Navigating Customer Success in the Cloud and On-Prem: Insights from Algolia and Alteryx

Jim Schattin


Chief Customer Officer


Jim Schattin
Jim Schattin

Episode Summary

Today on the show we have Jim Schattin, the Chief Customer Officer at Algolia.

In this episode, Jim shares his unique experiences in shaping customer success strategies in different technological environments. We dive deep into the contrast between cloud-based and on-premise solutions, examining how customer engagement and success practices vary across these platforms.

We then discussed the evolution of customer success from his time at Alteryx, focusing on the challenges and rewards of managing on-premise solutions. We wrapped up by discussing his current role at Algolia, shedding light on how customer success is managed in a cloud-centric organization.

As usual, I'm excited to hear what you think of this episode and if you have any feedback, I would love to hear from you. You can email me directly at Don't forget to follow us on Twitter.

Moments of Truth

Mentioned Resources



Alteryx's Journey in Customer Success and On-Premise Solutions00:03:35
Engaging and Demonstrating Value to Alteryx's Customers00:05:16
The Role of Data in Understanding On-Premise Customer Behavior00:07:45
Expansion Strategies and Building Customer Advocacy at Alteryx00:11:16
Transitioning to Cloud-Centric Customer Success at Algolia00:20:17
Comparing Customer Success Approaches: Cloud vs On-Premise00:30:16


[00:00:00] Jim Schattin: We wouldn't run QBRs. We'd run these company wide meetings for organizations to where they could see all of the value being driven by Alteryx and it really just accelerated the adoption of it internally at these organizations because every department in a company could take advantage of it, because everyone wanted to be able to run their own analytics independent of having to go ask someone else to do it for them. They wanted to have that flexibility. We just made it very simple and easy to do.

[00:00:38] Andrew Michael: This is Churnfm, 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.

[00:00:51] VO: How do you build habit-forming products? We crossed over that magic threshold to negative churn. If you need to invest and customer success. It's always comes down to retention and engagement. Completely bootstrapped, profitable and growing.

[00:01:04] 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.

[00:01:14] Andrew Michael: Hey, Jim, welcome to the show.

[00:01:17] Jim Schattin: Thanks, Andrew. Happy to be here.

[00:01:18] Andrew Michael: It's great to have you. For the listeners. Jim is the chief customer officer at Algolia, powering relevant, scalable and blazing fast AI powered search and discovery experiences for thousands of customers worldwide. Prior to Algolia, Jim was the EVP of customer success at Alteryx. So my first question for you today, Jim, is have you ever been to Mountain Sun Pub in Brewery before?

[00:01:43] Jim Schattin: The Mountain Sun Pub in Brewery in Boulder, Colorado?

[00:01:46] Andrew Michael: Yes.

[00:01:47] Jim Schattin: Absolutely. Yeah. It was one of my favorite stomping grounds when I lived in Boulder, working for Alteryx back in the day. Some of the greatest beer out there is just like we can endorse them too. When I moved away from Boulder, I was sure to buy a t-shirt from there just because I loved going there that much. I used to go there, I think, like at least once a week when I lived there.

[00:02:09] Andrew Michael: I know we might have even crossed paths at some point. I spent almost a year in Boulder I think like nine months in Boulder. We're there for a startup accelerator program and I was googling one day what are the best burgers in Boulder Because obviously, like I felt like I was in the States, you need to check out all the burgers. And Mountain Sun Pub, I think, had one of the best and, as you say, a good variety of great beer.

[00:02:32] Jim Schattin: They did, yeah. They expanded too. They had the one place on Pearl Street and they moved out to the South Side too, if I remember correctly too.

[00:02:41] Andrew Michael: I just remember the Pearl Street. I think Pearl Street is the main street in Boulder, like the high streets, what is it called? Yeah, nice, and you mentioned as well sort of you were there when you were at Alteryx. You spent some time in Boulder, obviously at Alteryx. You were there for over 14 years. I think it was, and...

[00:02:58] Jim Schattin: I was.

