The value of a first impression
Chief Customer Officer
Today on the show we have Dominic Constandi, Chief Customer Officer of ZoomInfo.
In this episode, Dominic shares his favourite country he has visited and how the experience has influenced his work in customer success.
We then discussed what separates Disney from all other theme parks and we wrapped up by discussing how ZoomInfo unifies the customer experience across the various touch points and stops their customers from feeling like they are going through a generic process.
[00:01:22] Andrew Michael: Hey, Dominic. Welcome to the.
[00:01:24] Dominic: Thank you very much for having me, Andrew.
Good to be on.
[00:01:27] Andrew Michael: It's great to have you for the listeners, Dominic is the chief custom officer at zoom info, a global leader in go to market intelligent solutions. Dominic started career as an investment banking analyst at Azure partners.
He made these debut and SaaS at ease software. As an associate direct of customer success and left as the head of customer success. Whereas team is managing over 350 million in annual recurring revenue. Before joining zoom info. He is an avid traveler and is bringing experiences from outside source to create delightful customer experiences now at zoom info.
So my [00:02:00] first question for you do is what has been the best place you've visited and why?
[00:02:04] Dominic: Oh, best place I've visited and why? That's a tough one. I would say that. I would say that different places appeal depending on kind of I think the place I'm in my life in terms of, my age, if I'm traveling with someone or if I'm alone the amount of money I have in my pocket, also a fact to to sort, certain places being easy, it's easier to get around and enjoy, but I'd say I'd probably say Tokyo, honestly, Was one that a trip that I made probably five or six years ago, that was that was really spelled binding.
I actually felt like Tokyo Osaka, that kind of general area in Japan. Just, I think that juxtaposition of history and just how well preserved so much of it is. And then just again, put right up against the, ultra modernization technology, if you've ever been or folks who've ever been, the public transportation system is second to none.
It literally is. It's just it's incredible. The ease with [00:03:00] which you're moving around and it's a tremendously busy and bustling place, but but it feels, it still feels seamless. In a way they've they've architected everything for just, I think efficiency and optimized for.
For a traveler or for a pedestrian to get to work quickly, to get to the shops quickly, to be able to find, somewhere to eat easily get around. Everyone's super, super polite. I found I don't speak Japanese. I did a lot of sign languaging and pointing at various things but everyone was very patient with me.
And so yeah, overall I'd say that was a really fantastic experience. That was one that one that left me all.
[00:03:35] Andrew Michael: For sure. Nice. You've definitely sold me now. I've been to a lot of places still on the list. think what struck me now when you were talking about it was just I hadn't thought about it before, but really is that contrast between the old and new yeah.
And how it's like a culture rich within history, but it's also super advanced when it comes to the rest of the world. Yes. So I can imagine that'd be fascinating to see.
[00:03:53] Dominic: Totally. Yeah. And just, yeah it's a wonderful place. And I think that I'm glad that, I'm glad that I, [00:04:00] that I did it when I did it when I did, I think that if I, there are, I think it would've been a different experience, as a student traveling, and I probably equally as fantastic, but just, yeah, I was really pleased with the trip
[00:04:11] Andrew Michael: and how, for sure it resonates with me as well, the different budgets, different stages as well, these different places, like I would, would've recommended 10 years ago now.
It's it's not a place I wanna go for.
[00:04:22] Dominic: And we talked about this a little bit, in our conversation prior, but just, you. I think having children, my arts are changes. My are changes pretty, pretty dramatically. When you are thinking about, where would I go with my kids and yeah.
So a hundred percent. Yeah. You said
[00:04:36] Andrew Michael: I was actually just looking at like a Disney cruise cause I think it's simplest and most fun and most relaxing, like for everybody. Exactly.
[00:04:44] Dominic: Totally.
[00:04:46] Andrew Michael: Nice. So I was also intrigued as well originally when your team reached out for us to have a chat. Definitely I think the topic resonated for me was around how you're looking like outside of customer success and SaaS traditionally to think about the top of [00:05:00] experiences you're creating for your customers.
Did Japan have anything to do with us? Maybe that was the first leading question.
[00:05:06] Dominic: Yeah. I think, yeah, one of the things I mentioned a little bit was just that notion. It felt kind of seamless, as a traveler, you want, hopefully for things to to make sense or feel easier or, spend more time kind of focusing on the things that you're excited to see or do and less time thinking about, oh God, am I lost?
