Get More Done: Leveling up Customer Success with Aaron Thompson

Is your customer success team battling high churn rates? Are you gearing up to take customer satisfaction to the next level? Aaron Thompson, the Chief Revenue Officer at SuccessCOACHING, is here to make sure you don’t just win the battle, you win the war. 

Aaron discusses how to best prepare a customer success team for the challenging road ahead, the mistakes that managers often make, and how strategy can help you do more with less. Tune in (or read below) to learn how to effectively engage with customers and truly show them the value of your tool.

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In the episode “Leveling up Customer Success,” we discuss:

  • The best piece of advice Aaron has ever been given
  • Why client success strategy always has to come before automation
  • How to introduce automation without losing the human element 
  • The critical impact that customer segmentation and implementing personas have on the customer lifecycle
  • The distinguishing difference between customer support and customer success
  • How a scheduling tool for teams, like, helps keep a personal approach at scale
  • The core competencies that every customer success team needs to know
  • Customer retention strategies: how a positive onboarding experience can reduce churn rates
  • Aaron’s top productivity tips: why you shouldn’t multitask and the value of taking things day by day
  • What’s next for SuccessCOACHING: conferences and certification courses

Meet today’s guest, Aaron Thompson

Aaron Thompson is the Chief Revenue Officer at SuccessCOACHING, the leading provider of Customer Success training and education. He is a connector, educator, and public speaker with over 20 years of experience helping companies improve retention rates, increase recurring revenue, and recoup customer acquisition costs. Aaron enjoys skiing, kayaking, and golfing with his family and friends.

Productivity resources to explore

“Leveling up Customer Success” full transcript

Ben (00:00):

Welcome back to Get More Done. I'm your host Ben Dlugiewicz. Each episode, we will talk with folks from around the world and learn how they are doing more with less and getting more done. In this episode, we sat down with Aaron Thompson, Chief Revenue Officer with SuccessCOACHING, an education platform that helps customer success teams learn the ins and outs of the CS world. During our conversation, we talk about the importance of segmenting your users and the core competencies that CS teams need to know. Enjoy.

Ben (00:45):

All right. Welcome back to the Get More Done podcast where we talk about all things productivity and helping you level up and get more done. On today's episode, I'm sitting down with Aaron Thompson, the Chief Revenue Officer with SuccessCOACHING. So Aaron, welcome to the podcast.

Aaron (01:01):

Thank you, Ben. Appreciate it. Always like a chance to get out and do stuff where the camera's not on and people can't see what I look like. I do so much in front of a camera. It's nice to get on a podcast here and there and be able to do it in a baseball hat for a change.

Ben (01:14):

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So typically, when we start these conversations out, we start with an icebreaker to break up the nerves a little bit. This week's icebreaker is a bit of a doozy, so what's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Aaron (01:31):

Yeah, you know, that's tough because there's, I've probably received a lot of great advice throughout my life. But the first one that comes to mind reminds me of an old basketball coach that I had back in college. And when we would over-complicate things, he would just say, “keep it simple, stupid.” And he, you know, he really coached along the KISS methodology of K I S S and I use that a lot today, right? When I try to teach people customer success and the ins and outs of, kind of how to manage this proactive customer relationship. It can seem daunting and really sort of intimidating and there's so much to do in so little time and so many customers. So I'll oftentimes revert back to that and just try to break it down into the most simplistic form. And I tell myself to keep it simple, stupid, and sometimes it works.

Ben (02:27):

Yeah, no, that's great advice. Get rid of all the complexity, get it down to the bare bones. Absolutely. Awesome. So with the customer success teams that you helped level up with SuccessHACKER, what are some of the things that you're seeing those teams doing that are making them successful?

Aaron (02:44):

Yeah, that's a good question. I think the first step with any team is development, right? So that's where we live is in the learning and development space. Created the world's first certification in the discipline of customer success. And so when we live in this world, the question that we get a lot is, you know, where to begin, right? Like how do I get started? And it really...the first step is to figure out where your team lies in terms of competencies and their overall skill set today. Just like if you were to go into a gym and want to talk to somebody about a personal trainer, right? So to get into shape, they're going to take some metrics to figure out first off, what is your goal? Are you trying to gain weight and become more strong or are you trying to lose weight and become thinner?

