Beyond the Acquisition | Customer Success Podcast | Episode 2

Victoria Nichol Director of Customer Success at Predictive Index

I sat down with Victoria Nichol, Victoria is an experienced customer centric leader in b2b Software and is currently the Director of Customer Success at Predictive Index. In this episode, Victoria shares with us how leaders can build better Customer Success teams and culture.

Predictive Index talent optimization platform allows business leaders hire top talent, design winning teams and manage people brilliantly.

Be sure to check out the OPTIMA 2019 Confrence taking place in Boston from November 20th-22nd.

Get your OPTIMA 2019 tickets here and to see all-star keynote speakers including: Billy Beane, creator of Moneyball, Mel Robbins, world-renowned speaker, author of the 5-Second Rule as well as Boston’s top innovators including David Cancel, CEO of Drift and many more.

How do you define Customer Success?

Customer success is a whole organization coming together to help customers drive value through the solving business problems. Customer Success creates Hero’s, our customers are our Hero’s.

What makes a great Customer Success Leader?

It starts, first with the cores of leadership including the “right” self awareness, empathetic listening skills and being a servant to empower teams and those around you to succeed. Then comes the layer of Customer Success leadership building on the core foundation which is – knowing your customer. Going beyond Net Promoter Scores and survey feed back and becoming a voice for your customer (Predictive Index calls this “Voice of the Hero”).

It’s important for companies to “drink their own champaign” to understand the pain or success that your customers experience through the use of your product or platform. This coupled with rich dialog helps Customer Success leaders see the product experience through the lens of the customer and become the Voice of the Hero.

So would you say your model is high touch, tell us more?

At Predictive Index our model is more high touch, but we use a number of touch points. We like to start with a very “tight” on-boarding process ensuring that our customers are getting the most out of the first 30 days and are setup for success. Like most we perform Quarterly Business Reviews, but Victoria says the key to it all is being proactive.

We leverage the power of technology and use intelligence built into our platform to allow us to reach out to customers with low usage patterns as an example. We also go much further to track feature/solution usage to drive our proactive outreach and give our customers additional support and training. So leverage power of people, technology and data to be proactive and address customers needs.

How should organizations position Customer Success to ensure it is adopted into the culture?

Adoption of Customer Success within an organization needs to start at the top of the organization. While a “firestorm” of customer centric actions can start lower down in the organization, the Customer Success mindset and values must be in the heart of the Sr. leadership team to become engrained in the company culture.

Victoria finds that leveraging data can really help to show the value of Customer Success to leadership teams to win their “hearts and minds.” As an example her Customer Success team was seeing trends in the data coming back from a recent NPS survey highlighting customer concern over processing times. Her team took action raising this to the Head of Engineering allowing for upcoming delivery priorities to be adjusted to address the issue that was only highlighted in this survey.

The power of Customer Success to drive business outcomes that add customer value was clear in this case and it is real life examples like this that Victoria suggest be used to champion Customer Success.

What are your thoughts on Emotional Intelligence and Mindfulness in Customer Success?

It starts with self awareness, something that Predictive Index has been focusing on for more than 60 years. Knowing what makes you as an individual “tick,” understanding those strengths and weaknesses is critical. Much of this can come through un-filtered feedback from others, but the trick we all struggle with is to accept and apply this feedback.

As our own self awareness grows and matures it then becomes easier listen to the needs of others, be those team members, managers or customers. Our goal in Customer Success is to put the need of the customer first.

Productivity Tip or Hack?

Victoria and Predictive index use Asana to collaborate and capture meeting minuets and actions. She is also a big fan of old fashion, multicolored, sticky notes to capture big items for the week. If Victoria’s week was productive those notes will be crumpled up in the trash bin.

It was great speaking with Victoria, she is a true customer centric leader, with an unwavering passion for Customer Success.

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