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Building a High-Velocity Customer Success Program


Mo McKibbin, Head of Customer Success at Moxion


Today’s customers expect a personalized experience from any company’s product or service - and they expect it in a scalable way. Since it’s not realistic for a company to offer high-touch, human-led, white-glove service to every customer, they need to be strategic about how they utilize lower-touch resources to help customers achieve success.

That’s where high-velocity customer success comes in.

In short, high-velocity customer success is all about showcasing the right pieces of information to the right customer at the right time in their lifecycle. It’s about building out processes and leveraging self-serve resources like guides, videos, and more so customers get the personalized help they need without burning out the support and success teams and costing the company a fortune.

In this episode of Beyond the Queue, Mo McKibbin, Head of Customer Success at Moxion, shares how she built high-velocity success programs at Moxion and Help Scout. She talks about why it’s important, how to get buy-in, and what results she’s seen.

In fact, since launching a high-velocity success program at Moxion in 2021, Mo said the company’s revenue has increased more than 4x, but support volume has stayed the same. She credits that success, in part, to the work she did up front to truly understand Moxion’s customer segments.

“There's a lot of different ways you can approach customer segments, but the way that I approach customer segmentation is on three axes. And I've done this now everywhere I've gone, and it's a reliable system, and I love it, and you should steal it,” Mo said.

Here are the three segments:

  1. Personalization segments. How does your customer intend to use your product to accomplish their goals? This might change based on use case or vertical. For example, an event planner would use Trello in a very different way than a software team would use Trello.
  2. Lifecycle segments. Where is the customer on their journey with your company? Maybe they are evaluating and on a free trial. Maybe they have been a customer for a long time, and now they’re looking to expand. Or maybe they’re a churn risk, and they’re at the end of their lifecycle.
  3. Operational segments. Should your customers go through a high-touch, predominantly human-led process? Or should they go through a low-touch, predominantly digital-led process? This usually has to do with customer complexity. “Your more complex customers, by nature, should be more valuable,” Mo said.

Mo recommends creating customer journeys based on each of the segments above to determine what success looks like for each group and what resources will help them achieve their goals.

“That’s how you get a really personalized and scalable low touch, high-velocity customer success process,” Mo said.

Watch or listen to Mo’s full episode above to learn more! And don’t forget to rate Beyond the Queue on Apple Podcasts. ⭐

See the episode’s transcript

Meredith Metsker: Hey everyone. Welcome back to another episode of Beyond the Queue. Today, I am very excited to welcome Mo McKibbin. She is the head of customer success at Moxion. Thanks for being here, Mo.

Mo McKibbin: Yeah, absolutely. I'm so excited to be here.

Meredith Metsker: I am excited about our topic today. So we are going to talk about the concept of high-velocity customer success which I've heard you describe before as the intersection of customer support and product marketing. And I know you have a ton of experience with this topic. You've worked in both product marketing and customer support. You've seen how both of these departments operate typically, and you've seen the magic that can be done when they work together. So to get us started, can you just define for me what you mean by a high-velocity customer success?

Mo McKibbin: Yeah, totally. But to answer that question, I'm first going to just take a step back and explain a little bit more about the overall backbone to success operations, at least the way that we structure success operations on our team. So one of the most important things, I think, that a business can do for scale of and repeatable customer growth is just truly, truly understand your customer segments.

And so there's a lot of different ways you can approach customer segments, but the way that I approach customer segmentation is on three axes. And I've done this now everywhere I've gone, and it's a reliable system, and I love it, and you should steal it. The first axis is personalization segments. So this is going to refer to how your customer intends to use the product to accomplish their goals. So this might be different based on like use case or vertical.

So if we took a tool that most people know, something like Trello. An event planner is going to use Trello in a very different way than a software team is going to use Trello. So basically how you use it based off of your use case and goals or ways to personalize the experience.

Then there's life cycle segments. And so this is basically where the customer is in their journey with you as a company. So are they evaluating, and they're on trial? Have they been a customer for a really good long while and they're looking to expand? Or maybe are they at the end of their life, and they're a churn risk, and it's end of life cycle?

And then the third is where velocity success fits in, and those are your operational segments. And so this is whether your customers should go through a high touch, predominantly human-led process or a low touch, predominantly digitally-led process. And this usually has to do with value or customer complexity. Your more complex customers, by nature, should be more valuable. A lot of people would consider this like an enterprise process versus maybe like startups or small to medium businesses.

So velocity success specifically refers to all the processes and operations around one to many, digital first approaches to customer success which really, really leans heavily on customer enablement, specifically something I've been calling success enablement, which is a hybridization of support how-to documentation and then the product marketing aspirational why-to enablement. So success enablement is resources, guides, videos that basically cover how to apply a product to accomplish those aspirational goals.

And so then going back to velocity success. So what I typically recommend is just creating customer journeys based off of each of the segments above that I mentioned and intertwining them. And so that helps you find the opportunities to showcase the right pieces of information, the success enablement to the right customer and at the right time in their life cycle. And that's how you get a really personalized and scalable low touch or quote unquote velocity customer success process.

Meredith Metsker: Okay. Yeah. I love that. That was a good explanation, and that's really helpful. So this might seem like a silly question, but why is something like this so important? Why is it important to think about it this way?

