Hannah Clark is joined by Lucie Buisson—Chief Product Officer at Contentsquare—to share her insights on scaling empowered teams, measuring success, and how to create inspiring, intent-driven experiences for customers without intrusive requests for sensitive data.
- A little bit about Contentsquare [0:44]
- Founded in 2012
- 1500 employees in 80 offices across the world
- They collect a trillion data points every day to understand whether or not the customer had a good experience and why.
- Lucie had a Customer Success background prior to transitioning to Product—how did it inform the way she leads her team? [1:50]
- Lucie went to business school. It’s getting more common in product teams to have people with a business background but back when she started it was more rare.
- Her forte is understanding and listening to the customer.
- She wasn’t technical at all when she started working in product.
- Before working for Contentsquare she was a practitioner working on the customer side.
- In product, you need to understand the customer in order to help them.
- Early on at her time at Contentsquare, Lucie was actually instrumental in building the product team—what was her approach to that when starting from scratch? [3:35]
- When you first create a team, you need a Swiss Army knife – people who can do many things.
- The more you grow, the more you need to specialize people so that the organization is more reliable and scalable.
- Lucie is passionate about optimizing team performance and empowering them to act with autonomy—what should other Leaders need to know for their own teams? [6:50]
- At first, when you are only 5 people making a decision on the project – you are autonomous.
- When you scale, you try to go back to the “honeymoon period” when you were really small, talking to the customer every day, and working collaboratively.
- They started to create their own playbook “The Rhino Methodology”.
- They needed to create their own way of working.
- Like a product, the methodology is made to be iterative and changing all the time.
- How does Lucie measure success? [9:11]
- You have to agree on the meaning of success. If you don’t take the time to align and agree on that, then success will look different for everyone.
- You need to make sure that when your product team is successful, it drives success for the customer and the company.
- Each team is in charge of a different part of the product and step of the customer journey.
- The company is creating trillions of data every day on the customer. You need to be able to understand all of the dimensions of the customer experience.
If you want to have an empowered team, you need to agree on the definition of success.Lucie Buisson
- Lucie talks about the “know your mission” idea [10:26]
- Each team is in charge of a different part of the product or a different step of the customer journey. They are splitting the team into two parts.
- At Contentsquare, they are collecting trillions of data points every day to help their customers understand why the customer is having or not having a good experience.
- They have three big solutions to understand what makes an experience efficient from a user journey standpoint. They have product teams focusing on each of those three solutions and they know their mission.
- What kinds of customer insights has Lucie found to be the most helpful in terms of improving user experience? [12:25]
- They do benchmarking at Contentsquare in order to see how they’re doing in comparison to their peers.
- You need data in order to understand how the customer is getting stuck.
- You also need to know what the business impact is.
- When it comes to customer experience, what are a lot of products missing in terms of that inspiring piece? [14:47]
- Brands are creating a lot of content – of which a lot goes unseen.
- Any time you create a banner on your site, it impacts the loading time. Their benchmarks show the impact of this loading time on conversion.
- With the online experience, you always get the same website. So, being able to understand the intent of your customer online and contextualize the experience based on that is really important. You don’t need any personal information to do that. You can be extremely strict on data privacy but contextualize their experience based on collected data.
- Lucie’s view on using personal data and the customer experience [17:06]
- It’s important for the brand to be able to create amazing experiences with a fully anonymized profile.
- You need to gain trust from the customer first before starting to personalize their profile.
It’s important for brands to be able to create amazing experiences, even with a fully anonymized profile.Lucie Buisson
- Lucie shares some stories that frame why she’s passionate about the work that she does at Contentsquare [19:15]
- It’s about the people she’s working with in her team. She has good memories of doing full day workshops to define the vision, the milestones, the OKRs – and how good she feels after those collaboration sessions.
- Also, the customer. She loves connecting with the customer to hear about their experience.
- She was connecting recently with a French brand that uses their tool and was so amazed at how they were using the product.
- Those little moments make her really proud. When she hears that the customer had ideas of how to use Contentsquare in ways that they never thought of themselves.
