Why Every Company Needs Customer Success

05 June 2023

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What are the opportunities for emerging careers in customer success?

On the latest episode of The Best Careers You Never Knew Existed, customer success manager (CSM) and co-founder of Yellow Room, Al Renner illuminates the critical role customer success plays in companies across diverse industries, surpassing the confines of the tech sector. Join us as we delve into the day-to-day responsibilities of CSMs and explore the growing demand for these professionals in Alberta. 


  • Executive Producer and Host: Lora Bucsis 
  • Co-Host: Zachary Novak 
  • Producer and Creative Director: Terran Anthony Allen 
  • Technical Producer: Jenna Smith 
  • Senior Marketing Strategist: James Boon 
  • Podcast Consultant: Roger Kingkade 
  • Voice Over: Beesley 

Funding Partners

The Province of Alberta is working in partnership with the Government of Canada to provide employment support programs and services. 

Lora Bucsis

Lora has always been a champion for forging one’s own path. A non-traditional, lifelong learner herself, Lora leads the team at SAIT responsible for educational products and learner success in Continuing Education and Professional Studies. Wildly curious about how jobs change over time, Lora believes that learning for 21st-century careers needs to come in several different forms from a number of different avenues. When she’s not binge-listening to podcasts or driving her teenagers around, you’ll find her hiking in Alberta’s backcountry — or falling off her bike.

Zachary Novak

Zachary is the Founder of Careers in Technology and Innovation (CITI), an online community that supports experienced professionals find and grow careers in technology. Through Careers in Technology and Innovation, Zachary has hosted over 150 events and has helped over 120 people land roles in tech.

Zachary is a community professional, also providing community consulting work through FML Studios Inc. Zachary was previously the Director of Community at RevvGo, Director of Product at Actionable.co, and spent seven years in investment banking. Zachary holds degrees in engineering, business administration, and is a software development bootcamp graduate.

SAIT Podcast: Customer Success Episode 4

[00:00:00] Beesley: The Best Careers You Never Knew Existed Podcast, sparked by SAIT and co-hosted by CITI! The podcast that helps you navigate jobs. Learn about new careers and industries!  

[00:00:13] Lora: Hi, I'm Lora and I work in continuing education and professional studies at SAIT.  

[00:00:18 Zach: Hi, I’m Zach and I'm the founder of Careers in Technology and Innovation. 

[00:00:21] Lora: Thanks for joining our podcast! So, today we're talking about Customer Success and Zach, I think it was funny how we kind of tagged onto this career cause we had a conversation one day and I think it was random. And you said to me, have you looked at Customer Success? And I said, no, and then I mentioned it to my colleague Leanne, and next thing you know, she had a program design like within a weekend. 

[00:00:45] Zach: Yeah, that's pretty cool. Customer Success is a career path I think that in Alberta, is just becoming known and there's certainly not enough education and I would say community around it. Although I think this conversation, your program has kicked off a lot of that, so that's really exciting. 

[00:01:08] Lora: We're chatting today with Al Renner and every time I talk to Al, I get really excited cause he has so much energy for the role of Customer Success and helping people be successful in Customer Success. So, I'm really excited about chatting with him.  

[00:01:26] Zach: Yeah, I'm looking forward to demystifying what Customer Success is and getting to know more about the career paths and the opportunities in Alberta.  

[00:01:34] Lora: So, make sure you stick around for resources and advice after the interview!  

[00:01:38] Zach: I hope you enjoy our conversation with Al.  

[00:01:41] Beesley: Now, here's a career you never knew existed.  

[00:01:45] Zach: Hi Al, thank you for coming today. Would you like to introduce yourself to our listeners? 

[00:01:50] Al: Hi Zach, my name is Al Renner, I am a lifelong Calgarian. I've been in technology for probably close to 30 years. And the past 20 or so, in Customer Success roles of one form or another.  

[00:02:07] Zach: Tell us a little bit more about what Customer Success is. 

[00:02:10] Al: It's almost become the latest buzzword, especially in SaaS organizations. From my perspective, Customer Success really has to become a culture within organizations. It has to permeate the whole organization from the people in the back doing their assembling, all the way to finance, and of course, the folks on the front lines so the customers. Customer Success, if it becomes a pillar of the organization, companies are measured by outcomes and outcomes are delivered by teams of people with varied skills. So, a CSM is just one of those skills that's gonna help the company be successful.  

