What I Learned about Customer Success from Our First User Summit

What I Learned about Customer Success from Our First User Summit

It’s been a busy couple of weeks here at Modus, we held our first annual Modus Engagement Summit on August 21st and 22nd, and we had a great turnout of attentive attendees. 


I didn’t see anyone sleeping, spiking the punch, or sneaking out in groups. We even had lively discussions at each table that seemed to stay mostly on topic, although there was an unexpected “who wore it better?” sock contest.

As Customer Success Manager, I spend my days speaking with customers and providing training, pouring over metrics, sending out and analyzing surveys, troubleshooting, monitoring support tickets, and flattering our development team to make fixes and updates. Since we tend to work in cyberspace, most of my meetings are virtual, and I don’t often get the chance to talk to so many of our customers in person, especially all in one place. At Modus Engagement Summit 2017, I took advantage of the face time to chat with as many attendees as possible.

Attendees were comprised of marketers and sales leaders, and some familiar techy types too. I asked them if they were gaining insight or learning new ways to solve their problems. Thanks to our amazing presenters, (we have very smart customers) the overwhelming response was that people were both educated and inspired. Learning about additional features or specific use cases is what I had expected, but the most profound observation was, in hindsight, the most obvious.

Our customers, from medical devices to innovative industrial, from giant hospital brands to global machinery enterprises are all, in widely varying stages, on a similar arduous and dynamic journey of digital transformation. This matters a lot because, in order to make our customers more successful, we need to identify and understand this hard to determine gray area. Since we provide software solutions, this crucial element in our customers’ journey will help us determine details such as the degree of customization for branding and functionality, specific integrations needed to enhance workflows, expected initial user adoption, how to scale implementation and training schedules, and how to make continuous progress as strategic partners to increase growth.

How do we get this information? It isn’t just from data and metrics. We have to ask the right questions of the right people as well as build the big picture by understanding the perspectives of everyone involved. At times, we even need to ask questions to find out what other things to ask, and there will likely be setbacks and steps forward that might seem too small or far apart, but we need to expect that. There isn’t always a clear roadmap with exact locations, but taking the time to get it right is the best recipe for long term success.

By keeping in mind where our customers are on their digital journeys, we can provide multi-faceted and tailored services in a way that fits with their internal processes and solves problems for the long term. This, by definition, is customer success. And customer success leads to mutually beneficial ongoing relationships.

Following all of the face to face conversations I was able to have last week, I am even more convinced that this needs to be understood and analyzed with direct communication and empathy. It is crucial to support our customers as they continue to transform digitally and grow in new areas.

What else did I learn being a part of our first user summit? That our marketing team knows how to throw a party! That good food makes everyone happy and based on coffee consumption data, the struggle of the 2:00 pm slump is real.

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