Aaron (03:38):

And then where are you in that journey today relative to where you think you want to be, and then they can put a plan together to get you from point A to point B. And that's what the successful customer success teams do, especially around leveling up, as you said, we need to know where we want to go, right? And where we are relative to that today. So some sort of assessment, competency modeling, things like that. And really putting a pragmatic approach to what leveling up means is kind of what differs the really successful organizations that are really growing and developing and the leaders there versus other companies that maybe don't even have a learning and development budget or plan. Or, you know, really no customer success enablement strategy. Their sales teams oftentimes do.

Aaron (04:41):

And that's because there have been sales trainers for a long time. Sales has been around a lot longer than customer success. But for some reason that a lot of these organizations, they kind of rebrand either an old support organization to be CSMs, or they develop it from scratch, but one's born into customer success. We all have to come from somewhere. And we oftentimes just kind of get forgotten when it comes to what are we doing to make these people better at their job. And then when they do that effectively, that assessment piece effectively, then we have a good chance to put together a plan and can actually go execute against that plan. Not unlike what our customer success managers do for their customers. That's what we do for our customers. And the more intentional the leadership can be, the more pragmatic the leadership can be with how they approach that learning and development. It sets them up for success, as well as their teams.

Ben (05:37):

Absolutely. With the proper planning and knowing where you're going to go and doing that intake of where you're at and where those gaps live. I think that's imperative. That’s really awesome to see now within the CS teams that you've been working with. How are you seeing them do more with less?

Aaron (05:53):

Yeah. That's always the golden ticket, if you will, that we're all striving for. Right. And obviously, there are systems out there, there are platforms that integrate with your CRM and allow you to automate some of the customer success functions. You can use marketing automation tools even, and instead of pointing them externally at the market, you're pointing them internally at your customer set and managing some one to many that way. The trick with it is when you get into that automation piece and using technology, you need to really have a sound strategy. Just like you wouldn't want to go implement a marketing automation platform without understanding who you're marketing to and what products you're marketing and why they should care and what is the call to action and the value that you're providing, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. You don't want to do that to your customers either.

Aaron (06:48):

Just like I said, and we see that the average lifespan of a Head of Customer Success or VP of Customer Success in the industry is about 18 months because they're hired in to fix a churn problem. And they come in and oftentimes they will throw a big piece of technology at the problem. And then without any sound strategy behind it, and really understanding what it's going to take cross-departmentally to fix that problem, they have these unforeseen circumstances. And because they're using this powerful tool, it can actually be a much more negative outcome than it would have been had they just tried to manually kind of drudge their way through it without the automation, et cetera. And so we'd see that, and then they end up, it doesn't fix the problem. They end up back looking for their next opportunity. And what happens here is it's not the technology's fault.

Aaron (07:43):

I had a post on LinkedIn, the tech didn't fail. You failed the tech, right? These are really powerful tools. Things like ChurnZero and ClientSuccess and Totango, et cetera. And they're really powerful tools, but they have to be used the right way. And you really need to understand those moments of truth through your customer's life cycle and understanding what the positive behaviors of a customer are and what the negatives are. And then what are your campaigns going to look like in order to remedy the negative and try to bring them back into the positive. As well as...long answer to a short question: it really is about that strategy upfront to allow us to do more with less. I like to do things to actually do less with less at the beginning. Work out the kinks of your customer success practice in a manual way so that the impact isn't as profound as it would be as if you then take one of these powerful tools and throw it in there. Then, and only then, are you prepared to not fail the tech and actually leverage that technology to do more with less and be effective with it in a positive way.

Ben (09:02):

Yeah, absolutely. I think a lot of teams may lead to that, the implementation of tech right away to say, "oh, this is their silver bullet." But if that strategy, that foundation isn't there, then you're just throwing money away because it's not being effective. And like you mentioned, that lifespan of a manager in success is mind-boggling. That's wild. That is so short, it's a fast turnaround. Have you ever seen, you know, automation kind of go the other way with success teams? Of it getting a little bit too much and you're removing that human connection. Have you seen that being a problem with the CS teams?