How do I get there? Am I stuck waiting for a bus or a train or something like that. So definitely the seamlessness part of it. But yeah, I think I draw from, I, I think. A lot of times in success and in general, any sort of client service realm, whether it be the customer success, discipline, or support or implementation or training or onboarding there's so much that you can draw when you are trying to archetype and orchestrate those sorts of motions for your client base for your customer base.
And I think so much, but I do draw upon my experience. As a customer, and I think that we, we are all customers of some of something or many things. And there are [00:06:00] reasons conscious or subconscious that we make those decisions to be a loyal customer of XBR or Y brand buy this product, fly this airline, stay at this hotel chain.
And we make those choices consciously, and sometimes it's just purely based on, what their experience was when you last went, sometimes it's based on a loyalty program. Sometimes it's based on the quality of the product itself potentially, or a price point, but there's all these decisions that you make.
And I think that I think that sometimes if we just pause and you take stock in, Why do I like to stay at this hotel chain? Or why do I always tend to fly this airline? You actually come upon some pretty interesting answers for yourself that you then I think can take and go, oh gosh, maybe I should of prioritize that sort of creating that sort of advocacy in my own customer base, because there's a lot, that's transferable, I think in those things,
[00:06:48] Andrew Michael: Yeah, absolutely.
And I think it's also interesting specifically in customer success because it is a relatively new practice. It's not something like sales and marketing where there's really well established [00:07:00] rules and processes, and a lot of experimentation has happened. And I think there's always room for more experimentation, but specifically in customer success, because it really is still being defined and what are best practices and how you can go about it.
And there's a lot of like green room and I think there are. Like great areas, as you say, where you can draw inspiration from, we actually chatted in was interesting previously. I think it was Ellen Dorfman from segments at the time. If I remember correctly what they were doing back then was like trying similar to drawing inspiration and also going to travel industry.
And I think which one is, it's like one of the top hotel chains that's renowned. Their customer service that what they would do is get in like their experience lead to come and do a talk for the customer success team just to get them inspired. And I really found that fascinating, like just bringing in different speakers well to your own team, just to educate them on how X, Y, Z does like customer service and how are you approaching it?
[00:07:52] Dominic: Oh yeah. Great point. I I think that I love, I think my. My own. I feel probably my generation[00:08:00] I'm and my own sort of life in the sense that I don't have as much time to, to read a cover to cover book. I That's a real commitment for me these days between reading a book for my child and reading a work email and all these other things, so I tend to try and consume things.
I can access pretty easily and I can come back to again. There was one of the, one of my favorite ones and this is not going, this is not groundbreaking probably to, to any viewer that is into sort of experience and customer experience of discipline. But someone like Disney does a really nice job, does a really nice job with that experience kind of creation.
I think that one of, there were two things that I talked to my team about actually a. As it pertains to sort of Disney and one was just that sort of magical notion that that, there are, if you think about Disney's product quote unquote product, gap sells clothes or make a general statement makes sells close.
You home Depot cells, home improvement, home appliance goods, things like that. And you think about Disney world and their product in literal terms is probably. It's roller coasters, things like that. And [00:09:00] there are lots of places you can go in almost any country, especially this one that, that has fantastic roller coasters, in, in England, there are lots of different sort of amusement park chains in America, same thing, lots of amusement park chains, and a lot of them are regional or local. So you don't have to travel that far, pretty often to. Find a really fun amusement part, right?
Yeah. But I was reading some interesting stat that was saying that, on average, and again this data might be slightly dated. Bear me the artistic lessons. But, I remember that there was some of that said on average, a family that travels to Disney world for a family vacation spends, upwards of $4,000 on a trip for the family.
Once you include, food, lodging tickets, that sort of stuff, travel. And that's a lot of money for a lot of families. When you could just go to six flags or you could go to something local, or more local great America. And so why do people do that? And you might think is it, is it the product.
and oftentimes when you ask people and I am just self, self confessed, I'm a huge Disney fan. I, went there a lot as a child. And one of the [00:10:00] things that when you talk to people about what really resonates with them about that Disney experience, it's funny because when you ask people, no one, everyone always gives the same answers and it's the same answers I tend to give, which is, it's really well.
We think about my Tokyo comment, right? It's really well organized. It's seamless to get around. I never am looking too far for a bite to eat the rides, the lines, it's all the fast plus system. It's all dialed in. And on top of that things like it's really clean. It's really immersive.
