This article was written by Cathleen Draper for Built in Austin.
Four Austin companies detail the tools they use to provide a best-in-class customer experience.
At First Dollar, scale is an important factor for growth. But the customer experience is more important.
“If your customers don’t love your brand, you’ll miss the opportunity to think about scale,” Jennifer Hocking, director of customer success, said.
Managing client relationships and providing great customer service is easier when there are just a few dozen accounts on the books. But when companies scale and client loads increase, maintaining the human connection between customer success managers and the client can be challenging.
This is something that Hocking knows first hand. She and her team took a step back and turned to tech to automate as many simple processes as possible as First Dollar scaled. Providing simple and direct answers through AI chatbots and FAQs have had the highest success rate when it comes to customers being able to solve problems on their own.
As a result, customer success teams have more time to take on high-level questions and escalations while maintaining the human connection between customer and company.
And First Dollar is not alone. Slowing down to deliberately build new processes can seem like an oxymoron at a high-scale startup. But it’s just another day at the office for ePayPolicy, Restaurant365 and Overhaul.
“We can’t throw people at every problem, and we are always thinking of how tools can improve efficiencies and workflows across the board,” Joe Beshears, customer support and integrations manager at insurance company ePayPolicy told Built In Austin. “Our core focus is to provide that best-in-class service that we believe our customers deserve.”
What are the most important considerations when scaling a customer success team, and why?
As directors let go of the reins, we need to trust newer hiring managers to make the right choice in identifying solid candidates who fortify our culture and who can be prepared for future leadership. We’ve been blessed with a steady flow of new talented and passionate individuals who truly perpetuate our core values. We welcome leaders who love to challenge their own management style and processes in order to evolve as their teams grow. Key performance indicators hold our teams accountable, and sharing wins and misses enables more open collaboration and communication.
Our culture provides a lot of positive recognition. The executives award MVPs from each team; the teams then compare KPIs, which promotes friendly competition and real-time feedback on their value to intrinsic satisfaction of the job.
There is a need to establish strong repeatable feedback loops to developers for bugs and the product team for enhancements. We partner with these teams to identify the solution and deliver it to enhance our customer experience.
What tools or technologies do you use to make customer success more scalable?
We focus on making life for our customers effortless, and we back it up with world-class KPIs to deliver the most effective onboarding experience possible. Listening to customers through customer satisfaction scores and net promoter scores is crucial.
We use Monday.com for project management, Gainsight for all post-onboarding and Freshdesk to manage support. Monday leverages templated projects and records notes from each call. Implementation status and risk get uploaded to Salesforce to keep the sales team in the know. Gainsight leverages automated email campaigns that start when a customer finishes onboarding to help customers build the habits that will get them the most value long term. When usage drops or a customer expresses frustration, leaders and sales executives are notified automatically so we can triage together. Pendo is used for pop-up tips to remind customers of the value they might be missing out on. These pop-ups are based on actual usage and are targeted to the right user.
How are you striking the right balance of automation and human interaction?
While we certainly strive to connect daily with all clients, there are some who don’t require high-visibility or constant contact. We assign those accounts automated campaigns designed to keep them engaged and cared for. We dedicate our attention to keeping our self-help solution articles up to date and easy to digest. More and more customers are getting the answers they need on their own with gentle nudges and reminders, and that allows our support team to focus on resolving tier two escalations and above.