Aaron (09:38):

Early in the customer success development as an industry, It was a human first practice where we met high touch and that allowed us to do a lot of things with our customers proactively, really understanding their definition of success, success planning, for example, business reviews, et cetera. And the relationship would turn in, if we did it right, would turn into one of a trusted advisor. And that's what we're always kind of striving for. But then we realized we can't do this at scale. And if I need to hire a new CSM for every five new customers or 10 new customers, we will actually outpace in terms of growth, the rest of the enterprise, because we're not also hiring someone in support and legal and marketing and sales, et cetera. And so the customer success function actually becomes a hindrance on the business because it's just growing at a faster rate as the business continues to acquire new customers.

Aaron (10:41):

And so some element of scalability was necessary and some automation needed to happen. And so that's when the platform started being created and going to market and people started building things in their CRM. And even for me, it was, you know, just simple things like being able to automate the checklist of an onboarding, task list, right? Implementation, what's it look like, things like that. And we started implementing or integrating all of this automation. And when done effectively, you don't lose that human connection. When, if I can, for example, let's say I have hundreds and hundreds of accounts. I can't meet with hundreds and hundreds of accounts in person, but I can with some, and then those that I can't, I need to create some sort of one-to-many approach to how I'm going to navigate them.

Aaron (11:42):

So at that point, I can start creating basically ideal customer profiles and I can start painting them into some persona and I at least understand and should know by role what the personas would be. Cause I'm going to have an executive stakeholder who pays us the money and buys the thing and ultimately decides to renew, expand, et cetera. I'm going to have my champion, which is like my subject matter expert, who probably uses the thing, and as a team lead, and helps me drive adoption and other users. And then I'm going to have my massive user base of everybody who just uses it on the daily, weekly, whatever, you know, cadence they need to use the tool, right? Each of those roles has very different things that they care about. I might have a new feature in the product. That executive stakeholder may not probably doesn't care.

Customer success strategies: Podcast with Aaron Thompson  
Aaron (12:43):

They don't use the product. And so they don't necessarily need to know that. Those end-users probably do care. And hopefully, they've been asking for that feature and now you can close the loop with them and show your voice of the customer feedback mechanism works, and we put it in the roadmap, but now it's in the product. Magic, look at that. You asked for it and we delivered it, right? So that communication needs to be tailored to the users and maybe the champion, the executive stakeholder, probably doesn't. Now, if we're talking about some sort of renewal or some kind of budgetary thing, or a mini, a whole new set of solutions or skews of pain points that we can solve. And we know that that executive stakeholder has those pain points, then we're going to message that to them. But the end-users probably don't care. They haven't voiced that pain point per se, et cetera. And so it's about using automation, but getting really segmented and strategic with how you use it. And you can do almost what feels like one-to-one communication, but do it at scale when you segment out your roles and your personas across your book of business. And that allows us to hold onto that personal touch while still doing it with some level of scalability.

Ben (14:04):

Yeah, totally. So talking about the personalization of the messaging and the actual audience, and then not letting that lose sight of just making things faster for yourself, but still having that right message, right? Tone for the right person.

Aaron (14:17):

Yeah. We talked about the right message, the right channel, the right person, and the right timing when we look at how to really effectively engage with customers. And if you miss any of those four, it's going to start to become noise and they're going to become disengaged. I don't think that a company should ever, maybe not never, but maybe only a couple of times a year, ever email their whole customer base with one blast. That's just so, you know, when companies do that week after week, month after month, and it has nothing to do with me, and it's not anything about my pain points or success or use case value proposition. Even my role, whether I'm an executive stakeholder or an end-user, we all just get the same stuff. That's where we start to lose that personal connection. Everybody knows that companies are using scalable tools today.

