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Companies Getting Creative for Customer Success: Highlights from Pulse Europe

Customer Success is finally hitting the mainstream. It’s one of the fastest-growing professions in North America, and now it’s taking off in Europe too.

Innovation Theatre

I saw that for myself at Gainsight’s Pulse Europe event, which drew 1,200+ CS professionals from 30 countries to London from Nov. 7-9. According to Gainsight, the No. 1 reason people said they attended was to learn advanced CS strategies and actions. There’s no doubt that SaaS companies in Europe are closing the gap in their CS thinking and practice.

I had a ton of fun as host of the Innovation Theater at Pulse Europe.  Every session was packed and the audience was highly engaged. Speakers shared how companies are getting incredibly creative in their efforts to help customers achieve desired outcomes. Here are a few highlights:

  • Greg RoseGreg Rose talked about how his company, Intellum, has evolved its training platform based on customer needs. “The old ways of training are done. Ditch your curriculum,” Greg said. People now want clear, succinct, task-oriented instructions, and Intellum delivers this CX in bite-sized training videos as short as 45 seconds. Greg is a fun guy and I had a great time hanging out with him at another event later that day.

  • Bart Meerdink from inSided talked about how companies can offer the best online support to their customers. I was interested in his insight about the CS service stack. Bart says different software is appropriate at different levels of ARR, so for example, spreadsheets will do the job for a companies up to $1M ARR, while CSM software is needed at about $5M+ ARR. It’s useful to recognize the value of right-sizing your tools -- no single size fits everyone.

    CS Service Stack - Bart Meerdink
  • Josh Lowy, co-founder of Hugo, explained how his app infuses your teams’ meeting notes with the customer context, bringing every team conversation back to the customers’ needs. Appropriately for two guys from Australia, Josh and his co-founder Darren Chait call this process of always coming back to the customer a “boomerang flow.”

  • Fraser StarkFraser Stark of Influitive introduced the concept of the “customer-powered enterprise,” suggesting that customers are beginning to drive product and service innovation, along with providing some of the most valuable support your other customers will ever receive. Customer-powered enterprises may be the next big disruption, and every one of us needs to keep an eye out for opportunities or threats in this area. The coolest example Fraser provided was that of Lego, which opens up the design of some new Lego sets to non-Lego staff, including amateur and professional designers. The community then votes on the designs, and if one reaches 10,000 votes, Lego produces a limited run, such as the Sydney Opera House, and the designer receives 1% of the resulting revenue.

  • Travis Kaufman, now with Gainsight and formerly with Aptrinsic, talked about ways that SaaS companies can -- and must -- dissolve barriers between functional organizations, especially Product and CS. Travis used the example of Sales and Marketing, which have undergone a similar silo-busting merge. In enterprise IT, the emergence of devops is similar. Keep an eye on this space -- in my view, CS has to be the responsibility of the entire company, and collaborating with Product is an essential part of the equation.

  • Kirsten Brehmer from Taskray highlighted customer onboarding and the importance of delivering the best possible experience during this phase of the customer journey. I really admire Taskray, a bootstrapped company that has created beautiful branding, clean workflows, and a compelling product. They told me they’d been at Pulse Austin and liked it so much they signed up for Pulse Europe too!

  • Alan at Pulse EuropeFinally, on the last day of Pulse Europe I had the opportunity to present the new CS model Eigenworks has developed. It’s intended to help companies pinpoint challenges and opportunities along the customer journey so you can double down on what you’re doing right … or fix what’s going wrong. Here’s my slide deck. If you’d like to see me explaining the model, here’s a short video of a presentation I gave at Shopify.

All in all, it was an exciting few days. In future posts, I’ll share more insights I’ve gained from Pulse World Tour in Boston, Austin, Chicago, and London this fall. Stay tuned!

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