Mo McKibbin: So, I mean, essentially more and more companies are really, really nailing down, are really, really focusing on customer experience. And they absolutely should because most, I mean, customer acquisition is way higher than customer retention in terms of costs. Like it's way more efficient to keep a customer happy than it is to win a customer.

And then the other thing is, too, just customers are more and more, especially with digital touch strategies and personalization and AI and all of that, customers are really expecting personalized experiences, and they're expecting it in a scalable way. And while the ROI is completely there to offer a personalized, one-to-one, high touch, white glove experience on the enterprise scale, the complex... At Moxion we call it the studio deal sales because we have Hollywood studios in our customer base. Totally the ROI is there on the enterprise deals, but on the smaller deals and the smaller customers, and you know, essentially they're frequently, like 90% or 80% of businesses are just tons and tons and tons of small opportunities in mass.

And what I feel usually happens is customer success teams really focus on the high value, and they either burn operational resources on sort of half doing a success process on low value, or they just completely ignore it. And that is, I mean that is just money on the table. So it's just, that's one of the reasons that I think it's really important for customers or for companies to start thinking about operationalizing their customer success processes in these ways.

Meredith Metsker: Okay. So if I'm understanding it correctly, the goal of all of this is to, you know, offer that personalized experience, offer the better experience for the customer, but also maybe to be more efficient about it.

Mo McKibbin: Absolutely.

Meredith Metsker: Deploying those resources in a smart way.

Mo McKibbin: Exactly. And I think that probably comes from the fact that I have spent a lot of my career in startups where I've worn a lot of hats. As you mentioned, a product marketing hat. I've also worn a sales hat. I've also worn a regular customer success hat, and I've also worn a support hat, so, and a product marketer.

So I have been on pretty much every single side of the go-to-market funnel, I guess, or whatever go-to-market side of the business, in which case it's just, you know, when you have a really lean team, you have to be really smart about how you leverage the resources that you have. And you know, you're not always going to be able to get a unicorn that can do a whole bunch of different things, but you can set up processes that allow you to cover more ground based off of leveraging the resources you do have in a very smart way.

Meredith Metsker: That makes a ton of sense. I'm curious to hear more about kind of how you discovered or why you coined this concept of high-velocity customer success. Like you mentioned, you've worked in both support and product marketing and sales and pretty much the whole customer journey. So you have a unique perspective on this. So I would just love to hear the story behind your discovery of this concept, when you had that light bulb moment.

Mo McKibbin: Okay, sure. So I have to admit, I actually stole the phrase high velocity success from a team member that I hired. Her name is [Katia Parsec 00:08:48], and in her interview process she had described a lot of the stuff that she put together at PandaDoc, was very similar to some of the processes and things that I put together at Help Scout. And she had described it as velocity sales or velocity success. And I was like, "Oh, I like that."

I realize that theft is not a very compelling origin story. So I can tell you how I kind of came around solidifying this concept or process that I now kind of use as the blueprint, the starting off point or jumping off point when it comes to building success operations from scratch.

So as we've already discussed, I've worn a lot of hats on the go-to-market side of the business. The Harry Potter sorting hat would just not know where to put me. And so I've kind of been refining this process based on the knowledge I've gained from all of those hats.

So at Help Scout, I initially built out what many would call either like one-to-many or like digital touch customer success processes. So webinars, videos, guides. I did a lot of behavioral, like in-app behavioral based marketing automation that offer different in-app nudges or in-app notifications which at the time we used Pendo because Help Scout hadn't built messages. And also just there... So anyway, we chose the tools that we did because it is what we had at our disposal, but that's kind of the delivery system that we were using at the time. And this was a while ago, obviously before Stonly, to deliver some of those things.

Then with help of another team member of mine, Nancy Barron is her name, we created this customer growth operations and engagement on essentially the, I'll call it the low complexity segment, the one to 10 customer segment. So it wouldn't go through a high touch enterprise type process, but at the time that actually accounted for like 90% of Help Scout's business.

And then when we started putting some of these like personalization processes in place, again, like I said, delivering the right information to the right customer at the right time, our trial-to-paid conversion jumped from 7% to 8%, which is actually a really significant amount when you're working with large numbers.

And I also don't really remember the specifics on churn and retention, but I believe Help Scout always had like a less than two percent, and I think we reduced that to even like, maybe even like under one percent churn rate. And also I think are like, again, someone at Help Scout keep me honest because it was like three years ago. Or actually it was like five years ago now when we actually started it. But I think the net revenue retention numbers were something like 150%.

So basically we were expanding. We were retaining. It was really awesome. And a lot of this was happening in the one to 10 segment, which is now after meeting Katia, what I would call the high velocity segment.

And so then at Moxion, like I said before, our customers are actually major Hollywood studios and then the productions within them. So especially on the studio side, they're firmly in the camp of what many people would just call enterprise because they are literally, I can't mention any customer names because of NDAs, but I can say they are literally household names that probably everyone on the planet has heard of. Which merits just a really, really high touch, human-led process that often actually has a whole team of individuals serving them. You know, person on basically the customer success side and on the like doing some technical like custom development and things like that. So it's just been really amazing to be able to learn more and create processes around the enterprise process.

Before I got to Moxion or like when I first got to Moxion, we were kind of actually treating all of our customers with this high touch, white glove approach. But after some time at Moxion, I recognized there are still actually, even though everybody's important and awesome and seriously like the best customers that anyone could ever want, just in terms of high value, there was actually still a high complexity and low complexity version or just things that were more value than others.