[00:02:59] Andrew Michael: As I mentioned, EVP of customer success. At the end we were chatting before the show on different topics and I think it really intrigued me and interested me when you said that Alteryx at the time was still really offering an on-premise solution. So on the show we've spoken to a lot of companies where they've transitioned from on-premise to cloud, but never really spoken to companies on how they deal with their on-premise solutions, if that's the case, and how they focus where their customers and drive engagement through the product. Maybe you can give us just a little bit of an overview of Alteryx, what they do and what your role was there.

[00:03:35] Jim Schattin: Yeah, so Alteryx is a business intelligence platform. I used to really think of it as a personal ETL tool, so a way for everyday business users to prepare their data, to get it into a user-ready format, to where they can run advanced analytics at scale. And its flagship product is called the Alteryx Designer and it's something that we would sell and you would install locally on a Windows desktop at the time. And basically the goal was to sell as many desktop designer licenses as possible.

[00:04:10] Jim Schattin: So we would really focus on a couple different things. I ran and as I grew up at Alteryx, I started off on the pre-sell side and really rounding out what pre-sells look and feel would be and how to get customers engaged with us. So what we were really focused on is how do we get an individual to see values quickly as possible. So we'd ask people like what is your pain, what is the most painful analytical process that you have on a day-to-day basis?

[00:04:41] Jim Schattin: And we would literally say, hey, let's schedule an hour working session, we'll sit down with you one-on-one and we're going to walk you through how we can build a process in Alteryx that alleviates your pain on a go-forward basis. Most people are like there's no way you can be able to do that and literally we would get on the phone with them, we would see their data, we'd begin to shape their data with them and build out a visual workflow that would solve their problem within an hour typically and we would make it repeatable.

[00:05:16] Jim Schattin: And we would excite these individuals to where, hey, yeah, I'm happy to buy a license. A license cost I don't know. I think at the time $4,500. So it wasn't that much of an investment. It was something that they could do, bring in house quick and easy, and all we would do is build them up over time. So it's kind of like okay, what's the next problem? What's the next problem? And we would help them build out these workflows that would automate a lot of their workflow process, a lot of tedious processes that were they were historically doing in Excel and now they were doing it at scale, at mass, super speed.

[00:05:51] Jim Schattin: They were able to do and run ad hoc analytics at a moment's notice. So if their boss said, "Hey, hey, Jim, I need this today," everyone, they'd be like, "Oh, no problem, I got all the tricks and I could solve this in like two seconds, give you an answer and be good to go." So the next step, once we got them indoors, like, "Okay, how do we find more of this," right?

[00:06:12] Jim Schattin: So, yeah, we started playing around with a bunch of ideas there. It was pretty, pretty fun because, like, what we would do is we would build these analytics days where we would take our champion that we originally sold to you and we would say, hey, let's put together a presentation to highlight the value that you're driving, not only for yourself but for the company. Let's invite all of your adjacent departments to come in right and see the capabilities and all the things that you're solving leveraging our platform.

[00:06:42] Jim Schattin: We'll give them a quick overview and then it's essentially a rinse or repeat. We'll schedule some office hours where we can sit down with these individual departments and show them how our solution can help solve their day to day problems so they can accelerate, you know, their business processes on a day to day basis too, and it would take off like wildfire. It was pretty fun to watch and pretty fun to see how excited people would get.

[00:07:07] Andrew Michael: Interesting, and this obviously was a while back as well. So I think a lot of these processes today like maybe common practice to a certain degree, but at that point you're like we're iterating and experimenting with different flows. I think it was also interesting. What the question came to mind is in the world of sort of on-prem, where you're selling a license to installing it on their NPC and that's it. How much of a role does data play in your ability to understand customer behavior and then understanding the use cases, or were you predominantly reliant on the qualitative, like conversations you would be having with customers?

[00:07:45] Jim Schattin: Now it actually plays a really big role. We were able to capture a lot of telemetry data on how people were leveraging products. You could actually look at all of the individual functions business analysts were using to do their day jobs essentially. So you could tell if people were doing basic aggregations. You could tell if they were progressing to more advanced analytics, to running regression analyses or to doing time series forecasts, or if they were using some of the advanced tooling to then distribute that workflow outward in the form of a wizard or a macro to make repeatable jobs easier.

