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 Eric Prugh, Chief Operating Officer at PactSafe. In this post, we’ll briefly explore his approach to Customer Success alignment as it relates to the product team at PactSafe.
Download a complimentary copy of the ebook “Customer Success as a Culture: Product Leaders Edition” to see Eric’s full contribution and get access to other product leaders’ viewpoints.
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How Product Delivery and Customer Success Are Forever Linked
As COO and Head of Product, Eric is in charge of the delivery of product, usage, and strategy. Core to his role, he measures his team’s success based on 3 components:
- Product delivery including: timeliness, quality, and availability
- Customer adoption including % of people who’ve bought it who are using it, speed to deployment, and renewal
- Net Promoter Score and likelihood a customer will recommend PactSafe
As COO, Eric oversees the entirety of PactSafe’s customer-facing programs including the product, customer support, and overall customer experience. “We’re a young company, so I’m on the front lines listening to the questions, garnering feedback on what’s working and what’s not, and being transparent with customers in the hopes that they buy into the fact that they’re on a journey with us,” said Eric.
Eric explained that there are two incredibly important aspects that define customer success to a tech company that are forever linked—product delivery and customer support. “The product will never function exactly as it needs to function, so it’s up to the folks talking with customers to keep them upbeat, to close the gaps, and to provide an experience that leaves them happy. And then if there are gaps in the product, it’s critical that the product team leaves room on the priority list for stuff actually happening in the field,” said Eric .
Customer Feedback Plays a Role in Product Decisions
Product decisions are absolutely made with customer feedback in mind at PactSafe. But Eric got a great piece of advice from a manager of his years ago, though, that might be considered a little controversial. He shared, “It was to never take notes on feature requests in customer meetings, ever. Every customer has specific things they want or are considering—but we can’t develop everything, nor should we,” said Eric. “So the key to building out a customer-driven product roadmap is to talk to as many customers as possible and to listen as themes emerge in the gaps in your product or additional capabilities our customers want us to build.”
Eric and his team want to have conversations with customers. He loves getting customer feedback, but he also enjoys sharing his own point of view and hearing customers’ reactions. To him, it’s a dialogue between the customer’s vision for the product and the PactSafe vision for the product. “The outcome for the customer is a win-win when they get to leverage the benefit of feedback from other customers to solve problems they either don’t have yet or didn’t realize they had,” commented Eric.
Eric’s Advice to Product Leaders as it Relates to Customer Success
When it comes to advice for other product leaders, Eric has a lot to say from his experience. First, he’s adopted an important methodology from Ethan Batraski (VP, Product & Design at Box) called the “Cascade Method” that focuses on how the product roadmap maps to the company mission and vision. This is an incredibly important thing to understand and measure.
Eric went on to say, “One thing I love about the Cascade Method is the need to measure both the customer KPI and the company KPI for each of your 3-4 key objectives. Your employees should know what your customers are getting from your product and how it aligns to the company.” Eric went on to say that, “Your customers should be telling you what kinds of results they’re seeing, and those should continue to improve to make your customers successful. Then, the lagging indicator of how well you’re doing will be your company KPI which would usually be company growth, market share, etc.”
Read Eric’s full contribution to the eBook entitled, “Customer Success as a Culture: Product Leaders Edition” and learn from 7 other product leaders like Eric.