted our approach and instead of pitching as a product, we were pitching that particular use case to this new contact that was coming in. And saying, well, this is how your business is using it at all. This is where you're doing really well. This is where we can track the return on the investment. These are a few success stories that we've had with your team. And then it became much more about a business case for what already exists versus just, I'm going to reel off a list of our features and hope that it resonates with you.

[00:21:22] Natalie Onions: So some mistakes made along the way and some churns that are still regrettable when you kind of, you know, look to the past. But I do feel in a much better place now, the motion that we go into when we have that change in, in Champion.

[00:21:37] Andrew Michael: It's definitely like top three reasons we hear on the show and reasons for churn is like the customer champion leaving and then nobody in the company understanding what value your product's delivering and ultimately churning. So I really liked the fact that you came to that realization and stopped selling the product for features, but really focused on how the company was using the product before.

[00:21:59] Andrew Michael: How are you putting together these presentations then, or this demo? Is this something that you're like continuously tracking on your end? So when it comes time, if you do have this unfortunate situation where a customer champion is leaving, like how fast is that turnaround time to be able to put together this and show the value that the company is delivering? Are you, have you got anything in place for it specifically?

[00:22:20] Natalie Onions: Yeah, so the way that we've built our CS program, and again, it took us a long time to get this right and to get this cadence running and successful. But every month, each CSM takes what they call a book review day. So that's a day where their calendar is completely blocked. They don't take any calls, internal or external, and they spend their time going through every single customer that is in their dedicated book of business and they will look at what's going on in their account. They will review previous call notes. They'll refresh their own memories with what initiatives the customer is working on.

[00:23:00] Natalie Onions: And so at any point in time, they've got a pretty keen pulse on how that customer is doing. And, you know, I remember being in that spot myself and, you know, I took a lot of pride in the fact that if anyone else in the business was to ask me about a specific customer of mine. I could give them a pretty accurate rundown of what was going on. So our CSMs have kind of just trained themselves really to have a very, a very strong pulse of what's happening there. And so if we do hit this kind of emergent situation where sometimes the champion will tell us and say, Hey, I'm departing the company, we've got some time, I want to make that warm introduction.

[00:23:44] Natalie Onions: That's the best case scenario, right? Because then we can actually get some time to really pull that together. Other times, the CSM will just send out that general check-in email, it will bounce back, and then we're all in a bit of a panic to try and pull something together. But it's typically something that, you know, if we decide it's worth us really putting all hands to the pumps and getting in there, we can put something together in a couple of days. That's the easy part. The more difficult part is actually pinning down that new person and getting them to make time for us in their earlier days in their new job.

[00:24:23] Andrew Michael: Yeah, very nice. That was going to be my next question. It was sort of like, how do you know when the customer champion churns? And you mentioned obviously two ways. Is that the customer either lets you know and that's the scenario to you send them an email and that ends up bouncing, and then everybody's a little bit in panic mode. Is that an automation that you have set up internally as well for these hard bounces? Is it something that's tracked and monitored?

[00:24:48] Natalie Onions: So typically speaking, that type of outreach is more direct. So it will come directly from the CSM. However, we do have an automation that's set up that if someone that is an admin in the customer account leaves, we do get a notification that says, heads up, looks like an admin has been removed from this account. And it also just feeds in what their most recent NPS score is as well. I have a love-hate relationship with NPS. We don't have to get into that today. But long story short, I don't put that much stock in NPS just because I think it is so subjective and they may not be evaluating what you're assuming they were when they gave you that score. So...

[00:24:35] Andrew Michael: I'm very biased as well by the audience that actually fills it in. But yeah, I think a lot of people have a love-hate relationship with the metric.

[00:25:42] Natalie Onions: Yeah. So yeah, we do have that automation running as well, just so that we're aware. And if we do see, wow, this is super important. This customer is renewing in a couple of months. We know that they've gone. That's our call to action really.

[00:25:56] Andrew Michael: Interesting. And the other thing is obviously, like you mentioned that the signals are coming from the CSMs actually through direct outreach. I'm assuming that you use as well to engage with your customers themselves. And maybe some of those automations are being run by other departments, like marketing or product. And potentially you're getting signals from there, like hard bounces from those emails going out. Is that something that the team is coordinating and working with customer success with, or are there opportunities that maybe are just falling through the cracks through these emails when they're coming back as hard bounces?

