I’m the VP of global customer success at Vinli, leading our European business operations and our global customer success function, covering customer success management, support, onboarding, and training. Vinli is a US headquartered technology startup in the world of connected cars. We’re almost 7 years old now, and we drive value and insights for global mobility and automotive companies using mobility data.
I’ve spent the last 25 years or so helping organizations across multiple industries to become more customer-centric, and I’ve built and led teams across all of the traditional customer-facing parts of the business – including service delivery, program management, customer support, account management, pre-sales and of course customer success. I’ve worked with both major global brands and more niche technology companies as the voice of the customer at the leadership table.
I’m also the co-host of The Jasons Take On podcast series. A customer success-focused podcast where we talk about challenges, developments, and more in the world of customer success.
And I am married to an ex-customer, but that’s not part of any of my playbooks.
For me, it’s about not actually understanding how critical customer experience and customer success are to all companies and businesses and not giving them the right priority across the business or the right level of investment. Both of these disciplines are organization-wide and not just the responsibility of one team or one person. They have to be both top-down and horizontal across the business.
What are some of the newer CX companies/solutions you’re keeping your eyes on right now?
One of the areas that I’m most excited about is where data is being used proactively and intelligently to deliver proactive insights for us as consumers (and this includes both the B2C and B2B spaces). This could include recommendations for purchases or add-ons and super proactive customer support where the company knows you need help before you do.
What can companies do to improve customer loyalty and retention?
Quite simply deliver the outcomes that our customers are expecting with the right customer experience for that customer. This is the essence of customer success. If our customers are getting what they need and expect from us, how they expect it, and ultimately we’re delivering the value that they want, not only will this improve customer loyalty and retention, but it will also provide a growth engine for us (and for our customers).
Yes – all of the above. These all measure very different elements of customer experience and customer success and in different ways. I don’t want to rely on just one, but a mix of different KPIs and metrics and get the balance right between transactional metrics and relationship metrics.
Today’s customers are generally big social media users, and even more so when you look at the next generation who’ve grown up with multiple forms of social media from day 1 and use it as their primary means of communications. The big challenge for companies is the expected instant response that comes with social media and the very public response. It’s not something that’s going away, though. Companies need to invest more dedicated resources to proactively work with customers on social media and technology that allows them to better understand what customers are saying and even what their competitors are saying.
Sadly not very high, but this is based on my own experience using chatbots from the likes of banks. There’s still a lot more that can be done to make the whole experience flow better and to really provide value to both us as customers and to the companies using them. They’re generally seen as purely cost-saving initiatives right now, which is wrong. There’s a reason why your customer has called, and they don’t want to have to answer multiple questions to a chatbot to get nowhere and ultimately still need to speak to a human. A lot more can be done to improve things, and I’m excited to see more companies starting to focus on this.
For the first time forever, I actually don’t think I’ve seen a new movie during the lockdown. Some great new TV shows, yes, if that counts. My favorite has to The Mandalorian from Disney. I’m a huge, huge Star Wars fan and would go as far as saying this is better than a movie, and it’s going to grow and grow with more amazing stories from the Star Wars universe.
For me, it’s NPS. Not the actual score but the detailed feedback that you get behind the score. This gives you such great insight into the why, and if you ask a couple more simple questions along with the score, you can really understand what’s working well, what needs changing, and how we can improve the customer experience even further. The big challenge with NPS is comparing yourself to others too much and focusing just on the score. It’s about the trend with your own score and the feedback from the closing the loop process.