I have the pleasure of leading Instructure’s Customer Success organization, which includes our customer success management, services, support, and partnership teams across all of our products. Our mission is to ensure our customers and partners are empowered to make a meaningingful impact on the world of learning and education. While I have been with Instructure for over five years, this is a very recent role shift for me. As I have transitioned into this new role, I have uncovered how important it is as a CS leader to balance the work you do with your internal teams, with your customers, and with the industry as a whole to drive to true success for everyone.
This balance is much like how I think about my personal hobby (or perhaps addiction), ballroom dancing. I have danced for over ten years now, during which I have experienced successes and failures, as well as high and lows. Altogether, I have grown as a dancer by focusing on, in a balanced way, three types of connections. First, you must connect with your partner to ensure the dancing looks effortless and emotion-rich. Second, you must connect with the floor in order to create a stable foundation for the steps, moves, and tricks you create together as a pair. And third, you must connect with the audience in order to fully engage them in the immersive experience of the dance. If you focus too much on one of these three elements versus the others, the beauty of the dance may be inhibited.
In the CS world, we must similarly connect with our customers (our “partners”) in order to drive mutual success. The work together must be as effortless as possible if we wish to focus on the outcomes we want to achieve together. It is too easy to get distracted by problems or challenges that affect that effortless nature of our communication and subsequently minimize the impact we have together. We must also connect with our technologies (our “floor”) to lay the foundation for the useful exchanges of ideas. Without product and services knowledge depth, we risk the partnership with our customers by laying a shaky foundation. And finally, we must connect with our industry (our “audience”) for both feedback and the more extended exchange of trends, observations, and best practices. Once again, by focusing on one of these points of connection more than the others, we risk the beauty and impact of what we can produce together.
Through these invaluable connections, and the balance needed among them, I hope we can continue to drive an excellent, and dare I say innovative, customer experience within the learning and education industry.
SVP, Customer Success and Partnerships