[00:08:24] Jim Schattin: And the cool thing about having that set of information that we were able to come in to us was that we were able to define some playbooks to where we could proactively reach out to folks and to customers based off of their evolution with the product, and be really prescriptive on making recommendations on where they could take their usage of our platform in the future. So we relied on that quite a bit. Obviously, the qualitative stuff in terms of the specific use cases is highly necessary as well, but the two complement each other extremely well to help you identify that next area to where you can illustrate and show more value.

[00:09:06] Andrew Michael: It's also interesting as well. Like you said, the typical license was maybe costing like $4,500, so $4,500. You're offering an hour call, dedicated call, to help people get them set up and running. How did you measure what the ROI was of these accounts and things so that it sounds like you almost had a dedicated sales operations running with the ASP? That is relatively low to support like a sales motion. So how did you manage to scale that effectively to be able to justify the costs?

[00:09:41] Jim Schattin: Well, it was a lot of investment up front but what we would then do is train that initial buyer to become that advocate internally inside of that organization to then educate outward. So really from an expansion motion our jobs were minimized. So we would actually get a return quicker after point of sale because they start essentially or selling it internally themselves, because we give them all of the education up front and the wherewithal to then take this and proliferate it outward.

[00:10:16] Jim Schattin: The other thing that we did and focused on and Dean Stoker is listening, you always have to applaud him because he was really really adamant needed to build a robust community and drive our customers to this community because then they can all learn from each other with self-serve educational material but, more importantly, ways to gain better access to information and ideas on how to advance their analytical processes to fulfill on their goals.

[00:10:44] Jim Schattin: In having that also on the side, basically we would spend less and less time over the lifetime journey of that customer because they become so self-sufficient themselves they set up their own essentially communities based off of the materials we provide them and they become self-sufficient themselves. So it's like initially it is an upfront investment but it more than pays back for itself over time as they continue to do and run the expansion push, essentially for you.

[00:11:16] Andrew Michael: Yeah. So I'm keen to dive into this a bit deeper as well. The expansion motion that you had in tech you started out as you mentioned you sell into a single license with an organization perhaps maybe an analyst now saves a lot of time on the work that they're doing and essentially a single license. And then you go to them and what's the next step? How were you getting them and evangelizing them within the organization? What were you empowering them with and what was your step-by-step process to expanding that account once you had sold that first license?

[00:11:49] Jim Schattin: We did coin the term in analytics day where we would basically take our champion and just really drive us outward. We would highlight them as a rockstar to the organization based off of the business problems they saw and what value. We really really hyper-focused on articulating the value that this single one process drove for the business and with really defined measurables and metrics, and we would basically present this outward to an organization and effectively earn the right to then get more evaluations going at the technology.

[00:12:30] Jim Schattin: We would invite them to leverage our champion too as someone who can actually provide those resources to drive it forward. And it became like a very easy, easy approach where almost quarterly we'd be doing these sessions where the number of use cases and solutions that we were highlighting as driving better business value just continued to expand outward.

[00:12:54] Jim Schattin: Essentially, we wouldn't run QBRs. We'd run these company-wide meetings for organizations to where they could see all of the value being driven by Alteryx and it really just accelerated the adoption of it internally at these organizations because every department in a company could take advantage of it, because everyone wanted to be able to run their own analytics independent of having to go ask someone else to do it for them. They wanted to have that flexibility. We just made it very simple and easy to do.

[00:13:29] Andrew Michael: And so you call these analytics days. Like you said, they weren't QBRs. The focus then was on the value that the single license holder was providing to the audience in the beginning, to the organizers in the beginning. How were you going ahead and putting these days together? Was it like literally a full day where you went into the office? Was it remote, like what does the setup looking like there? And then maybe a follow-on question said, "What were some of the things you were highlighting in these presentations or in these days that really made your champion stand out?”

