We want to know what makes great customer relationships. We took to Twitter and asked people which companies give them the best customer experiences. We were excited to see InsightSquared, a fellow Boston company, mentioned in the conversation.
InsightSquared is a software company that helps business leaders drive sales performance. They have a number of teams working to make sure customers are successful. Mike Provenzano, VP of Customer Success, shared how the customer-facing teams rally behind customer success, and the mentality they practice that wins them successful customers.
Let’s start with a fun one. What has been your most memorable customer moment?
Although we don’t specialize in creating custom Board decks for clients, we recently had a customer that was considering moving to another provider in our space.
Option one was a native feature within their CRM system that they would actually get for free due to the relationship their parent company has with the CRM provider.
Option two was a provider that specializes in enterprise level customers (which this client was) and would cost about the same if not a little bit less than they were paying for our system.
At the same time this vendor analysis was going on we received a call from the president of the company saying she had a board meeting coming up and was having difficulty putting together a meaningful analysis of her sales team performance to present to the board. Although this is not something that we specialize in, our customer team took up the challenge and put a full sales team benchmarking analysis together allowing her to present a compelling story to the BOD about who the most effective salespeople were and what behaviors differentiated them from the other less effective sales reps.
The deck was was delivered about 48 hours prior to the board meeting and our team took some time to walk through the findings with her in order to ensure the right message was being conveyed. The following day, we received an email from the procurement team indicating that they would like to renew their current subscription and increase their overall license count by roughly 50%.
That’s incredible! It’s no surprise then that the company has grown so much in the last year. How do you structure your customer experience teams to support all of your customers?
We have customer success managers (CSMs) handling accounts. Our CSM’s acts as the conductor of the symphony; the support team receives most requests, then work with other teams like configuration or product to solve problems, escalate bugs, change onboarding processes, etc.
What does success look like for your team?
We look at a number of metrics: renewals, product engagement, usage within the organization. If a customer buys 100 licenses we want them to use 100 licenses. We look at depth and breadth of uses – are they using the features we see as most powerful? If not we check to see if they understand how to use them and that they know they’re available.
We run 30-45 QBRs a month and send NPS surveys. We reach out to 45 customers each quarter and try to teach them something about their business that they didn’t know and that they can act on in the next quarter. We also review what we said we were going to improve and check that we hit those targets. If we didn’t, we work with them to see where the misalignment might be.
How do you work with frustrated customers?
Empathy. From a customer perspective whether we’re talking about the cable company or enterprise software, there is nothing worse than a support team that doesn’t seem to grasp the gravity of an issue.
What strategies do you use to execute this? How do you teach new team members to help customers with this mentality?
The first thing we do is get on the same page as the customer about the problem, then repeat it back. Once we’re all on the same page we work through the steps to fix it.
We can’t always promise we’ll solve their problem. We may need marketing or customer success managers to help get to the bottom of it, but their support rep is their advocate.
Relatability to the person, immediacy of action are key. It’s not always about an immediate solution, but letting them know that something’s moving forward. Explain what your plan of attack is and have them agree with the course of action, then move forward.
Do you have any other advice for a company building their customer-facing team?
Get buy-in throughout your organization. SaaS is about getting people to renew, so customer success needs to be drilled down all the way down to business development reps (BDRs). They need to know what a successful client looks like so they can bring in the right people that are going to succeed.
Don’t underestimate the time it takes to build a team and put together the right resources. We typically look for one to two years of customer success experience. Sometimes we recruit sales people or BDRs who want to feel successful somewhere new. People who are self aware enough to make a choice because they know sales isn’t for them will usually do well in customer experience. Those are the people we look for and we take the time to find them.