So at first we were just kind of treating the high complexity and low complexity deals with the same high touch process, which like we said before, it's not only inefficient, but it's also really costly and very, very stressful.

So essentially what we evolved to is our high touch, predominantly human-led process is now our studio process. And that is like an enterprise high touch customer, what most people think of as customer success. Predominantly human-led, but enhanced with resources, like I said before with success enablement and digital touch.

But then we do actually have a high velocity segment, and that's our production success. So just to talk a little bit about our model. The studios have major contracts with us, and then the productions are kind of like almost like a shared customer between us. So the studios suggest us to their productions, and then the productions use Moxion, but the studios are also serving the productions. So productions often need to... There's still like, it's a shared customer. Like it's still a customer. They're not like covered under the studio contract. So it's been a really, really powerful expansion metric for us to follow as well. But the productions themselves pay for Moxion under a studio deal, and then they have a really, really fast, repeatable rinse and repeat process.

So with them it's frequently, like the most valuable thing you can do for a production honestly is get them up and running as quickly as possible because frequently they're like, "Okay, we need to know that we need to use Moxion. Nobody knows what this is, and we have a camera test on Friday." And it's like Thursday at noon.

So you are like, "Okay, like giddy up. Let's get you up and running as quickly as possible."

And so even though, you know, everyone's really like a valuable customer, that one had to be a very rinse and repeat, super hyper-personalized, but at the same time, super repeatable and quick, quick process. And so that really, really requires incredibly robust enablement because it's predominantly self serve-led, but then it's just enhanced with human touch.

Because most of our work is then done for us through videos and guides. We are able to mostly get the customer up and running as quickly as possible, but then we're there for emergencies, for really impactful coaching, and then we're also able to deliver amazing and responsive support, which we wouldn't be able to do if we didn't really focus on that personalized enablement based off of those personalized customer segments.

So now the reason I don't simply mean knowledge base articles, and this is something that I wish more companies would focus on enablement specifically around success versus traditional support, I will call, is that knowledge base articles in the traditional sense are typically very how to use this specific feature from a technical perspective. Like, "Do this first, this second, this third, now you know how to use tags."

The trouble is with that, if you're trying to get someone a product they've never used before to accomplish a goal, they've never had a tool to use before to accomplish this, how to use a feature isn't enough. It's kind of like giving people instructions and say like, "You figure out how to do this." And then that leads to a tremendous load on customer support who then often needs to fill those gaps. And then it actually becomes this ad hoc high touch human process.

So what success enablement is instead is how to apply this product to meet these goals and then making those guides workflow based, not feature based. So this frequently actually strings together a bunch of how to knowledge based articles into guides, and the aim is to help customers put the right workflow together in order to accomplish the goal of getting up and running as quickly as possible.

Meredith Metsker: Okay. Yeah. Working at Stonly, this all makes a lot of sense.

Mo McKibbin: Yes.

Meredith Metsker: This makes a lot of sense to me.

Mo McKibbin: I know. That's why I-

Meredith Metsker: I'm on the same page.

Mo McKibbin: That's why I figured this would be a perfect topic for this podcast.

Meredith Metsker: Yeah, yeah. For sure. Especially what you were saying about kind of getting away from traditional knowledge base articles, moving towards something a little more modern, a little more interactive, more workflow based as you were saying.

Mo McKibbin: Exactly.

Meredith Metsker: Yep. That's right up our alley. So I'm curious, you've touched on it a little bit, but can you just walk me through how you're doing this at Moxion?

Mo McKibbin: Yeah, sure. So the first thing that you need to do is define your customer segments the way I suggested when we first started. So operational. So that's the high touch versus high velocity. Then lifecycle. So that would be pretrial evaluation, trial, onboarding, expansion and scale, and end of life. And then personalization. So that is like what we talked about. What makes customers get different types of value from your product? And like I said before, this could be use case. This could be industry. It's just whatever informs what changes how a customer uses your product or what changes to get customers to that aha moment, that value moment, that point of activation that like, "Oh, I have achieved my goal in this. This is great."

And so then the next thing that we do is structure guides specifically based on personalization segments. And so this is really in the form of getting started guides, I think is probably the easiest way that a lot of companies do this, but we make sure to have a getting started guide that's not like getting started with Moxion. It's like getting started with Moxion for a remote color review session or getting started with Moxion for creating a remote video village or technically the product that we have that's for that type of goal is called Immediates. So it'll be like getting it started with Moxion for Immediates, but we're actually going to start changing the terminology around those to even match even closer to like what the goal is versus like what the workflow is.

So this is then what order of how to articles then aligns with the path or journey of how a customer should navigate our platform to step by step, to basically to achieve their goals, like setting up a remote video village or doing a remote color review.

This is very different again from how to upload a Dolby Vision file, which is a requisite step for remote color review, but it's only one part of the workflow.

So if you're trying to coach someone on a workflow, you also have to be like, "Here's how you prepare your files beforehand. And then after you upload, then you need to, here's how you can provision devices that are HDR friendly and train your team on the platform." So it basically outlines all of these steps.

It's like, "How are we going to roll this out?" Because at the end of the day, the thing that they want to do is start using this and then start getting their team to use this. So these guides that are based off of use cases are really just like, "How do we just lead this person through their entire end to end customer journey, so that they don't have to really do any thinking on their own?" Or if they're doing thinking on their own it's more strategic, right?