[00:26:29] Natalie Onions: Yeah, I think the marketing team is primarily responsible and that growth marketing, product marketing, got many different sort of divisions of that. But they're really great at working with the customer success team to say, hey, this is the content that we're sending, open to feedback. Sometimes they'll even create a separate version for the customers that are managed by a CSM versus our self-serve customers because there's slightly different approaches for that audience. So they're really great partners for us on that.

[00:27:04] Natalie Onions: Within, we can track all of those bounces and we can set up notifications. But I will say that for the sake of transparency, there's probably an opportunity for us to do a little bit more with that data that's coming back from those sort of more mass marketing sends. So we've got a lot of work in areas that we want to dig into for 2024. So that's very likely going to be one of them is just, what can we learn from data that other departments have more immediate access to?

[00:27:41] Andrew Michael: Yeah, because I can imagine the sort of mass outreach, you're going to get a lot more opportunities and spots like the customers that have left because I think it's a great opportunity. Not only that, and I think one of the flip side though is like the customer champions, we talked about this previously with Guillaume Cabane on the show where his growth team actually focused on when customer champions churned. And obviously the one was like, send the note to customer success, let them know to start panicking and figure out who to speak to next.

[00:28:08] Andrew Michael: But the other side was like, it's an incredible opportunity for sales because if customer champions left, they're not going to go hide under a rock. As you said, they're going to go probably go to another company who's going to need your software or service at some point. And what they used to do, I think was a drift, if I remember correctly, but he would basically just send us a set of Bose headsets and say like, Hey, Natalie, congrats on the new role. He has a new pair of headphones to get you settled in. We're here if you need us.

[00:28:35] Andrew Michael: And that was just sort of like the way in and sort of the ROI in those campaigns. He sort of said it was unbelievable. And you'd think, okay, like Bose headsets, it's quite a pricey piece of equipment to send, but you already have this extremely warm lead who knows and loves the product that you've been working with and more than likely. Nobody wants to say no to the new person who's just joined a company as well. So it's like, okay, you've joined, like here's your budgets, go figure things out. And I found that incredibly interesting at the time. I even considered building something around this as well at some point, but then found the idea of tracking individuals a little bit creepy between jobs.

[00:29:13] Natalie Onions: Yeah. It's something that our marketing team, which has gone through some really nice growth this year, we bought a new CMO into the business and he's just done a fantastic job of really expanding what that team looks like and how they're working. So yeah, that I forget exactly what the initiative is called, but it's essentially the same thing. It's like that champion tracking. And then something that I actually pitched to them recently was we've got this set of customers that do churn, you know, no one's immune to it. Including us, we do lose customers to competitors.

[00:29:46] Natalie Onions: But you know, they're not signing infinite deals with that competitor, that's going to be up for evaluation, whether it's 12, 24, 36 months. So, you know, let's maybe see how they're getting on with this new tool when they're halfway into that contract and say to them, hey, this is what we've been doing for the last six months. And if you're ready to talk again, then you know where we are. So yeah, definitely looking at, you know, this churn prevention, which is huge and a massive part of what I'm doing, but then there's what we do in the case that people churn and because, you know, in my opinion, that's not the end of the story. There's more to be done there when people are no longer a customer.

[00:30:29] Andrew Michael: I like that. Trying to find ways to win them back. After a while, I want to have a chance to see okay what it looks like. Is the grass greener on the other side?

[00:30:36] Natalie Onions: Yes, is it? Were you right about that decision that you made? And I won't judge you if you want to come back.

[00:30:43] Andrew Michael: You want to come back. Yeah, very nice. What's one thing that you know today about churn and retention that you're wishing you when you got started with your career?

[00:30:51] Natalie Onions: I think the key thing, and you know, this is something that I continually have to remind myself of actually is that what the customer thinks they want or need from you may not actually be an accurate reflection. So when a customer, you know, back in the early days of my career, if a customer said to me, hey, you're missing this specific feature and we can't continue working with you if you don't have it. So we're going to churn if you don't have that feature, being a fairly green CSM at the time and determined not to have a customer churn. I would say, right, product team. This is what I've been told. You've got to build this thing for this customer because they've said that they need it. So can you please go and talk to them? Can you explain to them where we're at on the roadmap?

