4 Steps to Assessing the CX Work That Needs to Be Done at a Young Company

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Chelsie Rae Lee and Allison Pickens

As a CCO at a startup, how do you assess the work that needs to be done to begin the CX transformation? In today’s episode, we’re revisiting conversations with two CCOs who have implemented CX programs from the ground up: Chelsie Rae Lee of SnackNation and Allison Pickens of Gainsight.

Both women became CCOs of their companies during a time where no formal CX work had been instituted. Chelsie Rae joined SnackNation, a subscription service that delivers snacks to homes and offices, the company was small enough, which allowed her to frame her role and work to be done. In addition to holding the position as CCO, Allison Pickens is also Gainsight’s COO, and spent much of her first year defining her role, along with others’ and uniting her C-suite team to move the CX agenda forward. Gainsight is a SaaS company focused on customer success.

1. Clarify Role and Department Responsibilities

“That cross-functional work is something I’ve come to really enjoy, and get to do even more of it in my current role,” says Allison about one of her main responsibilities as CCO. Allison shares that she used this strength to focus on the benefits of creating cross-functional trust and cooperation. Within the first few months, she focused on defining roles and charters for others within the organization.



Allison mentions that some peoples’ roles weren’t fully defined, so she took on this work and defined the charters for every function. Additionally, she included the metrics that each function was responsible for. With this clarity, people knew what they should be doing when they get to work in the morning. The charters also included dependencies that they have on other functions. For example, if CSMs have expectations from the professional services team, those would be documented.

2. Create a 90-Day Plan

At SnackNation, Chelsie Rae thought about what she wanted the customer experience to look like at the end of 90 days. She shares that she mapped the experience and journey but really focused on customer churn. Since SnackNation is a subscription service, it was beneficial for her to understand when a customer may be ready to leave or why they canceled the service.

Chelsie shares that a large portion of her work during this time was related to data collection. She was missing data to help her tell the larger story. What made the customer tick? Why did they originally book with SnackNation? As she collected data, she also so she created a dashboard with the organization’s current numbers, where the numbers should be at the end of 90 days and where they should be by the end of the year.

3. Create a Hiring plan

At SnackNation, Chelsie shares that one of the CX strategies was also focused around employee experience and hiring. She had a vision for the team that she needed in order to drive the work forward. Chelsea created a hiring strategy that specified the type of traits that a candidate needed to possess.

Teamwork: need to be a team player and have an “it takes a village” mentality.

Company culture fit: can you get the job done? Do you work well with others? Using role play to understand how well the candidate takes feedback and self-assess.

Seek perpetual growth: need to have a desire to continuously grow and evolve.

Emotional IQ: how well can you bounce back and keep a positive attitude?



4. Unite your team around KPIs

Allison shares that at Gainsight, in order to have others in the company view customer experience as a business function that creates results, she had to incorporate performance metrics that could be reported on. She wanted to ensure that for any given function, each team would have metrics to help determine how their work was making an impact. When speaking about the various metrics at board meetings, it was easier to see how things were progressing over each quarter, which gave the CX work more credibility.

I encourage you to take the time to listen to the original podcasts in its entirety to hear even more great tactics that these women have employed in their jobs: 4 Tactics to Building and Managing Customer Success with Allison Pickens and 3 Steps to Mapping a Robust Customer Journey with Chelsie Rae Lee of Snack Nation.

Also, feel free to share any tactics you’ve seen work well as a CX leader in your organization or industry in the comments!

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