Meet Our Guest
Lucie Buisson is Contentsquare Chief Product Officer. She joined the company in 2014 as a Customer Success Manager, and created the product team which grew from 4 to 100 people. Lucie leads the product vision, strategy and co-leads go-to-market. Her team’s mission is twofold: to develop a suite of innovative products that empower businesses to make the digital world more human and increase adoption. Product addiction, autonomy and uniqueness are key areas of focus for the product team, as they work on making Contentsquare the world’s leading customer experience optimization platform. Lucie moved to New York in September 2018 to help crack the American market and empower brands to stay ahead of tomorrow’s digital challenges.
In modern product management, you are not supposed to tell developers what they should do, but why they should do things and what’s the goal to achieve.Lucie Buisson
Resources from this episode:
Related articles and podcasts:
Read The Transcript:
We’re trying out transcribing our podcasts using a software program. Please forgive any typos as the bot isn’t correct 100% of the time.
Hannah Clark: Often, when we think of the features we want to prioritize, we're focusing on problems we want to solve for our users. But equally important is the experience we want to offer—and not just to customers. How can we improve the experience of the product team to empower them to deliver their best work, and what's the end result when it comes to customer experience?
Today I'm joined by Lucie Buisson, Chief Product Officer at Contentsquare. Having built the product team from a scrappy trio into the enterprise team it is today, Lucie shares her insights on scaling empowered teams, measuring success, and how to create inspiring, intent-driven experiences for customers without intrusive requests for sensitive data. Let's jump in.
Lucie, thank you so much for joining us today.
Lucie Buisson: Thank you so much, Hannah, for having me.
Hannah Clark: So Lucie, I would like to talk a little bit about the product you work on at Contentsquare because it's quite relevant to your background prior to joining the product team. So would you mind giving us a little bit of context about what Contentsquare does?
Lucie Buisson: Yeah, sure. Just before I said what we do, I can give you a few number because we love data at Contentsquare, but company was founded in 2012. Today we have 1,500 employee in almost 80 offices in the world. And our job is to enable our customer to create amazing experiences, online experiences to the customer.
And the way we do that is by collecting a trillion of data point every day and on the digital experience, like we really collect every single interaction between a user and the website. We also collect the contacts and et cetera to help our customer understand if the customer had a great experience or not. And if they didn't, why? And if they did, also why? So they can improve their online experience.
Hannah Clark: And you come from a customer success background prior to joining the product team at Contentsquare. So how would you say that background has informed your approach to your position?
Lucie Buisson: I think what is, maybe what is the most important in my background is that I haven't done an engineering school.
I, I've done a business school and I think now it's more and more common in product teams to have people that have more business background. But at that time, it was a bit more odd or rare. And so I think what I learned is I would say that my fourth day was really into understanding the customer and listening to the customer.
And I can say it now because it was a long time ago, but at that time I didn't know the difference between HTML and CSS, so I was not technical at all. And I think in a way it gave me, it was more of a strength, because you know how in modern product management, you are not supposed to tell developer what they should do, but why they should do things, and what's the goal to achieve.
When you don't understand the technical parts, there is no chance you're gonna tell them what to develop, so I think in a way that was an advantage and I really tried to give that to the team, and I know how important it is to understand the customer context because just before Contentsquare, for year, I was working on the customer side, I was a practitioner.
So I think I came with this culture of, if we want to serve our customer, we need to understand their context. We need to understand what are our big projects how they measure success, what are their difficulties, to really help them fix what matters the most for them.
Hannah Clark: So early on at your time at Contentsquare, you were actually instrumental in forming the product team or building that product team. What was your approach to that when starting from scratch?
Lucie Buisson: Actually, I've been extremely lucky, and I think generally speaking, I'm a lucky person. And I don't say exactly, try to be modest, but just like, I think it's a huge part of our lives, and you need to embrace that.
But basically what happened is that Contentsquare had hire the first product manager, and this person came one day and never came the second day. Because this person had two offer, and she did one day at Contentsquare and one day in the other company, I don't even know what is the other company, and she decided to go choose the other company.