Meredith Metsker: Yeah. It's all very proactive, it seems like.

Mo McKibbin: Yes.

Meredith Metsker: Yeah.

Mo McKibbin: So first we just plotted the journeys based off of these personalization segments, and then we documented, and so then we had all these articles and videos to deliver to basically our velocity success segment. And so then the double whammy of these guides though is then it gives a training map on how the high touch studio teams and how that process should be navigated when they train studios on the different use cases that we have and how to onboard their large teams.

So it is this additional resource that we can provide them, but our studio team can use that as a learning map on how to coach people better. And so just, I would say usually just like kind of the first step is just really focus on this personalized enablement based off of use case because then you can use it on your high velocity segments to get people up and running super quickly. And you can also use that as the backbone for how the high touch process should be led with a human touch.

And so then our next steps, which this one we haven't actually, this is... I've only been at Moxion for a year and a half, and it's like a really, really young startup company. So we haven't done this yet, but this is my next thing.

So then the next stage would be using, once you've personalized it, then you've rolled it out to your operational segments, next steps would be then using key points in the life cycle. So that's the third, the other segment, to deliver these different types of enablement consistent with what their goals are and workflow based off of their life cycle stage.

So like in marketing or product marketing or customer marketing, this is usually called nurture.

Meredith Metsker: Yup.

Mo McKibbin: But when you pair nurture with customer success and then lead those replies back to a human touch, customers really start to feel like you're delivering completely personalized support, even though if it's predominantly digital.

Meredith Metsker: Okay.

Mo McKibbin: Is that weird? Do I need to clarify anything?

Meredith Metsker: I don't think so.

Mo McKibbin: Okay.

Meredith Metsker: No, I think that was a good overview. So I'm curious, since you launched this, what have some of the results been?

Mo McKibbin: So we started segmenting. So I will say, and I think a lot of people will empathize with this in support leadership is the road to getting there in Moxion was not an easy one because I think a lot of people... So I feel like a lot of companies structure their operational segments based off of specific teams specifically around who should be generating revenue or who should not be generating revenue. I think this is like a big mistake that many companies do.

So they are be like, "These are support activities. These are sales activities. These are success activities." And they segment these teams based off of revenue and like all sorts of really bad things happen. Like the support is a cost centered perspective which makes it really, really hard to resource your teams, and then makes it, which is also not a really good recipe for great support because you have an under-resourced, burned out team, and all of this stuff.

Meredith Metsker: Right.

Mo McKibbin: And it also can lead to some really competitive, that sales eat-what-you-kill model.

Meredith Metsker: Ew. Yeah.

Mo McKibbin: Can really like lead to people hoarding information because they want to make sure that they get this deal. And then it's just really like, so that's a mistake.

And then the other thing too is like, it's so funny. Like I don't know how much you pay attention to customer success thought leader posts, but I feel like everybody in the world is like, "Customer success is not customer support," and they're real heated about it. And you know what, they're absolutely right. Because customer success, isn't customer support. But when I hear that, what I'm really hearing is, "We don't want to be treated like a team that is under resourced and doesn't have a seat at the table."

So that is what comes from when you segment activities by team versus segment activities by process like high velocity process versus operational process.

So the road to get to this point at Moxion was not very easy because our CEO is super supportive, super customer centric, super really awesome, but we definitely, I think most support and success professionals deal with is really kind of navigating internal change around... I think they're dated ideas, but I would just say they're solidified ideas that people have about certain roles and what they should have ownership over, and where kind of the lines are between roles.

Fortunately for Moxion, I don't really care about any of that stuff. So I was a little bit like a hammer on some of these processes and kind of just started putting things in place without permission. I had permission from the CEO.

Meredith Metsker: That's who you need permission from.

Mo McKibbin: Yes. Exactly. I had permission from the CEO, but I did have a lot of roadblocks in other areas. So I, because of those roadblocks in other areas, I can say that we've only really officially rolled out this process since June.

Meredith Metsker: Okay.

Mo McKibbin: However, since then, we've, I think I mentioned before that production growth is our best expansion metric. Since then we've actually seen production growth, I am not kidding. It's almost like this ridiculous line. And it's like quadrupled, and this is only since June.

And so this I can also say, earlier than June, because of the investments in success enablement specifically the videos and the guides, despite the quadruple growth, the four X growth, I guess, if you want to call it, we've actually had the same support volume. It's ridiculous.

Meredith Metsker: Hmm.

Mo McKibbin: Like we have had the same, we've grown four times in revenue, and we have the same support volume, and the even crazier part of that is because we've actually increased our availability channels. And by that, I mean, contact at, our general contact form actually used to go to sales, and it was really siloed in sales. And so we, in part of that load of activities and pushing up against the wall and finally kind of starting to put these processes in place, now contact app goes to our team or basically it all lands kind of in a shared customer repository of information which is Help Scout for us.

And so we've actually increased the amount of places that, and also we turned off our no-reply emails, because that's another thing I really, really hate no-reply emails. I just think if you are using no-reply emails, like message me on LinkedIn, and I will yell at you especially if you are a customer experience professional.

But yeah, no-reply emails are another one of those things where it's just like, this is how you can tell someone really thinks of support as a cost center as opposed to a seat at the table, like revenue driver because you never want to cut off engagement with your customers. They're the ones that tell you when you have spinach in your teeth, and so you want to be able to pick out spinach in your teeth, and a lot of times they reply to no-reply emails because their notifications based off of something that they should be aware of, and that's the best time for them to engage.

