What We Learnt: Totango Customer Success Summit 2017

Our CEO Claire Burge spoke at the Totango Customer Success Summit this week. Here are some of the highlights of the talks, topics spoken about at the event.

Human Acceleration

Customer Experience is the new Customer Success, or is it?

As one of our partners, Totango’s approach to Customer Success aligns with our core message: that to adapt to the changing world of work, we need to focus on what makes us human i.e. developing and using creative and critical thinking skills to offer value to customers, and ensure their success.

So it’s not surprising that our CEO Claire Burge was invited to present the keynote address at the Totango Customer Success Summit earlier this week. The title of her talk: Chaos is the New Reality.

Here’s my summary of what she had to share about her experience at the conference:

Why is Chaos the New Reality?

Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are taking over the workforce. It’s true. As with any technological disruption that has happened before, we’ve developed (and are developing) solutions to problems that make certain human roles redundant in the process.

So where does that leave us?

In a future world of work, where decentralisation and breaking down silos is becoming essential to being a part of a complex global economy, human skills are needed to to fill the gap where technology can’t.

In other words, we’re moving into an increasingly chaotic workplace, where technologies like blockchain and AI are driving a whole new way of exchanging value and automating processes. In this shifting reality, traditional hierarchies don’t make sense anymore, so being customer centric is key to staying ahead when you’re looking to retain and optimise your relationships with customers.

How Do We Become Customer Centric?

Being Customer Centric means being able to use all of the resources available to understand, interact with, and engage with customers, and using our unparalleled human abilities to get an insight into what’s really driving human behaviour, and therefore, customer needs.

If we break it down, keeping customers happy is nothing new, but as a SaaS or technology company with thousands (or millions) of subscribers and customers, previous models of engaging with customers and collating feedback just aren’t working anymore.

In a world of exponential data growth, trying to keep up with everything is overwhelming and impossible, but as humans, we’re able to think critically, and we can use this skill to close the gap between what customers tell you/feel comfortable telling you, and what their usage data is really telling you.

But where to start? Using our human abilities to interpret complex data is step one, but as I’ve just mentioned, the volume and relentlessness of information to deal with is a problem. Which brings us to the highlight of the summit: Zoe.

Totango Customer Success Summit Lesson #1: Instead of Chatbots, Try Customer Bots

The main takeaway from the summit is Zoe, Totango’s newly launched Customer Bot. Zoe gathers information about all your clients and can pull detailed reports about everything from engagement percentages to weekly active users. Best of all, it integrates with Slack.

While chatbots are designed to handle all kinds of requests, Zoe’s focus is Customer Success, which means that with this kind of technology you’ll be able to act on real-time information to make key decisions, solve problems and refine your product or service.

Totango Customer Success Summit Lesson #2: A Move Towards Customer Centric Humanness

To ensure Customer Success, we need to make a shift towards what Claire calls “customer centric humanness”. It means bringing technology and human beings together, and focusing on client happiness.

Instead of only focusing on sales and renewals as an indicator of success, which are actually direct benefits to the company, it’s about championing what Totango have coined “customer causes” instead.

In a world with more people than ever before, everyone is looking for personal attention, and for their needs to be anticipated. Skills like creativity and critical thinking will be essential to come up with ways of gathering and interpreting customer data in a meaningful way, and being able to gain insights from this interpretation to shape and hone your business for Customer Success.

Find out more about our approach by reading our white paper: Abundant Journeys and Fractured Futures.

Totango Customer Success Summit Lesson #3: We’re not Ready Yet, But We Need to Be

We’re moving away from the kind of organisational structures that confine certain responsibilities to certain departments. From now on, everyone in the company is involved in customer success.

But what happens to our concept of work when strategy isn’t driven from the top down anymore?

One way to think about how to structure your business to support this shift is to think about your organisation as a university. This means rethinking the way you attract talent to your business, so that you’re also applying a customer centric process towards employees too, really. A win-win situation.

And to answer our first question:

From taking in all of the discussion feedback and posts from Totango’s Customer Success Summit this year, we know that Customer Success and Customer Experience aren’t one in the same, but feed into each other.

In a world with intense competition, your differentiator will be what kind of Customer Experience you offer, which will then lead to the creation of the data you’ll use to ensure Customer Success.

We’ve delved into the topic of changing approaches to customer experience and the skills people will need to thrive in the future workplace. Get in touch with us to find out how we’re putting this into practice with our approach to Customer Success.

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