When Companies Scale, Customer Success Does, Too

Four Austin companies detail the tools they use to provide a best-in-class customer experience.

Written by Cathleen Draper
Published on Jun. 27, 2022
When Companies Scale, Customer Success Does, Too
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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.”

 

Kris Sundberg
Senior Vice President, Customer Success • Restaurant365

 

Restaurant365’s cloud-based platform offers a centralized solution for accounting and back-office operations for restaurants.    

 

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.

More and more customers are getting the answers they need on their own with gentle nudges and reminders.”

 

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.

 

 

Joe Beshears
Customer Support & Integrations Manager • ePayPolicy

 

ePayPolicy’s integrated solutions simplify, streamline and modernize payments for the insurance industry.

 

What are the most important considerations when scaling a customer success team, and why?

They involve increasing headcount to match customer growth and balancing that headcount with improved technologies for the team to utilize. By using advanced call center technologies and automated logic for handling customer interactions, we’ve improved efficiencies in some areas by 90 percent while simultaneously increasing customer satisfaction.

We will continue to learn how to improve operational efficiencies and the overall customer experience.’’ 

 

What tools or technologies do you use to make customer success more scalable?

One of the best tools that our team has implemented to help us scale with our growth is the Omni-Channel routing and logic system for Salesforce Service Cloud. This drives efficiencies by reducing the manual steps our team has to take to handle each customer interaction, which allows the team to focus more on providing that world-class-service our customers expect and deserve.  

In addition to Omni-Channel, we’ve utilized Lucidchart for advanced process mapping, DialPad for our advanced call center needs and GetFeedback for our customized net promoter score survey.

 

How are you striking the right balance of automation and human interaction?

We try to strike a balance between automation and human interaction by focusing on the manual tasks that the team must perform with our customer. Reducing clicks and manual data capture allows the team to truly zero in on the customer experience while addressing a customer’s question or concern. It’s a constant and ever-evolving process. We will continue to learn how to improve operational efficiencies while improving the overall customer experience. 

 

 

Ash Budd
Customer Success Manager • Overhaul

 

Overhaul is a supply chain integrity solutions company that allows shippers to connect varying sources of data to garner critical insights that impact things like temperature control and handling requirements for shipments.

 

What are the most important considerations when scaling a customer success team, and why?

The customer success team wears a lot of different hats within the organization and is used to rolling up their sleeves to get the job done — whatever the job may be — all while keeping the clients happy and informed. Scaling means that now your CS ninjas can keep their main focus on the client’s success while escalating day-to-day issues to specialized support teams. This way, as the workload grows, so does the number of helping hands. 

One of the best things you can do for your growing organization is to reduce the number of meetings. This allows your CS team to focus on solving problems, accomplishing goals and building meaningful relationships with clients. Meetings that were important at the iteration of a client onboarding become less impactful as the program grows. Encourage your customer success managers to reevaluate generative capacity in relation to these meetings and focus on intentional scheduling.

In a fast-paced environment, we rarely document how we were able to accomplish any given task. It becomes general knowledge. Document efficient processes and share them with your team.

The customer success team is used to rolling up their sleeves to get the job done — whatever the job may be.”

 

What tools or technologies do you use to make customer success more scalable?

Projects are made so much easier in this digital world if we can all collaborate in one singular place by identifying responsibilities and documenting task status, which is the beauty of Asana. Box helps us create organization and efficiency. Microsoft Outlook’s scheduling assistant allows team members to respect and check others’ calendars when scheduling a meeting. That way, those folks can attend without shuffling or canceling other meetings.

 

How are you striking the right balance of automation and human interaction?

As a CSM, I can be a bit of a control freak when it comes to providing my clients with excellent support. Sometimes this means loosening up on the reins and turning to the experts. In the case of automation, this means turning to the data experts. The amount of time I spent living inside of spreadsheets was an inefficient time sink. At Overhaul, we have a dedicated data analyst team that helps us identify and analyze the data that is most relevant to our clients, and we are able to customize those analytics to our client’s individual needs. Instead of spending hours navigating data and creating individualized reports, I can focus on my relationship with my clients to ensure they understand the data and how to use it to move their business forward.

 

 

First Dollar team photo
First Dollar

 

Jennifer Hocking
Director of Customer Success • First Dollar

 

First Dollar is a fintech and healthtech company building Stripe for Healthcare, a platform for consumer-directed benefits. 

 

What are the most important considerations when scaling a customer success team, and why?

Curating an amazing customer experience is just as important and can help guide your scaling plans. Your customer interactions will tell you what they expect, when you’re not meeting their expectations and what improvements they’d like to see. Use those observations to guide your scaling process.

Implementing a ticketing system is a safe first step when considering scale. We use Intercom, which offers artificial intelligence chatbots and a help center all in one. A ticketing system will provide key insights into your team’s performance during a critical stage and help centralize your customer interactions as the team grows. You can view key metrics like overall ticketing volume, your busiest time frames, first reply times, customer satisfaction scores and more. 

Don’t let perfectionism block you from developing a scaled growth process. Step one is just having a process. After creating a strategy, you can reevaluate, rinse and repeat as you work toward the best version. Adopting a learning mindset will empower your team to avoid decision paralysis.

Don’t let perfectionism block you from developing a scaled growth process.”

 

What tools or technologies do you use to make customer success more scalable?

Our goal is to help customers find the answers to their questions when they need them, and we value tools that help us accomplish that goal. This approach enables scalability and promotes a great customer experience. 

Intercom supports our ticketing system, as well as our help center. We've found that using the same tool to respond to customers and create documentation creates a cohesive workflow. Our ticketing system employs a group model approach to customer service, which allows us to work as a team to tackle any customer questions. For documentation, we leave detailed internal notes and track more complex issues in Jira with our engineering team. Teamwork makes the dream work, and our above 90 percent CSAT scores indicate that our customers also appreciate the team effort.

 

How are you striking the right balance of automation and human interaction?

At First Dollar, we use data to help inform our decision making. We regularly review frequently asked questions to identify documentation opportunities. If there are a lot of questions about a tax form, we create a help center article or a chatbot response so future customers can quickly find the answer on their own. This approach promotes a better customer experience and preserves our team’s bandwidth for more challenging scenarios that require a hands-on approach.

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images via listed companies and Shutterstock.

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