The staff really seem to care about, am I having a nice time there? And all of those things that you mention as being like really fantastic, all those things, don't actually talk about the product. Which is the Rios, right? And I don't, whenever I speak to people, Disney, very seldom. Do I hear people say, oh my gosh, it's because they have the best roller coasters or the best rides often.
It's the things that people seem to really me, remember are all of those other, what you might think are ancillary things that support the product which is the experience. [00:11:00] And I think that I think that if you, if you took away. Rides from Disney world, like sure.
Not many people would go if there was nothing to go for, but the reason why the sort of the reason why people choose that above other options for amusement park vacations is because of the experience, not necessarily because of the product. So that's something that I always try and talk to my teams about, which was just that notion of, I think our product's great, that's, that, that's my opinion but you gotta realize that, especially in modern SaaS, right?
You can spin up a product pretty quick. You can go to market with something, it, maybe it doesn't have operational scale and all the bells and whistles, but you can take something to market pretty quickly these days. And bearing that in mind. It's not, the modern era is not of SaaS.
It's not, you've got all these fantastic barriers to entry where it's just so difficult for someone to bring their product to market. That's not really it anymore. So I think when you, when I talk to my teams about how do you, how do we really differentiate [00:12:00] ourselves? How do we of showcase that we are, we are the right choice for a customer.
A lot of times, you can't always just rely on the product. You can't just say our product's better. It's been here longer because people can be on price. People, might people might not need all of your product capabilities. And so then it comes down to what's the experience for providing, and I think that's a huge component that I think I try and take from, something like Disney world to to bring that to bear.
In how I think about team?
[00:12:29] Andrew Michael: Yeah. Definitely. I think from my perspective, I think about my experience as well, going to Disneyland or other theme parks. I think one is definitely. The brand itself carries like a lot of weight from the content that they produce outside. I think that's like the marketing something, but then definitely.
Yes, it is that experience it's like visiting one of their parks. It's an end to end experience from every touch point that you have. Whereas another like theme parks. Things are a little disconnected between one, one theme to the next. And I think that's also something that [00:13:00] I realized like Disney is you go through it and you feel like you're part of the same experience the whole way through.
It's not like you're getting transferred to different worlds or and if you are like, that feels like it's part of the experience,
[00:13:10] Dominic: Exactly. It's intentional, and it's just, yeah it's immersive and it was actually interesting the last time. Last time I went, I took my children to Disney world.
They actually, it was really interesting. They had, they actually had these little booths or kiosks positioned around the park where they had like an experienced team and it was just a couple of folks that were there to if you said, Hey, I.
So something about this ride or something about this beverage or whatever else, or something about, I couldn't find the restroom, it, they were there to assist, they were there to if there was, if there needed to be any course correction or they needed to remediate any sort of.
Mal content. They were there, they were at hand. So it was just they had that kinda like just in time sort of experience thing as well. So it was, I felt like it was one of those situations where they'd really make it hard for you to leave the park miffed,
[00:13:55] Andrew Michael: yeah. So talk us through a little bit, then these experiences that you've gathered and the [00:14:00] inspiration, obviously one is just talking to the team about Disney and how you can transfer that into a product like zoom info, but are there any specific things that, where you really see an opportunity for innovation when it comes to customer success and within source and how teams can be creating more of these like immersive experiences for their customer.
[00:14:19] Dominic: Yeah, a few a, so there's a few spots, actually. I think that I think one of the things that, especially as you get to a larger point of scale so this is particularly pertinent for us, I'm sure any business that's our size or thereabouts and above I think, that you mentioned that point, Andrew, where you said, it feels connected, everything feels connected.
It feels like it makes sense. One thing flows to another. And I think that when you have a company of, let's say our size, or, as an example You've got a lot of different groups. You mentioned a few Andrew where you said, there's sales, there's marketing, there's all of these disciplines that exist. And if you are again for us, without [00:15:00] waxing on or, focusing on, know, zoom in for specifically, our sort of customer experience organization is 450 plus people. They all, there's an element of specialization in that, right?
We have people that focus on training. We have people that focus on the onboarding. We have people that focus on connectivity and implementation and integration. We've got, know, we've got customer success and, focusing on the relationship, the value, derivation, the advocacy, you've obviously got marketing, providing kind.
