The meaning of personalised customer experience – Interview with Jamf, Paycor and Qumulo


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Today’s interview is a little different and is the first time that we have tried to conduct a roundtable style interview on the podcast. My guests today are:

  • Sam Johnson, VP of customer service at Jamf, a provider of software for enterprises and smaller businesses that helps them manage their Apple devices,
  • Mark Wilson, Senior director of customer transformation at Paycor, a provider of recruiting, human resources, and payroll solutions through an integrated, cloud-based platform, and
  • Chris Lisica, Director of customer success at Qumulo, a provider of simple, scalable, and efficient enterprise data storage systems.

Sam, Mark and Chris join me today to talk about personalised customer experience, the importance of creating a personalised customer experience and what it means for each of their companies.

This interview follows on from my recent interview –Eliminate blindspots and build engagement by getting to know your company better – Interview with Claire Lew – and is number 234 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.

Highlights from my conversation with Sam, Mark & Chris:

  • On what a personalised customer experience means for them:
    • Sam (Jamf):
      • Customer experience, in general, is very personal.
      • In high tech, great customer success is all about going through the technology and humanising it so that you can connect with people on a more enriched level.
      • To deliver on that we focus on the hiring component and making sure that we have the best people on our team interacting with our customers everyday.
      • That entails hiring for very specific soft skills like authenticity, joyfulness, passion and empathy.
      • We look for whether the people we hire can make their passion for something ‘contagious’.
      • Empathy is a little more tricky to uncover but we focus on getting beyond sympathy to the real emotions.
      • Having a solid hiring process is extremely key for us to make sure that we have a positive human experience with our customers and our technology.
    • Mark (Paycor):
      • Paycor was founded 27 years ago on the principle of personalised service. Initially, each customer received dedicated service via a named support rep.
      • As they grew and added new products to their suite, rather than moving to a call centre approach they introduced a small team based approach so they could maintain their level of personalised service. Now, rather than interacting with one named rep customers interact with small dedicated teams.
      • To further enhance and personalise their customer’s experience, they have also introduced customer events and roadshows where customers can share knowledge and best practices.
    • Chris (Qumulo):
      • When we hire, our goal is that those people quickly become trusted advisors.
      • The best way to do that is to hire former customers (both actual former customers and people that have operated in similar customer type roles).
      • Another thing they focus on is friction free communication between them and their customers.
      • They have done this by introducing Slack, where they give every single customer access to their own private Slack channel. In that channel they have access to the customer success team, the support engineering team, the product team and, even, the CEO. This has been massively powerful and has resulted in no calls to their 1-800 number and zero tickets.
      • More than 90 percent of customer communication happens on Slack (instead of email or phone).
      • Given that most of their customers already use Slack they are extremely happy with this approach. This is fuelled by the fact that they tend to get answers to any questions they post within 5 mins.
  • Having the right strategy, the right people and the great communication are key to delivering a personalised customer experience.
  • When it comes to delivering a personalised customer experience, many firms lead with data. What’s your approach:
    • Sam:
      • We are a strong believer in data and data is great to have. But, we more about making sure that we ask the right questions first.
      • When you are trying to collect data you have to be clear on how you are going to use it. That can be helped through proper journey mapping and understanding the customer lifecycle.
      • The most important point to collect and utilise data is in the discovery phase, which is typically early in the customer lifecycle, but that point is also a great place to establish a human connection.
      • We focus on finding out where the customer is, where they want to go and also establish a path towards reaching that goal.
    • Mark:
      • When we look at data we focus on uncovering what is the motivation behind the behaviour.
      • It’s not the duration of the call that matters but what prompted that call that matters.
      • We took a step back and rather than focusing on just our analytics we now look at what are the drivers behind our calls and support requests. This allows us to take a more holistic approach to achieving a personalised experience.
      • That has helped us go back to our products and eliminate issues such that it eliminates the need for customers to call us and ensures that they have a delightful experience.
    • Chris:
      • We collected data from over 600 prospective customers on what they wanted in a scaled out storage solution before we built our first product.
      • We continue to do this for every new product and feature we build.
      • We also collect usability data that allows us to be proactive in designing and delivering our service.
  • How are you capturing the ‘soft’ data insights:
    • Sam:
      • In our CRM system we implemented a tool called ‘What’s Up?’, which allows whoever is helping a customer quickly identify and highlight if the customer is happy, angry, upset or otherwise and also add a couple of notes so that the ‘soft’ insight is captured.
      • However, this feature also adjusts that customers health score, in the background, depending on those inputs.
