Customer Success Leader
Customer Success Leader

Episode · 1 year ago

Decrease Churn: How To Shore Up Relationships w/ Sara Lauer

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Someday, when you finally purchase that Tesla you’ve always wanted, you’ll want someone to walk you through all the features before hitting the road. Things like the cruise control, the wipers, how to connect your phone to the bluetooth, etc.

 

Product professionals like Sara Lauer, Senior Director of Customer Success at Reflexis Systems, Inc., make sure their customers know everything about the product before putting it in drive (although, they don’t sell Teslas).

 

Sara joined me in this episode of Customer Success Leader to discuss… 

 

- Why it’s crucial to know all of the stakeholders in the company before pitching a solution

 

- The obstacles that get in the way of building strong customer relationships

 

- How customer success tech has changed

 

- How to get your customers to open up about the value they gain from your product

 

For more info, check out customersuccessleader.com or send a message to hello@flatfile.io.

Different companies have differentethos, so you have to get to know each and every person and what drives themtowards success in what that company's mission and vision is want to create delightful customerexperiences. Youare in the right place. Welcome to customer success leaderwhere you'll learn about the successes and struggles of leaders who arepassionate about their craft. Trust me. You want to stick around here's yourhost, Eric Crean, Hey, I'm aric, crane, the founder inCEO of flat file and welcome to another episode of the customer successlytor.Today, I've got Sarah Lower here. Whois, a senior director of customer successthat reflects is hey. Sarah, how you doing today, hey good! How are you I'mdoing all right? Thank you. It's Bittan muggy here in Atlanta. Where are youcalling in from Indiana it's funny how we're all Callin from somewhere thesedays? How, as the transition been to remote work for you, it's beendifferent. Customer success is normally a face to face interaction, and so thisis definitely been an adjustment this...

...year. Thank you for asking yeah. I hearthat we feel the same way, although I guess we're a distributed company, soit kind of has to come a little bit more naturally, but I am missing out alittle bit on send folks in Parson for sure yeah. Definitely so tell me alittle bit more about reflexus and what you're doing over there well reflect.This. Is a provider for intelligent workforce management and executionsolutions, so we help lots of retailers and different types of businesses andfood service. Hospitality, retail and even banking, with their operations,meets TAT's. Pretty Cool and you've got a lot of experience, bether, theflexusand it in customer success. So I'm really excited to share your thoughtsand ideas with our listeners. Ere I like to start with. How do you definecustomer success? Well, the main thing I always say is, I believe, in helpingthe customers maximize their investment, so whatever products and tools thatthey have in their arsenal that they purchase from us or otherwise I like tobe there with them Alon with that...

...journey, to help them realize successwith what they've purchased. I think about it when I think about the lastcar I bought even nowadays the cars they're so technologically advance thatyou actually have a person that comes out and sit down with you and they showyou all the bells and whistles of your car and T en. I like to think of myself,with the experience that I have in retail operations as someone that cansit down with that customer and help him on that journey and hold their handthrough that process, to show them different tools and gems within theproduct that they might not have thought of and listen to them as theythink about what the success means to them and their organization and helpthem through that process. So I often hear that customer success acts isalmost an extension of the customers organization, you're trying to helpthem achieve business ubjectives. How do you help establish that type ofrelationship with customers that you're working with well success is apartnership, and you have to get to know them as a person and also as apartner and o somebody that they can...

...trust. So certainly my background andthem knowing where I come from, is part of it, but also you really have to getto know them as a person and understand what what their goals are and whattheir needs are. And so you know, I really think that you just have to getto know them be with them face to face and really get to know all of the stateholders in that business. Different companies have different ethos, so youhave to get to know each and every person and what drives them towardssuccess and what that company's mission and vision is, and then you can use theproduct to kind of reinforce that journey along the way. I really believethat's why I reflexthis has been around for so long and has had customers, evensince two thousand and one stapbles and it's funny, because sometimes ourcontacts will move from one company to another. I think about fanatics andsome of our operations partners that we've had all these years and that'swhy they come back to us because they know us as a person. I used to work fora retailer WHO said, get to know your...

...customer but get to know the person andwork with people that you like. So that's. I think what drives thatrelationship got. I that makes sense yeah I mean that's a pretty excitingthing to do. Not only have your product be taken along, but also yourrelationships that you have with your castomers. Definitely so what gits themthe way of establishing that type of relationship with customers? Well rightnow the pandemic is definitely a blocker, as I already said thatfacetime is so critical and you know in person, communication is always best.You know you can go to lunch, you can, you know, talk with them and have smalltalk and again really get to know the person. So you know we've had to turnour cameras on and do what we can today to you know, get to know that personwithout having that facetime and certainly getting to know the entire raccount all the players. You know it's even that much more important in yourlike this to know, mission vision, everyone, that's part of that companyand what drives them towards success.

So you know it's definitely been aninteresting year, but it also challenges us to think of differentways to connect. We used to do tech tolks face to face, and now we're doingthem this way and that's good because we're all healthy and we can workdifferently and we've learned to pivot. I think this year different waystowards how we can drive sales. So it's interesting. I thought the answer mightbe sales here. So how do you for a successful relationship betweencustomer success in sales so that you know that the long term relationshipwith the customer is set up for success? Well, you really have to get to knowwhat that company wants for the year and what their strategies and goals are.If you don't understand that you're not going to be able to partner ith withproduct that meets their needs, I mean we have lots of different products fromappointment, scheduling to H, communications, quick communications,quick Checkliss, to deeper audit tools and deeper scheduling tools to simplescheduling tools. So, if you don't know...

