Understanding Self-Serve, Acting on Customer Feedback, and Leading at Notion

A Conversation with Kate Taylor, Notion’s Head of Customer Experience

Kate Taylor is the Head of Customer Experience at Notion. Prior to Notion, Kate led Dropbox’s SMB revenue and scaled sales operation. At Notion, she owns customer experience, or as she puts it “the front door experience for our customers.” She works across sales, product, marketing, and finance to scale ROI-positive revenue motions. She spoke with FirstMark’s Adam Nelson in a fireside chat for FirstMark’s Guilds.

How do you build a strong customer feedback loop across CX, Sales, Product, Engineering, and beyond?

On the quantitative side, make sure that you are deliberate about storing and tagging every piece of feedback that you’re getting, no matter where it’s coming from, in a very structured taxonomy. One important piece of metadata is to tie feedback to the Product roadmap; then, as teams actually set to doing design or implementation work, they have easy access to firsthand customer insights.

Once feedback is stored and tagged in a central system of record, you can run and share quantitative reports — and visualization of priorities — against it.

The quantitative insights needs to be augmented with deeper, one-to-one qualitative insights. These come out of direct conversations with customers, which the team translates into insight reports that we socialize teamwide.

Ultimately, both the quantitative and qualitative inputs will feed into our product and growth/self-serve planning.

What does an “insight report” look like at Notion?

How do you think about hiring people to work on a growth / self-serve team?

What lessons did you learn early in your career at Salesforce that have stayed with you today?

What have you learned about leadership in the COVID-19 era?

The basics of leadership: Beyond that, some of the basics of leadership are more important than ever, like: have you put in place a shared understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish? What is your mission? What are your values? What else defines your culture? What OKRs should you be tracking?

Guiding your team: Finally, as you think about guiding your team, you’ll need to lead in two modes: the first is in a group setting, with things like group training. The second, which is equally important, is you’ll need to cater to each individual on your team, because they’re each at a different point in their own development journey. Along these lines, one of the most important structures that I have in place is a specific growth plan for each individual on my team.

How do you leverage your most active customers?

How important is content in your self-serve motion, and specifically in nurturing?

Content is very important to generate top-of-funnel activity, and this is one of the most critical areas where our marketing team is focused. But as you get toward the middle or bottom of the funnel, one lesson is that customers who are already interested don’t need more content; they just need you to make it as easy as possible for them to convert, whether that’s through a self-serve or sales-directed motion.

The other big lesson is that you should be very intentional about what kind of journey you want your customer to have, and how your content experiences feed into that journey. At Dropbox, for example, one of our top priorities was to get customers into a free trial. That priority manifested in very concrete ways in our content experiences — for example, a lot of pages would be stripped of a navigation bar. We didn’t want customers clicking around our site; we wanted them to focus on converting into a free trial.

Be thoughtful about where you want different customers to land, and what you want them to do when they get there.

What tools can you not live without?

Of course, we use Notion for everything — we basically have no email, and it is extremely liberating. We run the entire company out of Notion.

For the Customer Experience team, we run almost everything on Intercom for conversations — from top of funnel inbound leads, all the way through to customer support.

For visualization, we were heavy Tableau users at Dropbox; at Notion, we used Mode and Amplitude.

For training, we use a lot of Loom.

Another tool we’ve gotten leverage out of is Assembled, for managing outsourced support teams. It brings scheduling and forecasting into one place, i.e., how many people will we need on staff, based on the forecasted number of tickets.

What is your favorite question to ask customers?

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