Other air support and activity. You've got a lot of people that are interacting with a given customer all at different times, sometimes overlapping, sometimes handing off and sometimes for different reasons. And I think that one of the things that I see is a really still an area that I think. Not UNS, not unsolved or untapped, but an area where we can all continue to grow.
And there's a lot of opportunity for us to innovate is in that space of creating a really unified experience [00:16:00] across all those groups. I think that anyone anyone who's being honest, I think could probably say that, how many times has an email gone out from marketing that might overlap.
Or double down or, duplicate or sometimes, hopefully not contradict, but a message that's already gone out from a different part of the company. When you are talking to a customer and having a very specific conversation about a specific challenge or a specific project or a specific thing, is your communication and are the other people who are touching the customer and the account.
Is that factoring in the conversation that you just had, right? Is it creating the seamless experience? So the customer doesn't have to say something again or isn't course correcting constantly. I think a classic example is, in the onboarding phase, you might have a kickoff call and a customer delineate, delineates, these priorities and then that comes out of sort of the presales process and how much of that, how much of those things did you capture in the presales process [00:17:00] so that when you walk into that onboarding call that kickoff, right?
It's building upon the stuff they've already said versus doing brand new discovery. And then when you move them out of that, into training, Is your training bespoke to the things that they actually care about, or are you just doing something really generic that doesn't give them monkeys rare about what they've said or what they know or don't know or what they really are nervous about?
Are you just training according to your curriculum or are you training in some way that helps again, create that continuous experience. So as they're moving through their journey with you, they're saying, oh, wow, like they're really listening to me. Gosh, like this does feel tailored to me and my needs, and I'm not just being put through the machine.
I think that there's a classic expression that I really like, which is when you think about customers and especially as you're doing things at scale, there is a tendency to process, cuz you've just got, you've got a lot to do. You've got a lot of things to accomplish. And as being on this side of that fence, [00:18:00] You can get into this mindset.
I've gotta get as many people, onboarding. I've gotta get them seeing value as soon as I can. And you start to you can sometimes find yourself in this mode of processing versus in this mode of providing an experience. Oftentimes I think about it when you board an airline, and it's busy, everyone knows what that feels like.
The busy plane, they give you the whole light. We gotta check, gate check bags. Otherwise, no one can board and it's a full flight and, blah, blah, blah. And I think that we all know what that feels like to be herded onto a plane. And then you are all herded into your seats and then everyone's, kind.
Getting ready. So the flight can take off on time. Now I don't blame the airline because, if they don't get me to my destination on time, I'm angry. Or I'm so they have a reason to just get things done efficiently and process the situation. But the airlines that I think really or the experiences that I have that resonate are the ones where.
You don't feel like cattle, you don't feel like you are part of a process or part of, [00:19:00] throughput. It's an experience where you do feel like, okay, look, there's a lot to do. I get it. They're trying to get me on this plane safely. But at the same time, the S comes by and if you're a loyalty member says, hi, Dominic, appreciate you being a, a whatever status person you might be or appreciate you being part of our loyalty program, excited to have you on board.
Something as simple as that, it, you sit there and you're like, oh wow. That, that felt nice. I don't feel just like this anonymous sort of, person shoveled onto this plane. So I think, and. Other allies, do a nice job of kind of making the, making it fun. They have some fun commentary over the loud speaker.
So again, it, there are different things I think we can all do to help shift away. So a make all of the different elements feel concerted and feel. Connected and feel customer centric and also having a customer also feel like this isn't part of a process that they are truly receiving, a unique experience.
[00:19:58] Andrew Michael: All of that resonates, I [00:20:00] think for me, both from being a customer as well, like on the receiving end from SaaS, so definitely felt that pain, like going through a sales call, telling them the goals and then getting on with success and telling your goals again.
and then getting on with solutions engineers and telling your goals again. Yep. And it feels like there's nobody speaking to one another in this company. Like, why are we going through this stuff again? Literally have 30 minutes to give you to try and implement this software now and going through the same things over again.
So I think that's one area definitely like for improvement. And then the other thing as well as you mentioned, I'm just interested, like which airline is it that, that makes you feel special? Because I haven't really been on any of those. I
[00:20:38] Dominic: don't think no, I know. So I'll say, and obviously everyone has their own different airline horror story, so I just, I, a huge disclaimer on that, but my personal experience has been so an airline so I, I fly Alaska a decent amount just because, on the west coast, they're pretty ubiquitous.
