Dear Insider: Help! I'm a top performer at work but feel unfulfilled.

Dear Insider: Help! I'm a top performer at work but feel unfulfilled.

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Q: Despite being a top performer at my current job, I feel unfulfilled. Given the current economic climate, should I take the risk and join a new company or stay put? If I do decide to explore other opportunities, how can I tell if the new company is a safe bet with solid fundamentals in this uncertain economy?

I am so sorry to hear you’re not getting what you need from your current role, I’ve been there myself. I have to admit, earlier in my career, I would have stayed in a role because I thought I had to, or I prioritized the needs of the business or my team over my own. After years of navigating these choices I’ve taken a different approach - I now prioritize my happiness and fulfillment.

Regardless of the economy, it doesn’t hurt to start looking. While the market may not be “hot” there are tons of companies that are hiring and one of them could potentially meet your needs.

When scouting companies it’s important to be prepared prior to your search, to save you, and the company, a ton of time and heartache. Here are a few things you can do that will help you in your search and make sure you land at the right place.

  1. Make a list of your non-negotiables - This will be your must-haves with any new role or company. On some lists you’ll see things like compensation rage of X-Y, reporting directly to X title, the company has a flexible WFH or fully remote workforce, comprehensive maternity or paternity policy, career paths with growth opportunity etc. Define your list and stick to it. If these are your must-haves, now is not the time to make concessions - you’ll just end up somewhere else you’re not happy.
  2. Reverse Interview - You need to make sure you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you and this means coming prepared with thoughtful behavioral-style questions. These questions will look like “Tell me a time when …”, “Give me an example of …”, “Was there ever a time when X, and how was it handled?” These specific examples will give you a glimpse into the things that could be impact the culture. One I like to ask … “What are the top 3 reasons employees leave and what are you doing about it?”
  3. Research and Reach Out - Go read Glassdoor, G2 and anywhere else you can read unfiltered real reviews or comments, this will help you get a sense of what’s going on. Pay attention to themes. Something else I’ve seen/heard people do is reach out to previous employees and ask them questions about their time there and why they left … it’s amazing what people will share.

The last piece I will leave you with is to trust your gut. Spend enough time asking questions and conversing with folks during the process. Get a feel for their moods, energy level, enthusiasm, preparedness etc. When you know you know.

I wish you a ton of luck and hope you find a happy home.

Q: When clients cancel or do not renew, what questions should I ask them?

First, it’s important to understand that churn will happen and how you treat your customers as they leave is as important as how you treat them when they come onboard. Part of this is making sure you understand what went wrong and what you could have done to continue to earn their business. One of the things we do as customers are leaving is conduct an exit interview, this allows us to ensure we have the best understanding of what happened and why they decided to leave.

When conducting the interview we start with recapping what we know about the situation. This helps the customer understand what we know and don’t know about their journey and our hope is that they feel we have been dialed in to the partnership.

There are a few questions we will ask to better understand things from the customers point of view and focus on experience, product and market.

  1. How would you describe your experience with X company as a customer?
  2. If you were in my role what areas would you focus on to deliver a better customer experience?
  3. What were your most memorable experiences with X company? Good or Bad?
  4. What were your favorite aspects of our product and what will you miss the most?
  5. If you were designing our product roadmap what would you add or prioritize to help make the biggest impact on the market?
  6. Sadly you are leaving us to go to X company, what did you find as you evaluated alternative solutions?
  7. Where do you see the market heading and how should we be responding as a company?
  8. What could we have done differently to keep you as a customer?
  9. If someone told you they were evaluating us as a vendor, what would you share with them?
  10. If you had to redo your time with us, what would you do differently to drive a different outcome for the partnership?

Q: What are the top 10 CS platforms and how do they compare? The context is to drop the legacy excel spreadsheets and use a CS tool that makes life easy and helps Customer Success Manager (CSM) focus on the business and relationship side.

This is a great question and it’s important to understand that all of the platforms on the market do something very well and can bring value to a Customer Success Program. Still, it’s also critical to understand that purchasing a CS Platform is not a strategy and it requires a lot of thought and design on how to orchestrate it in a meaningful way. That said, I will list out as many platforms as I can comfortably speak to.

ClientSuccess: Easy to use, configure and deploy, no technical expertise required; guided onboarding with predesigned best practices and detailed elements to take the guesswork out of designing your customer journey.

Gainsight: Designed for Enterprise organizations; highly configurable and customizable platform.

ChurnZero: Strong emphasis on a 1:many approach; features and functionality associated with scaled programs.

Catalyst: Designed for the CSMs with a focus on easy workflows for day-to-day management.

Totango: Free version to get started makes it easy to try out some of the basic features and then upgrade to leverage more of the platform.

I highly recommend doing your due diligence, just because a platform worked really well for someone else doesn’t mean it will meet your needs. Here are a few things I recommend you do before starting your evaluation.

  1. Build and design your customer lifecycle - this will be required for you to make great use of any platform but will also help you understand what you need in a platform to be successful.
  2. Understand your resources - do you plan on hiring someone to manage this platform? Is this something you will own and manage?
  3. Work with your CFO to build a budget - You need to consider total cost of ownership. Aside from the platform costs, you will need to understand if you will need to hire someone to manage the platform, will you need a consultant to help get it deployed?
  4. Understand your customer engagement model - are you looking to design more of an automated experience or are you more focused on a high engagement model?
  5. Feature and functionality checklist - What are your must haves and nice to have features and functionality?

Lastly, it’s critical you do your research - start by checking out G2, Glassdoor, ask around in communities and then start your own evaluation. There are pros and cons about every solution on the market but at the end of the day you should find the solution that will help your team and customers the best way possible.

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