Speakeasy Podcast: Customer Success


In this podcast, Emilia met with Lloyd from Speakeasy to discuss what an effective customer success team looks like.  The two discuss the beginnings of a customer success team, the specific role that team fills within a company, and common pitfalls of the work.  A Q&A section follows the interview.

[Initially published 2 April 2016 on Speakeasy’s Spotify]

WalkMe Wins Stevie® Award for Customer Service

We are proud to announce that last week in Las Vegas WalkMe was presented with a Stevie® Award in the Customer Service category.

WalkMe has been committed from day one to provide the highest level of customer service, and it is always great to see the continued recognition of our customer service by third-party audits and certifications, like the Stevie award®.

The Stevie Awards are the world’s top sales awards, business development awards, contact center awards, and customer service awards. The Stevie Awards organizes several of the world’s leading business award shows including the prestigious American Business AwardsSM  and International Business AwardsSM.

The awards were presented to honorees during a gala banquet on Friday, March 4 at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas.  More than 500 executives from the U.S.A. and several other nations were in attendance.  More than 2,100 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were evaluated in this year’s competition, an increase of 11% over 2015.  Finalists were determined by the average scores submitted by 115 professionals worldwide, who acted as preliminary judges.

“Entries to the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service continue to grow every year, further validating the essential roles that business development, customer service, and sales play in business success,” said Michael Gallagher, president and founder of the Stevie Awards.  “The widespread support of this program made the 2016 competition that much more intense among finalists. The judges were deeply impressed by the winner’s accomplishments and we congratulate all of the winners on their commitment to excellence and innovation.”


[Originally posted on http://blog.walkme.com/walkme-wins-stevie-award-for-customer-service/ on 6 March 2016]

Six Customer Success Insights from SaaStr’s, ‘From Impossible to Inevitable’

Attending SaaStr Annual 2016 was exciting, inspirational and a must go-to conference for anyone starting a business or in the early stages of raising capital. The networking alone is worth it!

The speakers, including many of the most influential tech industry founders, VCs, CEOs, and VPs, shared how important customer success is to their profitability.

Here are the six key insights I gained from the conference:


1. Amazing New Team Onboarding Experience is Key

Making every new team member onboarding experience amazing will have lasting impacts on your company success, regardless of the phase the company is in. In customer success, this means making sure your team has the tools and knowledge they need to be successful, beginning from day one. If your employee has a great onboarding experience, the chances of delivering successful onboarding to your customers is much higher.

2. Hey Ms. CEO – I Need Your Advice

Successful customer success mangers (CSMs) are empowered to call on all company staff, including the CEO, to improve the customer experience. This will only work if the CEO makes herself available to the customer team and their customers. It is this type of “transformational” company thinking that Gainsight’s Dan Steinman (@dantsteinman) shared. I am lucky to work for a company who already thinks and acts this way.


3. Net Retention as Your Number One KPI

Incentivize and measure your customer success team with KPIs as a motivational tactic. From a company success perspective, the most important KPI is net retention.


4. Don’t Stop

Constantly watch and act on customer usage and act quickly to implement key findings. NPS scores, surveys, and customer relations can help your company be pro-active and avoid surprises later on. This advice was given by Hubspot’s founder, Dharmesh Shah (@dharmesh), and is true regardless of the stage your company is in.


5. Reducing Customer Effort Level is King

Product ease-of-use will set your company apart from the competitors. Several of the speakers talked about how important this factor is to long term customer success.  If your product isn’t easy-to-use or sticky, then find tools to improve product usability.


6. Major Mistakes SaaS Vendors Must Avoid

This came from a talk where CCO of DoubleDutch, Annie Tsai (@meannie) summed up nicely what not to do when building a customer success team. The 5 mistakes to avoid are: ignoring sales handoffs, just hearing your customers, listening to the wrong customers, skipping instrumenting customer success and treating support and success as the same thing. I can’t agree more after being part of three dynamic start-up customer success organizations. Is your company doing any of these five things? If you answered yes, it is time to roll-up your sleeves and re-evaluate your customer strategy. As Annie said, ‘Just don’t do it!’

[Originally posted on http://saasaddict.walkme.com/six-customer-success-insights-from-saastrs-from-impossible-to-inevitable/ on 17 February 2016]

Back to School: How to Create a Customer Learning Program That Empowers

Urval av de böcker som har vunnit Nordiska rådets litteraturpris under de 50 år som priset funnits

The new school season is almost upon us, and it doesn’t stop after high school or even college. Your customers can benefit greatly from a learning program that educates and empowers them in the coming year to get more from your product or service.

We’re all familiar with the benefits of onboarding new employees, but have you considered the advantages of onboarding new customers? In the age of content marketing, where brands are spending budget and resources on content for customer acquisition, we mustn’t forget that a brand’s content doesn’t stop after the sale.