And so Contentsquare, my company didn't wanna go through another cycle of hiring. In France, I don't know if you know that, but you have to wait three months for people to join the team. So, you lose a lot of time. So they decided to go internally and they asked me if I wanted to take the job.
And so, it's a massive opportunity. I was very young. It was my first experience. I was coming from customer success. So I think it's a great testimony of the trust and the confidence and the risk Jonathan our CEO was willing to put in his people. And then the second reason why I was super lucky is because when we started the team, we were four people, an experienced product manager, and I learned so much from him.
We had someone that was more on the product knowledge that was coming from customer success and has been here since day one of Contentsquare and a designer. So we really started, with already a very strong foundation for the product team. And our CTO at that time, Mattias has been also instrumental, and because I didn't know all the technical parts, he was relying on me to understand as a customer's part.
And I was relying on him to understand how we could make things happen. And basically we were forming the product trio, with design and product management and the CEO just naturally, so I think that this has been super important for us at the beginning. And then comes a time where, and this was kind of the founding team of the product team, almost the founder.
And then you have to recruit your first product manager outside of this first group. And I think one of the thing when you create a team is that first you need to have a Swiss knife. You need to have people that can do a bit of everything. And at that time we were in charge of the product and we were also in charge of onboarding our self-service customer.
So we were doing product support, onboarding, and enablement. So you really need people that can do a lot of things. And then the more you grow, the more you need to specialize people, you, because you need to create an organization that is more scalable, where tasks are more repeatable, where you have a process when you, where you can rely on your process.
I think we, we had those three big moments, very small team at the beginning and we were really like concentrating as a knowledge. Then we started to open the team a little bit with very generalistic profile and Swiss knife. And then we started like to specialize much more the team.
Hannah Clark: So today, now that you've formed a team more in that image, I know that you're very passionate about optimizing team performance and empowering teams to be autonomous. So how has that evolved now to today where your teams are working more autonomously?
Lucie Buisson: I think it's a very good question you're asking and it's a very good perspective to what I was saying. At first when you are like only five people making decision on the product, you are autonomous and you are in power.
Because you only have one product team and you only have five people making decision on the product and talking on the time and like being with customer every day. And I think when you scale, you try to go back to this honeymoon period when you were like super small and you were able to talk to customer every day and you were having all those brainstorm and collaboration.
So what we started doing at Contentsquare is, I think it was almost three years ago. We started to create our own playbook and we called it The Rhino Methodology, and we gave a name to this methodology because we want to emphasize that it's inspired from a lot of classic methodology of very well known books and very well known mentor.
We also wanted to emphasize the fact that we needed to invent our own way of working, because what's working in the Silicon Valley might not work for the companies that has most of his developing team in Europe, so we starting bringing what we call The Rhino Methodology, where we describe the way we work, we describe the different phases of the development, we describe how we do discovery, we describe how we do delivery. We describe how we go to market, we describe the role of each people in this organization. And I think the most interesting thing for me is that we treat The Rhino Methodology as a product.
So we try to do our own discovery, what are the needs, the pain and the desire of the organization? And then we try to identify the solution that is going to be the most valuable, feasible, and usable. And this become can be a process or a new job, but we really try to have this discovery approach also going into our methodology and like products, it's made to iterate and evaluate. So we really want it to be something that is changing all the time,
Hannah Clark: I can see how that can be very empowering. You have a lot of people doing different functions. How do you, as a leader, measure success with an environment in that way?
Lucie Buisson: Yeah, and I think this is the, maybe the most important question, if you want to have empowered team, you need an autonomous team, you need to agree on the definition of success.
And if you don't have an agreement on what success look like and how you're going to measure your success, you can do whatever you want. It's not going be an empowered team because maybe they're gonna think if you disagree on that or if you didn't take the time to align on that, maybe they think they are super successful when for you it was not successful.
