About the Authors
Darshana Shah, VMware
Sarah Miracle, Newsela
How has your experience been on the council so far?
Sarah: I had no idea that I had been nominated for the council, it was a complete surprise! As a newer admin, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to give the feedback the product team was looking for, but the set-up of the council made it easy for me to immediately provide value. My favorite part of the council has been interfacing directly with Gainsight Product Managers for the features I use every day. Putting a face and name to, say, Journey Orchestrator, humanizes the experience, and has really shaped my understanding of the challenges and opportunities the Gainsight product team faces as they work to put our product ideas into action. Pavan was a great partner who was asking questions that I hadn’t even considered for some of the frequently requested JO enhancements, and it was fun to have an intimate look into how they solve problems to make our admin experiences more seamless.
Darshana: It is an amazing experience learning and growing with people and a software that has revolutionized customer experience. Being able to have a vendor hear your user stories is empowering for us admins who can feel helpless when it comes to product limitations. The highlight of this engagement is when council coordinators invite the product manager of each feature to have an open dialogue with us to enhance features. This is where we get a chance to make our case for new features. This process instills confidence in me and my stakeholders and allows for us to be lifetime “Gainsters”. My 2nd favorite part is meeting all the other admins who make you feel normal for the challenges you face everyday. There is power in numbers and have bonded with the community of Gainsight admins across multiple industries. Overall, I would recommend this experience to any one passionate about improving one of their favorite products, Gainsight!
How are council sessions set up?
The CS Ops Product Council has played a major role in documenting use cases and improving Gainsight features for the masses. Our insights are interpreted by the Gainsight product team to understand how the software can be simplified to create a robust product for users. First, the Gainsight team empathizes with and listens to product council pain points. Then, we define the root causes, and the product team partners with council members to ideate and prototype features. Their methodology of using a design-thinking framework to engage and hear their customers has become a staple in our day-to-day interactions with this team and is what makes the council successful.
What does a “day in the life” look like on the council?
During each monthly session, we focus on a specific feature or topic and partner with the respective Product Manager. The sessions begin with discussing planned advancements and prioritization. After an introductory demo from the product owner, we move into an interactive conversation using our “fun-work” (pre-meeting prep work) to help fill knowledge gaps on use cases. Through this conversation, we identify patterns from the feedback as a case to build new features. This dialogue is fundamental to how we as admins and ops leaders are leading the charge to help revolutionize this platform in order to help us tackle the ever-changing challenges in Customer Success.
A highlight of the council is having the opportunity to learn about brand new features on the roadmap, not just enhancements to existing functionality. For example, Gainsight introduced the concept of an out-of-the-box Admin Home that would centralize all the notifications an Admin would need to see in one place. Just like Gainsight Home for users, the Admin Home could include Analyzer highlights, recently failed Rules, Connectors, or Data Designer executions, and quick links to Community and/or GS Support. Like other dashboards, it could be customized by the Admin to support each unique instance.
Individually, we each brainstormed what the Admin Home could include and developed a prototype. Then, we worked in small groups to present our prototypes. The Gainsight Product team listened and identified trends in our prototypes to support the development of this feature on the roadmap.
What tools and technology does the council use to facilitate collaboration?
An impressive part of this process is how Gainsight uses their collaboration tool. Our meetings are prepped and centered around Miro, a collaboration tool to support constructive brainstorming and idea organization. Tools like this make the feedback method painless, allowing council members to add our input and learn from our peers. There is purposefulness and thoughtfulness throughout the process, and the methods chosen to capture the voice of their customers is effective and efficient, creating a sense of accomplishment for those who participate while documenting the many use cases, ideas, and feedback generated by the council.