So it's been working so well that we turned off our no-reply emails and added emails coming in from our sales channel, the contact at which was our general sales email and 4x'ed our growth, and our support volume has not gone up.

Meredith Metsker: Okay. So hang on. To clarify, Moxion grew four times-

Mo McKibbin: Yes.

Meredith Metsker: ... in revenue since June.

Mo McKibbin: Yes.

Meredith Metsker: But your support levels are still the same?

Mo McKibbin: Yes.

Meredith Metsker: That's incredible.

Mo McKibbin: Yeah. It's pretty awesome.

Meredith Metsker: So people are using the system you've set up?

Mo McKibbin: Yes. Yes.

Meredith Metsker: Clearly.

Mo McKibbin: Yes. And yeah. That's the other thing is we don't focus on deflection at all. We only focus on engagement and enablement is used as an enhancement to that engagement. So basically like making contextual information available based off of where they are in the customer journey or what kind of use case they are make, it makes it easier to find information before they reach out to us, but everything is just for the goal of making it easier and frictionless. We don't, like I said, no no-reply emails, no deflection tactics. We don't make it hard to reach out to us. All of every single contact channel currently, unless it's somebody's personal email, gets siphoned into our queue basically.

Meredith Metsker: Wow. That's amazing.

Mo McKibbin: Yeah.

Meredith Metsker: That's clearly positive results there.

Mo McKibbin: Yeah. I think funny things happen when you stop treating support as a cost center. Like basically support is a cost center because it's treated like one. When you stop treating it like one, it no longer is one because when you make investments in your customer facing teams, it actually totally pays back both in increased growth but also in then decreased costs.

Meredith Metsker: Yeah. And that's the ultimate goal.

Mo McKibbin: Yeah.

Meredith Metsker: Like great customer experience, reduced costs. Win, win.

Mo McKibbin: Win, win.

Meredith Metsker: So I'm curious, as you were building out this process, who all was involved in that? Who were the stakeholders that you were including to figure out the lifecycle journey, what should be personalized, the operations side of things? Yeah. Just kind of walk me through that.

Mo McKibbin: Yeah. That's a good question. That is a really good question. I mean, probably the most important stakeholders were actually the customers. So as far as like who really helped me with the beginning stage of this process, but also, so I wasn't the first support hire. I was hired to lead a team, but the team only had two people on it, and then one of them actually moved to QA real quickly because that's what he actually wanted to do. And so we started in the very, very early stages where it was just really a team of two.

So I was very much like leader and individual contributor at the same time. And so I leaned on Andy, who is the team member who was there, and he's still there. He's fantastic. And actually Andy wrote... he owns all of our how-to knowledge based documentation. So he really built out all of the, what I consider the prerequisite to doing this is making sure that you have really, really good how-to documentation because you can't create the how-to-apply this without the how-to done in the first place.

Meredith Metsker: Oh yeah.

Mo McKibbin: So Andy had created all of that. So that was just a godsend because I've also been in places where that has not been done yet either. So, it was really, really helpful to have that a base. The other thing too that was really, really helpful is that the CEO Hugh and the other co-founder Michael have a really interesting founder origin story in that they are, so like I said, it's a full production workflow tool that helps Hollywood productions basically manage sharing and collaborating on content in a super secure like Hollywood grade security platform from end to end.

What is very cool about our founders, so it's a New Zealand company, but obviously we're remote. I don't live in New Zealand, but it's a New Zealand company, and they were a DIT which is a digital imaging tech, which is like a role that you would see on a film set responsible for making sure all of the monitors and the review, basically the remote video village, like everything looks great in the monitors, like basically setting up all of the metadata to come from the camera into, as they're recording footage and what that looks like, which is a huge component of Moxion.

And then Michael is an editor, and they were in the New Zealand film scene in which everybody in the New Zealand film scene knows each other. They're friends with Taika Waititi and Peter Jackson and stuff like that.

Meredith Metsker: Nice.

Mo McKibbin: Yeah. Because it's like so small, but so they were actively working in the New Zealand film scene, and they built Moxion to help them communicate with LA and elsewhere across the world in a remote way. And this was before the pandemic, this was before. So they just kind of like built it almost like as a professional tool to help them. And so they are awesome. They have been awesome in resourcing, learning customer knowledge, how product correlates to the customer knowledge, all of those elements because they essentially are the customer, or they're like a huge part of the workflow and making this workflow. Like they played the user roles that make this kind of production workflow happen.

So, they've been really, I mean, I feel like any time you have a product where you have people internally that are also would be users or customers or any of that, like you are in a really good space for research and understanding, and you have a really good jumping off point there.

So I would say in terms of kind of aggregating this, it was first customer facing, or I guess not the first customers facing hire, but one of the first customer facing hires that really did the biggest deep dive in terms of product documentation and understanding the product. And then the co-founders in terms of understanding like kind of the workflows and the customer's relationship with the product and why they build what they did to accomplish those goal.

And then the third is really the customers themselves because like I said, it was like individual contributor plus leader at the time. Now I'm becoming less and less individual contributor though it still happens and more and more leader, which is nice. But I do still, I mean I like startups because I like doing both. I like wearing both hats.

