In the Trenches – A Day in the Life for the Customer Success Team at Wi-Tronix
August 23, 2019
To start my day, I like to get up early. It’s something I did throughout my rail career, and now it’s part of my life at Wi-Tronix, being in a technology firm that supports the rail industry. It’s just something you have to do to be relevant and consistent. I live by what my customers live in.
Rising early also gives me the opportunity to get my mind in a good space while I fit in a morning workout. It’s important to me to start the day feeling energized, motivated, and with a clear head. Depending on the day, I listen to things to different types of podcasts that keep my creativity and interests piqued like Obsessed Garage or Gary Vaynerchuk Motivation.
After my workout, the first thing that I do every single morning, is get a pulse on where our customers are and make sure that we have alignment. The benefit that I see of waking up early, is that it allows me a point of clarity, to focus my thoughts, plan out the strategy for my day so that I can work with my team to make our customers successful.
First Thing’s First
I get to the office and look at a couple things. I look at our communication style with our customers. I look at what our customer success managers are focused on that day (Salesforce and Client Success technology tools). I like to review our tasks vs. work ensuring we understand the end outcomes for our customers and how we can work to achieve them.
All Hands on Deck
We start by meeting with our executive staff. My focus is on our customers and that starts with our team. We’re also opening the lines of communication across the company. We talk about blockers or things that we need help with from other department heads. We discuss some of the high level things that we’re working on as well as the activities that are most critical to address – things that are either impacting team members, our customers, or impacting the value that we deliver to them.
Then, we go into a customer success (CS) alignment meeting (Customer Success Managers, Technical Support, Community, and Data Analysts). The purpose for the CSM meeting is to get into the micro details that affect the bigger plan for a particular customer. As we look at the details that are leading to the big successes through our alignment with our customers, it allows us to openly share best practices and learnings between different CSMs who are usually onsite at customer’s offices and back in Bolingbrook. It’s a great platform for cross-team sharing and reviewing overall Wi-Tronix successes and failures. Twice a week we specifically focus on our 10-week PI objectives as part of our Scaled Agile Framework which aligns to the company’s overall commitment over the next 10 weeks.
Evaluate and Optimize
This time is usually filled with meetings discussing ways we can continue to optimize and support the customer success vision. At Wi-Tronix, we also implement our own success plans. In fact, our 2018 success plan has already proven a 66 percent improvement in information flow to our product team. By not getting them bogged down in the minutiae, and not giving them micro tasks that don’t lead to value realizations, it has allowed us to step back and become much more strategic. We’ve upped our own game and only communicate items that provide meaningful value that will lead to proven business success. If we continue with a more strategic focus for our customers, we will help them win in the long term. It’s allowed us to take the time to understand our interaction from a company perspective with our customers. What is the data telling us through those internal and external interactions using such tools like Client Success Pulse, surveys (NPS, CES and CSAT) and Voice of Customer QBRs.
The Customer Success Plan
Customer success plans allow us to filter out noise. It is critical to integrate success plans into our day-to-day business processes to make sure that it’s a sustainable and scalable solution that Wi-Tronix can continue to use with its customers to bring relevancy and value. Customer success management is all about alignment and transparency with our customers on the good, the bad, and the things that they want us to work on.
Typically at the start of the year, we’ll have a quarterly business review and we’ll speak to our customers about what’s important to them and what their goals and initiatives or pain points. What are the big items that they’re working on that we should be aware of? And then we listen. This gives us the insight to start connecting their goals with our solutions to call the right plays. I know what I’m doing because our success plans drive our path and, when combined by segment, the data provides meaningful insights to share with our product management team to inform our product roadmap.
My favorite part of the success plan is that it allows me to really understand my customers and their goals. I learn what is important to them and how they need to achieve those results, which is key part most miss. Then we are able to share that with the team, create visibility across the entire organization and know what to focus on throughout the year. A clear success plan gives us the tools we need to do everything that we can to help our customers meet their objectives.
Here at Wi-Tronix we integrated the customer success plans into Salesforce so that we have a holistic view across teams at all times. It gives us the ability to see exactly where the customer is, what big milestones are coming up in the next quarter, and have a clear view of their short and long-term plans. If at any moment someone new started at Wi-Tronix, they can look at Salesforce and see exactly where we’re at with a customer. This information can also be shared with the product team and the CSM team in sales. This ensures that every person who touches a customer account is aligned on the customer vision, where they’re going, and what new projects they might have in the pipeline. We take complicated data and turn that into actionable insights for our customers. A quick reminder, just because it’s on the success plan, that doesn’t mean we are developing that feature or agreed to it. This document is how the customer would view value realization for that period of time. SaaS companies have to balance requirements across its customer base and make tough decisions to ensure we have enough wins for all and alignment with our product. A success plan that is focused on the adoption of existing needs is just as critical as mapping out the future customer experience and providing the right support to move them deeper into the platform.
Work From Anywhere
The digital age has impacted customer success significantly. Something really exciting here at Wi-Tronix is that we have some customer success managers that are actually at customer locations fulltime. They have offices inside customer facilities and that has been a tremendous leap and bound in becoming true partners. It is a really humbling experience to see that we provide enough value to our customers that they make space available and want to have a customer success manager on site.
The importance of working alongside our customers is to really understand how our application fits within their business processes, make sure that we have alignment, and that we can easily adapt our solution to their needs. When we’re present with our customers, it’s a one-on-one conversation. It actually allows for that full transparency. They can open up. If we’re listening and restating the problem back, it allows for our go forward plans to be spot on.
Towards the end of the day, I like to get out of my office, stretch my legs, walk around and talk with our tech support, talk to their customer success managers. How are people doing?
At the end of the day, I want to know that I’ve created value. After taking a quick summary of the weekly and daily activity log (checking things off), I can say that I’ve created value if I was able to achieve two or three things that I really needed to get off of my list and if I made sure that we actually drove the business forward from a culture, people, or process standpoint. I make sure that those things are relevant and if I didn’t achieve those things, it gives me a point of reflection. I can see what I did right, wrong, and where there are areas of opportunity that I can grow (I have been growing a lot with the support CS Community). When I leave the office, I feel empowered. I feel excited. I want to thank our executive team and our CEO for really taking the plunge in customer centricity. That’s what excites me…
Originally published on LinkedIn on July 24, 2019 by Chad Jasmin