Salpi is the Director of Customer Success (CS) at Amilia, a SaaS company that goes beyond online registration with features like an online store, a CRM database and a robust reporting module so community driven organizations can spend more time developing stronger relationships with their communities and members or evolving new program ideas for them. We recently sat down with with her to chat about the importance of customer experience (CX) in her organization.
Tell me more about your role as Customer Success Director at Amilia.
As Director of Customer Success, I was brought in to kickstart the whole customer success team and put a strategy in place for Amilia. To create more focus, we divided up teams and ensured that the whole organization was on board with our initiative, and put the programs in place to reach out to the clients. Customer success and customer experience is thought of and defined differently based on a businesses mindset and industry. Some see it as support, others see it as a sales function. Therefore, it was really to educate our clients and create awareness around our new customer success program. It’s important to us that our customers understand the value of Amilia and the team behind it.
What do you believe is the difference between customer success and customer experience?
I think customer success includes the entire process of managing and nurturing customer relationships. At a high level you have customer success management, which involves key activities like renewal management and identifying new opportunities for growth. Customer experience provides you with a global idea on what’s going on with your customers: their pain points, what are some of the industry trends, etc. I believe then that customer experience along with support and voice of customer programs, fall under the umbrella of customer success.
How do you measure CX at Amilia?
To be successful with your customer experience program, you really need to know your audience. For instance, how a business-minded person experiences your brand, could be very different from how volunteer experiences it. The CX programs you would put in place for volunteer driven organization, would differ from a CX initiative that targets software users. It is however, measured the same way. We look at our Net Promoter Score, and Customer Satisfaction, we send out transactional and semi-annual surveys, along with other VOC initiatives that enables us to measure the success of our CX.
Customer experience provides you with a global idea on what’s going on with your customers: their pain points, what are some of the industry trends, etc. I believe then that customer experience along with support and voice of customer programs, fall under the umbrella of customer success.
You mentioned surveys in your CX strategy, do they include open-ended questions?
Yes. All of our surveys have an open-text to pull in additional comments or feedback. We use a survey tool which integrates with our Salesforce CRM. Salesforce basically pulls all the feedback that we get from our survey tool. When it comes time for our customer success representatives to do their reviews and customer analyses, they have access to all the feedback, support tickets as well any technical or behavioural info collected, which provides them with a complete 360 degree perspective of our customers.
I think a lot of businesses understand the concept of customer experience, but many of them still don’t fully grasp the value that it can bring to their organization. They see customer experience as a task, where you ‘just run surveys’ and ‘bring back the feedback’ but there’s so much more than that; new ways to get feedback, grow your business and different ways you can leverage technology to keep a constant pulse on your constantly evolving customer base.
What are some of the key performance indicators you use to measure your CS or your CX strategy?
Firstly, we use the NPS as a benchmark, it’s proven to be very effective. It provides us with a situational awareness of where are we and ideally, where we need to go. It also lets us compare ourselves against other companies to understand how they are doing, and where we might be different. Secondly, we measure customer satisfaction. We seek to answer important CSAT questions like “how are customers interacting with the product?” or “are they having a good experience with the team?”. It’s important for us on the operational side to have that insight.
How do you analyze your customer feedback?
When we get back the survey results, I read through every single comment (probably four times) and then I categorize them, and finally I create general themes from them. Then, that feedback is communicated back to our customers with clear action items as well as improvements we are committed to making. When we deliver what they were asking for, we ask them the “ultimate question” again at that point. That’s how we close the feedback loop and show our customers that their feedback matters.
Why do you believe CX is so important?
Without a dedicated person or team managing the customer experience, you’re missing a piece of the puzzle. You’re not using all the input that your users have to offer and as a result, your product and company as a whole suffers. Customer experience is the hub. If your teams are not connected to this hub, then everyone is working in silos and disconnected from your customers. If you don’t understand your customers then you’re don’t have a sustainable business. I think a lot of businesses understand the concept of customer experience, but many of them still don’t fully grasp the value that it can bring to their organization. They see customer experience as a task, where you ‘just run surveys’ and ‘bring back the feedback’ but there’s so much more than that; new ways to get feedback, grow your business and different ways you can leverage technology to keep a constant pulse on your constantly evolving customer base.
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