So I think putting in place those metrics are super important. And then you need to make sure that, because it's in the theory of the OKR, like every goal is helping another goal that is helping another goal. So you need to make sure that when your product team are successful is driving as the other success you needed for your customer and for the company, so you need to make sure that you have a clear definition of success with your teams, but also that when they're moving the KPIs up or down, depending on what is the target, the company KPIs and the company focus are also progressing. You see what I mean?
Hannah Clark: So this is that "know your mission" piece. Is there more to that "know your mission" idea that you'd mentioned that in the past?
Lucie Buisson: Yeah, definitely me. So each team is in charge of, I would say, a different part of the product or a different step of the customer journey. So we are really splitting the team into two parts.
What we do at Contentsquare, our as well saying at the beginning, is collecting trillion of data point every day to help our customer understand why the customer having or not having a good experience. To be able to do that, you need to understand all the dimension of the experience. So we have three big solution to understand what's makes an experience seamless, fast, error free, what makes an experience efficient from a user journey standpoint.
And we have one solution to understand what's making the experience engaging and inspiring from, like everything around the videos, the banner and the product. And so we have product teams focusing on each of those three solution. And so they know their mission. And then we have what we call the platform team that are in charge of making sure when you get two products is one plus one equals three.
So first solution is not going to be used by tech, the second solution by product, and third solution by marketing, for instance. And we need those three teams to collaborate together because high performing team are teams that are able to collaborate. So within the platform, we want them to collaborate.
And within the platform, teams are split through teams that are looking at onboarding, teams that are looking at how you can find insight faster, and teams that are looking at how you can act on those insight faster. So instead of telling them you are in charge of feature A and you are in charge of feature B, we really try to give them the context of what customer outcome they're chasing and also what is the business positive impact for Contentsquare hope for chasing this outcome.
Hannah Clark: That's interesting and it makes me think of experience just in general as a brand differentiator. So I'm curious, what kind of customer insights have you found or that you do you collect at Contentsquare in order to improve the product and how do you capture them? And how was the implementation process when you've identified that there needs to be a change?
Lucie Buisson: So I will start by saying that we do benchmarking at Contentsquare because we have so many customer, and it's super interesting for our customer to be able to know how they're doing compared to their peers, especially a customer was saying that to me last week that they didn't get a normal year since 2019 because crazy stuff happened every year since 2019.
So they don't have a comparison anymore, so, and I'm doing like a kind of segue to come to this point that in our benchmark we found that one session out of some is generating frustration. So we are able to identify frustration in one session out of cell. So I think the first thing is really like to be able to identify those frustration into your website. And those frustrations they can come from the website being slow, they can come from errors that are preventing your customer to advance in their journey.
And they can come from painful user experience, for instance, and to be able to do that, you need data and you need to understand where your customer are getting stuck. But not only that, you also need to know what is the business impact. Because if you try to solve every single bug you have on your website, it's impossible.
It's endless. So you need to identify the 20% or 70% of bugs that is going to unlock 80% or 90% of the value for your customer so you can save time in order to work on more innovative use case like, I don't know. A better product discovery flow or a better form to ask for a mortgage, and all our customers are working on those two aspects.
I need to have a website that works or an application that works, that is at expectation. But if I'm just at expectation, I'm not going to strive because you have big company today that have really sets the bar super high for experience. So you also need to make sure that it's easy to use, it's rewarding to use, and it's inspiring when you're using as a website and the app.
Hannah Clark: So when it comes to customer experience, what do you think that a lot of products are missing in terms of that inspiring piece?
Lucie Buisson: I think two things. I would put it in two buckets. The first bucket is really like the content you're using on your website, like, today brands and organizations are spending so much money creating content and so much of this content goes unseen or is not attractive enough or is not engaging enough.
And you have to understand also that every time you are adding a video or a banner on your website, you have an impact on the loading time. And when how big is the impact of loading time onto conversion, I think it's also something you can see in our benchmark, that you don't want and use this content to decrease your performance, so I would say the first thing is really about being able to use data in order to understand which content are really moving the needle. What are the banners, the products that are really engaging your customer, and which content are just a waste of time and a waste of performance, so I think this is one. And I think the second one is really like, you know how if you go in a store on an agency or branches, like doesn't matter, if you start interacting with the business in the offline world through a human being and you arrive and you are running and you look really stressed, nobody's going to tell you about the DNA of the brand.
