The Union of Customer Obsession and Science

Amy Downs, Chief Customer Success and Happiness Officer, Lifesize
Date: Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Hello, everybody, and welcome to Lifesize Live!, the live web show produced entirely through the Lifesize platform.

I'm your host, Julian Fields, and with me today we have Amy Downs, Chief Customer Success and Happiness Officer. Welcome to the show.

Thank you.

And welcome back to the country. I know you've been traveling lately.

Yes, lots of customer visits, partner visits, and trade shows.

Today, we want to talk about the science between people and processes and things like that, so let's dive right into Amy's laboratory.

I love that you call it Amy's lab! I was a big fan of Dexter's Lab many years ago. I love cartoons. So today we’re talking a little bit about the science behind customer obsession. I've done a lot of talks on this; it’s a big passion of mine. So really, with customer obsession and delivering that to customers, I always start by defining what customer obsession means. And to me, customer obsession is making sure that customers get value out of our solution each and every day — day after day, month after month, and year after year. That’s super important in a subscription business, so there's a little bit of science behind how we do that.

First, I always say, we start with the people. People are our foundation, and so we look to hire really great people who have what I call customer service DNA and service hearts. And it's something that you can spot after you talk to folks, but I love hiring people who just love helping customers. So we work here at Lifesize and we try to build a very diverse team, so we have people from all over the world serving customers.

So, when you're interviewing these people, is this a phone interview? You do any video interviews?

Yes, we always do video interviews, which makes them a lot more personable. But you can tell—there's so much that you can tell with body language when you're talking to somebody. By seeing things in their eyes and their facial expressions and their smiles when they talk about customers, it's really easy to see if someone has that service DNA, that passion.

The passion—you could fake passion with your voice, I think, but you can't fake it with your eyes.

No, you can't. So that's a big way that we do recruiting for our team. We just try to make sure that we hire people who match our core values, customer obsession being our number one core value. But acting with integrity and authenticity, driving relentless innovation, and making every day matter are big values too. And so we look for more cultural fits — we can teach all of the aspects of the job in many cases, but just finding folks who are great cultural fits with our company is so important.

And being a user of the product, I know it's a relatively simple thing to learn and pick up, so teaching is the easy part; getting the right fit is the challenge.

Exactly. So yeah, the foundation is our people and building great teams. And then what we do is, we surround those people with the systems and processes that they need to be successful. It sounds simple, but there's actually a lot to that.

I'm sure it's changed a lot over time, too.

Yeah, absolutely. We started our journey back in March of 2015 with selecting a solution that would allow us to deliver customer success at scale. As you guys all know, here at Lifesize, we acquired 5,000 new customers in a very short period of time, and so we needed to figure out how we deliver customer obsession at scale. So we looked and did an RP to find solutions that would allow us to help with that and really get a granular level of visibility into the overall relationship that we have with our customers. And so that's kind of where the science really starts to come in.

And really where it changes from customer support to customer obsession.

Exactly. And you know, I think back to the days before customer success even had that name or there was a profession around it. We managed customer relationships on spreadsheets, and there were 10 or 20 different systems that had information about customers. And now the world is very different with data analytics and our ability to go pull information from multiple areas and really have an overall view of both the data science and the analytics behind the relationship, but also, how are the customers feeling? How is our physical relationship with them, right? The interactions with our sales teams and with our customer success and support teams are meant to deliver more of that kind of soft-touch relationship. And it's really the combination of those two things that allows us to gauge the health of our customers.

And that's great because it gives you insight into all of those touch points, so when I'm calling in or having an issue, I’m not repeating myself because I've talked to four other different people or something like that. Like you guys know probably before I call you.

What might be going on, yes, in many cases we do. And again that comes with the science behind the solution, so we have a lot of triggers where we can see problems before customers see problems. We do a lot of proactive outreaches from the customer success side when things do happen just to let customers know, “Hey, we got it. This is not you; this is us.” And so we do have the opportunity to use that information to deliver a really great experience for customers. And for me, being a computer science major way back in the day and writing software, this sort of combination of this world of data science and delivering amazing experiences for customers is wonderful to be a part of. It really helps us use information to deliver an experience that our customers will remember and really delivers on that core value of customer obsession.

I'm sure, not to brag, but you and your team get awards all the time for the great stuff that you guys do.

We do.

Not just for Lifesize, but this whole customer obsession world that you're kind of creating and driving.

Yeah, thank you.

So talking to people and processes. What else goes on in the lab?

So it's not just our team. I always talk about this concept at Lifesize of one team, and we are. We're one team, and we're all working together to deliver on that core value of customer obsession, and so we have people across the company from our great marketing team (which you're a part of), to our sales team, to our data analytics team, engineering, product — you name it. We're all engaged in delivering that experience for customers, and so a lot of the interaction and engagement that we have as kind of the one Lifesize team is really valuable because if we don't build the product, if we don't build the data analytics, the logging into the product itself, the visibility of how customers are using the solution and where are they getting value and where aren't they perhaps getting value, then for us we're sort of riding blind.

We don't really know if these features that we're rolling out are really valuable to customers or if there’s something else we need to tweak. Being able to take that information and understand what's important to our customers, what problems they are solving, what the use cases in their businesses are is so important. And finding out what is really delivering value for them — and not only them, but their industries — and being able to take that information back from what we're seeing on the customer success side, and delivering that back into the engine, back into marketing, back into sales, back into the product is what makes us successful so that we continually deliver a product that is helping customers solve challenges. And also, taking the feedback from those customers and delivering a product and an experience that matches that core value as well is crucial.

Right. That’s great.

Well, I know we've got to wrap things up. So as we do, are there any final things that you'd like to leave with the audience?

So the big thing is to continue to build and drive your businesses and to be customer centric around customer obsession. I always say that delivering a great experience for your customers seems really simple, but delivering customer obsession, customer value, should be a no-brainer. If you treat customers well, they should continue to renew with you, they should continue to spend more with you, they should be happy, and they should refer you. That’s what we call second-order revenue, referrals to other customers. And it's a great way to build a business; it feels really good, and so I just encourage you guys out there who are on this journey to continue with that. It's the right way to build a company, and ultimately your customers will be happy and so will your people.

Fantastic. Well, thanks so much for doing this.

Thanks, Julian. I love these sessions, so I appreciate you guys setting this up.

Yeah, we're doing it every week, twice a week. Tuesdays and Thursdays. All right, guys — well, thanks for tuning in. We'll see you in a couple of days.

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