[00:02:50] Lora: Al, can you…you know, I wanna ask you a little bit about like what types of problems or things Customer Success professionals address, but you referred to SaaS. For our listeners, can you just explain what SaaS is? 

[00:03:03] Al: Yeah, you bet. So, SaaS stands for software as a service. Everybody, virtually everybody encounters it. If you have a subscription to anything – Spotify, YouTube, whatever it may be, you're a SaaS customer. And so Customer Success is an important part of SaaS because the whole business model relies on people renewing those subscriptions and Customer Success, one of their job functions is managing those renewals. 

 [00:03:31] Zach: You also said CSM. 

 [00:03:33] Al:  Customer Success Manager. Yep. So, Customer Success Manager is just one of many, it's probably over a dozen subspecialties, but Customer Success Manager is one of them. Typically the front lines, they're the face of the organization to the customer and manage the life cycle from stranger all the way through to promoter. 

[00:03:52] Lora: So, you mentioned renewals, right? Which is a bit of a different model for revenue for SaaS based companies. Can you talk a little bit about the value that Customer Success brings to an organization?  

[00:04:06] Al: So, if Customer Success becomes cultural within the organization, what it does is it turns that company into a customer centric machine. And so, every decision that organization makes thinks of the customer first. So, if you ever had a piece of software or something that you absolutely love and you never even think about paying for it or anything like that, you've had a really good Customer Success Manager at some point along the lines, whether you knew it or not. So ultimately Customer Success is gonna reduce the friction between customers and the organization, and then hopefully the customer grows with the organization through additional offerings, cross-selling and upselling. So, it's a very valuable piece of the pie. 

[00:04:54] Lora:  And I've heard the term annual recurring revenue in terms of how I guess those companies are valued and my understanding is, Customer Success is really kind of tied to that sort of metric for SaaS based companies.  

[00:05:09] Al: It is. And every company's different. There's no one size fits all. So annual recurring revenue, also known as ARR, is just one metric. Another one would be monthly recurring revenue. It's close to the same, but it's a little bit different. The other metrics that are really important for Customer Success and really drive their day-to-day lives is stuff like churn. 

[00:05:33] Al: And churn is an important one. So, when we talk about churn, you know at the beginning of the month you've got X amount of subscribers, and if at the end of the month you have somewhat smaller population of subscribers, then we call that churn. And the focus of a Customer Success Manager, usually when an organization deems that they need one, is to try to stem that churn or try to slow it down. 

[00:05:56] Al: It's inevitable churn happens even to the best of the best, but if we can control it or if we can even get them into a different, better fit product, and that's a huge bonus for the company as well.  

[00:06:08] Zach: So, how did you get into Customer Success? 

[00:06:10] Al: I was told to. Way, way back when I was working for a company and we had many different SaaS offerings and through many years of working there, I became the director of operations and essentially, I was their Customer Success guy. I was their tech support guy. I was their onboarding guy. I was their accounts receivable guy. I was everything guy. And then we started to grow, and the teams got bigger and we ended up hiring a very, very experienced vice president. He came from the world of telecom, and one of the things that he noticed right off the bat is we had a very transactional view of our customers. 

[00:06:46] Al: So, we were selling widgets, the customers were buying widgets, but we didn't have a relationship with them. And so, a lot of the effort that he undertook was to soften our image and make us more customer friendly. And the first thing he did was change my title from Director of Operations to Director of Customer Success. 

[00:07:02] Al: And I absolutely hated it. Cause this was a long time ago before the name was out there and people were like, that is such a strange name. But now it's an everyday term and I'm certainly glad that Darryl made me change my title way back when, and it really set me on a path and a different mindset when I'm dealing in business now. 

[00:07:21] Zach: Because that was a number of years ago, can you tell us a little bit more about your CS path? 

[00:07:25] Al: It was very interesting. After I left that company, they had an exit. And we all went our own separate ways. And then after that, I actually went to another company, and I'm gonna throw another name at you. It's called SHaS and its software and hardware as a service. 

[00:07:40] Al: So, now not only are we selling them software, but we're also selling them hardware as well. And the hardware isn't really rented, it's kind of leased. It can get complicated, but it's just another version of SaaS. And so, they brought me on to help them out with their technical support situation, which was a little bit floundering, but they called it Director of Customer Success again, which was really interesting because none of my roles or activities were actually traditionally Customer Success related. 

