Embracing AI and human connection in customer success

Discover how Meredith Mann and Star Hofer integrate AI in customer success while maintaining human connections in their Propel24 session.
June 10, 2024
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Mukundh Krishna

In a recent Propel24 session, Meredith Mann, Director of Global Services Consulting at LinkedIn, and Star Hofer, a veteran in Customer Success and Operations, shared their experiences and strategies for integrating AI in customer success processes while maintaining essential human connections.

Their discussion covered a wide variety of topics, from defining and measuring success to experimenting with AI and ensuring ethical use of technology. Let's explore the key ideas they discussed in this insightful session.

Defining success in customer services

Star opened the session by explaining how her organization defines success across various services:

  • Customer onboarding/implementation: Here, the primary metric is "time to value." The goal is to help customers quickly realize the benefits of their investment, minimizing the time from initial purchase to achieving meaningful results.
  • Ongoing value: This phase focuses on growing and expanding the relationship with the customer, particularly by increasing human touch points. This North Star metric is pivotal as it signifies mutual success for both the customer and the company. By enhancing these connections, they aim to foster deeper engagement and loyalty.
  • Traditional professional services: This involves using classic project management methodologies. Key performance indicators include profitability, utilization rates, and the achievement of predefined goals. These metrics help ensure that the services provided are not only effective but also financially sustainable.

These categories illustrate a balanced approach, combining immediate impact with long-term relationship building and operational efficiency.

Measuring success and value in customer services

Meredith echoed Star’s sentiments, discussing how her team at LinkedIn measures value through a diverse portfolio of services:

  • Value reporting: By integrating APIs, customers can export learner data into various visualization tools, enhancing the clarity and usefulness of reports. This enables customers to see the direct impact of their learning investments.
  • Technical services: Providing bespoke integrations and customized solutions helps align services with specific customer needs. This tailored approach increases both customer satisfaction and business outcomes.

Meredith introduced the concept of a "value pyramid," which starts with foundational inputs like product utilization and time to value. These inputs build up to customer satisfaction and, ultimately, business results. This structured approach ensures a comprehensive assessment of service effectiveness.

Experimentation and the role of AI

The conversation then shifted to AI experimentation, with both leaders sharing innovative ways they are incorporating AI into their workflows:

  • Workflow efficiencies: AI is used to draft emails, summarize meetings, and translate technical language into more accessible terms. This saves significant time and effort, allowing teams to focus on more strategic tasks.
  • Personalized learning paths: Machine learning and natural language processing are employed to create customized learning journeys. By analyzing the skills required for desired roles, AI can map out relevant courses and curricula for individuals, tailored to their available time and learning goals.

Both leaders emphasized the transformative potential of AI in reducing administrative burdens, enabling teams to focus on more critical, human-centric tasks. This not only enhances efficiency but also improves the quality of customer interactions.

Star mentioned how they refer to their AI tool, ChatGPT, as "Charlie." This informal naming helps integrate AI into their daily workflows, making it a familiar and accessible resource for brainstorming and problem-solving.

Ensuring ethical AI usage

Addressing the crucial issue of data privacy and ethical AI usage, Star and Meredith outlined their strategies:

  • Technology guardrails: Star's organization places restrictions directly on their technology to prevent the sharing of sensitive data. By embedding these guardrails into their systems, they ensure that sensitive information cannot be inadvertently exposed or misused.
  • Guiding principles and training: Meredith highlighted LinkedIn’s and Microsoft’s comprehensive approach to AI ethics. They provide clear guidelines and extensive training to ensure all employees understand the importance of data privacy and ethical AI use. These principles help prevent missteps that could lead to long-term negative consequences.

Both of them stressed the importance of grounding AI use in strong ethical frameworks and ensuring all team members are aware of and adhere to these standards.

The session underscored the importance of balancing technological advancements with human-centric values in customer success. By integrating AI thoughtfully and responsibly, organizations can enhance efficiency and effectiveness without losing the essential human touch. Their experiences highlight that while AI can significantly augment service delivery, it is the human connection that ultimately drives lasting customer relationships and success.

To watch the full recording of their session at Propel24, visit Rocketlane TV.

Learn how Rocketlane helps services and onboarding teams to deliver projects on time and on budget. Book a demo with us today!

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Rahul Sridhar
Content Marketer @ Rocketlane

Content Marketer at Rocketlane. Former teacher turned tech writer. Occasionally dabbles in comedy and rap music.

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