But you know, when I first started at Moxion, essentially what I really did was just dive in head first and to just talk to as many customers as I could. There were things that we were deflecting at the time before I came, that we were doing more deflection with knowledge based articles as opposed to jumping on a call, and that's not at all our approach anymore. I mean, it's not like obviously you just heard me wax poetic about what our approach is, but when I first started, I just took those opportunities. Like every single one, it would be like, "Hey, you could use this for help, but do you want to talk about this?" And like just gave an opportunity to jump and talk to people just to find out more, as much as I could.

And so I mean I think I probably spent at least 40 hours on calls every month for like my first six months.

Meredith Metsker: Wow.

Mo McKibbin: Yeah.

Meredith Metsker: That's a lot of calls.

Mo McKibbin: Yeah. But you know, it was really to just get to know the customer, all of these different customer workflows. And so you spend a lot of time talking to a lot of customers. I mean like really like a lot of customers about their workflow every single day, and you know, trends emerge.

So then you start to say like, "Oh, everybody who's using these feature sets, it's because they want to facilitate a remote color review for their finishing team," or like, "Oh, everybody who's using these feature sets is because they're using it on production, and they want to use it for a remote video village," or "Everybody who's using these feature sets is like.."

So basically then it made it really easy to aggregate different features into different workflows which allowed you to group these into these goals or use cases which really just allows people to experience the product or getting to know the product in a very, very personalized way based off of what features. Because it's a platform. It's huge. It's huge. There's so much stuff you could do with it.

I think an approach that a lot of people mistake, and now I'm getting into rambling mode. So, I'm sorry. But I think a mistake that a lot of people make, especially with onboarding or enablement or a lot of these things is they treat onboarding almost like a kitchen sink tour of all the features, and what you really do need to do for when you're onboarding someone is just give them the three or four things that they absolutely need to know, and then they do those three or four things, and then you can start going into all the other areas that they could get. And that's when you start getting the cool, like life cycle journey, like, "Ah, you know, you've been doing this. You know, you could do this." All this stuff. But when you do a kitchen sink onboarding, it really is like, "I have no idea what to focus on right now. And I wanted to use it for this, and this is way too overwhelming."

So yeah. So really just getting to understand those customer workflows and how to group those helped kind of chunk this, to really kind of allow that personalization through these guides to happen.

Was that too rambley? I'm sorry.

Meredith Metsker: No, that was fine.

Mo McKibbin: Okay.

Meredith Metsker: Yeah. I wanted to ask a question about the guides. Like obviously, Stonly and step-by-step guides, that's kind of our thing. So I know how I would think about it, but from your perspective, what was the benefit of kind of going from those more traditional knowledge base articles to more of a goals based step-by-step guide format?

Mo McKibbin: Honestly, it really, I mean, there's a lot of benefits, but I mean, I think the main benefit is just that, you know, you get some customers that are really operationally minded. They kind of know what they're doing. They have a process. They have a system. They want to figure it out themselves, and that's totally great.

But then you have, I mean, I think I might have mentioned this at the beginning. It's like most customers when they're using your tool, they bought into, and this is kind of where it goes into that product marketing support hybrid. They bought the software buying into an aspiration, and they don't have any resources on how to make that aspiration come true. And that is where, how-to articles I think fail because most of them the goal is getting them to use like, okay, so I'll use like Help Scout as an example, just because I love them, and they do a really good job of doing both, having some of the, well, obviously. We created them.

But I have good examples of both on that. So how to create a workflow is going to be very mechanical. Also these are support people. So you all probably know Help Scout. How to create a workflow is going to be very mechanical. It's going to be very like, "Under the settings thing, go to workflows. In workflows, name the workflow. Here are all the options. This is what the options mean. Here's what the conditions are. These are what all the conditions mean." All of this stuff.

And that is a totally great informational article, but it doesn't tell me how to set up a priority system so that I can make sure that I'm serving my customers in the most efficient way possible or stay on top of SLAs or increase responses to satisfaction ratings.

So if you have those goals, so, okay. So let's take a priority system. Now you can create a priority system in Help Scout. It's not an actual feature, but as you're a support person, of course, you want to be able to create priority systems. The recipe to a priority system in Help Scout is custom fields. You know, also because then you can use the custom fields on a beacon so that someone can self select, like, this is urgent or timely or medium. Custom fields tags, if you want to do it, like I think they have a feature called customer properties now, but before there was a way that you could do this with just like web hooks, creating a company tag.

So you have these features, and you can put them in a workflow that then arranges them in teams and use those teams to trigger Zapier zaps, to set off ops genies when emergency situations come. They don't actually have this article because I just set the system up.

But like this would be the example of, I know how to set that up because I literally know everything, almost everything there is to know about Help Scout at least circa three years ago.

But, one of the things that, for example, one of the guides I know that they do have is keeping track of agent conversations, and that's to stay on top of SLAs. Again, it is a recipe of three different features Help Scout has of using tags, reports, views, and workflows, well and also like teams and folders. So it's basically like, I guess another way you can think of them is like recipe books, recipe books for different common goals that someone has using your product. And you know like really a lot of how to not.... Yeah.

So it's just kind of like, "How do I string all of these features together to create a really good system to accomplish this goal?" It's usually something that like, I mean, I've worked with a lot of customers, and like some people are incredibly operationally-minded and do a great job of this themselves, but most people, if they've never used something like this before, need a lot of help to understand how to create these types of things that get you to accomplish these goals. And so I feel like that's kind of where most people fail on their documentation is having too much mechanical and not enough application based, if that makes sense.