[00:14:00] Jim Schattin: Yeah, I mean, it's pretty close and so you know, back when we first started doing this, I mean, it was all about getting on site so that way we can optimize the time for all of the attendees. We would typically try to do it within a half-day window, so a four-hour block, effectively, where the first hour was really dedicated to what's already been accomplished and then the last three hours of the day would be to spend one-on-one or individual time with different departments coming in to hear us so that way we could size their analytic, their analytic challenges and give them some advice on how they could take it forward right.

[00:14:36] Jim Schattin: So we'd run these individual departmental sessions as a follow-on, as a fast follow. You know, for some of the presentations and some of the ROI that people we would want to highlight a lot of it is time savings, right. People spend in an analytic journey a ton of time getting their data into that user-ready format. Sometimes it would take them days back and forth with the DBA historically in their organization to say, hey, I need the data to look like this, I want to create some graphs and reports for dashboarding, metric-based reporting.

[00:15:12] Jim Schattin: And they'd have to iterate through that so many times that by the end, the question they were trying to answer has already changed. So we would really look at time to value or speed to complete that analytic process, to get an answer in the moment for the question that was being asked, because we didn't. You know, time just kind of allows things to change quite a bit. So you know that time-based metric was pretty big.

[00:15:39] Jim Schattin: We would also look at cost savings and optimization capabilities. So some of the great examples and powers of Alteryx. I mean it was probably still is fantastic at doing retail site analytics. So where to put your next store location brick and mortar location so if you're a large, big box location. What's going to be the most optimal place to build a new location and put it in and where is all of that demand going to come from from a geospatial standpoint, to actually make that point of sale grow exponentially and what is the total number or what's the total volume that that potential store location can do?

[00:16:23] Jim Schattin: Some of our customers, instead of making those gut decisions like they used to do back in the day, they were actually using analytics that they could drive without having to go somewhere else to get those answers and they can iterate through, taking into consideration the variables that they want. And then, obviously, you take the analytical process further. We would highlight these. People would come back and say, okay, now that I've already selected my location, this is the sales volume that they're doing as a compare to the projected. This is the positive uplift that we're receiving,

[00:16:57] Jim Schattin: You know, it was fantastic. I mean some of the stuff, too, is around. You know marketing right, like how do you segment a customer base properly, what are the variables that you look at and how do you look at a segmentation model differently to optimize your reach? And we would highlight that and what the performance would be after you potentially make a change driven by the analytical process that Alteryx was able to allow them to build. So we're some of the key things.

[00:17:25] Andrew Michael: Yeah, I think with the product Alteryx, you're fortunate that you have access to a lot of data to lean into and work from. The thing I'm also interested, though, as well as, like these days you mentioned, you bring in people from product, from different parts of the organization, from marketing. Setting them up can't be that easy, I think, and especially in the beginning maybe, when you have only a single champion within the organization. What were you doing to support the setup of the actual day itself? What are some of the best practices that you saw, the individuals themselves getting these days set up, because I could imagine just somebody internally like I've just purchased a license, like now.

[00:18:02] Jim Schattin: We do a ton of coaching with the individual. We'd give them basically a presentation template for how we wanted them to drive the presentation to really freeing the pain that they were going through and feeling on an internal basis, the how on how they actually develop the solution and then really really doubling down on the results and then why is it important to the company as a whole that they sell for this process.

[00:18:32] Jim Schattin: So the presentation was a big thing. We'd also template out a series of emails that the champion could send out to their constituents across the organization to invite people in. So that way it was compelling enough right, and it had some a little bit of marketing going on there to say, hey, come check this out. This is some really great stuff that I'm really proud about and is really actually instrumental in moving us forward.

[00:18:59] Jim Schattin: We would also with our business champion. It was really important for them to get us an introduction to an exec sponsor that we could work with as well, who had a great reach outward, who could also be a compelling voice for us in the process of attracting people to the sessions themselves. And oftentimes those executive voices were able to bring in a lot more people for us and ultimately it created more opportunity, not only for the individual who was being highlighted, but it also brought more people in and together, and that executive who saw value was like, "Hey, I'm going to push this outward as a bigger solution, because they're also looking for ways to highlight their value as well." Executives are no different than anyone else. They're probably looking to try to highlight their value.

