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There are lots of opportunities for Customer Success professionals to hone their skills and learn from one another. One increasingly popular way to transfer and glean knowledge is the podcast.

Over the past few months, I’ve spent time listening to multiple Customer Success focused podcasts from  6 different channels. In addition to learning some tidbits on what people in the field are up to, I lent an analytical ear to what worked best at keeping me engaged. Here are some of my findings about how to keep listeners from zoning out:

  1. Questions. Questions.

Ask captivating questions of your guest speaker. This is a pretty obvious one, but it is worth mentioning. Your podcast episodes will go nowhere if the only questions being asked are the surface level, boring ones. Keep in mind that most listeners to customer success podcasts are already in the customer success field or know at least something about it. What is the point of listening if the whole episode is all information they already know and hear about on a daily basis? Don’t be afraid to dive deep with your questions. We listeners want to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly of everything customer success related.

  1. Your guest speaker is VERY important.

First and foremost, if you have a guest speaker, make sure to introduce him and let him tell the audience a little bit about himself, as well as the industry he works in. People love stories.  The more personalized the podcast, the more likely your audience is to continue listening.

Most importantly, if you are going to bring a guest on your show, make sure your guest is well-educated about the subject and knows what he or she is talking about. While listening to a podcast, it is frustrating when the host asks a good question, but the guest speaker tiptoes around answering it. Take the time to go over possible questions so that your expert isn’t caught off guard and can speak to the subjects you want to discuss. No one likes to listen to someone struggle because he or she is not prepared. Then, by the end of the episode, all your listeners got from that episode is unanswered questions and more curiosity.

  1. It’s about quality, not quantity.

Just like creating friendships, having a few really good ones is way better than having lots of mediocre ones. Quality episodes will resonate far more than quantity of episodes on your podcast channel. Don’t just do an episode to maintain a certain time schedule. If you are pushing a podcast episode without having real material, your listeners will notice. They will listen to the first 5 minutes (if you’re lucky) and then move on. Look at it this way– do you want your podcast to be known for having 80-100% quality material with limited episodes, or do you want your podcast to have lots of episodes, but only 50% of them are worth your listeners’ time? If you don’t have good material, don’t force it!

  1. Be memorable.

Some avid podcast listeners tune in to multiple podcasts each day, often at different times around work schedules, lunch breaks, while stuck in traffic, etc. A good podcast is one that listeners remember at the end of the day, and talk about with friends or colleagues. So, how do you get your listeners to remember your podcast by the end of their busy day?

Here are some suggestions that made me remember some shows:

  • Provide key takeaways
    • In the Churn It Up: Customer Success Podcast, I appreciated how the host included key takeaways from the podcast on the subject page. If you wanted to incorporate something like this you could even sum up the main topics and takeaways of the episode at the end.
  • Pick a good question & then ask every one of your guest speakers
    • I noticed this from The Human Ducktape.The host asks one question of her guests at the end of every episode; “What do you know now that you wish you would’ve known then?” I found the answers to this to be interesting, genuine, and thought provoking. In fact, the answers to this question resonated with me way more than other material.
  • Be honest
    • I noted after listening to the Churn It Up podcast that being truly genuine can go a long way. During one particular episode, the guest speaker, a CSM in the trenches, spoke about the mistakes he has made throughout his career. This added credibility not only to the person but also to the podcast as a whole. When listeners know it is genuine, they will hold onto it longer so they won’t make the same mistakes.
  1. ENGAGE with your audience.

To engage with your audience, you need to identify the demographic that you want to attract (or that is already tuning in) so you can use terminology that they will understand. As far as customer success podcasts and audiences go, there could be varied levels of maturity in their knowledge of the topic. If you use a very specialized lingo (i.e. Customer lifecycle journey or churn metrics),  there’s  a chance some of the people tuning in are tuning out because they can’t figure out what you’re talking about. Don’t be afraid to use buzzwords or speak on confusing/difficult aspects of customer success, but make sure you explain lingo or elaborate with examples.

A tip I picked up after listening to The Customer Success Podcast was to engage with your audience by asking thought provoking questions to listeners throughout the episode. This allows the audience to participate, even if it is just in thought. Consider providing a link or channel where listeners can connect with you when they have questions themselves or just want to speak more on the subject. I recommend that if you provide the source then you should be active on it.

Furthermore, if you find that there are lots of questions from your audience, you can combine your questions and answer them all during a single episode. Every once in a while, The Side Hustle Show had an episode dedicated to answering frequent questions that their followers had asked. Not only did they engage with specific followers, but they also provided answers to questions that were most likely helpful to numerous listeners.

So what makes a great podcast?

Each podcast is different. Obviously, attraction to a particular channel depends greatly on the information you are interested in; therefore it is hard to rank each of them from best to worst. On the other hand, some podcasts stood out more than others and did a great job meeting the criteria that I’ve talked about. Out of all of the podcasts I listened to, I found three favorites­ and ones I would recommend– The Customer Success Podcast, Churn it Up: Customer Success Podcast, and the Saastr Podcast. They were all informative, easy to listen to, and relatable.

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