Syncron’s Customer Success organization has four pillars that guide our actions and how we form and manage relationships with customers. They are the foundation that support how we approach working with our customers and underpin the metrics applied to every implementation, support call and interaction. These foundational principles don’t change over time. They provide a consistent and deeply entrenched way of delivering success to our customers.
When the global pandemic came along, however, these pillars were put to the most rigorous test of their ability to continue to serve the needs of our customers. Companies around the world were faced with a new set of unique needs, with an increased sense of urgency.
For us, serving some of the world’s largest OEMs, these needs sounded like:
- How can we maintain service levels with new border restrictions?
- How can we keep our go live date without onsite consultants?
- How can we effectively model forecasts during volatile demand?
Just to name a few. In addition to the business needs of our customers, we also saw a very human side as many faced layoffs, furloughs and personal loss, requiring increased empathy, flexibility, and patience.
Now, as we emerge from this crisis with hopes of a vaccine, early signs of economic recovery and newfound proficiencies in digital technologies, it’s a good time to reflect and ask ourselves did OUR pillars of customer success hold up under pressure?
Our four pillars are:
- Deliver on a Customer-Centric Mission of Value
- Build and Maintain an Expertise-Based Organization
- Deliver World-Class Services & Support
- Enable an External Eco-System
In this 3-part blog series, we sit down (virtually) with Syncron’s Chief Customer Officer David Reiling to hear his observations and lessons learned from our customers and our employees through this past year.
Part I – This is Different, Time to Listen and Relearn
Question: What is the makeup of Syncron’s Customer Success organization?
Answer: Syncron Customer Success is comprised of five departments with a total of 160 dedicated team members spread throughout the globe supporting over 11 languages. The CS umbrella covers the functional departments of: Expert Services, Support, Success Management, Learning, and Partner Success.
Question: In your experience, what are the non-negotiable characteristics of a great Customer Success organization?
Answer: You must be empathetic. You must innately want to understand and solve problems – which was more important than ever during this time. In addition, our solutions at Syncron enable extremely complex business-critical processes. It is inevitable, at times, that things may not go as planned. Great support and services organizations rapidly adapt to either changing business conditions or directions. They must not dwell on the challenges but instead focus on solving them and applying learnings to the future through continuous improvements to process and development of team members‘ skills and expertise.
Question: Syncron Customer Success has a mission statement of ‘Ensuring our customers achieve the highest Return on Investment (ROI) from our solutions’. What does that mean?
Answer: Our customers make an investment in our products, and the services that go along with them. The ROI is stated in their own metrics or value. It is not just about making them feel like they got what they paid for – we actually measure that based upon how they’ve defined the expected business value.
Question: When you reflect on the past six months, was there a point in time you recognized ‘this is going to be different?’
Answer: When it really crystalized for me was when a customer in Europe called us and said they had inventory in transit that was being held up at closed borders – closures caused by new regulations due to the virus. It was more than an inconvenience, it was critical. What was also true is, we could help. By applying an analytical approach to their inventory planning, they got the shipment rerouted and stock orders filled for their dealers. That moment of recognition that our customers were experiencing unprecedented business challenges AND that our solutions could help them through this was significant. I realized now was the time we needed to go back to our customers and relearn the “new” needs of their business. The questions we knew answers to a week ago now may be fundamentally different. It was time to re-ask and listen hard to the answers to find out how we could help. It was time to pressure-test what we thought we knew.
Question: Syncron has a vast global customer base. How did you ensure we could rapidly listen and relearn what Syncron customers needed?
Answer: One of the key service offerings we provide is Success Management through our Customer Success Managers (CSMs). Every Syncron customer, regardless of size or location, has an individual responsible for the overall health of their relationship with Syncron and the business value they derive from that relationship. This includes understanding their unique value metrics (referenced above), the development of joint success plans, ongoing product adoption support, and many other value-based initiatives. This team of tenured professionals are viewed as trusted advisors already, and we knew this was the right group to lead those conversations. In addition, as an executive team at Syncron, we’ve also spent countless hours speaking with customers to really understand what their business was facing and what we could do to help. Many of our customers saw a dip, then increase in their business during the economic crisis. However, others saw a dramatic drop in their business. It was/is a team listening and relearning effort to be able to respond differently to both scenarios.