Meredith Metsker: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. Yeah, it does. Okay. I kind of want to like, we've talked a lot about the what this all means, and I want to move on to kind of the how.

Mo McKibbin: Okay.

Meredith Metsker: So yeah. How can other CX leaders go about implementing this high-velocity customer success concept?

Mo McKibbin: Yeah, so I think, so a lot of it's going to depend on what stage your company's at. So I think probably the hardest thing is always going to be getting buy-in from other leaders and stakeholders for a couple of things. Number one, the investment in resources that it takes. It is, like I said before, customer facing teams, I should say non-sales customer facing teams, are typically pretty under-resourced, and a lot of companies still think of support as a cost center. A lot of companies rebrand customer support as customer success when that's, I mean, again, love both functionalities equally and with equal value. And like I even said, to me everything is just customer success, and it's operational, but like the point is I think, I mean, like for example, I've just seen just like sometimes ridiculous discrepancies in salaries between like post-sale customer facing teams and essentially pre-sale customer facing teams, and like staffing and resourcing and all of those stuff.

So to get extra because like if you are a support team, and you are barely hanging on in terms of like appropriate coverage, it's like really hard to then be like, "I'm going to sit out, and focus on writing some guides," as like so many of your support KPIs around reply times are slipping. So I think for other leaders probably the most important, that's probably going to be the hardest thing is getting this sort of buy-in.

So what I would say for other leaders that want to get started with this is really talk about the ROI with your C level teams and how the investments are like the decreased cost, the increased value, and that's probably like the best place and the hardest place to start. And if anybody has, like I said, fortunately, obviously Help Scout was very supportive of this because of the nature of that business. But it's definitely something that I've had to go through this slog more than once, and it's always paid off.

So if you need any advice on that, please feel free to contact me. And I'm happy to like do like, you know, you can tell me what their apprehensions are. I'll give you a list of arguments or help you find the data or aggregate that data to help you make that argument. Actually, that was a big offer I just gave, but I am passionate about it. So I am open to questions, and I hope that people are curious about this.

So yeah, because I would say if you're a startup, it's really not hard to structure your operations this way, in the sense of when you are a first or second customer facing hire, it's all about just learning about the customers, learning about the process, the product, learning about the workflows, and in terms of getting started with this, once you really understand all of your customer segments and your customers and their life cycles and their goals and their workflows, it's really just all about documenting it and then hiring to scale based off of those processes of like high velocity, which is basically just, it's basically customer support, but I mean, it's more comprehensive than that because it's proactive and life cycle based and goal based.

And like, this is a whole podcast for another day. Like I have a whole idea of how to structure customer-facing teams on the velocity side, and also that's like a whole other topic. So I will stop with that.

But anyway, it's all just really about getting to know the customers, getting to know the segments, and documenting based off of it, once you get past that initial buy-in, but I really do think the buy-in is the hardest part, especially since like for larger teams and companies, especially larger teams that are more rooted in very traditional structures. I mean, you're essentially asking to uproot a bunch of teams that have a bunch of people that have been hired for a specific area that they have been very happy to do the way they've been doing it. You know what I mean?

Meredith Metsker: Yeah.

Mo McKibbin: It takes a lot of change management. Certainly that's really, really hard. I would say it's definitely easier, I feel like a little bit of a charlatan on this, because it's definitely easier when you're coming from a small company because you just start building in this direction. When you are in a larger company, like, man, it is really just kind of almost you kind of have to almost change whole department structures.

But what you can start with is success enablement, and that is something that maybe you might need to like, I mean, that's the other thing too, is like once you have these larger built out companies, like sometimes that is under product marketing and sometimes that is under customer marketing or sometimes...

Actually, here's a way that larger companies can do it. They can start with a process, a project on collaborating with different departments and use that to foster alignment. So I feel like this is a really good place for support to be like, "Hey, we want to collaborate with marketing on this." Or like, "Hey, we want to collaborate with sales on defining these life cycle segments and the use cases and all of this." Or like, "We want to collab..."

So I think it's something that definitely takes cross-functional collaboration across departments, but I think that support teams probably can take that on as a way to bridge these gaps and break these silos between the different teams that so frequently and sadly exist between so many companies.

Sorry, that was kind of dark, wasn't it?

Meredith Metsker: No, not necessarily dark. Just, I mean, that's the reality sometimes, unfortunately.

Mo McKibbin: I know.

Meredith Metsker: Well, we're about at time here, so I'll start wrapping this up, but before I ask you my last question, is there anything else about our topic today that you would like to add that we haven't covered?

Mo McKibbin: Yeah. So I can say if you have any lingering thoughts on this concept because I know people have very strong feelings about whether human-led approaches or digitally-led approaches are superior. Most people fall firmly in one camp, and the other is like, "Hhh." And you need both. I'm sorry. You just need both.

What I will leave is this anecdote. I had it on my LinkedIn before, so I apologize if anybody's like, "Oh, you're stealing your own material."

So let's pretend you have a hardware store. So in scenario one, the store is just laid out in such a way that you can get in, get what you need, get out. There's self checkout. It's easy, and it's fast. It's seamless. It's an invisible experience. There's product information listed about all the products. You know exactly what everything is. You know exactly what everything's used for. Everything is kind of like set out, so you can really navigate this yourself.