[00:19:48] Andrew Michael: And so you start out then presentation, really guide them on how to solve the problem, the solution where they got to it. You mentioned you had email templates lined up as well to help them encourage and internally market this day. The thing I'm also then interested as well the exec sponsor themselves was any coaching around that from the champion on how to bring on board specifically the exec, or was that rolled into maybe the original presentation work that you did with them?

[00:20:17] Jim Schattin: It was. It was mainly rolled into the original presentation work just to get the exact excited about what we were delivering right, because Typically, if that individual, the champion, is solving something for them, they're also solving something for the exact. It's just a different vantage point of what that looks like. The exec will ultimately see the value and then, you know, go out and invite others. But the thing with executives and executive recruiting we were just solving for one thing, okay. So it was really critical.

[00:20:47] Jim Schattin: You know, when we started to run these plays at Alteryx, that we really understood the complete scope of the business and how other departments could take advantage. So we had a complete use case library that we had very well documented With really crisp value propositions for how we could solve certain use cases and when we would talk to the exec, we would make them aware like, these are the types of people we want to bring in, because these are the things that we see as important to your business and other customers that we have.

[00:21:22] Jim Schattin: So, yeah, I say it's basically like hey, look, yeah, we're helping the end this one thing here, the 18 other things we could be doing if you could help us bring in an audience that focuses on these other 18 things as well. We'd be grateful because we know we can increase a lift for you. And ultimately, what are some other things you'd like to see? Because then we would specifically go and target those individuals after the presentation in the follow-up sessions that are more smaller subsets of the group that we could focus attention on.

[00:21:56] Jim Schattin: Because if we walked away at that at the end of that day, having solved something that was really important for the exec, we knew we had something where we could continue an expansion, motion and conversation over time, because we're doubling down on the value that we could drive, not only for the individual contributors but for their managers and their managers, managers all the way up right. So that's kind of how we materialize the whole thing.

[00:22:21] Andrew Michael: Interesting again. I think, like Alteryx, is probably fortunate in this manner, where execs do spend a lot of time looking at data and they are typically the what, the end receivers of a lot of the work. The consumers are selling them on the value of what the product or service does is relatively easy from that perspective, I guess. But I like as well the the idea of having this use case library. This is something we also previously discussed in the past with customer success at content square, I believe, at some point. And what did that library look like then? So how was the team leveraging it? How are these use cases stored?

[00:23:00] Jim Schattin: I like to think of things in great forms, right, so you look at industry, persona and you have boxes, essentially, and we would try to fill in all of the various boxes on our chessboard. All right. So we serve, as you know, financial services, applications, retail, real estate. We focus on human resource use cases, we focus on a variety of different Verticals, and then you would talk to different personas or you could get introduced to different personas along the way.

[00:23:36] Jim Schattin: So you could be as low as an IC who's, you know, a data analyst just working in an ops role for a particular function. What's most important to them and what are the simple use cases there, mainly around data transformation transformation to getting just some simple KPI reports and metrics back out. But then when you go a little bit higher, so you can go back to the real estate example. When you go into that real estate planner, you know there's a level of modeling and complexity that comes into a fact, right? So what is my supply network look like, what is my demand surface look like, what is the interaction between the two look like, what are the advanced mathematics behind that to say this is going to be the contribution from these points of demand to points of supply to drive me forward.

[00:24:27] Jim Schattin: So the use cases would vary mightily, depending on who you were talking to. We would talk to data scientists in certain organizations as well, where we would then focus not so much on that low level data prep side of the house, but really how can you run a model at scale, interpret the results and you leverage the red model results to, you know, enrich existing data sets to make informed decisions on a go-forward basis, right? So they, you know...