Regardless of whether you have a product or a service, learning curves often exist to get customers up to speed with how to use a product or best understand the concepts behind that service, so customers can get the most from it.

The consequences of not having a learning system around your product or service includes everything from misuse and inactivity to misunderstandings or worse: disengagement from your brand entirely.

Here at BrightEdge, we’ve implemented a multitouch learning program that gets our clients up to speed quickly, while maximizing usage of our S3 SEO platform. In this post, I’ll share what it takes to create a comprehensive onboarding program for clients that can be applied to many different types of businesses.

If you want to make your product or service a seamless part of your client’s daily workflow, read on.

1. Make Learning Flexible

You want your customers to enjoy – not dread – the learning process from your company. No doubt your customer base has varying degrees of knowledge around the product or service, and differences in availability and resources. That’s why customers need choices in their learning.

Create some flexibility when considering the following components of a program:

A. Types of learning: Some customers want to learn via video at their leisure, some need one-on-one support, and others like a sense of community. At BrightEdge, we have several options for learning and engaging with the S3 platform and the people who use it. Here are a few keys to our success:

  • Our “Ignite” onboarding program: This helps jump-start the customer engagement and ensure they are getting the most from the product.
  • Online training and certification: These self-paced training modules help customers learn at their own pace, and better retain information.
  • Ongoing continuing education: Product training webinars happen 10 times a year whenever new features are added.
  • Networking community: Beyond the classroom, we let our customers connect with one another to trade ideas and solve challenges together.

B. Program features: Offer clients a tiered approach to learning that gives them more or less features, depending on needs. At BrightEdge, our customer success program offers varying levels of access and account management. That way, customers can choose how much one-on-one support they want.

But don’t just stop there. Explore the types of people who use your product or service, and cater your learning to them. At BrightEdge, we have two distinct customers (agencies and direct), all of which have varying degrees of marketing knowledge.

That’s why we have traditional and accelerated learning for each type of customer we obtain. Our standard onboarding program is 60 days, but clients can go faster if they want to. Tailoring the pace of the program and using different tools to cater to the client’s knowledge is key to keeping customers engaged, long after they have completed onboarding.

2. Spend Time Onboarding

Onboarding customers is the single most important way for them to be set up for success when using your product (and even when engaging in a service). At BrightEdge, we take a multiphase approach to our customer onboarding program that pairs the customer with a dedicated professional and comprehensive learning course.

The program is set up in such a way that there is accountability on both sides; each phase has next steps for the customer, and tasks that must be completed on our end.

Every product and service is different, but we’ve perfected a six-phase approach that kicks off with an introduction to the program, and then helps customers navigate through the features, and how they can apply to individual goals and marketing strategy.

We also help customers find new opportunities for marketing through our tools, prioritize projects and tasks with the most ROI, and much more.

At the end of the onboarding program, consider a wrap-up with the client to go over what’s been implemented, and the ROI they’ve been able to see since the program started.

This can be especially helpful for those who aren’t hands-on with the project, like the C-Suite, who need to get a snapshot of progress. We call this the “executive check-in.”

What opportunities exist at your company to create an onboarding process?

3. Create a Certification Program

What better way to ensure your customers understand the inner workings of your product than a certification program? This type of approach can translate to service-type businesses, too, where clients can be certified in a skill or area of knowledge.

Certification has benefits beyond your business, with advantages extending to both the people being certified and the community they serve. At BrightEdge, just some of the benefits of our certification program include the following:

The benefits to the certified professionals:

  • Certification of our tool is an official designation that professionals can include in their lists of skills.
  • Customers have access to a community of like-minded, certified professionals to share ideas with and solve challenges.

The benefits to the business community:

  • Businesses can seek out certified professionals with this specialized skill set.
  • Customers can have more thoughtful, meaningful experiences using the product or service.

Putting together a comprehensive learning program takes planning and time, but there may be small steps you can take right away to help onboard new clients, and get them learning fast.

Think about the touch points that occur when a new customer comes on – how can those be improved? What documentation or conversations can you have that will have an immediate impact on getting your customer up to speed?

Lastly, make sure there’s a feedback loop throughout the entire process. Have customers demonstrate what they’ve learned, and ask for commentary often — not just at the end with a survey. This will not only help you tailor the program on the fly, but also help ensure that when that final survey goes out, your team will get a 10/10 every time.

The time you invest in creating a meaningful onboarding program will pay off long-term – we know first hand. Customers will get the most from your product or service and engage with it more often, making it a part of their daily workflow, and renewals will be a “no-brainer.”

As we inch closer to a new school season, consider how you’ll educate your customers in the coming year. And the best part for them? No new wardrobe or dorm supplies required!

[Originally Posted on BrightIdeas Blog, BrightEdge Blog, On 5 August 2015]

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