[00:08:12] Al: But again, my experience at the previous organization made me realize that the same sort of transformation needed to happen. And so, we undertook a success-based culture pivot where we stopped being transactional and we started being relational. And it's a journey, right? People aren't used to it. And the demographic that we were dealing with wasn't ready for it. 

[00:08:35] Al: So, we had to take it very slow. But now it's quite successful. And then just recently I'm getting into what some people might call fractional leadership. So, where a company will split the cost of an executive with other companies. So, it's not exactly what we're doing, but we'll go into an organization, and we'll find where perhaps their customer journey and the customer journey is from the moment the customer is aware of your company or your product to the moment that they no longer use your product is the customer journey. 

[00:09:06] Al: And so, what we do is we identify friction points or gaps in that journey, and we'll help organizations plug them and then we will help the organization grow along that journey. Instilling the right Customer Success people at the right stages with the right skillsets. 

[00:09:21] Zach: Sounds like quite a bit of empathy in the role. 

[00:09:23] Al: Absolutely, yup. 

[00:09:24] Zach: What's the kind of the day-to-day, walk me through a day. 

[00:09:27] Al: Yeah, so it's really exciting and it's gonna be different for everybody and everybody's specialty. But let's talk about the reason people get into Customer Success in the first place is cause they love dealing with customers, hopefully. 

[00:09:40] Al: And so, what they'll normally do is they'll have a book of business. This is a typical way that organizations will structure themselves, as a CSM will have a book of business that are their clients. And so, they'll just do checks on them, right? They might check their utilization, they might check their account status, whatever metrics that specific organization considers important. 

[00:10:03] Al: And then if anything is out of line, that CSM is gonna do what it takes to get the customer back on track so that their utilization or their enjoyment with the product is where it should be. So, it might mean reaching out. It might mean tweaking the offering. It might mean calling them and saying, hey, you know what? This isn't fitting for you right now. You really need to get into something else. 

[00:10:21] Al: So, it's a lot about being proactive before there's an issue. You want to be, you want to be the company's early warning system. Nobody likes surprises and SaaS organizations like them the least. 

[00:10:33] Lora: So Al, do you think that Customer Success is really limited to SaaS or technology companies, or are we seeing industries using a Customer Success model that are outside of tech? 

[00:10:47 ] Al: Remember, Customer Success started in tech, but it's a philosophy and so the more organizations that pick it up, I think the better everyone is going to be. Everyone's certainly gonna have a more enjoyable time whenever they're interacting. But I have actually a really good example, I was booking a massage appointment last week, and the person that I was chatting with literally is just like a chat window. 

[00:11:11] Al: He went out of his way to make sure that I got the appointment that I needed with the person that I wanted, a location that I needed it, and it was just a fantastic interaction and if you think about it, I've been going back to that exact same physio and massage place for five years now. And so, in some respects, it's like a subscription. I keep going back and it's because of the way that they approach their business with their customers. So, just because it's a tech innovation, just like a lot of innovations, it can be applied in almost any industry. 

[00:11:42] Lora: Yeah, absolutely. So, we are seeing it evolving into the other industries. What do you think the growth potential is? 

[00:11:51] Al: Oh, it's massive. I was watching a tech-based TEDx maybe a couple months ago, and the person estimated that a lot of the tech companies, he thinks somewhere around 70% of their workforce will be in some form of a Customer Success role by the end of the decade. 

[00:12:13] Al: So that's huge, right. It may not be a Customer Success Manager specific, but don't forget what I said earlier. There's a dozen probably subspecialties, so that's gonna become even more important.  

[00:12:24] Zach: What are some of the big buckets of those subspecialties?  

[00:12:27] Al: Yeah, so tech support is a huge one. Onboarding is another massive one, although we prefer the term enablement. You want to, you don't really want to onboard a customer, it almost seems like it's a task, and when the task is over, it's done. You want the relationship with the customer to last for a very long-time training and not maybe initial training, so much as ongoing training like that is also very important, right? 

[00:12:53] Al: You wanna make sure that the customers are aware of new features, if it's a software offering and that they're utilizing them. Another one would be account management. So, a lot of organizations will have an inside sales team that just deals with renewals, right? So, they're there just making sure that customers are renewing and helping them renew and making sure there's no hiccups there. 

