How Product and Customer Success Should Scale Together with Dataiku’s CCO Kurt Muehmel and Jagroop Gill (Video)

No matter whether your business has two clients or two thousand, you want to give them the best customer experience possible. But how can you build a product that provides a superior experience across vastly different scales? 

Over the last decade, Dataiku has built a robust enterprise AI platform. In that time, they’ve managed to appeal not just to the big players of the industry, but to the SMB market as well. Their success as a business has been grounded in how they prioritize the success of their customers. Kurt Muehmel, Chief Customer Officer at Dataiku, and Jagroop Gill, Enterprise Customer Success Regional Lead at Dataiku share how they built customer success for companies across a range of scales.

Nested Value

First, let’s go beyond the user. How might your product impact not just your user, but everyone throughout your user’s organization?

Imagine, if you will, your customer’s organization as a pyramid split into three layers:

  • Individual Needs: The individual users make up the firm, grounded base. This is where the crux of a good UX experience comes to the fore: providing your customers with a sense of efficiency or mastery that addresses their needs.
  • Team Needs: Above that base of individual needs sits the needs of the team. What do the managers need, and how can you, as a service, anticipate and articulate those needs? Even when those managers might not be your actual clients?
  • Corporate Needs: Finally, at the apex of the pyramid: what are the executive needs? These needs, of course, may get a bit more abstract and conceptual than your product can always accommodate. But it’s these corporate needs, without fail, that tie together the needs of the individual and the team.

Structure vs. Flexibility

Any product that hopes to survive needs to walk a tightrope between two forces: that of structure, and flexibility.

As you balance between these often opposing forces, you need the sort of managerial humility that allows you to tackle new and unexpected challenges and to leave space for creativity after you knock out your KPIs. At the same time, maintaining a coherent structure ensures that your employees and products never have to start from scratch. Not only would a lack of structure provide an uneven customer experience, but it’s also exhausting!

A lot of this energy can be conserved, however, if you take the time to know your customer. So, what does this look like in practice?

  • Make an Account Map. Map out stakeholders throughout your organization – not just hierarchically, but laterally. Where is there still potential for growth? And if you find an Achilles heel within that structure, it might be past time to start mitigating that risk.
  • Know the Operating Model. Where, within the organization, does the economic power sit? This information is critical for the CSMs who engage with this account.
  • See the Surrounding Tech Ecosystem. How are users dependent on other tools, and what environment do they require for growth? If you’re not careful, you might find yourself blindsided by changes that your service didn’t foresee. But if you do your homework, you might be able to fully anticipate your client’s future needs.
  • Understand Their Goals. What does success look like for your customer, and how can you position yourself as an integral part of that success? Make clients’ success your own success and let their fondness for your services become the best marketing that money can buy.

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Let’s Get Real

Success is measured by adoption: are people logging into the tool, using that tool, and using it regularly? But as our users evolve, how do we adapt to their changing needs?

  • At Dataiku, their user advocacy team developed an entire self-learning portal, complete with paths and certifications. Our customers loved it. Because their users could be up and running within a week, we helped remove from their shoulders the heavy burden of teaching users themselves.
  • But what’s next? Many users wanted not just to learn, but to practice. So Dataiku set up a mock environment in which our clients could cut their teeth on dummy data. And while we may have expended a lot of energy managing this space, we more than made up for this labor by receiving incredible insight into how our customers navigated their user experience. 
  • Finally, our clients expressed their desire to reconnect our data scientists with this self-learning platform, and we were more than happy to provide! We have now deployed an entire hybrid enablement program, in which we design a use case that is not only based on their data but entirely relevant to their work. And what’s more personal and enabling than that? 

Embrace Tension

We all know somebody who hates crossing bridges, no matter how much we assure them that it’s safe. But why are they safe? Because there is strength in the tension between opposing forces.

The same applies to your organization. Seek out that dynamic tension within your organization, and you might find that you can reach across a much wider chasm than you ever imagined.

Key Takeaways

Embrace the tensions inherent in your business:

  • Expand your view beyond users to all stakeholders. It’s not just ease of use or business value, it’s both.
  • Your teams need structure and the opportunity to innovate. Balance structure and flexibility.
Published on January 18, 2022

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