We discussed their approach to putting the customer first, with bespoke solutions, and how ensuring that the customers experience is a positive one each time ensures reduced churn and much happier customers.
What are the core responsibilities of your role, and how does your work – directly or indirectly – impact the customer's experience?
I lead the global Sales Engineering and Implementation teams at Natterbox, which include Project Managers, Solution Architects, Sales Engineers and Technical Consultants. Ultimately, I am responsible for ensuring we discover and deliver the value of our product to clients and provide them with a great experience.
Starting from the pre-sales phase, it's all about understanding a client's problems and identifying the right solutions to deliver ROI (return on investment) and improve experiences and efficiencies. This then flows through the implementation teams to ensure this value is realised through the Natterbox product.
I also work closely with our product and technical teams to help build the strategy and provide feedback from customers and prospects into those plans. We review any bespoke solutions to ensure we can support them and the customer’s experience will be positive.
For existing customers, my teams also run projects to implement new features or groups of users and provide consultancy work to advise on improvements or best practices. I do a lot of work on strategy and look to constantly review ways we can provide a better and more seamless customer experience.
So, with those bespoke solutions, how do you review individual cases?
During the sales cycle the Sales Engineer will review the requirements and outline the potential solutions, working closely with other team members and experts. We have a review board which then meets to discuss and determine how to proceed. This is a key forum as it allows views from different areas of the business to be openly shared.
Having flexibility is crucial, especially when working in the enterprise space; however, it is also important to provide a high level of support for all customers, including those with more custom solutions. This is a balance I spend a lot of time on trying to get right.
Has there ever been a case where you begin to create a bespoke solution for one customer which you realise will work for every customer?
Absolutely. Any bespoke solution is reviewed to determine the potential benefit it could provide other customers/prospects and whether we should formally productise it. Where there is the demand, we look to complete this which includes formal training for our support and other customer facing teams. Our customers have great ideas, so we try to include as many as possible into the core product.
How do you communicate the different elements of each customer to your support teams so they can support all queries coming in quickly and effectively?
This is where documentation and handovers are so valuable. We produce a scope of work during the pre-sales stage which is then superseded by a low-level design document and then summarised into a support handover. We aim to detail the solution which has been built and store this information in our CRM, allowing our support team to easily access and review. Any support team needs to be able to find the key bits of information quickly and efficiently, so it is crucial the right detail is provided.
We also provide the opportunity for the teams to ask questions through handover meetings; this ensures that once a customer is deployed both our Customer Success and Support teams are ready for the transition and have all the information they require.
Having this information provides a better support experience to our customers; the basic questions to gain information on a customers setup can be skipped as they are already known and proactively displayed to the support member when handing the case.
What are the biggest changes you have seen over your career when it comes to managing customer relationships and their importance to successful businesses?
The increased focus on customer satisfaction and the increased focus and investment in delivering good service through both customer support and customer success has changed considerably. With social media and review websites providing transparent views on customers’ experiences, feedback has a much wider reach than ever before.
The consequence of not providing that high level of service is significant to businesses in today's world. I think that you have to always come back and look at it in terms of, what value is a customer getting from the product? What value are they getting from the teams that they are interacting with within the business? How are they viewing the overall partnership they have with your business?
There’s also been a significant change and improvement in the tools available to provide better customer support – from software which runs algorithms to produce customer health scores so time can be focused on the needed accounts, to providing more information to support reps (for example, screen pops on inbound calls or cases). Having easy access to information about customers leads to greater efficiencies and a likely increase in first contact resolution.
Do you use specialised support agents for different areas?
We do, although our support teams are not formally split based on product or functionality; we have champions for particular areas which allows individuals to become SMEs (subject matter experts) and tackle more complex problems. This not only provides a better support experience to our customers but also gives team members exciting development opportunities, and the opportunity to partner with other individuals in the business. For example, there are individuals that sit more on the Salesforce side and others who are more focused on telephony.
I really like this approach and feel it is great to create champions, as our product suite is pretty vast.
Similar to Salesforce, if you try and specialise in everything it's going to be very difficult, so you have to build a model where you have those champions, and you also have training across all of the team to ensure that every member of the team has a solid understanding of products they interact with.
You can read part two of the chat here.
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