An effective Customer Success strategy requires that the entire company is focused on delivering the best customer experience. Gainsight administrators play a crucial role in Customer Success Operations (CS Ops) by ensuring that customer success managers (CSMs) have all the tools and information they need to optimize the customer experience.
Admins are not only responsible for flipping the switches in Gainsight software but also for determining how the software should be configured to help CS Ops team members best achieve customer-oriented goals.
How exactly do Gainsight admins accomplish this and what do they do all day to help CS Ops deliver customer success?
To answer this question, we asked three seasoned Gainsight admins to document their daily activities. As their profiles below illustrate, these admins hail from diverse backgrounds. There’s a good reason for this. Even though they documented broad similarities among their daily tasks, no two admins’ workday exactly matched another’s. And that’s precisely why they like their job!
Good Morning! Prioritizing and Problem Solving over Coffee
What happens if a CSM misses their chance to start a renewal process on time? Revenue is immediately at risk! CSMs can’t miss a key opportunity with a customer, so mitigating customer-related issues is what an admin’s morning is focused on. Victoria Barry, the Gainsight administrator at data management company Boomi, describes how problem-solving for users is at the heart of her job.
It starts in the morning from the minute she opens her inbox. She explains, “I always wake up to a few emails asking ‘Why does my account not show up in x report?’ or ‘Why does my usage data trend not look as I expect?’ or ‘Why did this CTA trigger?’” Victoria knows that while user error is often at the heart of such questions, she must make time in the mornings to conduct research to identify and fix a report, rule, or other issue.
Keith Mattes, an admin at cybersecurity firm Rapid7, focuses his morning in much the same way. Keith dubs his morning “Work prioritization and requirements gathering time!” which he executes right after hitting the brew button on his coffee machine. Like Victoria Keith makes a point every morning to review open work items, emphasizing, “Of course I review any high priority requests or user issues logged in our own #ask_gainsight Slack channel.” Keith says that his morning schedule is so packed interfacing with CS Ops colleagues and helping them manage problems that most days he holds morning “office hours.”
Lunch Break (for the self-aware)
All that morning multitasking and troubleshooting can make you forget about things like, well, lunch! Keith describes how he takes a typical lunch break as he realizes at 12:48 pm, “OK yikes! 12 minutes left for lunch?! I rush to defrost some ‘fine cuisine’ to stuff my face with, since I went down several Admin ‘rabbit holes’ and was supposed to take lunch at noon. You know how that goes, right?”
Folks depend on admins each day, and since none are external customers it’s up to admins to pace themselves and balance their time between short-term needs (like lunch) and long-term projects.
Afternoons With Teammates (both human and dog)
Speaking of long-term projects, whether lunch is remembered or not, admins generally reserve afternoons for making progress on strategic projects. After the morning flurry of follow-ups and priority to-do’s, Gainsight admins engage in collaborative team meetings covering topics that vary widely day-to-day and week-to-week. Here is a sampling from our three admins of typical afternoon pursuits.
Scheduled Afternoon Activity #1: Strategy and Planning Session
Gainsight admins not only deal with CSM issues as they arise throughout the day but also play a proactive role in developing and executing CS Ops strategy.
Most afternoons, Wayne Dilworth, an admin at tax compliance software firm Avalara, will organize planning meetings. He may meet with new user teams regarding future development work or with the Gainsight Technical Account Manager and CSMs to discuss best practices. His afternoons also frequently include planning for new team training. Wayne also makes a point to regularly reach out to users and managers to discuss issues. Likewise, Victoria holds weekly meetings with her CS Ops leaders to discuss programs and obtain their input and ideas.
Scheduled Afternoon Activity #2: Risk Management
Part of CS Ops strategy and planning is risk management. Victoria admits that she is currently “deep into ‘stealing/borrowing’ Gainsight’s risk management process” with her CS Ops team. She knows that Gainsight admins can help CSMs retain as many customers for as long as possible through risk management techniques. Victoria schedules regular risk management meetings to gain CSM input on potential risks and to strategize with the Chief Customer Success Officer and the Gainsight team. During these meetings she might help the team create playbooks for CTAs and plan rollouts with cross-functional teams. She’ll also spend some time each month updating senior leadership on these programs.
Scheduled Activity #3: Designing Sophisticated CS Programs Configuration
Continuing with the planning theme, Keith often holds working sessions with customer-facing teams to prepare and design the next version of a program in Journey Orchestrator. This might involve collectively building a communication path using CTAs based on customer NPS score and engagement tier to best engage with customers.
Wayne too will regularly meet with team managers for a Journey Orchestrator Q&A session and to discuss future plans, lessons learned, tweaks needed for effectiveness. He notes that these meetings are conducted with an “experimental mindset.”
Scheduled Activity #4: Take Fido Out for a Brain Break
All that multi-tasking, data cleaning, technical troubleshooting, and Slack channeling can mean that both human and dog companions need an afternoon break. Keith makes sure to include a brain break in his afternoons “to take the dog out and play and get outside and not have to stare at a screen for a few minutes.” Woof.
It’s clear from Victoria, Keith, and Wayne’s daily schedule that multitasking is at the core of a Gainsight admin’s daily responsibilities. Their day is a mish-mash of software management, processes, and communication of all sorts.
Victoria describes her mish-mash of tasks, “I usually have several programs running like Risk Management process, Executive Sponsor program, etc. In addition, I am continuously engaging in a variety of activities such as data cleanup, creating/running reports, and sending out reminders for CSMs to update certain items.” Knowing that she can’t make progress on many tasks without the cooperation of CSMs, Victoria likes to add a little competition into the multitasking mix by “creating competition reports that show who is done and who is dragging.”
Wayne notes that much of his daily and weekly time is spent engaging in a variety of both reactionary and preemptive tasks. These include updating and adding to reports and dashboards, checking the Slack Channel for new user issues and logging them, reaching out to users with untouched CTAs, and escalating bounces, opt-outs, and rejections to team members.
In addition, Wayne’s regular activities include contacting users to collect their success stories and lessons learned to share with other users. We love user success stories!
Keith, who seems to thrive on the busy pace of daily multitasking, describes that when his morning reviews are done, “It’s time to get some work done and crack open the top priority work item and dive into the actual admin work – rules, programs, reports, and dashboards, Oh my!” He continues working at this pace to the day’s end when, he reflects, “If I’m lucky, someone that’s not in my timezone hasn’t scheduled something at the end of the day, so I can respond to the 31 Slack messages, 15 meeting invite emails and 23 Jira notifications that I tried to address throughout my day.”
Mingle with Other Admins, Time Permitting
Gainsight administrators not only have to stay on top of user issues and provide CS Ops with support, but they also need to find their own support channels. Typically this activity is squeezed in on the fringes of the day-to- day schedule. As Wayne explains, he uses some of his free time to participate in the Global Gainsight Admins Group on Slack and to participate in Gainsight Community and Office Hours “if I can get there.”
Care to mingle with Gainsight admins like Wayne?
Join the Club: Get started with the CS Ops / GS Admin Community
Rinse and Repeat, Well Not Really
Clearly, no two days are the same for our three Gainsight administrators. The various activities that occupy their days are too many to list, but to be sure, they require managing a daily shifting balance between dealing with user issues as they come and being proactive and strategic at work.
That said, some key activities and skills are constants: prioritizing and solving problems, regular and varied communication with users, strategic thinking and collaborative planning, and engagement with the software by running reports, managing data, and yes, flipping switches.
The numerous and dynamic features of the job are what makes the role attractive to these three Gainsight admins. They know that each and every morning they will open their emails and, as Keith puts it, “see what’s on tap for the day.”