[00:24:56] Jim Schattin: So it was basically a big chessboard industry persona and we try to fill the whole thing and have a script right, I mean. So yeah, it was pretty cool. I mean it was. It became like a trusty thing that people can use quite easily along the way, and then we'd also publish it back out, I think, a lot of times to the community, like where we wanted people to understand different things we saw. So we're pretty, you know we would have our internal resources but we'd also try to make sure we push some of this stuff back out as well, because we wanted people to find it and see it. So that's another thing.

[00:25:30] Andrew Michael: Nice, yeah, I think, if I remember correctly, is all like Gareth from Cotton Square. They had a similar approach like the grid when you mentioned. I think they were using air table and again they would have like industry persona use case and then be able to dive into. So for their CSMs and for sales reps they use it quite wildly in terms of closing deals but then also how to expand and work with customers and very interesting, similar like laid out in the fashion, is all tricks itself.

[00:26:00] Andrew Michael: Nice, Obviously a wealth of experience built up over time there at Alteryx. Experimenting customer success practices is not really a thing back then and iterating it sounds like you iterated your way towards a lot of the common practices that they are today. You're now at Algolia. What would you say is fundamentally one of the biggest differences in your role now between Alteryx and Algolia?

[00:26:27] Jim Schattin: One of the biggest differences... The buyer persona and where you start and where you land is a lot different. Alteryx, obviously, was a business analyst. They sit on the side of the business. At Algolia, we're typically landing with a developer. It's a different approach. You have to reach them differently In a post sales motion once they've purchased the software. You have to make sure that you have a really robust docs component to your service where they can self-serve readily. You have to have code snippets, examples.

[00:27:04] Jim Schattin: You have to have a really vibrant community where developers are available to answer questions at a moment's notice because to build examples for them on how they can extend your APIs and features to solve for what they want because oftentimes these developers are looking to fit Algolia into an overarching solution, but they don't always want to talk to people. They want to be able to self-serve. They don't want that hand-holding like we would do at Alteryx or do this elaborate onsite presentation.

[00:27:33] Jim Schattin: Developers don't want that. You have to think of a lot different ways in terms of how you reach the audience. That's probably the biggest thing. It's like the mix of what we do is completely different. Even the way I structured the teams and the way we actually service existing customers today is completely different.  At Algolia, I have purposely hired developers to help on service delivery on the post-sale side. They need to be able to have conversations, developer-to-developer, and really be able to go into the weeds at levels that a lot of CSMs typically can't.

[00:28:18] Jim Schattin: We also need them to think outside of the business. I think at the same time we also needed to build out a business consulting practice here at Algolia to actually set effectively the stage for the implementation journey, to define the implementation journey as a whole in the post-sales process, more often than not, developers are going to work to get and implement an MVP for Go Live just around a basic search bar.

[00:28:47] Jim Schattin: The question then becomes once you've got that initial MVP in place, what are the next steps of the journey and how you can enrich the experience for your end users as it relates to search and drive some better discovery around some of the AI features that can power the experience for end users in illustrating that to the developers so that they understand what their business constituents and partners are looking for.

[00:29:13] Jim Schattin: It's doing a little education at the same time for those developers to see hey, this is what the business is going to be asking for. How do we set ourselves up for success as we go up that maturity model in terms of leveraging our APIs to drive that great experience. That's probably the biggest difference in the end.

[00:29:31] Andrew Michael: It's interesting as well the personas and how they choose to interact with the business or the service. I can definitely see that without trying to make assumptions, but it makes sense in my mind now that you explain it. I would say that analysts are probably the closest in personality that I've found. Working with two engineers themselves, I was surprised that it's that much of a difference, but definitely see the need to self-serve.

[00:29:58] Andrew Michael: Wanting to get on with things themselves and being very comfortable with async, communication, reviewing docs and being able to get on with things is like they just want to get on with things that don't want to waste time. The strategies, like you say, are very, very different in terms of how you service these customers.

[00:30:16] Jim Schattin: You want them to explore on their own because they will find new solutions for your technology, whereas I think Alteryx were doing almost the reverse. It was like instead of go find your own solutions, we're telling them what the solutions were to go after and build. It's just slightly different. It's the same but different. I guess it's probably the best way to put it.