Customer success management: Podcast with Aaron Thompson

Aaron (15:17):

I don't know any, you know, growth stage company, even early-stage startups are using CRMs and, you know, some art marketing automation. Something to try, even like LinkedIn Navigator, to go prospect at scale, right? Everybody knows it's happening. It's about being better than that. Just being more pragmatic, more intentional, smarter, frankly, with how we communicate out so that we're not just blasting everybody with the same message regardless of who they are and where they're at in their life cycle with us. That's another thing. Your new customers, you should have a different cadence and different kind of communication than a customer who's been with you for 10 years, right? As they mature and become more self-sufficient we need to get less...or you need to get more intentional with how we reach out to them. And what's going to matter to them is going to change over time.

Aaron (16:15):

We just have to be smart about that. And if we are, we can keep that personal touch and still do it at scale. We're not fooling anybody into thinking it's a one-on-one email though, right? Like we've all gotten enough spam by this point. We get it. We know how this game works. But when they can do it well, like Spotify at the end of the calendar year, every year sends me an email that shows me unique listening habits from the past year. And I can click into it and it's interactive. And it shows me what time of day I listened to the Grateful Dead versus the Beatles. And that's really interesting to me. That's actually done at scale, obviously. Millions of users, all different, getting a different email, but totally at scale. And it's an annual business review. It shows me the value I got for my nine bucks a month, all year, last year.

Aaron (17:09):

So that as I look at my credit card and start knocking off subscriptions I'm not using, I keep them on my P and L. That's basically all that is. It's an annual business review that allows me to, allows them to demonstrate the value that I've been receiving. And they do it at scale. They do it massive scale. And it's personalized. That's a perfect example of how you can use automation. Well, there, everybody knows that that's not a one-on-one email, but somehow it's still about me because they focused on my behavior and my habits in their product. And they use that to make a really intelligent review at the end of the year.

Ben (17:49):

Yeah. A masterclass on just that personal touch. And then that cementing the value. I think that's the other thing that's important too in the CS world is they need to be getting value from your tool or they're going to go somewhere else, right? And we have to do that and get that in front of them. So, you know, when you talk a bit about book of business and hundreds of accounts that you may be working with, what are some tips and tricks that you share in your courses to help CSMs be more productive? So, because like you said, you can't get to everybody. So what are some things that they could maybe apply?

Aaron (18:24):

Yeah. I was advised the first step is to create some intelligent service model. And if you're treating everybody the same, you're just doing a dumb. It's just because every customer is not the same. If I have a hundred accounts, I can't treat them all the same, because if I do, I'm going to have a reactive tactical life that is really more in line with customer support. Customer support at its core is reactive and tactical. Customer success at its core is proactive and strategic. I'm outbound, proactively getting out ahead and identifying risk, managing that, managing expectations, and then defining, delivering, and demonstrating what success is to you. And I'm going to do that in a proactive way. I'm not going to wait for things to break. I'm going to recommend fixes before you even know you need one. And so what's important is to segment them and I'm going to do that along obviously revenue.

Leveling up Customer Success: Podcast with Aaron Thomson

Aaron (19:22):

Then we look at a vertical and are they in a vertical that we're trying to break into? And then you have strategic logos, right? If it's a big, sexy logo that I can go tell everybody that they're a customer and that'll help me acquire other customers. Well, then that helps as well. And so we segment across these three, we create weighing systems so that we can create a hierarchy of our hundreds of customers that we have to try to manage. And then from there, we need to know the 80/20 rule that about 80 - and so when I segment, I do a bell curve, so I got 20% in high touch. I got 20% at the other end of the scale, that's going to be completely tech touch, self-guided. Like we will not talk to you. It's all electronic means through support tickets and knowledge base articles, et cetera.

Aaron (20:17):

And then you've got about 60% of your customers in the middle, which is kind of a hybrid, a low touch. 80% of your revenue is going to come from that high-touch segment. And so that's where I want to be focusing KPIs, key performance indicators are at your organization as a CSM. You want that to be your north star because you want to get promoted and be seen as a leader and do really well at your job. To do that, you've got to have an intelligent service model, even if it's just in your own book of business, and you never even tell your customers that it exists. You still, when two tickets come in or two emails come in, you have to have logic and reasoning behind why you address which ones that you do and how you are going to free up time to be proactive and strategic with those really valuable customers.

