What is Digital Customer Success (DCS)? That is a question which we aim to define here with the help of a few friends. Namely, all of the amazing guests of the podcast!

On each episode, our guests are asked to give us their ‘elevator pitch’ of what DCS is and/or means to them. Each week, we will be updating our DCS Word Map to include the responses from each guest!

Also, I’ve asked ChatGPT to get in on the game and summarize everyone’s definition for us as well. I think it’s doing a pretty good job, but let me know your thoughts…

digital customer success [dij’-i-tl kuhs’-tuh-mer suhk-ses’] n.

Digital Customer Success Definition Word Map

Updated April 12th, 2024

ChatGPT Summary:

I asked ChatGPT to summarize its own definition of DCS based on overyone’s answers. Here’s what it came up with:

“Digital Customer Success (DCS) is a strategic use of technology and automation to align organizational elements and enhance product adoption, efficiency, and personalized experiences for customers. It aims to make customer success more efficient, consistent, and accessible, combining digital tools with human touchpoints to drive value across the customer lifecycle.”

Based on my own experience and all of the conversations that I’ve had as part of the show, I think that this summary is pretty spot on. If you’re curious to see individuals’ definition, along with links to each of their episodes, read on…

Episode 47. Irit Eizips – April 9, 2024
Anything that we can scale fast as we grow faster. For high touch it would mean potentially having clear playbooks with AI enabled. Taking all of the manual processes and making them automated so that we can focus on value based activities. For lower touch it could be a pooled model alongside working with marketing to create awareness in a large, more scalable manner. Pure digital CS is a high risk strategy and means that you almost never have a touchpoint with an end user.

Episode 46. Michiel Doornenbal – April 2, 2024
In a few years, we will have autonomous, personalized digital customer success. This doesn’t that there is no interaction or that there is no 1:1, high touch approach from customer success managers, but the CSM determines the destiny and the AI will bring you there. 

Episode 46. Maarten Doornenbal – April 2, 2024
Using technology to automate and deliver the right information to the right customer or even the right user at the right time. It’s not difficult to automate and deliver information to the customer or user, but it is (difficult) to deliver the right information to the right user at the right time. That’s the intelligences that’s required in Digital Customer Success.

Episode 45. Rob Zambito – March 26, 2024
A set of strategies that leverage automations and data to promote customer value with the ultimate goal of renewing customers at a high rate, expanding at a high rate and turning them into customer advocates. Think of the customer success that you could do in your sleep or “the lunch break test”. If you can do customer success while taking a break, what does that look like? It looks like automations, in-app workflows, well leveraged learning management systems and knowledge bases, things that help customers self-serve.

Episode 44. Delores Cooper – March 19, 2024
The mix between timing and tooling. Using qualitative and quantitative data to understand what customers need and want, when they want it. The ultimate goal is to create the ideal experience for every customer so that they know and confidently believe that the partnership that they have with you is exactly what they need for their business. 

Episode 43. Nik Mijic – March 12, 2024
The ability to automate certain functions that a typical CSM does. That doesn’t mean that we are going to totally eradicate the need for a traditional CSM. We’ll be able to automate some of these processes that will help alleviate the time for the CSM to do more strategic work. 

Episode 42. Erica Akroyd – March 5, 2024
A digital or scaled approach should be the foundation to any customer success program across any customer segment. It’s not in place of humans. A lot of times people associate digital with replacing humans. To me it’s driving more impact with the people that you have; allowing humans to do what they do best and to be more effective in their roles.

Episode 41. Lane Hart – Feb 27, 2024
To drive more impact with our Human Resources. It’s not to replace humans but to assist them. If it’s done right, it improves customer satisfaction because you’re giving them the resources that they want and need at the moment when they need them, even if they didn’t know exactly what they needed at the time. 

Episode 40. Dickey Singh – Feb 22, 2024
Using technology to help customers and even customer success team members to grow and preserve revenue with magnitude higher speed, reliability & consistency.

Episode 39. James Lawson – Feb 20, 2024
Providing value at scale with the illusion of it being personal.

Episode 38. Dee Kapila – Feb 13, 2024
The CSM of record in a digital capacity. We are automating success milestones across the value delivery journey for the customer. Digital CS is a data driven methodology for creating value for customers at scale by using purpose built tools that facilitate a personalized customer experience regardless of segment or journey stage.

Episode 37. Ezra Zimbler – Feb 6, 2024
The infrastructure needed to allow your CSMs to spend as much time as possible on high value activities with clients.

Episode 36. Sara Roberts – Feb 1, 2024
Helping your customers to achieve their goals using technology. Figuring out who your most successful customers are and utilizing triggers to encourage behaviors that will make other customers act like more of those successful customers.

Episode 35. Annie Dean – Jan 30, 2024
Bringing the right communication to the right person at the right moment in time in a no-touch kind of way. Then using actionable data to prioritize your low touch interaction so that you get the highest ROI for those interaction points.

