One of the most common crossroads of confusion that a CSM can face is
when a Lithium customer wants to do something that is not going to be
good for the community. From a service perspective we always want to
give the customer what they want, but from a support perspective, we
want them to see the greatest return possible on their expenditure.
I look at it like this: If I was a concierge in a boutique style hotel, and a gentleman came up to me with this request; “Tell me the best Vietnamese restaurant in town to take my family”, I'd have to lie to him in order to keep my job. Why? Because the best Vietnamese restaurant in San Francisco is on skid row.
We CSMs oftentimes get a launch that requires the community to be up and running as of yesterday. This requires a tight schedule, dead-on deliverable dates, etc. The Lithium launch process does not have many twists, turns, or surprises, so we try to convey confidence in what we've established as a winning formula that gets a community up and running in 6 weeks. Usually the customer is pretty receptive to that. 🙂
But on occasion a customer will want to add some extra steps halfway through the launch process. Steps that, while noble in intention, will never actually have any impact whatsoever on the growth of the community. As a CSM, it is a delicate balance. Sometimes, unfortunately, a business stakeholder has this requirement placed upon them and it is unshakeable. Well, in that case, we all do what we can. But in other cases, the CSM needs to let the customer know that this is not a good usage of time, or worse, time + extra money. I can say with hand over heart that I hate doing this. Telling anybody that their idea is not so hot is tough. The return, when they listen, has ended up being quite rewarding though. I mean, so what if the restaurant is on skid row? It is still the best Vietnamese food you've ever had.
So remember: Skid Row can sometimes be good, like the obscure Merle Haggard song. Or it can be really bad, like the Skid Row hair-metal band from the 80s.
In future blog entries I'll talk about some of these "last minute changes" that can wait until after the community has pushed to production.
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