Ben (21:05):

Yeah. That segmentation is powerful because as you mentioned, not everybody's equal. And towards the KPIs, there's different levers that you're pulling and working on and all that stuff. That makes total sense. Now, you talked a little bit about saving time there, because you know, you are on a limited capacity. How have you seen scheduling applications, like, help CSMs?

Aaron (21:24):

Well, it's, you know, it takes, it gets rid of the back and forth, right? Are you available this time or that time? And oh no, I'm not, nope. Something else just landed on my calendar and somebody else beat you to it kind of thing, et cetera. I, any tools like that, if I'm asking for someone's time, I never want to provide them the link to find time on my calendar. But when I'm asking other people to get on their calendar, I sure love it when they have a tool like that. So I can just go find a time that works for both, especially when you're trying to do this at scale with, you know, hundreds of customers. For example, if you're going to do a one-to-many communication and the call to action is to line up a 15 minute, 30 minute, whatever phone call with me to talk about this thing. Something like is a perfect tool to help with that. Because again, it's going to be personal, but it's still going to be done at scale with that one-to-many approach.

Ben (22:22):

Now let's jump back to that customer success compensation model that you were talking about earlier. Now that's basically describing what every level on the CS team should know. So can you give us a little bit more of an overview of what that exactly is?

Aaron (22:38):

Yeah, absolutely. And we've been working on this for years and we've just put together kind of the second version of it, and I'm happy to share this out. I'll send you the link where folks can download the, it's an 89 page PDF that we've worked with third parties to identify and dissect the ideal customer success skillset. And we've divided it up among Junior CSMs, so from one to three years of experience. Senior CSMs, so from three to six years of experience. And then leadership with, you know, six to eight years of experience. There are five core disciplines that we've identified. And then we have 18 skills that all kind of come up and roll up among the five disciplines. And the first discipline is emotional intelligence or EQ. And within that, it has empathy, motivation, self-awareness, self-regulation, and social skills.

Aaron (23:41):

And we break down what each of those look like for a Junior, a Senior CSM, and then a leader. So empathy. What does that mean for someone who's new in their career versus someone who's more experienced, et cetera? And then all of those collectively make up your EQ or your emotional intelligence quotient. The next section is called people and teamwork and that's divided up among open communication, execution and management, teamwork, and then coaching and development. Derive is the third one that, and you'll hear this a lot in business now, grit. We need people with grit. That really caught on a couple of years ago. That's really what this is talking about, right? It's the ability to drive and be decisive. So it's decisiveness, adaptability, and then accountability for results. So really holding ourselves accountable to not just be really responsive and clicking refresh on the inbox all day and answering questions real well when they come in, but actually delivering things that matter, creating new ways of doing things. Doing that proactive side.

Aaron (24:51):

The next one is entrepreneurship and strategy. As Customer Success Managers, we need to have an element of entrepreneurship. We need to have an element of being able to be creative and think outside the box. And so that comes into business acumen, strategy and direction, and then customer orientation. And then the fifth discipline, the big bucket, is just behaviors. And that's divided up amongst continuous learning, maturity, and trust. And so what we've done is we've taken years and years of experiential data and worked with a third party to develop this competency model that has these five main sections with the 18 more tactical skills. And then we lay it out so that people can identify where am I in my junior and my senior in my leadership, et cetera. And then go down a list of very, again, pragmatic list of skills and say, where are my blind spots? What am I good at? And I want to just kind of exacerbate and hammer that cause we want to focus on what we're good at, as well as what we're not. And be, you know, our strengths and then where can I improve and kind of develop some new muscles, across the overall skillset of being an effective customer success professional.

Ben (26:11):

Wow. That, yeah. That sounds truly comprehensive. And it covers the whole facet and the whole team. We’ll be sure to have a downloadable link on the blog post that we'll put out so people can check that out. I'll be diving into that too, and I'll share it with our CS team as well. That sounds awesome. So just have a few more questions here. One that I really wanted to get your take on, you know, when we start talking about software and, or really, I guess anything on the CS side is how does reducing friction during onboarding impact renewal and expansion? And what are some ways that teams are leveraging to reduce this friction?