We're just going to help you check out as fast as possible. And I think this is what's missing today on online experience, is that it doesn't matter what is your intent. You always get the same website. It doesn't matter if you are in a hurry, if you have time, if you are here to finally convert on something you've been thinking on for a very long time, you always get the same website.
So being able to understand the intent of your customer online and being able to contextualize the experience based on that, I think is super important. And it's something we can do based on the behavior our customer are having online. And you know what? You don't even need any personal information to do that.
So you can both be extremely protective of data privacy and still be able to contextualize your experience based on what people are trying to achieve.
Hannah Clark: That really piques my interest because I know right now data privacy is a huge issue and a lot of brands are trying to kind of juggle that responsibility to protect customer data, but also the usefulness of customer data.
What's that approach, in your view, to using as little as possible customer data while still delivering that personalized experience?
Lucie Buisson: Yeah, I think it's really twofold. For me, you have two moments in the life of the customer. You have before they trust you and before you deserve that they trust you and after you won the trust, so I think what is super important for brand is to be able to create those amazing experience, even with an fully anonymized profile. Because if you're able to help your customer and create great experiences to your customer even when they're fully anonymized, they're gonna come back. They're gonna trust you.
They're gonna do more and more things with your brand, with your organization, and at some point they're going to create an account. They're going to be logged in. They're going to give you the consent for using more personal data. And then you're gonna be able to unlock even more personalization and even more better experiences because more about them.
But I think it's really important to respect those two phases, I think when a brand I've never interacted with is calling me by my name, I'm like, I'm not happy about that. Like it's too soon. We don't know each other, you know what I mean?
Hannah Clark: Yeah. It would be like if you walked into a coffee shop and you've never been there before, but everyone seems to know who you are.
Lucie Buisson: Exactly. And at the same time, it's a very good analogy because if I go every day to the same coffee store, I appreciate if they know what I want. And they're like, do you want the usual, because you feel very special in that case. But if they're trying, they're calling me by my name and giving me something I don't wanna drink because they have the wrong information, I will never come back,
and this example can sound a bit stupid, but at the end of the day, it's exactly what's happening online. Like, the number of time where you are retargeted to something you already bought. I'm like, this doesn't help also with experience.
Hannah Clark: Couldn't agree more actually. So, just to wind down here, I'm a big fan of stories and anecdotes. Do you have any anecdotes, whether it's working with your team or working with a customer that really frames why you're passionate about the work you do at Contentsquare?
Lucie Buisson: I was thinking about this question and it was really hard for me to isolate one single story. So I thought about the reason why I'm so passionate about working at Contentsquare, and I think it's really about the people I'm working with in my team. And I have so good memory of, those full day workshop you're doing to define like, the vision, the milestones, the OKR, and how good you feel, after those day of show collaboration and and brainstorm.
But I also think that we are extremely lucky to have amazing customer, and every time I speak with a customer and they show me how they use the product and the values they create with the product, I love that. And recently I was having a meeting with a French brand and I was just amazed by how they use our data.
They created a use case that is even more advanced than what we have in the product, they pushed it to the next step. And I think the level of care and the level of empathies are creating with the customers thanks to that, is just amazing, so I think those little moment make me really proud, when I see that our customers, they got ideas of how to use our datas that we never got, they're like in advance compared to us. So I think this was super nice.
Hannah Clark: Well, thank you so much for sharing and for joining us today. If our listeners wanna follow your work or keep up with you online, are there any ways that they can find you?
Lucie Buisson: Yeah, LinkedIn would be the best way.
Hannah Clark: Thank you. I really appreciate your insights today.
Lucie Buisson: Thank you so much for the great conversation.
Hannah Clark: Thanks for listening in. For more great insights, how-to guides and tool reviews, subscribe to our newsletter at theproductmanager.com/subscribe. You can hear more conversations like this by subscribing to The Product Manager wherever you get your podcasts.