[00:13:16] Al: Typical CSM, as I mentioned before, is like the day-to-day operations, making sure that they're always looking after their book of business. And it goes on and on and on. I've worked for organizations that have a Customer Success, technical writer, building collateral, playbooks, journeys, training material so, it's very, very wide, right. 

[00:13:36] Zach: So, the career pathways in Customer Success, is there a certain place that most people start in Customer Success? And is there a pathway that's typical or is it a little bit more dynamic? What would you say if someone's trying to get into CS? What are the type of career pathways there are? 

[00:13:54] Al: Yes. So, ask 10 different CSMs that question and you'll get 10 different answers so, I'll give you mine. In my experience, anybody who has a customer service background is already halfway there, right? They're used to dealing with the public, they typically have empathy, like you mentioned before. That's not something you can teach, but it's something you can polish. 

[00:14:16] Al: And I've always had good success from customer service folks pivoting into success. Last night I was talking with my business partner Steve, and he mentioned that his favorite people to pivot are marketers. In his experience, those become the best Customer Success folks. But there really isn't a right or wrong answer to that. Customer Success like I said, if you can understand the empathy part and want to be the voice of the customer, you can become a great CSM absolutely.  

[00:14:44] Lora: So, other than that, empathy and the people skills, it sounds like there's also an opportunity to utilize data and other tools to be able to increase client success. What are some of the other skills that you look for in a great CS’er? 

[00:15:02] Al: Yeah, and the one thing that I always stress whenever I go into organizations is I usually say, I'm gonna find that you guys have gaps in communication. So, tell me where they are right now. And almost every organization will go, no, we don't have any gaps, but there’s always gaps. 

[00:15:20] Al: And the role of a Customer Success manager requires outstanding communication skills. They have to be able to rise above internal organizational silos and bring all of that together because they're also the people that host and create 90% of the feedback that a company is going to get. 

[00:15:39] Al: So, they have to be good at communicating. You mentioned data. They should really be good at least understanding or communicating data. Customer Success generates a lot of it, so a lot of companies will have a dedicated data person that will help with the reporting needs, or if they have a platform, a software platform, that'll do it for them. 

[00:15:57] Al: But the data is only good if you can share it, and sharing data in a way that people can consume it is actually quite complicated. So, that's a very good skill to have. There's a lot of fundamental skills like business analysis that come into it. And these are soft skills, right? Presenting is a soft skill. 

[00:16:15] Al: Business analysis, although it's a course and you can take it, you need to be able to apply it in your environment. And I've said it before, but customers will almost always be a very close fit to their software or at best, they'll be a very, very close fit. But the job of a Customer Success manager is to analyze that customer's business or their habits, and then make sure the software is as close as possible, or their offering is as close as possible to it. Business analysis, communication skills, those are all very important.  

[00:16:47] Beesley: Our Con-Ed advising team at SAIT talk to people all the time who are considering a new career or would like to see their career evolve. We have questions from listeners. Thank you so much for your submissions. Here's a couple of questions. 

[00:17:00] Listener #1: What's the difference between customer experience and Customer Success?   

[00:17:05] Al: So, I guess the context is customer experience, when you're talking about that with me, I'm thinking about UX and UI, right? How does the customer actually interact with the product that is being sold, right? So that's an experience. 

[00:17:22] Al: Customer Success is more about the lifecycle of the customer, right? So, we talk about turning a stranger, someone who doesn't know about your product into a promoter, right? So, you want them to tell their friends all about your product. Customer Success manages that lifecycle. So, it may be an experience from the customer's point of view, but that's not the language or the terminology that we would use. 

[00:17:44] Listener #2: Why would someone go into Customer Success instead of sales? 

[00:17:47] Al: And again, this is dependent on the organization, but Customer Success is more of a farming job, whereas a sales job would be more of a hunting job. So, I have a very good friend who's an excellent salesperson, but as soon as he makes the sale, he's got no interest in maintaining a relationship with that customer because he wants to move on to the next deal. 

[00:18:08] Al: So, that to me is a sales type of role, but a Customer Success person, they're interested in maintaining and growing that relationship and growing with the customer. So, it's two different approaches to, a similar problem, but they are very different.  

[00:18:24] Lora: So, what do you think is the hardest thing about being in Customer Success? 