Customer onboarding: Podcast with Aaron Thompson

Aaron (26:51):

I love this question. So how does reducing friction impact renewal and expansion, in a word, exponentially? The onboarding stage of the customer life cycle is unequivocally, without a doubt, the most important stage of the life cycle. And I don't know if I have time to get into all the reasons why, but long story short, it's about first impressions. And our customer is the most vulnerable they're ever going to be in that onboarding stage. They just transitioned from pre-sale to post-sale. And this is a new customer I'm talking about. Not someone who has been working with you and then bought something new and now needs training on this new thing. I'm talking about a full-on net new relationship who made a business decision based on personal preference. And they liked their sales team and they built a relationship with their sales team. And now they're being transitioned to someone new, that in itself creates friction.

Aaron (27:56):

And we need to identify that and be real about that fact. And they also know that they don't know anything. They don't know the product, they don't know the people, they don't know your processes, they don't know your communication style. And so they are vulnerable. Unlike they're ever going to be again. As they become more self-sufficient and mature in their life cycle, that vulnerability eventually goes away, or it certainly goes away to some degree. And so they're the most vulnerable they're going to be. And that provides us the most leverage were ever going to have. And so we can leverage that moment to set the relationship, ship off on the right trajectory, or not. There's a staggering statistic that 90% of the customers who churned at their first available opportunity. So if this is an annual contract, when they leave after year one, nine out of 10 times, they wanted to leave within the first 30 days.

Aaron (28:56):

And they just had to wait it out. Meaning during onboarding, they felt like, "Have they never sold to a customer before? Am I the first customer this company has ever brought on? Because I don't feel like they've ever done this before. I don't. I'm out." Right? And they already start setting the mindset of churn within that first 30 days. And sometimes you can save it, but more times than not, you can't even save it. That's how critical onboarding is. That initial stage from the top of funnel to bottom of funnel creates friction. There's handoffs. There's data loss. I have to repeat myself. Oh, and by the way, the level of effort for me is the highest it's ever going to be as well. I have to go to training classes and I have to take time to learn your admin modules and read your user guides and all this crap that I didn't have to do yesterday.

Aaron (29:49):

And now my boss bought this new thing and tells me I have to use it. And I've already got more stuff to do than there is time to do it. And so I'm anxious. I have friction. I don't want to do this. I want to go home. And now I have to stay and work extra. Why can't we just go back to using spreadsheets or whatever we were doing before, right? That's where change management comes in. There's this whole concept of the trough of disillusionment that I teach in my classes. You know, I don't think I have time to get into it, but all of that goes into vulnerability. And then the effort level is through the roof. Again, once they know the thing, that effort level comes down. Once they get to go live and they're using every day and you've managed the adoption and the change management across the user base, and they're starting to realize some value, it comes down. Their anxiety level comes down. The friction comes down. But while it's going up and they're going through onboarding, that stage is absolutely critical. And that's why, I mean, exponentially related.

Ben (30:56):

No, but I think, you know, with that vulnerability, that's something that maybe people don't really associate with a new customer. Because you're like, “Oh, they're on a high. They're, you know, agreeing to do it.” But they're coming into a bunch of unknown and looking for somebody to guide them through it and be prepared and ready for their welcoming. Because like you said, if they feel like it's a dog and pony show and it's chickens running around with their heads cut off, that's just going to set them up for thinking that the whole way. And then renewal comes around, they’ll be first off the ship. For sure.

Aaron (31:24):

Yeah, absolutely.

Ben (31:26):

So, let's talk about you personally here for a moment and step away from the CS teaching role. What are some things that you're doing to gain an edge and become more productive yourself?

