MaestroQA is a fully remote company, but we’re lucky enough to connect with colleagues in person at least four times a year - twice at all-company offsites, and twice at team specific offsites.
For our 2023 Customer Success Summer Offsite, we all gathered in Denver for some much needed in-person collaboration and play time.
We always focus the first evening of our offsites on getting everyone together and having a good time. Despite the fact that few of us see each other in person outside of these offsites, as a Customer Success Team, we’ve all become quite close. That makes the quality time we spend together on non-work activities all the more special.
We kicked off the trip with a visit to Meow Wolf’s Convergence Station. I’d describe it as an artistic mix of Avengers meets Rick and Morty meets Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It was three floors of practically infinite sensory overload. The exhibit produced a lot of laughs, plenty of amazing pictures, and we’ll call it “just the right amount” of fear.
After leaving Meow Wolf and reacclimating with planet Earth, we had a lovely team dinner at Linger. Despite some of the more organic displays at Meow Wolf, we still had plenty of appetite and put down practically their entire menu.
We finished the evening off with Little Man Ice Cream. To our collective surprise, the Salty Oreo flavor was actually quite salty.
We kicked off our first day of programming with something we hadn’t done in a while: by celebrating our collective successes over the past 6 months as a team. It has been a difficult time in SaaS lately; especially in the world of Customer Success, where we are on the frontlines with clients as they go through their own organizational changes and challenges. Clear and constant articulation of ROI has never been more critical.
We’ve really been grinding as a team to continue to deliver strong outcomes for our customers, and it was reinvigorating to congratulate each other on exciting renewals, expansions, and implementations.
Another force that has materially impacted our CS approach over the past 6 months is the emergence of AI, speech and text analytics, and the general desire from our customers to do more with less.
Our product and engineering teams have equipped us with incredible new tools to tackle these challenges for customers. As CSMs and Implementation Managers, we’ve been hyperfocused on solving these problems within our own books of business.
This dedicated in-person time gave us the opportunity to break out into small groups to discuss the specific use cases and solutions we’ve delivered across our customers. We then came back together to summarize our learnings so we can approach customer conversations with greater clarity and industry-proven recommendations.
Within 24 hours of leaving the offsite, one of my colleagues, George, already took her learnings from the group session, shared them with a customer, and was able to secure buy-in to pilot our new product offerings. Not bad Time to Value.
We had originally planned to spend our second afternoon white water rafting, but unfortunately the water levels were too low to do so safely. We made a quick last-minute pivot to attend a concert at world-renowned Red Rocks to see Japanese Breakfast Club, Phoenix, and Beck - a pretty good option B if you ask me.
The concert didn’t get off to the hottest start as there was a 30 minute rain delay, but it did afford us the opportunity to eat our Hot Dog Dinners in the Visitors Center. Additionally, the rain created a spectacular double rainbow that provided an otherworldly backdrop.
Once we were cleared to enter the amphitheater, we proceeded to rock out, dance, and generally have a great time together for the next few hours. Each musical act was great, and I was particularly stoked to hear Phoenix’s 1901 AKA the most iconic FIFA song of all time.
We spent our final half day together walking through specific customer discovery calls pertinent to our new AI / speech and text analytics offerings. We broke into our smaller teams again to build business cases for each customer to pilot our new products.
As we came together to present our solutions across customers, we had great discussions on the key value drivers of our new products, the right sequencing of next steps to kick off a pilot, and how to set clear and effective success criteria.
I threw “No Rainbows without Rain” in the title of this blog not only as an ode to our experience at Red Rocks, but also because I feel it defines the current optimism I feel about MaestroQA, our relationship with our customers, and our Customer Success team especially.
I always leave offsites, all-company or team, energized based on conversations with my peers, but this one felt different, I think notably because of how hard we’ve worked over the past 6 months to meet the shifting demands of our customers and the market.
Working with a few of my peers in New York consistently has given me the sense that we’re on the precipice of big things, but getting together with my entire team in Denver gave me the confidence that we have the product, strategy, and most importantly, the people to really crush it going forward.