[00:18:29] Al: Customer Success is generally the tip of the spear when there's a problem and you have to develop a pretty thick skin and not take things personally. That's probably one of the most important things is to remember that you're there to help the customer and the customer's frustration isn't necessarily about you. It's about something that's just not going right. 

[00:18:52] Al: So, people that become very successful in CS can work through very challenging situations and still have an excellent outcome. So that is very difficult. 

[00:19:03] Zach: I love that tip of the spear analogy. When I worked in product management, having a strong ally from Customer Success being able to communicate the needs of the customers was really helpful for me. So, I totally see that communication and empathy. So, a lot of our listeners are thinking about new career paths and may be thinking about Customer Success. This is something they're interested in. What would be your suggestion about how they go about getting trained in the skillset in order for them to do the role? 

[00:19:37] Al: If they like listening to podcasts, which I'm assuming that they do, I would definitely get them to start looking up some CS podcasts. So, Gain Grow Retain is an excellent one. I'm not getting paid by them, but there's tons of them out there. So, I would start listening to those and just seeing what people are talking about, and people start picking up on the overarching topics pretty quickly. 

[00:20:00] Al: Next, you wanna start looking at books. Wayne Mcculloch is an awesome author, so is Nick Mehta. These are both big pillars in the world of Customer Success. So, start looking at that. And then, there's lots of places that are offering courses as well. So, you get some hands-on training and then see what it's like in the actual real world as you're getting into the CS world in a real-life organization as well. 

[00:20:23] Zach: Can you tell me a little bit more about what you and SAIT have up your sleeves coming up? 

[00:20:14] Al: Yeah, it's really exciting. So, SAIT through their continuing education department is developing an applied Customer Success management bootcamp, which is very, very exciting. So, we're gonna teach them all the most important pieces of becoming a Customer Success Manager. Everything from communication skills to building journey maps, understanding buyer personas, understanding customer personas, and a whole gamut of stuff. And we're gonna work together, details TBD, to really teach them how to bring a product and work as a mini organization and get that communication and the working together. 

[00:21:10] Lora: Yeah, I think because, I mean it seems to me like Customer Success. You talked about the communication skills, the advocacy skills, the ability to champion the customer experience. And so, as you know, that applied learning really is around how do you work in a team to do that. 

 [00:21:29] Al: Yup. Thank you. Yes.  

[00:21:30] Lora: You know, it's fine to think about how you would do it or envision how you would do it, but when you actually have to do it, you learn really great skills around how do you work as part of a team. And I think that's been something we've been really conscious of is, a lot of these roles don't work in isolation. The real power to the roles is that they work as part of a team, and you have to be able to articulate and advocate for your position when you’re part of that team. So that's the environment we try to create, which is really game changing. 

[00:21:59] Al: It's super valuable, especially from where I'm sitting because as I mentioned earlier, feedback loops are so critical for organizations nowadays, but just simply getting that feedback and not doing something about it is a pretty widespread problem. So, Customer Success really needs to pick up that torch and be able to communicate the feedback effectively to those leaders, be it a product leader, be it a finance leader, whoever it is in their organization that needs to hear it. So having real world experience doing that, I think is absolutely critical.  

[00:22:34] Lora: What about for somebody who's not sure they wanna commit to a training program yet? What avenues could somebody have to connect with people who, just to have a conversation around Customer Success and meet other people who are in Customer Success?  

[00:22:50] Al: Thank you. So, you just keep on throwing the softballs, it's amazing.  

[00:22:55] Lora: Funny how that works, hey? 

[00:22:56] Al: So, part of the Applied Customer Success Management Bootcamp, we're gonna be also hosting an online community. And the idea there is to bring current learners, Alumni, Customer Success champions, people that are just interested in CS, bring them all together and do just that. 

[00:23:15] Al: Have conversations about Customer Success and they can see if it's a good fit there. And then the third part to it is our little social calendar that we have. So roughly once a month we're gonna be putting on a workshop or a get together where we will have activities regarding Customer Success. So, the next one upcoming, we're gonna have a panel discussion. And the discussion topic is going to be, What Is Customer Success? So, we'll probably have four or five industry leaders discussing that, and we'll be taking questions from the audience, obviously. And then afterwards, it's just gonna be a networking event where you can go and meet leaders and other CS professionals and get to lay the land, it's pretty exciting. 

