Podcast – CX Champions | Season 3 – Episode 1

From the Navy to Twilio

Glenn Weinstein’s Path to CX Excellence

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Episode summary

This episode features an interview with Glenn Weinstein, Chief Customer Officer at Twilio, a global leader in customer engagement platforms with a market cap of over $8.5 billion. Prior to leading global customer experience at Twilio, Glenn was co-founder of Appirio, a leading cloud consultancy and top global partner of Salesforce, Workday, and Google. And in this episode, Glenn discusses how to introduce IP into your company, the line between good and bad automation, and delivering on the basics of your customer promise so that you can broach more complex customer needs.

About the guest

Glenn represents the voice of the customer, with responsibility for Twilio’s technical support, customer success, customer experience, professional services, and systems integrator partner teams. Before Twilio, Glenn was co-founder of Appirio, a leading cloud consultancy and top global partner of Salesforce, Workday, and Google, and he has also led consulting and support teams at numerous public software companies. Glenn received a BS in Computer Science from the U.S. Naval Academy, and an MS in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Key quotes

*”There’s no fast path to admiral or general in the army. The value of that is not just the respect you get from peers and teams, but also confidence. I would never wanna start my career in a position [that’s] too high… You’ve gotta keep your eye on the goal, [which] is to build experiences and build confidence. The career ladder comes. it will come by you excelling at your job, being a good teammate. But you don’t want to come in on day one and be like, ‘How do I make my way to level 3, 4, 5, 6, 7?’”

*”Where automation makes people’s lives easier, you want it and you wanna push it. You shouldn’t have to do anything other than text a message to a number to accomplish something. That’s good automation. Then there’s bad automation, which is annoying, which is marketing driven and non-consensual. When you’re forced to talk to a chatbot instead of a human, because you can just tell they’re trying to cut costs. That’s an unnatural level of automation. It’s not a customer experience-centric way to build.”

*”One of the things Twilio talks about all the time is conversations with customers that start out as an automated conversation should be able to seamlessly drift into a live conversation and back, and be recognized as a single thread. That to me is one of the ultimate manifestations of customer engagement, where it crosses channels and feels like a continuous conversation. That’s one of the things we preach at Twilio. Customer engagement, meeting customers where they want to be met, not where you want to meet.”

*“I kind of think of this as like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs translated into technology or for any company. This is a theory that says that if you don’t take care of someone’s basic needs, you haven’t really earned the right to their attention for some higher order stuff. For humans, the basic needs are shelter, food, and oxygen. And now you can start talking about higher level things like fulfillment and satisfaction. So at Twilio, the version of that is the basic needs of our customers. Their messages need to reach their recipients. Their messages need to comply with requirements so they’re not blocked or filtered by carriers. You need to be able to send the volume of messages… If we don’t take care of those basics, we haven’t earned the right to talk about improving your marketing strategy, improving your ROI on customer engagement. All that stuff comes later. And that’s really a lot of the Twilio value proposition, but we don’t have the right to talk about that until we handle the basics.”

Time stamps

[0:16] Introducing Glenn Weinstein, Chief Customer Officer at Twilio

[2:51] How did Glenn get started in the tech industry?

[4:50] Learn about Glenn’s experience in the Naval Academy and how his education there led him into a tech career

[8:01] What was it like consulting for Lockheed Martin in the 90s?

[10:41] Why having a strong technical background is an advantage as a leader in software companies

[12:47] What the Navy taught Glenn about running a SaaS company

[14:32] How did Glenn come to co-found Appirio?

[17:32] How did Glenn and his co-founders know when it was time to sell Appirio?

[20:45] How did Glenn build the skills to run his own business?

[25:36] Where is the correct balance between human interaction and automation?

[27:21] How do you decide where to experiment in the customer experience?

[33:38] Glenn’s advice for offering a world class customer experience

Thanks to our friends

This podcast is brought to you by HGS. HGS is a digital customer experience leader dedicated to delivering winning customer interactions at scale that are prompt, personal, and positive. We continuously transform, optimize, and grow enterprises to exceed ever-rising customer expectations. HGS provides our clients with the right talent and technologies needed to champion every moment. Learn more at hgs.cx