In today’s installment of our CX Spotlight series, we’re continuing our conversation with Daniel Haslam, vice president of client success at Nuvi, which enables organizations to own their conversations across social media and the web through enterprise solutions for full lifecycle marketing.
In part one of our interview with Daniel, we discussed how he transitioned from sports to customer success, why Nuvi takes a consultative approach with clients, and what a typical day is like for his team.
In part two below, we explore Nuvi’s client onboarding process, Daniel’s thoughts about automation in customer success, and the ways his team aligns with other departments across the organization.
(Please note that the following interview has been edited for length and clarity.)
What does Nuvi’s client onboarding process involve?
Each client success manager (CSM) is in charge of onboarding their clients.
As is true for many companies, the sale happens and then the account executive hands over the contract and provides a warm introduction. But we go one step further and actually include that account executive throughout the entire onboarding process, so the client sees a familiar face as they get to know their CSM.
The CSM will then take the client through the full onboarding process, which we call Nuvi University or Nuvi U. Here they discuss the client’s goals and outline success criteria not only at a social level but also at a company level. We do this because we recognize that, if we’re focusing just on social, we might be missing a bigger opportunity to provide value.
From the first moment of onboarding through retention and beyond, our CSMs aim to provide clients with the best customer experience (CX) possible so they will achieve their goals. We’ve seen first hand how this generates a deep relationship with clients that transforms into loyalty, and we believe that loyalty is what ultimately benefits the bottom line for both our clients and ourselves.
What are your thoughts on automation for customer success?
It seems like more and more companies are beginning to automate the client success process. We’ve definitely thought about it and talked about it, recognizing that automation can make life a lot easier.
For example, a client could send us an email, and we could utilize AI technology to identify that they were asking about reporting. Then the system could send an automated response with some articles related to reporting.
That said, ultimately we’ve decided against this type of automation because we want to maintain a personal touch with each of our clients. To us, any opportunity to have an interaction with the client is positive. Even if it’s the simplest of questions, it still provides an opening to let them know that we care and are interested in their business and their goals.
We have seen through our own experience along with research that’s been published in the last few years that clients do want to have a certain level of automation and self-help options but only in very specific areas. So we need to be deliberate in enabling automation in order to provide the efficiency that clients look for, while at the same time maintaining the sense of humanity they desire.
At the end of the day, when it comes to automation — or any other process decision — it’s not about what’s more convenient for us but what’s better for the client. And we’re making those decisions all the time based on customer feedback as well as new technology. But we are always going to choose the path that allows us to provide the best CX possible.
Does Nuvi have a separate customer support department?
We do have a support team for bugs and other technical issues that we try and point clients to. But given the close relationship that we’ve built, clients usually come to their CSMs first.
The positive side of this dynamic is that we have a chance to troubleshoot what’s happening on our end and see if we can replicate the problem. In some cases there’s a workaround, and we’re able to solve it. If not, then we’re at least able to tell them, “We dug into it. Unfortunately, it looks like there may be a bigger issue going on, but we’re going to pass it over to our support team and make sure it gets resolved.”
On the flip side, sometimes clients do go straight to our support team, and I’m happy to say that support does a really good job of keeping us informed regarding their interactions with clients and the issue at hand. That way we’re in the know if the client later comes to us directly.
Is there strong alignment between customer support and success? What about other departments?
As highlighted above, there is definitely strong alignment between the customer support and success teams at Nuvi.
We have one central channel that helps CSMs communicate with development engineers — that way if we all bring up the same bug or issue, we’re not creating multiple support tickets for it. Instead, we’re just adding to and escalating one ticket and making it a more efficient process.
The same is true for feature requests. We make sure those go through a single channel so that they can all be collected and sent over to the product team in an efficient manner.
Also, I mentioned earlier about how CSMs work closely with the account executives on the sales team during the onboarding process. We also make sure to keep them informed of any expansion opportunities, such as a new department at an existing client company that’s interested in Nuvi.
How do you see customer success evolving over the next few years?
I think customer success will continue to become even more important. It’s something we talk about often with our team here. Sales does a fantastic job of closing the deal and passing it to us, but it’s our job to retain the customer year after year after year. And that retention is critically important to the ultimate success of the organization.
But client success doesn’t just drive revenue. It also very much drives the product by giving us a really good opportunity to see how all of these wonderful clients are using our platform.
Maybe they’re using it in a way that we can expand on further to make it even more useful. Or they might not be touching another area that we’ve put so much time into, causing us to realize we need to shift our attention. Either way, the customer insights help to paint a better picture.
I also expect that customer experience more broadly is something we’re going to hear a lot more about in the next several years. Every touch point of the customer journey is really an experience that they’re living, and we want them to feel that each of those interactions is meaningful and adding to their understanding of how we help them.
If people can move away from the fuzziness of it and actually work on enhancing CX, I believe that they will find many, many benefits from loyalty to increased revenue.
Thank you, Daniel!
Featured image credit: Nuvi