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Developing Products while empowering employees and customers

Developing Products While Empowering Employees And Customers


As Chief Customer Officer and General Manager, Product Led Growth, Debra Squyres is responsible for delivering an optimal customer journey to ensure Bonusly customers are realizing maximum value from their investment.

Debra spent the first 10 years of her career with in-house enterprise HR teams, responsible for employee relations, employee development, and talent acquisition. From there, she started consulting with companies on their HR strategy and programs. That experience led her to TriNet, where she combined her passion for HR and people programs with building an HR services business through the company’s massive growth and eventual IPO.

Debra also served as Chief Client Officer at Namely and several other top HR tech companies, where she drove significant growth. In 2023, while taking time to focus on family, she discovered Bonusly, whom a close friend and former colleague was advising. In Debra’s words, “I started consulting with Bonusly, but it wasn’t long before I realized I wanted to be here for the long term.”

What advice do you have for someone's first 100 days as head of CS?

Debra emphasizes the importance of being proactive from the start. "Get your hands dirty, get into the details, develop points of view, and test them out," she advises. Rather than just collecting insights, new CS leaders should actively engage with their teams so they can get to know you and how you think. She says it’s best to hit the ground running by investigating what customer and business data is available so you can make informed decisions that drive progress.

What does your CS strategy focus on currently and in the future?

Under Debra’s guidance, Bonusly is undergoing a significant transformation. The focus is on creating an exceptional customer experience by first focusing an exceptional employee experience. This involves simplifying processes to enhance team effectiveness, so the team has more time to engage with customers in more meaningful and compelling ways. Debra is intent on equipping team members to act as trusted advisors for their customers.

How Do You Measure Success With CS?

Debra describes herself as a "metrics nerd," focusing on both qualitative and quantitative data. Key performance indicators like gross and net revenue retention are balanced with team engagement surveys, employee pulse surveys, and customer experience metrics, providing a comprehensive view of the health and success of both customer and employee relationships. Central to Debra’s priorities is the belief that focusing on employee engagement and satisfaction ultimately translates into customer experience excellence. Debra’s team also looks at metrics at each stage in the customer journey, including insights from post-onboarding surveys, a customer relationship survey, Net Promoter Score, and feedback and themes from technical support interactions.

What pain points do you have leading a CS team?

Navigating the challenges of the modern work environment, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been a significant focus for Debra. She aims to enhance connectivity and engagement within remote or hybrid teams, ensuring that the human element of customer success remains strong despite physical distances. She firmly believes her focus is to make her team wildly successful so they, in turn, do amazing things for their customers.

How do you gain buy-in with the C-suite?

Debra stresses the importance of collaboration and data-driven decision-making within the C-suite. Helping her peers succeed and advocating for constructive conflict ensures that different perspectives lead to more robust business strategies, enhancing overall company performance.

Do you have an example of utilizing customer feedback to improve your company?

A recent example Debra shared involves using customer feedback to drive product improvements. After losing a customer due to a missing feature, her team quickly adapted, enhancing their offering and preventing future losses, demonstrating the direct impact of customer input on business strategy.

What is the future of CS?

Debra sees customer success becoming even more integral to business strategies, particularly in SaaS industries. The focus will likely continue to be on operational efficiency and the strategic use of technology to enhance customer interactions without diluting the human touch.

About Debra Squyres

debra squyers headshotWith over three decades in the HR and customer success domains, Debra is passionate about making work better for individuals and teams. She finds great fulfillment in using her expertise to positively impact the workplace, much like her family's tradition of community service.

For those interested in learning more about Debra and her insights into customer success and HR, she encourages connections via LinkedIn. She is active in the HR and CX conference circuits and welcomes opportunities to engage with professionals in the field.

About CX Chats

CX chats is an interview series with Ben Holland, where we talk to industry leaders in the field of customer experience and customer success. Each interview dives deep into the insights from each leader and highlights how they became successful, tips for aspiring CX professionals, and their thoughts on the future of CX.

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