I fly a route from San Francisco up to kind of Portland. That's you. That's a pretty, pretty [00:21:00] common one for me, Alaska allies. One of the things that I really value there is it's a really similar thing. They are, they're very good, even when things are busy and they're absolute pandemonium, they're very good at making you feel like a person as part of that experience.
And the other thing that's really huge, and this is, so the other thing that's really huge is that for me, especially for work travel, You know if I'm yeah. I'm not traveling with my children when I'm working. So there are some things I care less about when I'm just traveling as a solo passenger.
But one of the things that sometimes will happen is I might need to rebook a flight or as we all know right now, sometimes there are flight cancellations or delays, there's just a lot of disruption right now. And right now, I tend to place my loyalty in, in a partner or a vendor who who ha who works with me through some of that disruption.
So for example, I might get something that says, Hey, your flight got canceled. That's happened to me. Your flight's been canceled. And I get a proactive notification, which is great. [00:22:00] And when it, and I can either choose to rebook through the app or the website, but they say, if you wanna speak to someone, you can.
And I'm old fashioned old school. I like speaking to a person and I can call that hotline and literally I will have a person to speak to who is empathetic and who is ready to help me within literally like 10 to 12 minutes, and I'm not, I'm not any fancy status on that, but they're there and.
In those moments where my travel has been disrupted and I'm trying to get home because I've, I'm supposed to be home on this day to, to help with school pickup. Or I promise my daughter, I take her somewhere. Those moments really matter to me. Those are like my moments of truth as a traveler.
And. Their ability to make sure that those disruptive moments are mitigated and it still feels seamless. And I still feel like I get help when I need it. That, that to me is the reason why I'm a huge fan of let's say Alaska. [00:23:00] And is it because Alaska have bigger seats? I don't think so. Maybe they do, but I don't, that's not the decision I'm making.
It's not cuz their television screens are bigger. It's not cuz they serve me better soft drinks and it's not cuz the food is. Those are all things that I'm not making that decision based off of any of those factors. I'm literally making a decision upon one of the things that's really important to me as a customer is in the event of disruption, how quickly and efficiently can I get help.
And the answer is very, and so that, when you talk about the, what's talked about in the presales versus what's talked about in the kickoff, right? If you can understand what it is that motivates a customer to make a decision. And you could hone in on that, then you are gonna provide it. Then you are gonna know how to provide the customer with a great experience.
And for me, that is literally the reason why I will fly. Let's say Alaska on that route versus anyone else, even if the times are suboptimal, literally, because for me that's something that I index really heavily on from my experience. And they do a great job and that's why I [00:24:00] fly them. It's nothing to do with the plane or anything on the plane.
[00:24:04] Andrew Michael: the service. Yeah. Nice. How are you doing this then at zoom info? How are you making sure that things are connected and you're getting a unified customer experience? Yeah.
[00:24:14] Dominic: Yeah. That's a great, and honestly, it's still a work in progress. I, I would be lying if I said that, oh my gosh, like I have I, you to, I have found the single metric or that this one method that, that is the answer to everything.
I think so much of it depends. On the product you're working with the customer base, you have the team, you have the resources you have, I'd say it is, I'd say for us and the team at zoom info. I think one of the key things has been for us. I think. Looking at things, or one of the exercises we do is looking at things from the customer's point of view.
So we have some pretty complex motions and processes. We've got a lot of different specialist teams. Pre-sale post-sale, cause we want to have the right expert in the room at the right [00:25:00] time. So we think that's very important. But at the same time, that creates all of the other coordination, communication, seamless, challenges or hurdles that you wanna overcome.
I think for us, one of the things that I've always encouraged, all that we've really pushed is when you are building process, oftentimes you'll build it from your. Your lens, right? You'll say, okay so they're gonna do this. And then this team will engage to help the customer with this thing.
And then we're gonna have this team engage to help set up this API, and then we're gonna do this training. And it's all orchestrated from our perspective, in the sense of oh this makes sense. This is a good flow. We get the right resources. We can orchestrate this through Salesforce or whatever else.
And this feels like a good motion. Running through the exercise of saying, okay, so now literally take this vio flow chart or whatever you are using to define process. And literally just figuratively speaking step onto the other side of that [00:26:00] flow chart. And imagine that you are the customer and just try and put your ultimate empathy hat on.
