To succeed with customer success at your organization, it takes incredible alignment and collaboration with the Product team. We interviewed and asked 8 industry leading product leaders their advice on how they put customers first when building new products or working on existing products at their particular companies. Today we’ll highlight R.J. Talyor, Vice President, Product Management, Geofeedia. In this post, we’ll briefly explore his approach to customer success alignment as it relates to the product team at Geofeedia.
Download a complimentary copy of the ebook “Customer Success as a Culture: Product Leaders Edition” to see R.J.’s full contribution and get access to other product leaders’ viewpoints.
In 2011, Geofeedia embarked on a mission to transform the way organizations leverage social media. They asked: “Wouldn’t it be incredible if we could gather social data coming from a specific location, across multiple social sources, in just a matter of seconds? We could then go anywhere in the world, right now, and understand exactly what’s happening.” That big idea was a dramatic departure from traditional social listening tools that gather social data by keywords and hashtags.
Interact With Customers “Daily. Literally, All the Time”
When asked how often R.J. interacts with customers, his response was, “Daily. Literally, all the time. Everyone on the product team is required to have at least 1 customer call every single day. Whether it’s joining a sales demo or just reaching out to a customer and asking them how they like the product.” R.J. went on to say, “Our space is so quickly moving that we can’t go off for a month and build something new because customer requirements will change and move – our customers are changing all the time. Along with that, the more we talk in our customers’ language, the better product we will build.”
At Geofeedia, the customer conversations the team has every day helps bridge product with marketing and sales. The team has a scorecard they publish every week that looks at pertinent metrics, such as:
- How many searches have been completed?
- How many people downloaded the mobile app?
- How many used the mobile app?
- How many sessions did we have?
Those metrics help the team make better decisions that are focused on the customer.
Use Open-Ended Questions to Learn How Customers Engage
In order to understand how customers engage with the Geofeedia platform, R.J. and team tend to ask open-ended questions to get the customer talking to share authentic answers. He asks questions such as, “Tell me about any new features you have used” or he’ll ask questions about the user experience such as “If you don’t mind, tell me what you’d do on this screen” so as not to lead the customer to the response the team wants to hear.
While Geofeedia doesn’t have a formal Customer Advisory Board, they do have an informal group of customers which is comprised of the top 20 accounts. “Our team is really close with these customers, to the point that we text, email, send screenshots, and talk on a regular basis,” commented R.J. “This group is incredibly valuable to us as we deliver software 1-2 times each week and have 1 big initiative every 6-8 weeks. Having our customers onboard with the product updates is imperative.”
Customer Relationships Are CRITICAL to Geofeedia’s Success
R.J. is a big believer in building solid relationships with customers. In fact, when asked what advice he would give to fellow product leaders, he said it comes down to having such a strong relationship with customers that you can literally pick up the phone and call them or text them at any time. “Many product leaders would say that job belongs to the Customer Success department, but I don’t want to tap the CSM every time I want to talk to a customer – then they just become the gatekeeper. Developing relationships with customers is CRITICAL to product success.”
Read R.J.’s full contribution to the ebook entitled, “Customer Success as a Culture: Product Leaders Edition” and learn from 7 other product leaders like R.J.
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