Podcast

Steps to Managing a Remote Customer Success Team

Eric Crane

Posted 11/24/2020

Restructuring an organization’s CS process is tough enough to do in-person. Imagine doing it 100% remote! 

That’s been the reality for many organizations — and possibly yours — as the pandemic has disrupted our traditional ways of working and living. Rethinking organizational structure has become a necessity in our new normal.

Fortunately, Benoit Bouteille, VP of Customer Experience at Tinyclues, had ample experience in leading remote CS teams before his current company decided to restructure. We recently chatted with him about the process including:

  • Why Tinyclues decided to undergo a reorg

  • What the goals were

  • How they went about designing a more collaborative organization

  • Focusing on the outcomes of the customer

Why a Reorg?

In retrospect, this might be a silly question. After all, the reason for the reorg is the same reason that many organizations have had to adapt and change the way they approach working — the pandemic.

In the case of Ben and his company, physical events — such as marketing roadshows, social events, and investment meetings — played a big role in their marketing processes pre-pandemic. Once COVID arrived, they had to shift their entire operation over to digital.

Since this massive disruption was occurring, they decided to take the opportunity to restructure their organization, and do it in a way that would better serve their target audience.

After all, they were simply putting into practice one of their core values: “Work together to provide a better experience for our customers.”

The Goals of the Reorg

“Our main job is to understand the strategy of our customers… their long-term plans… the pains they are facing.” — Ben Bouteille

There were three main goals driving the reorganization:

  1. Better communication

  2. Better organization

  3. Better collaboration

The CS team was at the center of making those goals a reality.

Why the CS team?

Because they were the keeper of the CRM, the experts of customer outcomes. 

Leveraging their knowledge across the landscape of customer communication would be integral to success. In this 100% digital world, communication types included:

  • Webinars

  • Lead-gen content

  • Thought leadership

  • Customer testimonials

The responsibility of each of these communication types would be broken up between different departments, but each would need input from the CS team.

Breaking Down Silos

To focus on customer outcomes, the company would need collaboration across different departments. Ben mentions a few examples where this renewed spirit of collaboration was key.

External Review

For social proof of the product, the company likes to present reviews by existing clients. And not just on their website — their preference is to have them pop up on third-party platforms so they carry greater credibility.

The marketing team needs these reviews to market the product effectively. Within this new environment of collaboration, the sales team steps in to ask clients to provide reviews to third-party sites giving the marketing team a stronger foundation from which to work.

State of the CRM Report for 2021

Another example involves the company’s work on their State of the CRM Report for 2021. The majority of the writing work was done by the CS team. And this report will mainly be used for marketing and lead gen purposes.

But it will also be shared with other departments opening up the potential for the report’s insights to be leveraged across the organization.

The Same Metrics

You might think that — along with this reorganization of responsibilities and departments — the ways of measuring success would change too. 

But Ben says that from that perspective, the metrics really didn’t change much at all. In fact, from a morale perspective, Ben says, it was important to communicate to everyone that their jobs were not changing, just their ability to collaborate cross-functionally.

The sales team was still in charge of the bottom line and bringing in new customers. 

The CS team was still in charge of minimizing churn, maximizing retention, and advocating for better usage of the platform.

The difference was the ability to truly count on other departments for help and a renewed focus on the global experience of the customer.

The Results

Wide-ranging progress will take time, Ben says, but in the last six months, he’s already noticed a positive effect in the simple ways teams have started to work together. 

Across the organization, they have been liberated from a fear of seeking out help outside of their silos.

Sales has reached out to content and marketing teams to get advice on the best way to structure and word a sales email. Members of the CS team have reached out to the content specialists with ideas for blog topics and have even written some.

The goal of pointing the entire organization in the direction of driving positive customer outcomes is coming to fruition.

Think About Your Customer

“It’s really important to explain why we do what we do.” — Ben Bouteille

Ben has one overarching piece of advice for any company setting off on the path of restructuring: put the customer at the center of everything.

“The central point of an organization,” Ben says, “is the customer’s voice.”

Before you start restructuring, you need to understand a few things:

  • What experiences are your customers looking to have with your company?

  • What different touch points do you have with your customers?

  • How can you group different departments to create the best customer experience possible at these touch points?

Ultimately, the most important task is optimizing your company’s structure so that you can provide customers an incredible global experience that will keep them coming back and evangelizing to their peers on your behalf.

In this podcast episode we're joined by Benoit Bouteille, VP of Customer Experience at Tinyclues, and we dive in and discuss:

  • How remote teams should look at CS and CX

  • Why Ben specifically focused on breaking down silos within his organization

  • How to design your organization around customer outcomes

powered by Sounder

Apple Podcasts or iTunes | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | Spotify

Podcast quote from Ben Bouteille

Subscribe, listen, rate, and review the Customer Success Leader podcast:

For more info, check out customersuccessleader.com or send a message to hello@flatfile.io.

Want to learn more about our products?
Request a demo