And then in scenario two, someone meets you at the door, they explain the layout of the store, and they ask you what you're working on. Based off of what you're working on, they explain all these best practices, how to approach and accomplish this and what materials work best, and then check you out.

So essentially that is the self-serve and the high touch approach, and the correct answer in terms of what is better is really just both are great and both are terrible. It really just depends on the customer, the complexity of the project, and what they prefer. And so if you're an experienced DIY'er, like I said, some customers are operational experts, and they don't need any handholding getting set up. They know what they're looking for, they know what they're doing, and seamlessness is best. You just like want to get in, get out. They want to have minimal obstacles. They don't want to talk to people. You need to have, that's where digital touch and high velocity operations is actually a way better customer experience for anyone like that.

But if this is your first home improvement redo, and you have never done a project like this before, but you are DIY curious, you've heard the benefits of it, like then the high touch approach is really, really appreciated because you are like, you're getting that help and that guide that you need, and if you didn't have that help, like you would have just made a disaster out of your bathroom.

So I think the companies that really deliver the best customer experience just totally understand this. They create those DIY enablement-led, self-serve-led digital experiences that the customers really don't need much but a self checkout. But then they also, like the high touch operational segment, recognize the customers that absolutely will need help in a consultative approach. And because they optimize with the former and by optimize, I mean like velocity success, having success enablement, making sure that really your resources are just really on point to help customers achieve their goals. If you optimize for the former, then you can actually spend all those expensive resources on the latter where it really makes a difference, and there's actually way more value.

So I guess, just this is a long story short. Every company should just focus on putting the customer's needs first and then just build their processes around that instead of trying to shepherd customers into a process that doesn't work for the customer, instead works for the business which is another thing that people frequently do.

So anyway, that is like my little hardware store anecdote.

Meredith Metsker: I love that.

Mo McKibbin: We just bought a house. So I actually do know my way around a hardware store, but there's definitely times that I need help, and I really appreciate when both approaches are considered.

Meredith Metsker: Yeah. That was a perfect anecdote, and my parents own a hardwood lumber store.

Mo McKibbin: Oh my gosh.

Meredith Metsker: So I'm like, "Oh. I even know this vibe you're talking about." Awesome. Okay. So I want to move on to my last question here, the one I like to ask all of the support leaders I talk to. In general, what advice do you have for up and coming support leaders?

Mo McKibbin: Yeah, sure. I guess I have two pieces of advice depending on what stage of leadership they are at. So if you are not a leader yet, I would say for people who aren't leaders that want to be, like I said before, I've worn a lot of hats. I've had a lot of roles, and I've leveled up. I've been fortunate enough to like really have excellent champions that have helped me level up multiple times in my career. If you want to be a leader, don't wait for someone to give you that. Just start leading, and the responsibility will follow. Every single role I've ever had, every single promotion, every single hat that I've worn, I was doing that role way before someone actually gave me the title for it. So start leading. Responsibility will follow.

And I guess what leading looks like is just highlighting areas that need improvement, but also bringing solutions and ideas instead of problems, inspiring others to do better work, and then always refining your skills and constantly seeking to improve your own work while coaching others to be better as well. So start there, start doing the job, and the responsibility will follow. That has at least happened everywhere. Like I said, every job I've ever done, I was doing the job, and then someone was like, "Do you want this title?"

Meredith Metsker: You're like, "Yes, please."

Mo McKibbin: Yes. Now I will also say though, don't let anyone put your skills in a box. And this is again coming from a person who wears lots of hats who basically said, "Obliterate the concept of sales, success, and support, and change operational structures completely." So don't let people tell you that something is a marketing problem to solve or a sales problem to solve or a product problem to solve. If you're on a customer-facing team, customers are literally the only things that make a business a business, and customer-facing teams are the teams that are quite obviously closest to the customer voice. So customer problems are business problems, and customer-facing teams are an important voice in the business. So it's really time to elevate that voice across all companies. So really just, if anyone ever tries to tell you that, like, "You're overstepping your role because this is actually supposed to be in this domain and this domain," they don't understand the business, not you.

Meredith Metsker: Yes. Love that. That was such good advice. Cool. Well, thank you so much again, Mo, for taking the time to talk with me today.

Mo McKibbin: Of course.

Meredith Metsker: This was awesome. I loved all of your very tangible advice and your anecdotes.

Mo McKibbin: And I feel like this is a really great concept for Stonly to run with.

Meredith Metsker: Yeah. I mean, it fits right in line with our mission. That's for sure.

Before I let you go, if anyone watching or listening would like to contact you or learn more from you, what's a good way for them to do that?

Mo McKibbin: Yeah. So obviously, you can connect with me or follow me on LinkedIn. It's Mo McKibbin, and it's I-N, not E-N. And there's no E. M-O. I'm also in the Support Driven Slack under the same name. And then I also do a fair amount of writing on this, and I'm actually going to start doing quite a bit more. So you should check out, I have a page called And on that page, there's a resource section.

I'm going to start focusing a lot more on taking some of the stuff that's in my head and putting it more on paper because the more and more I've talked to people and worked at other companies, I just have realized that there's a lot of need for businesses to start operating in a way that's really more customer-centric. And a really great way to do that is to have the team that's closest to customers just elevated into higher places within, having a seat of the table, and really kind of making it central to operations.

Meredith Metsker: Awesome. That's exciting. I will keep an eye out for that too.

Mo McKibbin: Okay. Cool.