In this week’s episode of CS Connect, our resident host Vish is joined by the one and only – the legend that is – Michelle Wideman. As Chief Customer Officer at data integration platform Onna, Michelle is part of the burgeoning number of CS leaders currently repping customer success in the C-Suite.

Michelle and Vish discuss a topic that is extremely significant to all aspects of CS. From onboarding and communication to product adoption and engagement; the subject of internal alignment couldn't be more important.

A little bit about our guest

Michelle Wideman is Onna’s first CCO, joining the company in October 2020. In this role, Michelle is responsible for Onna’s Technical Support, Customer Success, Partnerships, Professional Services, and Sales teams. Michelle joined Onna from Dell Boomi, where she was the company’s Chief Customer Success Officer.

Key takeaways

Takeaway #1

Successful interdepartmental collaboration only works when properly aligned and defined. It’s critical to have clarified departmental swimlanes in place for both internal and external purposes.

If you don’t have clearly defined roles and don’t understand the proper protocol on an internal basis, the customer isn’t going to have a clue either! And if the customer feels like they’ve been passed from pillar to post, chances are they probably won’t be sticking around with your business much longer.

Takeaway #2

When it comes to working with cross-functional teams, Michelle is a firm believer in coaching her CSMs to find that one common bond with their sales colleagues and work off of that, citing that both teams should draw on the overarching company vision and this shared success.

“You just need to figure out how you gel and how you work with people – it's the whole EQ versus IQ mentality, which really applies in the success world.”

Takeaway #3

The way to ensure a smooth onboarding process? Ensure that all of the information that has been collected in the pre-sales process is shared with the customer success team. The CSM needs to have this alignment and to understand why a customer is originally purchasing, rather than irritating the customer by asking unnecessary questions that could have been originally briefed through clearer internal communication.

Be on the series!

Do you have a thing or two to say about customer success? Or maybe you want to share your thoughts on the industry, your own career journey, and the tips and tactics that have brought you success?

Whatever it is, we’re always looking to elevate new stories and tidbits of wisdom on CS Connect and encourage you to get involved!