    • Mark:
      • We take a similar approach where our client health score is influenced by both quantitative (length, type and frequency of calls/contact) and qualitative data, where the team member helping the customer can provide input into their score depending on the feeling/insight they get from the customer.
      • The health score, in turn, drives a series of proactive communication/education campaigns depending on the customers situation and ‘health’.
      • In addition to that, we have a strong focus on quality and all of our managers and directors have monthly goals for listening to calls. We see this as a hugely important element in delivering a personalised experience.
    • Chris:
      • Again, we take a similar approach and utilise a CRM platform that everyone in the company has access to, shares and discusses.
      • We also use our NPS scores as a great indicator of where our customers are at coupled with good follow up campaigns.
  • Examples of success as a result of this type of approach:
    • Sam:
      • Apart from the traditional metrics, one of the additional and peripheral metrics that Jamf follows as a proxy for delivering a great customer experience is employee retention.
      • Our customer retention rate is north of 95 percent.
    • Mark:
      • We are in the first (incubation) phase of a transformation programme.
      • Our client retention rate is up at 98 percent.
      • We have also seen a 10 percent reduction in same day case resolution, decreased handle times and decreased over flow calls out of our support team as a result of our transformation programme.
      • Like Jamf, we also measure employee retention and have seen a 5 percent decrease in our employee attrition rate.
    • Chris:
      • We are a start up right now so enjoy a 100 percent retention rate.
      • Over 50 percent of our customers say that they bought their software because of the experience that they get from us.
      • That fuels their NPS score, which last quarter was at +88.
      • Customers also write incredible reviews on Gartner Peer Insights. Check them out here.
  • Qumulo is in start up phase and whilst their customer experience is massively differentiating for them, the next big challenge for them is how to scale their experience from a people, business systems and metrics perspective.
  • Meanwhile, Paycor is coming out of the incubation phase of its transformation programme where they have initially focused on single product customers. However, the next phase will focus on multi product customers. This will follow a multi pronged approach, the first of which will be around product improvement. They do quarterly releases and about 60 percent of all product enhancements each quarter is driven by feedback from their voice of the customer programme. The second prong is about how do they scale their service model of small teams and enable them through knowledge enhancement and skills development to operate in a multi product environment. Thirdly, staying focused on ensuring that they continue to deliver a high level of personalised service as they go through all of these changes.
  • Jamf has 12,000 customers across 6 continents and so face some similar scaling challenges. However, one particular issue that they are paying close attention to right now is adapting their service to geographic and cultural differences that exist across different markets.
  • The biggest lessons learnt from their respective journeys:
    • Mark:
      • People under estimate the influence that listening to customers and employees has. Building their insight into your process is essential.
    • Chris:
      • Listening is so powerful. Customers want to be listened to and they want to be heard.
      • You have to come with a modern customer experience approach that is able to evolve and adapt. Ask your customers what they want and then give it to them.
    • Sam:
      • Make sure that you understand the motivations and the context of what your customers (and end users) are trying to do.
      • Market the importance of your customers every day to your company and make sure everyone sees/hears the good stuff that customers are saying about employees too.
  • Creating a personalised customer experience can seem like a daunting task so start small, start simple, be willing to fail and learn.
  • Make sure that you have the right amount of resources in place for both onboarding and ongoing training of employees.
  • Wow service is:
    • Sam:
      • A connection between two people that is beyond expectation.
    • Mark:
      • When we produce a product that is so good that it eliminates the need for person to person support and interaction because everything that the customer needs is already built in.
    • Chris:
      • When you enable the customer to be the most successful they can be.
  • Check out Paycor, Qumulo and Jamf (inc. their Jamf Nation community and their Jamf Nation User Conference which is coming up later this month) and all they great stuff that they are doing.
  • Sam was also very kind and plugged my book: How To Wow at the end of the interview. Thanks Sam!

About Sam, Mark and Chris

Sam JohnsonSam Johnson is VP of customer service at Jamf, a provider of software for enterprises and smaller businesses that helps them manage their Apple devices. You can find out more about Sam here.

Say Hi to the folks at Jamf and Sam on Twitter @JAMFSoftware and @samgfall and connect with Sam on LinkedIn here.

Mark WilsonMark Wilson is Senior director of customer transformation at Paycor, a provider of recruiting, human resources, and payroll solutions through an integrated, cloud-based platform.

Say Hi to the folks at Paycor and Mark on Twitter @PaycorInc and @MrkMrk76 and connect with Mark on LinkedIn here.

Chris LisicaChris Lisica is Director of customer success at Qumulo, a provider of simple, scalable, and efficient enterprise data storage systems.

Say Hi to the folks at Qumulo and Chris on Twitter @qumulo and @chris_lisica and connect with Chris on LinkedIn here.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.


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