Not enough companies realize that customer support is your primary gateway to understanding your entire business – Interview with Nooshin Alibhai and Eric Klimuk of Supportbench

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Today’s interview is with Nooshin Alibhai and Eric Klimuk, co-founders and CEO and COO respectively at Supportbench, a full-stack customer support software provider that is made specifically to serve the B2B space. Nooshin and Eric join me today to talk about the 4 types of customer support solutions that are out there and what’s missing, what’s so different about the B2B support model, why B2B is so much harder to build for and what Supportbench are doing to address these challenges.

This interview follows on from my recent interview – Delivering personalised search experiences in an ethical way – Interview with Angel Maldonado of Empathy.co – and is number 438 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to both their customers and their employees.

Here’s the highlights of my chat with Nooshin and Eric:

  • Eric built his own own ticketing system and customer support system inside of a previous organization that was used by 600 different agents to help serve 100,000 customers.
  • He did this because he couldn’t find any solutions able to match the complexities that they were facing inside of that B2B organization.
  • No customer service or support systems currently on the market are built exclusively for B2B or the B2B space.
  • The reason: It’s such a complex nut to crack.
  • Some are good at asset management, some are really good at handling calls and volume, some CRM systems can handle the complexity but they were inherently built as sales tools so they’re really good at data management but they’re terrible at managing the customer experience both internally and externally.
  • People are starting to realize that every revenue model now is moving towards is moving towards a Saas type model.
  • All of a sudden customer retention is really important. Customer insight, customer health …everything about it is really really important.
  • That’s why you’re seeing this huge emphasis on customer experience and customer success and customer support.
  • In the B2C space the customer and the user are generally the same person. In the B2B space, the customer could be an unnamed faceless organization but you may have hundreds, if not thousands, of users and they might all have support and help requirements and that adds a degree of complexity.
  • Supportbench is like if Salesforce and Zendesk had a baby.
  • Supportbench was built on the idea that we need to make something that has all of the different tools and functionality integrated into one place so that we can own the data which enables us to do really interesting things in terms of automation, revenue prediction, churn prediction etc.
  • You have to look at what you need to support the move to servitization or a subscription based type of economy.
  • Using the right system with everything built in and open to all can help solve for many of the problems that organizations face, like siloed behaviour.
  • You don’t have to do the organizational change because the platform almost does it for you.
  • Check out their customer stories.
  • How many support teams are plagued with a ‘Frankenstack’ type of approach?
  • Nooshin and Eric are married and started the business when they had two young children. They sold their house to fund the business.
  • One of their first 25 customers was an enterprise client and that gave them an enormous operating budget. As a result, they were able to pick and choose their investors and advisors.
  • Now, we have these awesome investors giving us so much confidence to just go after what we want to and we are able to pick and choose our customers.
  • Not enough companies realize that customer support is your primary gateway to understanding your entire business.
  • You can drive marketing from it, you can drive product from it, you can drive sales from it.
  • It is the gateway to understanding your customer and most people still don’t understand that yet.
  • If you don’t make your customer support piece a pillar that is just as important as marketing or product or sales then I think you’re gonna be in big trouble going forward.
  • “The map is not the territory” – Alfred Korzybski
  • Eric’s Punk CX word: Unity.
  • Nooshin’s Punk CX word: Insight
  • Eric’s Punk XL brand: Microsoft.
  • Nooshin’s Punk XL brand: Zappos.

About Nooshin and Eric

EandN copyNooshin Alibhai is the founder and CEO of Supportbench. Nooshin comes with 20+ years of experience in Sales and Operations. It was Nooshin’s passion for equity that sparked her interest in Supportbench and pushed her to become its first investor. She was inspired by the standard that every company from growth to enterprise would have access to the same premium tool sets for the greatest level of success.

Eric Klimuk is the founder and CTO of Supportbench. Eric comes with 25 years of B2B enterprise support experience working at every level, from the front lines of ISP’s to Enterprise companies such as HP and Sophos. Using this experience, Eric realized there was a huge gap in the B2b market regarding customer wellness. He founded Supportbench to more effectively attend to the high value needs of B2B clients, thereby elevating Supportbench as a global leader in the customer support and success space.

Check out Supportbench’s website to find out more about them, say Hi to them on Twitter @supportbench and @EricKlimuk, and, finally, feel free to connect with Nooshin and Eric on LinkedIn here and here.

Image by Richard Woollett from Pixabay

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