Episode 34. Anika Zubair – Jan 23, 2024
Whether you have a high-touch model that’s brining in digital customer success, or you are a PLG-only motion, everyone needs some sort of digital engagement. Digital CS is all about leveraging technology and making sure it fits in to your customer journey depending on what that journey really is. Whether it is using analytics, using AI, or using personalized communication, once you understand your customer needs it’s putting some sort of digital element into that customer journey and addressing their pain point in new ways.

Episode 33. Anita Toth – Jan 16, 2024
Look Ma! No Hands! It’s the tools and insights to do the same thing that customer success is there to do: value outcomes for the customer. 

Episode 32. Bhavika Kochhar – Jan 9, 2024
Something which can help a CSM to reach out to their customer with less effort and more efficiency so that they spend more of their time in strategic thinking, talking to their customers, building product adoption and stickiness with their customers. 

Episode 31. Alyssa Opella – Jan 2, 2024
Merging data and heart. It’s merging what you know about customers, your product and your journey with empathy and concern for their best interest and success. To create scalable personalized touch point. I liken it to air traffic control. You’re monitoring all of the planes and proactively guiding them forward on their journey based on where they are and where they are trying to go.

Episode 30. Marie Lunney – Dec 12, 2023
A strategy and blending of functions to deliver an optimized customer journey through operations, technology and direct customer programs. It’s an answer on how to achieve higher profit margins without sacrificing employee and customer satisfaction.

Episode 29. Jon Johnson – Dec 5, 2023
Digital is not a replacement for humans. It’s not do more with less. It is not anything other than the truest form of customer success: using data to understand what you can and then using a human to go deeper. Using as many tools and as many access points as you can into the behaviors of the individual user to ascertain what problems they are solving with your software. 

Episode 28. Jeff Kushmerek – Nov 28, 2023
Digital CS empowers our customers to get what they need faster. I’ve heard it described as “lower unit economics” or “that email thing”, but everyone thinks they are going to serve their lower tier and instead, all of your tiers and even a lot more of your higher tier customers who are super engaged wind up using the digital program more as well.

Episode 27. Chris Dishman – Nov 21, 2023
Start with the root of what customer success is: we need to be driving value for our customers in the tool that we are using. Scaled CS is essentially doing the same thing. We are just doing it in an efficient motion that allows us to grow as a company without throwing a boat load of resources to it.  How can we efficiently approach getting value to our customers. 

Episode 26. Markus Rentsch – Nov 14, 2023
Using technology to support the  human part of customer success.  The idea of digital customer success is not to replace the CSM, but to support them. To take away the low value and repeatable tasks. So that CSMs can really focus on the personalized and high value services.

Episode 25. Greg Daines – Nov 7, 2023
If customer results are what drive long term retention and variability is the enemy of that outcome, then digital cs is the ultimate and most scalable methodology for driving consistent, standardized customer behavior change at scale.

Episode 24. Donna Weber – Oct 31, 2023
Delivering the right content or the right touch for the right persona at the right time to ensure that you’re driving the right behavior that’s going to deliver value for both you and your customers. It’s not just dumping a bunch of information and content on customers. It’s about transformation, not information. 

Episode 23. Lane Holt – Oct 26, 2023
Not a segment. It’s a strategy. One of the Gainsight values is ‘Success For All’ and that is where I stay grounded in digital customer success. The idea of Success for All is success for our customers, our coworkers, our company, our investors and I always throw in success for our families.  We are creating success for our customers, our CSMs, our other coworkers, our business and our investors and we are doing it in a way that is right for where they are at. Delivering the message at the right time, for the right user, through the right channel – and that becomes how digital customer success underpins so much. When you think of ‘strategy’ vs ‘segmentation’ then digital customer success allows you to incorporate the fact that a CSM might still have to reach out in different segments. It doesn’t negate the need for digital customer success to help tell someone that you need to reach out…or enabling the user to be able to reach out. 

Episode 22. Dillon Young – Oct 24, 2023
The goal of customer success today is to make customers successful as efficiently as possible through effective allocation of resources on the customer side as well as you company.  Digital is very effective here because it has a low cost to do repeatable activities. When I think about digital customer success, what are the tools or processes that we can do repeatedly and at very low cost that enable our customer success people to make our customers successful. It then frees up your customer success professionals to do what they do best, which for my money is their ability to think strategically, build relationships and make money where those two intersect.

Episode 21. Kristi Faltorusso – Oct 19, 2023
Customer success motions delivered through technology.

Episode 20. Alyssa Nolte – Oct 17, 2023
It’s about prioritization and personalization. There is a time and a place to have these conversations and there’s a way to do it that makes it feel like a truly authentic conversation. It’s about collecting the information and only the information that you need so you’re not wearing out your customers. Making sure your reach-outs are authentic. Making sure that your relationships are built incrementally via bite size, regular cadence communication that feels authentic and that reflects their personal goals. You can do that at scale through various technology platforms. Prioritization and personalization.