And imagine I'm gonna walk through this process and I'm gonna pretend that. I don't have any sort of semblance of what makes sense, procedurally or resource wise, I'm just gonna literally live the process. I'm gonna I'm gonna be the person at Disney going through the line and think about how it feels for them.
And think about, does this flow make sense? Will they say, Hey but I don't understand, like why do I have to do my, why? Why do I have to do my API connections now? Or, oh, shouldn't I be trained? Before this bit, or, wouldn't it be great if I could just have this con this process or this part of it collapsed down into this other phone call.
So it, I can just get it all done at once. Because then I think when you start doing that's what I was this ties back to what I was saying earlier, where sometimes when you define process and you define flow and you define emotion, It looks great [00:27:00] on paper for you. And it makes a lot of sense for you as the software company or as the company in general.
But that's a, that's to back to my point, that's processing, you are literally thinking about how do I move someone through as quickly and seamlessly and my opinion as the best way possible. And you are forgetting that there's an experience element to it.
And so by taking your process flow and literally pretending or showing it to someone literal. I like to do this funny, you show it to someone who's outside of your business unit. Show it to someone else who doesn't, who isn't in your world. Who doesn't, who isn't walking in with a natural bias, show it to someone I don't know on engineering and say Hey, so this is the process and you go through it and then I'm gonna do this and then we're gonna do this together.
And then I'm gonna invite you to this call and then you're gonna participate in this training and then see if it makes sense and see if they go. Yeah. But. That feels like a waste of my time. Or why would I take two meetings to do that? Why can't you just do it for me in one meeting, or why can't this be the same person?
Why do I have to talk to two different people? It's funny. Cuz then those moments you, you get the experience point of view and then you can, and then you [00:28:00] take yourself out of your own like mental process world and you put your customer hat on for a second. And sometimes I think that's an area.
We've probably been guilty of at some point in the past, and I'm sure at some point in the future will be again. And other companies might have run into that too but I think that tends to be an organizational challenge that. Us and, a few people probably also face as well, which is just, how do you find that right.
[00:28:22] Andrew Michael: yeah. I think it's definitely, it's a huge problem across the industry. Listening to talk through that as well. I think like an interesting concept, and I'm not sure if it exists or not would be a mystery shopper for sauce. Like you could hire somebody to like shop for your product and then give you feedback on the experience.
I think could be amazing if there's something that doesn't exist. A
[00:28:41] Dominic: hundred percent. It's actually really funny. So our CEO Henry shark, he and Chris Hayes, who's our COO, he, they both of them are really big fans of the secret shopper mystery thing. Yeah. I've had I've definitely.
And this is, I've definitely had situations where Henry or Chris will say. Yeah, I thought that your yeah I think the [00:29:00] international, your overnight hours international coverage thing yeah, that was, I think that's, I think that's, I think that's pretty, pretty well done and I paused and I said what, why do you think that?
Did I didn't present anything to you on it that I didn't write a memo about it. What, and they said, oh no, don't worry. We they'll say, we, we wanted to check it out, so we literally called at three in the morning. Yeah, just to see what that felt like to see if it was prompt to see if the person who was helping was knowledgeable to see if, it still, it didn't feel like they were calling in the graveyard shift or something.
And it still felt like the business was like humming and the processes were still working. But yeah, to your point, I think that I encourage as much as companies can do that for themselves, even, and honestly, Take a critical eye to something, and say okay, look, just because I think I do it well, that doesn't put me above, to your point, like a secret shopper or a mystery shopper or something like that, even within your own business.
Truly it's something that we, we do a lot at zoom info because I think that, you can easily lose sight of [00:30:00] what it feels like as the customer. Yeah. When you're moving. Yeah, a hundred percent. That's a fantastic T. Cool. Very
[00:30:06] Andrew Michael: nice. We I'm serious. We've run up on time.
So I have two questions. Like we're gonna get bullet answers. One question I ask every guest to join. The show is hypothetical scenario. You join a new company churn. Retention's not doing great. CEO comes to you and says, Hey, do you're in charge. You have 90 days to turn things around. Catch, you're not gonna tell me I'm gonna go speak to customers and figure out what the biggest pain points is.
Start there. You're just gonna pick one tactic that you can execute on immediately that you've seen be effective. And hopefully that it works at this company. What would you pick? Knowing that short-term solutions don't
[00:30:37] Dominic: really do well, and it's a 90, it's a 90 day timeframe. Yeah. Yeah.
