This issue of the CS Ops newsletter is dedicated to a key principle for a key reason: In CS Ops, people frequently hire for tactical expertise, and CS Ops folks frequently focus on tactical execution, even though both groups want CS Ops to think strategically. This is because it’s hard to know how to interview for a strategic thought partner when you’ve never had one before, and it’s hard to become that person if you’ve never been it before.
“I feel very fortunate to have worked with many very awesome, very supportive Customer Success executives who recognized early that by having conversations with me, their strategies got stronger.” Emily Ryan, CCO @ Valuize
Hold onto your hats for a mindset shift
When you step away from your desk in CS Ops at the end of each day, what if it didn’t matter so much how many things you got done? What if your only focus were, “How well did I stick to what I believe matters most about how these kinds of challenges should be solved?” This shift -- proposed in the controversial book I Didn’t Do the Thing Today -- does two massive things: (1) I feel a change from ‘pressure to deliver’ to ‘invitation to craft’, which is relieving, empowering, and invigorating; (2) It reveals an often-missed characteristic of CS Ops:
CS Ops is a creative profession.
CS Ops is responsible for imagining how a CS team could and should operate, given the goals of the moment. This means that your main resource isn’t your capacity to stay at Inbox Zero or clean up data; your primary value is your unique perspective. So, envision that your employer has said, “Here are some business challenges we’ve collected into a role. We want you -- bringing all of your talents, preferences, experiences, and quirks, plus your innate drive to succeed and grow -- to find our way to solutions. If you’re doing that, you’re doing your job.” No one else has your perspective. Use it. Your employer even depends on it.
What it looks like to be a thought partner for CS strategy
In the Season 2 opening episode of the ‘Customer Valuecast’, Valuize’s CCO and CEO dig into what it takes to be a strategic CS Ops leader. They cover everything from what to hire for, to bridges to build within your organization. You can also hear what this looked like from the leaders of CS and CS Ops at ServiceTitan and PTC. And, in this fresh episode of the OpsStars podcast, I speak with LeanData’s CCO about what you get out of a CS Ops function that’s playing a strategy role.
To convert your personal perspective into creativity in CS Ops, I encourage you to create moments in each week, or even in each day, where you give your mind the elbow room to be inventive.
Friday mornings I do my favorite work of the week. I walk around the corner to a bougie café that’s focused on producing idyllically al dente steel-cut oatmeal. I get the one with almond butter mixed in, house-made granola on top with raspberries and blueberries, and a drizzle of agave, plus an iced latté. This mouthwatering amazingness is, for me, a business strategy.
I hunted for all the times in a week where I feel most inspired, where crazy ideas come from nowhere, where I get intellectually playful. I found the themes for me: mornings, good food, caffeine, ‘Friday energy’, getting away from my desk, and spending time with a pen and paper. So, I make 60-90 minutes each week into a concentrated superset of those experiences, where I ask myself big, vague, important questions, to just see what comes out. Invariably, I develop ideas that make a difference, including some of my most important contributions. CS Ops Unplugged, for example, came out of a Friday oatmeal. What would go into making your ultimate creative time?
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Seth Wylie | Director of CS Ops & Admin Community
He/Him/His | Based in Boston, MA
Gainsight Certified Administrator