[00:30:43] Andrew Michael: Yeah, for sure. I think with Algolia, like you said, it's a super interesting product and can be used in a lot of different and interesting ways as well. You do want to have that creativity come to it, because you're serving end user customers. Your customers are going to see the experience of Algolia that you build into your product versus where Alteryx, everything was internal facing. It wasn't really going to be seen by customers or things. I think there's also that degree. Probably also that makes it a lot more demanding on the other end that they're less forgiving, I would assume, on Algolia side than they are on Alteryx side.

[00:31:18] Jim Schattin: They can be, yeah. They can be. I mean, look, we're helping them, we're a component of driving a digital experience for their business. They have goals and KPIs and metrics that they're trying to, you know, drive towards. So for, like e-commerce, it's very clear they want to drive a higher conversion rate, a higher EOV. You know, if we're not illustrating that, it becomes crystal clear and it can be very hard on us, right? So we have to be very, very focused on how we ensure that we're doubling down and, you know, actually driving those KPIs and metrics, right?

[00:31:55] Andrew Michael: Yeah. And how is it different then from that perspective as well? So, with Alteryx, really delivering value is quite easy because you're basically telling them what to do. On Algolia's side, it really is up to them and their business as well, I think, at the end of the day, on how well they end up performing with the product or service, like this. So, and also thinking through the case that you don't have this handheld experience where you're actually like demoing them and how to do this, like you're leaving it up to them to basically get it on with things like how interactions with your CS team there to encourage things like retention and expansion?

[00:32:31] Jim Schattin: Yeah, I mean it's a good question. I mean, you know, for us it's how do we segment our business to kind of understand where to place good CSM resources. We're saying, because there are some companies that are going to need some additional hand holding to drive the digital experience that they want. And they're going to need that level of oversight. There's a lot of customers that aren't going to need that. So we here at Algolia especially when you get... if you go further and further up market and how we sell we've really tried to build a robust services model to kind of help in development sprints, to where we can illustrate value quickly and we can say, hey, this is what it looks like before, this is what it looks like after. We've made a change.

[00:33:14] So you know, for our CSMs, one of the common plays that they run, you know in a sense, is a customer health check where it's basically looking at okay, here are all of the features that are available to drive a great experience and to improve KPIs and metrics around conversion. Which ones are we leveraging today? What does that mix look like? If we introduce a new feature like personalization, or a new re-ranking strategy and association with what we're showing and displaying as results. Could we actually increase lift for you?

[00:33:50] Jim Schattin: And if the answer is yes, well then we go through a development cycle with them where basically we're there to help and assist their developers from an implementation standpoint and we're there basically to kind of guide that process more the further upmarket you go. So yeah, I don't know if that exactly answered your question but it is a little bit more nuanced because we know what the end result is and what we're going after. The question is how can we best facilitate the company get themselves from point A to point B?

[00:34:24] Jim Schattin: If they have the resources, they'll be able to get there. If they're struggling on the resources or a little unsure of how to get there, that's where we really come in and add in some expertise from a CSM practice standpoint to really show them hey, this is the best in class way to implement specific to your KPIs goals and metrics right?

[00:34:45] Andrew Michael: Yeah, I think it's just interesting to think about the different ways you're engaging in the two different companies. So one was super hands-on, you had access, you were working closely with the champion. In this case, like it's Super Hands-Off, like trying to automate and stay async with the champion. And then, when it comes to really trying to help with activation and trying to help with usage and then to see results, like the engagement strategies I think are different in the business.

[00:35:13] Jim Schattin: Yeah, it's always so. I've always said this, Andrew. It's like customers will tell you how they want you to interact with them. It's the CSR's job to listen to that. They put together the best approach to service it. So, as you know, for us, as customers are implementing Algolia, no, we're not always there 100% of the way there, but if something were to go wrong, the expectation is that we're all hands on deck and we're going to be able to swarm this and get you and answers quickly as possible to ensure that we don't interrupt your service for your end users.