[00:23:55] Zach: I’m a huge fan,  

[00:23:16] Al: Yep. 

[00:23:55] Zach: of all the things that you just said. 

 [00:23:58] Al: Awesome.  

[00:23:59] Zach: What's your feeling about customer's success in Alberta? 

[00:24:02] Al: Oh, it's the tip of the iceberg. We are at the very beginning. Frankly, Alberta, our economy relies heavily on oil and gas. It has for a very long time and oil and gas is not something that needs Customer Success very much. So, it's actually quite a foreign thing and I think that's why when I was told to become a Customer Success manager, I had a, probably not the nicest look on my face way, way back when. But it's starting to grow, and people are starting to understand that it's necessary. They can see what's happening in the US with these large organizations, but if you actually look across the pond to Europe, this has been a thing for decades in Europe, and it's now just starting to take on in North America and Alberta's on that roadway right now. It's exciting. 

[00:24:49] Zach: Yeah. So, lots of opportunity,  

[00:24:51] Al: Tons. 

[00:24:52] Zach: to connect with your collective and community for people to be part of that. What would be your top tips for someone who's trying to get into Customer Success?  

[00:25:00] Al: Because Customer Success requires you to be a proactive advocate for your customers. You need to be a proactive advocate for yourself. 

[00:25:12] Al: So, the best way to get into Customer Success, is to be persistent with those companies that you want to align yourself with and get the conversation started often and early. If you look at LinkedIn, there are hundreds, if not thousands of remote positions for Customer Success. Just make sure you look closely at the definition cause Customer Success isn't well defined right now, so you might think it's a CSM role, but it might actually be a sales role, or it might be a support role. So just look carefully at the description and always ask questions. And then, turn to resources such as the Customer Success community if you need to bounce ideas or a second opinion. 

[00:25:52] Zach: Is there any other resources you recommend? You talked about podcasts, courses, community, but anything else that you'd wanna point people towards?  

[00:26:01] Al: Resources for Customer Success, I would really start with the community part of it. The online community would be an excellent place. There are Customer Success platforms such as Gainsight or Churn Zero, and they have oodles and oodles of pre-built resources that'll at least get you halfway there to whatever you're trying to achieve, or it'll teach you whatever skill, at least by the book, what you need to learn. So, I would probably also start investigating those sites if you need something a little bit more specific or complicated as well. 

[00:26:35] Lora: Al, my sense is that there might be job descriptions out there right now that are not Customer Success but are actually disguised as Customer Success. Because we've talked a little bit about account management and customer experience, and I'm just wondering how would someone know that it's a Customer Success role? 

[00:26:58] Lora: And is there, I guess a job description out there somewhere? And I'm going off script a little bit, but I guess my curiosity would be how do they know that a job actually is Customer Success? Because I get the sense that some jobs may be Customer Success, but are not really listed as Customer Success, and is that true? 

[00:27:18] Al: As you mentioned, tagging the label Customer Success to something is very easy. It's not like putting the label engineer on something which is very tightly defined, so it can get a little bit loosey goosey. I have a modern Customer Success org chart, I think that you guys will be linking it to the podcast, and I highly suggest people check that out. 

[00:27:42] Al: And what it will do is it'll actually explain what a modern Customer Success organization looks like. And that's just one piece of the whole organization, but there'll be an executive leader and then it'll be broken down all the way into the distinct roles that I've been talking about. So, look at your job description and make sure that it fits within one of those roles. It is not uncommon for Customer Success managers to do renewals, tech support, account management, training, onboarding, to do all of it. So, it's not necessarily mislabeled, but it might be a little bit misguided. 

[00:28:16] Al: And then the other problem too is that because it is such a new thing to a lot of organizations and just business in general, the mistake that's made is that they'll put a lot of emphasis on being successful. Cause now we have a Customer Success manager. But it's really important that they understand it has to be an organizational commitment. You can't just put a person in the role. So, my favorite question to ask people that I'm interviewing or when I'm being interviewed is, if I was to come and do the exact job that you want me to do, and I was to walk out into the parking lot and the CEO came up, shook my hand and said, you did the perfect job, what would that job look like? And have them explain that, and if that's a job that you're happy with taking on. Doesn't matter if it's called Customer Success or not. That's a perfect job for you.  