Episode 19. Kailey Killoran – Oct 10, 2023
Help accelerate adoption for customers through an automated engagement experience which enables CSMs to provide proactive and strategic consultation. It’s a strategy that affects and serves all customers, not one small segment of customers. There’s an external focus with how we support customers but also an internal focus on how we scale the experience for CSMs or folks on the CS team. 

Episode 18. Aaron Hatton – Oct 3, 2023
I have two definitions. One for those not in the CS space: “I write algorithms to keep customers engaged and keep buying our software.” In the CS Space: “Creating digitized, automated, personalized and predictive experiences for customers.”

Episode 17. Alex Farmer – Sep 26, 2023
It’s about scalability and accessibility. We talk about scalability a lot: doing more with less, less 1:1, more 1:many. But what we don’t talk about is accessibility. Scalability is obvious but how do you access all of the materials and activities that the customer success team is doing in one place.

Episode 16. Michael Bojanski – Sep 19, 2023
Utilizing software automations to enable people within customer success to do their jobs more effectively. It doesn’t replace the CSM or the need for human touch but it’s going to make people more effective.

Episode 15. Dan Ennis – Sep 12, 2023
The leveraging of software/tools/platforms/etc to enhance the customer experience and help them achieve their outcomes at a higher level that doesn’t require 1:1 human intervention.

Episode 14. Matthew Lind – Sep 5, 2023
Use of digital channels (email, in-app, online resources, etc.) in service of your customers. Digital CS is the path to efficiency. It also helps us be consistent as we are less likely to craft a unique journey for every customer. In digital, because things are automated, we give the customer a more consistent experience.

Episode 13. Jen Jackson Aug 29, 2023
What are the most meaningful engagements in the relationship and lifecycle of a customer and what are the things that absolutely need to be driven by a human. Then what are the things that we can supplement the experience with strong technology to potentially deliver the same outcomes. …using programs so that the time we are spending with customers are the most meaningful.

Episode 12. Nick Mehta – Aug 22, 2023
CS = CO + CX to the power of Digital. Part of it is scaling more efficiently by having CSMs reach more accounts and having more self service. Even if you’re a CSM and you have one account, you cannot connect with every user. Those users could be really influential and frankly those users may not want to meet with you. The CEO of the company does not want to meet with the CSM. Every CSM wants more stakeholders instead of being single threaded but you can’t do that via 1:1 video meetings

Episode 12. Kellie Capote – Aug 22, 2023
Leveraging all of the technological advancements that have happened and meeting the modern era of customer expectations to deliver them that personalized experience based on their persona, user, point in time through multichannel journeys. It’s about staying current and extending that experience to all users and not just a core set of stakeholders engaged by CSMs. 

Episode 11. Simon Kriss – Aug 15, 2023
Taking Customer Success from a reactive position to a proactive position. Projecting out and meeting customers where they are and meeting the customer expectation around self-serve. It’s about projecting forward rather than forcing people to come to you.

Episode 9. Joel Passen – Aug 8, 2023
A Data driven approach to managing your customers at scale.

Episode 8. Stacie Chaney – Aug 1, 2023
Digital Customer Success is getting the right message to the right person at the right time to drive customer value.  No matter how you do it or which way you get to them, it’s driving value with what they need in that moment.

Episode 7. Ralphie English – July 25, 2023
Building and scaling through automation and self-service. Building a strategy that allows you to scale using digital tools and automation but at the same time creating that personalized experience. No matter where they are in the customer lifecycle, no matter their ARR, or what segment they are in – it’s really about creating value at scale.

Episode 6. Jan Young – July 18, 2023
Digital CS allows you to work smarter with tools and to not add one unit of work for every customer that you add. It allows for those efficiencies and insights. Tools should make work easier so you know how to prioritize your time, work proactively and react to fires that do exist.

Episode 5. Jeff Breunsbach – July 11, 2023
Creating foundational experiences for your customers that reduce the level of effort on their end and increases our opportunity for relationships.  

Episode 4. Jeff Beaumont – July 4, 2023
It’s not people vs processes – it’s both.  Being all people or all processes only gets us halfway there. Invest in lightweight, scalable processes so they don’t get in the way of your employees, but support and retain them and customers, too! Digital CS helps customers learn adopt and grow through automation, one-to-many initiatives and omnipresent connectivity so users can learn and adopt at their own pace, in their own way so they can be in control.

Episode 3. Bhavani Prasad – June 27, 2023
A framework to increase the efficiency of the CSM and to help clients who want a self-serve experience save time.

Episode 2. Chad Horenfeldt – June 20, 2023
Delivering the right type of information to the right person on the client side at the right time in the right channel. 

Episode 1. Mickey Powell – June 13, 2023
An organizational alignment of strategy, product, processes, people, systems and data to amplify and accelerate adoption and the value that customers receive from your product. – Mickey Powell


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