And churn's a problem. I've got nine days to turn around and
[00:30:49] Andrew Michael: you have one thing you can do.
Besides leave the company and say that's yeah,
[00:30:53] Dominic: power. I'd say for me, it's. I think you've gotta be able to assess, assess. [00:31:00] I think you've gotta be able to understand your risk universe. So there's a whole, 90 days you are not gonna, you're probably not gonna turn any customer who's upset with you. You're not gonna turn it around in the last 90 days.
So it's Those customers that are gonna renew or terminate or, come up for renewal in 90 days, you're probably not gonna get a great rate of saving those, but then it becomes a question of how do I save the next cohort that are expiring in the next 90 days? And so for me, a lot of it is I need to identify where the risk is.
I need to, I need to figure out what I'm up against and what I'm running at. And to your point, short of going and talking to a bunch of customers, it's that's when you've gotta think about. You've gotta think about data and you've gotta think about, okay, so what's coming up, what indicators am I using to, maybe it's usage, right?
But what indicators am I using that might tip me off to where things might go south. That's a super tactical, responsive, reactive, short term solution. But yes, that's probably where I first go. If I had 90.
[00:31:54] Andrew Michael: Cool. Yeah, it's a trick question, cuz it's very difficult to do anything meaningful in 90 days anyway, but it's normally just to understand the [00:32:00] tactics.
Yeah. Last question. What's one thing that you noted about China retention that you wish you knew when you got started with your career?
[00:32:05] Dominic: That
one thing that I noticed about China retention, I wish I knew when I started my career. I think ultimately. I think early day CS, there was when I first started in it, it was that, CS, attribution was hard, right? It's oh, it's this sort of imperfect science. We just, we are there to make customers feel nice. And I think that the thing that I wish that I think probably many people wish they had known then was just that, CS as a discipline is a hundred percent a discipline.
You need to be able to tie and correlate and find attribution towards an outcome. I think that's that's what modern CS is. That's what I wish I knew back then, which was just, at the end of the day, when I want funding for headcount or I need to start an initiative or a program, the first thing I get asked is, okay, great.
So how do we track this to an outcome every time? And if I can't track it to an [00:33:00] outcome, I don't get funding to do it. So that's one of the key things I think. Initially myself and maybe other CS practitioners within that motion of, experience, but sometimes not necessarily connecting it or able to connect it as directly to outcome or to behavior and things like this and to value.
So I think that's probably the thing I, I think that I've learned over the years, which is just, this as much as sales is binary and you sell or you don't sell, and that's a very easy attribution model. As much as you can get your CS organization to really be able to focus on, this activity drives this behavior, which drives this outcome and there is a chain of events and it is highly correlator.
I wish I had, I wish I had like really just been maniacal about focusing on that right from the start. Because I think it's taken us as an industry a little bit of time to get there with CS to get to that point of like ruthless focus. Yeah,
[00:33:54] Andrew Michael: I can see that. And I can see the evolution of how the market's starting to shift in this direction.
At least from the [00:34:00] conversations I've. It's been a pleasure hosting you today. I really appreciate having you is any final thoughts. You wanna leave the listeners with anything they should be aware of before we jump off today?
[00:34:09] Dominic: No, just, I think that, I think the final thing I'd say is just remember that as when you out there fighting churn or trying to drive retention and drive growth and have CX or CSB an engine for growth for your business, remember that the experience that you provide a customer in the value that you help a customer drive is.
It does not only exist within CX, right? Like you have to build the cross-functional walkways and interlocks with product, with engineering, with marketing, it really does take a village. And I think that's something I encourage everyone to remember is that, When you are fighting churn or you're doing these things that we're talking about on this sort of podcast, is that the more alignment you have with the rest of your business and the more engaged you have them in this pursuit, the better the
[00:34:52] Andrew Michael: company will be at it.
Absolutely. I definitely 100% agree with that in terms of alignment. I think it's where you should start. I think when you [00:35:00] wanna start tackling the challenge and the problem, making sure everyone understands the impact that they have. Yeah, Tom, thanks so much. It's been a pleasure seeing today and I wish your best of luck now going forward.
[00:35:10] Dominic: Thank you so much, Andrew. .
And that's a wrap for the show today with me, Andrew, Michael, I really hope you enjoyed it. And you're able to pull out something valuable for your business to keep up
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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.