Aaron (31:37):

You know, ever since I became an entrepreneur at 38 years old. That was the first time I founded my first company, with a seven-year-old son to support. Not how I would advise him to become an entrepreneur. Would've been much better to start a little lemonade stand back in the day or something. But, I thought of it this way. There's, we've all got the same amount of time. And I was going to build this business from scratch and run, try to run it myself from scratch. And the only way I could get an edge was frankly working more than other people did, you know? There is no shortcut to success. And I am now remarried. And I talk to my wife about this all the time. I refer to the late nights or the weekends where I'm building a keynote and get a good travel and talk to people about customer success or whatever I'm doing. You know, preparing for a podcast as a new, it's another brick in the empire.

Aaron (32:40):

And you got to build these things one brick at a time. And it's the late Tuesday night where I worked all night. Or it's pulling out the laptop on Saturday morning and putting together a PowerPoint presentation or some content, net new content, that we can then go sell, et cetera. And it's really just accepting that and owning that and putting in that extra time while at the same time, valuing your downtime. And that's what I didn't do well at the beginning of my entrepreneurship, was place a high enough importance on the three hours from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM before my son goes to bed. He's there next to me on the couch. We're watching someone on TV or whatever, and I'm working on my laptop. What I learned was I need to be present with him and put the laptop away. And then when he's in bed, I can pull that thing out and work till 2:00 AM, or whatever I need to do to get ready.

Aaron (33:38):

So I'm prepared for the next day, but each moment has things you're building. I'm trying to build a relationship with my son that is one of love and compassion and guidance and parenthood, et cetera, while at the same time a business. And those are, I mean, the relationship with my son is more important, but when you're focused on building a career or doing something new or whatever, the thing may be, we can lose sight of that. And so really valuing that downtime and being present. I think it just allows you to recharge when you're trying to recharge, and then you have more energy to focus when you're trying to focus. And so I think that's my sort of life hack, if you will. Don't multitask, don't half-ass things. If you're going to work, work. And if you're gonna be hanging out with family or doing something that you enjoy, do that. You can take advantage of any opportunity in life. But at the end of the day, I believe it's about building these things brick by brick, day by day. And over the course of years, you can create something great, no matter what that is.

Customer success: Podcast with Aaron Thompson

Ben (34:54):

Yeah, absolutely. Build it one piece at a time. But like you said, just stay focused and stay aware and present in the moment. That's real, real good stuff. Awesome. So, what's next for SuccessCOACHING? What are you all cooking up? What are you working on?

Aaron (35:09):

Well, that's a good question. I'm headed to Washington DC in a couple of weeks to do a couple of talks at a conference called BIG RYG that's put on by ChurnZero there. And that'll be my first in-person event since March 12th, 2020. I was in London doing a keynote when I saw travel from the UK is shut down, back to the US, and I thought I may not even get home. But luckily, everything was just fine. I was about one day ahead of all the shutdown. And so this is my first chance to get back around what I affectionately refer to as the CS fam. And so I'm excited about that. We'll be out there with a booth and, like I said, we're doing a workshop on the competency model. And so I'll be teaching the leaders in the room what we touched on earlier.

Aaron (35:58):

And then I'm also doing a keynote called Teammate's Success Equals Customer Success, and talking about how to really enable our teams the same way we enable and empower our customers. And so that's happening. Q4 we've got a couple of certification courses. I'm doing some adjunct professor work with Portland State University here locally, although it's virtual. And then as we move into next year, we're going to be coming out with leadership customer success certifications. And so we have individual contributor tracks today and next year, what we're looking at is leadership tracks. So always more content coming out. Always new ways and better ways to do things. Industry best practices. And as long as we keep churning out the content, we have the right to continue working with our customers. Once we are no longer bringing on new stuff, I don't think we're going to keep people around very long. So that's our goal to be the Netflix of customer success education if you will.

Ben (37:01):

Awesome. That's great to hear. Excellent. Thank you again for coming on the show today, Aaron. Aaron Thompson with SuccessCOACHING. Thank you so much.

Aaron (37:09):

My pleasure, Ben. Thanks so much.

Ben (37:32):

Thank you for listening to Get More Done. Be sure to subscribe so you can be alerted of new guests or reach out if you would like to be on the show. You can find us on Twitter @YouCanBookMe or on our forum,

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