[00:35:50] Jim Schattin: It's a different game. So it's like how do we ensure that if a problem arises, the CSM has the ability to pull in the right resourcing to address the issue at hand? So, from an internal enablement standpoint, I feel like we've had to do a lot more work in terms of getting people to understand our internet work, of how we can better service the customer, because there's more tiers of individuals who we can bring in specific to the need at hand, right, yeah? That's been interesting.

[00:36:20] Andrew Michael: Yeah, I like that as well. I think it's sort of the customer will tell you how they want to be dealt with and then it's up to the organization to figure out how to best meet those needs.

[00:36:30] Jim Schattin: And it's a continual evolution too. I mean, I think when I first started at Algolia, one of the biggest things I was told was like, from a lot of our upmarket accounts, you leave us to our own devices way too much. We need a little bit more hand-holding. We make mistakes and that actually is more costly to our business because we have to go back and course correct. So if I wanna take advantage of your advanced AI capabilities, we need to capture clickstream events.

[00:36:58] Jim Schattin: So how do we integrate, how do we make that so prominently known and aware for people that it's integrated into the onboarding process out of the gate? And it's like oh, my gosh, yeah, we need to be more prescriptive in this stuff. We can't rely on people just going to find it all the time. So it's kind of like telling a line between okay, we have one audience that really wants high prescriptiveness, we have another audience that just wants to go find it on their own. How do you serve both?

[00:37:28] Jim Schattin: And then there's a time when there's an overlap between the two that you really have to go in and actually feel like almost be a translator at times between the developer and the business and help each other, help them both understand the direction in which you wanna take the application to drive and fulfill the best end user experience, that for the application to try to build. And that's always kind of an interesting dynamic that our CSMs have had to learn to work through right and that comes with that.

[00:38:00] Andrew Michael: Nice. I see we're running up on time today. Save some time for a question. I'll ask every guest. What's one thing that you know today about churn and retention that you wish on you when you got started with your career?

[00:38:13] Jim Schattin: There's you know, I think for me I wanna be able to control everything and I wanna be able to plan for everything. Sometimes with churn and contraction or churn and retention especially churn. There's some things I can't control and I have to be okay with that made for the business and I think it's just becoming a matter of being a better planner around that and seeing if there are ways, potentially I can get in front of it in the future. But there's certain things I can't. Yeah, I can impact.

[00:38:45] Jim Schattin: I can impact market conditions. I can impact, you know, mergers and acquisitions from happening and people choosing to go in a different direction from your technology. Yeah, I think it's the unexpected or things I can't control. Don't put a ton of focus in it. Put a ton of focus into what you can control and that's the customer experience, and don't let the uncontrollable, you know, divert your attention too much, because you can go into a rabbit hole there.

[00:39:13] Andrew Michael: Nice, I think yeah, there is definitely. When it comes to retention, there's a lot of things that are outside of your control, as you mentioned, and it's important to understand what those are so you can focus on what's within your control and deliver value like that.

[00:39:26] Jim Schattin: 100%.

[00:39:27] Andrew Michael:Nice, Jim. It's been an absolutely pleasure chatting to you today. Is there any final thoughts? You wanna leave the listeners with anything they should be aware of, or how can they keep up to speed with your work?

[00:39:37] Jim Schattin: Oh yeah, I mean thanks. I mean definitely. Please check out Algolia, check out our website. We're constantly putting out new ideas through our inspiration library to help inspire folks on how to best implement search, how to take advantage of some of our new features around neural search capabilities and KPIs, and what the best practices are associated with it. It all comes back to data. How do we become better collectors of data to leverage it to our advantage? And you know, I think that's probably the best that can give you right now.

[00:40:08] Andrew Michael: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining. It's been an absolute pleasure and I wish you best of luck now going forward. Cheers.

[00:40:15] Jim Schattin: I appreciate it, Andrew. Thank you so much. I hope we can do it again sometime.

[00:40:19] Andrew Michael: Thanks, Jim.

[00:40:27] 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.


Jim Schattin
Jim Schattin

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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