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 Oct, 22nd 2023

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 1. Mickey Powell:
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

Episode 2. Chad Horenfeldt:
Delivering the right type of information to the right person on the client side at the right time in the right channel. 

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

Episode 4. Jeff Beaumont:
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 5. Jeff Breunsbach:
Creating foundational experiences for your customers that reduce the level of effort on their end and increases our opportunity for relationships.  

Episode 6. Jan Young:
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 7. Ralphie English:
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 8. Stacie Chaney:
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 9. Joel Passen:
A Data driven approach to managing your customers at scale.

Episode 11. Simon Kriss:
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 12. Nick Mehta:
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:
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 13. Jen Jackson:
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 14. Matthew Lind:
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 15. Dan Ennis:
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 16. Michael Bojanski:
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 17. Alex Farmer:
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 18. Aaron Hatton:
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 19. Kailey Killoran:
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 20. Alyssa Nolte:
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 21. Kristi Faltorusso:
Customer success motions delivered through technology.

Episode 22. Dillon Young:
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 23. Lane Holt:
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 24. Donna Weber:
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 25. Greg Daines:
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 26. Markus Rentsch:
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 27. Chris Dishman:
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 28. Jeff Kushmerek:
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 29. Jon Johnson:
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. 


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