In this interview, Arjun Pillai, Founder & CEO at talks about the importance of developing and shaping customer’s experience by combining human synergy and product innovation to strengthen the [business] relationship and sharing mutual success.

“It is not the competition that causes businesses to lose their focus or [business] momentum. Neither an inability to take action but an inability to take appropriate action. Last, how invested they are in the success of their customers”ーArjun Pillai Founder & CEO at

Background and Career

Pillai is a serial entrepreneur and founder of two successful SaaS companies. He founded his first company, a sales intelligence solution platform where he led and scaled up to 70 + employees which he eventually sold to

After the acquisition, he became the Head of Data Strategy at Full Contact. After a year and a half, he left the organization and founded his second company, is a human-first conversational marketing platform that enables marketers to engage with their prospects. The platform initiates relevant conversations with (potential) buyers, qualifies the lead and enables a real-time conversation.

Pillai says the foundation where they built the software is based on human connection. He says, “nobody wants to talk to a bot when there’s a real person who can help them [buy or understand the business value proposition]”.

On the same token and comparison, Customer Success on his mind is also built and centered around the same human synergy (human philosophy) that is deeply ingrained in the organizational values, not just in a specific department.

In other words, CS is a driven philosophy shared across the organization and it is a combination of common interests, purposes, and different skills.

Customer-obsession drives business value

The value that the customer will receive after buying the product largely depends if the following circumstances have been addressed: (1) How much the customer needs to understand the product (Product Complexity and Intuitiveness)? (2) Time to value (The value of the product from onboarding to adoption)? (3) The engagement required from the users (Features and use case adoption) (4) Does the brand promise has been delivered as agreed and guaranteed? (5) Product limitation (The actual value the product can solve including the product enhancements).

To be successful, Pillai pointed out, “the first part of the exercise is removing all the vanity metrics and focused on the pain points your customers are experiencing and wanting to solve. Based on this exercise, an organization can recognize [or identify] the gap why certain features haven’t been used? What’s the reason it hasn’t been used or why it has been adopted?

Somebody indeed can copy the product features of [our] product, up to the extent they can imbibe the business philosophy. However, what everyone missed, as the old saying puts in a better context, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half”.

This is a funny anecdote since most organizations have no clue which part of their solution (features developed) had no impact or no greater use with their customers. Remember, “Being customer-obsessed is the answer” to growing the brand and to stand differentiated.

Similarly, creating [an excellent or better] product mistakenly perceived as the battleground of attracting and retaining customers. Remember, there are too many tools proliferated in today’s digital environment but it doesn’t suggest or imply that all of them are made for the same reason and purpose.

Having a full understanding (or the right assessment of the customer’s issue) and asking the right questions against their needs or business challenges, “is the key to building or shaping your product roadmap”.

This can be done if an organization has an on-going personal conversation or interaction with its customers. Not only it helps the organization to enable its customers to adopt to the product quickly, but it also helps them to demonstrate or prove the business ROI.

Achieving long term success

An organization needs to think far and wide how they can provide and deliver an amazing aha moment, not just for the first time customers but also to the existing ones.

Creating value, Pillai explains, starts in understanding and seeing the solution within the customers’ perspective. What does the product do for them? What changes will they experience once they get the product fully implemented? What kind of support will they be needing? Does the training need to be done in full swing or gradually? How often do we need to meet to ensure that they can operate the product without too much hand-holding?

Once you find which set of actions or behaviors correlate to that value, you can figure out some adjustments to nudge more users towards those aha-inducing behaviors.

There are two things organizations should NOT do in achieving long term success. (1) Going silent with their customers and (2) Thinking about their success as an afterthought. This is precisely why Customer Success has become a non-negotiable part of the successful business norm and business model.

A successful relationship starts and expands when businesses fuse human synergy and product innovation as a means of strengthening the relationship and sharing mutual success. The pace of the business shows no sign of declining and competition isn’t getting easier. Hence, scaling the human conversation focused on customer interest and value-oriented CS strategy is the real source of competitive advantage.

This article was originally published here. 

Vincent Manlapaz, is a Customer Success Advocate at Strikedeck. He is passionate about Customer Success and is always willing to learn more! Vincent Manlapaz

Customer Success, Strikedeck, a Medallia company