[00:29:03] Zach: How do you think Customer Success will evolve over the next few years? 

[00:29:06] Al:  So, the, everyone's talking about AI right now, and I was just talking to you about it earlier. I think Customer Success is gonna benefit wildly from AI. It's not gonna take anybody's jobs away. I think it's just gonna make everybody's jobs much, much easier. I use it every day almost. I use it for copywriting, I use it for bringing my data together, I use it for all sorts of stuff. And I talked earlier about being an early warning system. Well, AI and machine learning, you could be so accurate so far in advance that you're course correcting your customers before they even know that they have a problem. And I think that's really where the power is gonna come. 

[00:29:42] Lora: So, we really enjoyed our conversation with Al Renner. 

[00:29:45] Zach: Yeah, it was really great to hear from Al. For someone that was voluntold to get into Customer Success, it seems like he has quite a passion for it and tons of expertise.  

[00:29:54] Lora: Yeah, I agree. And a lot of insights and resources and connections. In my experience, he's connected a ton of people already within the market and initiating great conversations around what Customer Success is and how to support people in their careers and Customer Success. 

[00:30:13] Zach: Yeah, I think what I really got out of this conversation is, having a customer-centric approach to developing business and those characteristics are really important, but amplified in a Customer Success role around communication, empathy, and really thinking about the full customer journey where we often sometimes get a little bit distracted by the task at hand. 

[00:30:36] Lora: Yeah, I agree. I think what I took away from it is when we were talking about the different industries utilizing Customer Success and how it's really started with tech and SaaS companies. Then I got to thinking about all the different industries that have reoccurring customers. And I'm even thinking in some of our traditional industries, the service companies that are serving some larger organizations with continuous services, even in oil and gas and oil and gas services could potentially benefit from a different lens on Customer Success than, maybe they've used in tech. But I think a lot of those principles could potentially still apply. I really think about the potential or those roles to make a big impact across industries. 

[00:31:27] Zach: Absolutely, and I loved how SAIT and Al has taken a community approach of bringing the community together through the community initiatives that you're doing and through the collective. I think that's just a really shining example of how we can come together, share ideas, and support each other. So, if you're listening to this podcast and you're interested, I'm sure we'll have it linked out to the resources where you can meet up with Al and the all the other Customer Success industry leaders and the SAIT supporters and get to connect and learn more. 

[00:31:59] Lora: Absolutely. The beautiful thing about an emerging role is you get to be at the ground floor of an emerging role. But the tricky thing is how do you navigate that environment? So that idea of a community to support and build on your expertise is absolutely critical, from an education and learning perspective. So yeah, absolutely encourage anybody to connect to the community or connect with us or connect with CITI if you're interested in learning more about this role.  

[00:32:29] Zach: Yeah. Thanks for listening and hope to connect with you soon.  

[00:32:32] Beesley: The Best Careers You Never Knew Existed Podcast, sparked by SAIT and CITI, funded by the government of Alberta. Have a career suggestion or want to appear as a guest? Get in touch, SAIT.ca/careers podcast. Rate and review this podcast and you might find your review on a future episode. Please subscribe to the best careers you never knew existed, wherever fine podcasts are downloaded. With Lora Bucsis and Zac Novak, produced by Terran Anthony Allen and Jenna Smith, Executive produced by Lora Bucsis, voiceover by me, all right. Special thanks to SAIT Radio for their support and the use of their studios, and most of all, thank you for listening. 

Applied Customer Success

SAIT’s Continuing Education and Professional Studies offers hands-on, immersive courses to infuse your career with the latest skills that employers are looking for.

Customer Success is a high-growth and high-demand field as companies are increasingly adopting a customer-centric mindset. SAIT’s Applied Customer Success bootcamp provides a comprehensive understanding of customer success and is designed to enhance your ability to handle customer needs effectively. 

In this intensive 12-week program, you’ll explore customer relationship management, the customer journey, and essential topics such as customer retention, upselling, cross-selling and customer satisfaction. You’ll have the opportunity to engage in interactive webinars and collaborative learning activities to connect with peers and gain insights from experienced professionals and demonstrate your abilities and comprehension through a capstone project. Prepare for a rewarding journey — learn more and enroll for the Applied Customer Success bootcamp . 

Learn more

If you have questions about this course or would like more information, please contact ConEdadvising@sait.ca.