[00:31:46] Natalie Onions: And that was kind of my go-to response, which was a very quick, you know, zero to a hundred escalation. I get told that a customer needs something we don't have. And then I'm going straight to the product manager where, you know, something that I developed over time was actually this sense of like saying to the customer, okay, I hear you, but what are you trying to do? Like what's the end outcome that you're looking to get from this mysterious feature or this functionality that you think you need.

[00:32:18] Natalie Onions: And in having that conversation, it actually might develop way beyond what the customer is initially asking for. And it may be that they can achieve that today with what you've got on the table. Or it may be that there's something that is coming on the roadmap in a couple of months. And so just taking that time to break it down directly with the customer. What's your end goal? What are we trying to do here?

[00:32:46] Natalie Onions: Versus just it being a very black and white situation of, I want this, we don't have this, that's it, all guns blazing, we've got to make this happen. Just taking the time to deescalate internally a little bit and come at it with a more strategic approach. I think that's been something that, you know, I'm very glad I was given the opportunity to figure out and something that I find really valuable to pass on to two others as well. And like I say,  I do have to continually remind myself of that some days too, cause a big customer comes along and they say that those same sort of things like we might churn if we can't do this, there's still that little bit inside me that's like panic. I've got to, yeah... when just having that conversation, it all comes back to speak to the customer, just talk to them and get to the bottom of it. And it might paint a better picture.

[00:33:47] Andrew Michael: Yeah, absolutely. I think some of the best CSMs I've ever worked with in the past always had this really amazing ability to find unique ways to use our product to solve customers' problems. And sometimes all product teams would be amazed, like, wow, I never knew you could use the product in that way. And that even sort of unlocked new opportunities in order for positioning of certain features, which unlock new use cases for users that we hadn't previously considered.

[00:34:14] Andrew Michael: And it always, I was coming from CSM just really trying to do what you're doing exactly like a customer would come and say, I'm going to churn if I don't have this feature.  And they will be like, okay, but what are you really trying to achieve with this feature? Maybe there's something we can do today to help you. And yeah, I always find that fascinating.

[00:34:28] Natalie Onions:  Yeah, and I'm in awe sometimes. I try to stay as close to the day-to-day as I can and make sure that I'm very in tune and aware of how the CSMs are interacting with customers and how the technical support team is interacting with customers as well, because they're equally important in that problem-solving piece. But sometimes when I see the detail that they're able to go into and the workarounds that they're able to create, it's really impressive.

[00:34:56] Natalie Onions: And it's very refreshing to see how that it has developed as well over time. You know, we've gone from just having a very polite, you know, hey, I'm sorry, we don't have that feature that you're specifically requesting. I'm really sorry. I'm going to pass your feedback onto the product team. You know, very polite, acceptable response, but I've seen a tech support team go from that to saying, well, if this is the outcome that you're looking to achieve, here are a few different methods that we can get there. It's a little more work. It might be a bit more technical, but here's how we can do it. And just seeing that evolution over time from the team and from specific individuals that have been with the company for a long time is, yeah, it's really, really great to see.

[00:35:46] Andrew Michael: Yeah, it's amazing. Very nice. Natalie, well, we are up on time now for today. Is there any other final thoughts you want to leave the listeners with before we drop off, maybe how they can keep up to speed with your work?

[00:35:58] Natalie Onions: Yeah, so I'm pretty active on LinkedIn, just if you know, for specifically what's on my mind and where I'm working with So you can find me specifically on there. But if you are just interested in how we as as a company are looking to tackle churn and continually provide a marketplace with a very useful tool, then, we've got a fantastic blog there and ever evolving team and sets of products there as well.

[00:36:33] Andrew Michael: Very cool. Well, for the listeners, we'll make sure to leave everything we discussed today in the show notes so you can pick up and find that there. And thanks again for joining Natalie. I wish you the best of luck now going forward.

[00:36:42] Natalie Onions: Thank you for having me.

[00:36:44] Andrew Michael: Cheers.

[00:36:47] Andrew Michael: And that's a wrap for the show today with me Andrew Michael. I really hope you enjoyed it and you were able to pull out something valuable for your business. To keep up to date with and be notified about new episodes, blog posts and more, subscribe to our mailing list by visiting Also don't forget to subscribe to our show on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to your podcasts. If you have any feedback, good or bad, I would love to hear from you. And you can provide your blunt, direct feedback by sending it to Lastly, but most importantly, if you enjoyed this episode, please share it and leave a review as it really helps get the word out and grow the community. Thanks again for listening. See you again next week.


Natalie Onions
Natalie Onions

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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