Building a World-Class CX Operation from Zero: An Interview with Emily Stubbs


Ibby Syed

Q: What are your first steps when you're building CX for a company that's pre-launch?

Emily: For me, it's all about gaining deep knowledge of the product from the start. I begin by reading any existing documentation about the brand and product. Then I'll have a big brain dump session and list out every question I can think of, putting myself in the customer's shoes.

My goal is to become an expert before we have any actual customers. I need to anticipate the problems people might encounter and how to troubleshoot them. So I'm thinking - what questions will a customer have when they first use this? How can I solve their issues and make their experience better?

Q: Customer education seems crucial for a brand new product. How do you approach building out self-service support content with limited customer insights?

Emily: Creating a robust knowledge base is one of my top priorities. I take all those questions I brainstormed and start compiling them into an FAQ. This becomes the foundation that I can build on, turning it into help articles, tutorial videos, a chatbot, and more.

The key is putting myself in the customer's mindset and covering all the bases I can think of. I know I'll miss some things that will come up after we launch. But by starting with the most common, fundamental questions, I can create a solid basis of content and then keep expanding it based on real customer input.

Q: You mentioned user testing your knowledge base before launching. Tell us more about that process and what you look to gain from it.

Emily: User testing is so valuable because it pressure tests all the content I've created in a safe environment. We recruited testers to review our FAQ and help videos, then gathered their feedback. I wanted to gauge how effective the knowledge base was at preemptively addressing their questions and issues.

The insights help me iterate and improve the content before real customers ever see it. I can see where I need to add more details, clarify explanations, or restructure information to make it more digestible. It's all about refining the knowledge base to make sure it's truly meeting customer needs on day one.

Q: CX insights often uncover important product issues and opportunities. How do you set up your tagging and reporting to effectively capture those?

Emily: Having granular tagging and reporting established from the get-go is absolutely essential. When I'm building out our library of macros, I'm also designing the tagging taxonomy that goes with them.

I have a very specific way I like to structure tags, with a focus on really precise product issue and feedback categorization. By having those data points feeding into our system from the very first customer interaction, we can immediately start identifying trends.

As an example, I can see if a certain question spikes from being asked 25 times one week to 125 times the next. That's a clear signal that there's a widespread customer pain point we need to jump on and resolve quickly.

Q: What tools and processes do you use to get those CX insights in front of the right stakeholders?

Emily: I'm a big believer in leveraging scheduled reports that automatically pull in CX data and send it to stakeholders on a regular cadence.

I'll build out a tag-based report that tracks things like top customer issues, sentiment analysis, and question volume. Then I'll set that report to generate and send to our product and engineering teams weekly or biweekly.

The report highlights the key issues and trends, removing the manual effort of pulling the data and putting it in front of the right people myself. Product and engineering can easily see what's impacting customers most and use that to prioritize fixes and improvements.

I'm also a big fan of funneling CX data into a BI tool like Looker to create interactive dashboards. I'll build views that show week-over-week changes in key metrics. It helps product teams visualize spikes in customer friction points so they can stay on top of emerging problems.

Q: How do you partner with marketing to proactively educate customers and get ahead of support issues?

Emily: Marketing is an essential partner in executing a proactive CX strategy. I work closely with our marketing team to identify common customer questions or challenges, then collaborate on content to preemptively address those.

A great example is an educational video walking customers through a tricky part of our product setup process. By sending that video to customers right after they make a purchase, we can head off a huge number of those questions ever reaching support.

The same applies for surfacing relevant help content at key moments throughout the customer journey. If we know a certain feature is confusing, we can trigger an email campaign linking to an article explaining it. Stopping questions before they arise is a huge win.

We'll also partner on more marketing-focused content emphasizing the benefits and use cases of our product. Keeping our brand top of mind and reinforcing the product's value helps boost customer engagement and reduce churn.


For CX leaders tasked with building out support operations for a pre-launch company, Emily recommends focusing on three core areas:

  • Become a product expert. Deeply learn the product inside and out, putting yourself in the customer's shoes to map out all potential questions and issues. Use these insights to build out a robust knowledge base.
  • Establish granular tagging taxonomies and automated reporting from day one. Having detailed CX data flowing into your system from the first interaction allows you to surface trends and high-impact issues to drive product improvements.
  • Partner with marketing to preemptively educate customers. Identify common friction points, then collaborate on content like guides and tutorial videos to get ahead of those questions. Integrate help content throughout the customer journey to proactively support customers.

By taking a proactive, data-driven approach and partnering cross-functionally, CX can play a pivotal role in ensuring a successful product launch and stellar customer experience from the start.

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