...what their vision is towards drivingsales, then you're not going to be able to partner them with the right productand advise them along the way. There's definitely been times where I've saidthis isn't going to meet your needs, Yore, looking for something more forrelationship management or something along those lines and there'sdefinitely been times where I've said. I don't know why you haven't consideredthis tool as well. During the pandemic, for instance, we launched some toolsthat we knew as being good citizens and part of this bigger worldwide communitythat we could share with that customer, and so we launched things for ourexisting retailers like quick communication tools and quickchecklests that were helpful for them during the pandemic. That's awesome.Yeah you've been in customer success. Basically, since the inception ofcustomer success is a Formar Field, yeah so k retail operations, yeah yeahI' love to hear a little bit more about...

...how technology to support customersuccess has evolved over that period of time and what are the technologicaltools y use internally to help ensure that you're able to deliver asuccessful and beneficial relationship to your customers at scale? Yeah, Imean technology is definitely evolved over these years. When you think aboutcommunication, what we needed twenty years ago was really prettystraightforward as a retailer. You just needed to know what to do when to do,and you were told, usually by corporate office what that was. Nowadays, we havesocial media. We have all of these different systems coming into playtowards that store manager or retail operator or banker, and so everything'scoming at them from so many different directions. Whether you know always wasa factor, but now we have you know things like artificial intelligence andthings like that. That can help us along the way, so it's definitelyevolved over the years and now communication comes from severaldifferent areas: to help that store...

...manager, you have to have solutionsthat are intelligent enough to show them the way and a lot of them can besystem generated messages. So it's really about making things as simple aspossible for that associate or store manager to drive sales. That makessense, yeah, there's a big difference between complex and complicated, and Ithink, a lot of times. Tdos get obscured a little bit. Yes, definitelyso you manage a team of people what or the systems or tools that you've, butin place to help ensure that that team is effectively guiding the customer intheir pursuit of value from replexes is propet. Well, I mean really when Ithink about the team internally. It's about having them know the entireaccount, and so certainly we have systems that help us learn all theparts and players of the organization length of time. They've served whetheror not they're a champion of the product or champion of the solutions.Certainly, you know how long that...

...customerhas been around. You know welike to heap map out how they feel about support, how they're doing withthe amount of product that they have those types of things. So it's reallyalmost like a virtual dashport if you will of different things and kind ofjust get to know the entire account in that way. So what are you in the teamdoing manually today that you feel like technology could support you to do itbetter or faster more efficiently in the future? Well, when I think about myday today, I do wish. I had one system that I could pull everything up all atonce, like I think about that scene from minority report, where you know hewas able to look at the name that verson they were talking to maybe theirday tobirth and everything about them and all the information about theaccount all at once. Right in front of me, I think that would be awesome, andso nowadays you know, I look through all of my notes. I look through all ofyou know my priendsheets and an...

...different crm, and it tools that wehave to kind of get to know how that customer is doing that unified view.The customer comes up a lot and I expect folks Lill Seethis podcastaren't just customer success professionals, but also folks, whomight be interested in building for customer success professionals. Sowould you mind maybe even elaborating a little bit more on what kind ofinformation you'd want to see in that sheer view? Yeah, certainly things likeyou know: Open issues, tickets, products, any customer, specific dataor metrics. How is the company doing overall in sales? Those types of thingsgot it so just like, if that's Tor, where you can see the customer, you canunderstand history of their interaction with Your Business and ideally, someinformation that is most prelevant ar important to their business values.Success that they're driving from what are offering them absolutely yeah. Sospeaking of that one thing that I fond challenging in my previous experience,ind customer success is giving the customer to open up about the valuethat the system provides that so an...

...offering a product oftentimes. There issome business goal or value that you want to derive, and that usually is atthe highest level. What determines whether or not the customer is happywith what you have. So how do you get them to open up and provide youinformation about the true business results that your solution is guidingthem towards? Well, we start with Rli conversations early in the relationshipand really help them understand. You know where other customers of drivevalue and how that usually opens the door to get them to open up. I do agreewith you a lot of times they're not wanting to share that information rightaway, or maybe they just don't know how other can pull value from a productthat you offer. So we start off early with just use cases and informationthat we have from other retailers, and luckily, we've been around for twentyyears. So we have lots of information about that and usually when they startto ask, can I see more about that? Then you know you're hitting on somethingthat is possibly you know in their. I...

...guess wheelhouse as well. So that'swhere we start and then, if you get to know that company's mission and vision,you can then help them derive in Roy. The worst thing you can do, though, issay this is the R why you're going to get from that product. You have toreally help them understand where the value is and partner with them and thencome up with it together and help that be their own personal, Roy, yeah andTrinsic motivation is always stronger than xtrensiic right. So you want to beguiding someone to that answer. If you know what it's likely going to be, butstill not actually be telling them that that I're not actually realizing thevalue that they might be able to otherwise right. So what is yourfavorite part of working an customer success? I love to help people be happyand successful. So it's a great role for me for years. I was in retailoperations and store operations and that's fun too, because you can helpreally grow a business. But this way I...

...can get to know all different types ofbusinesses and share that knowledge across different organizations. Soreally it's the people at the end of the day and when I see them happy andsmiling, and knowing that I provided a solution for them to drive success andthey're having fun with the tool. That's when I feel most motivated, sosomeone's going to get into customer success. What af the areasprofessionally that you feel they should focus on most relationships,relationships, relationship. Everything that you do is about that. I went intothis job thinking that all of my retail experience was going to be the mostbeneficial. But honestly, it was my wholesale experience that really helpedme, because, when you're working with someone that's buying a line of product,you really have to get to know that account and what's important to themboth personally and professionally. So, if you're going into customer success,you need to be driven and be self motivated, but also know how to drive arelationship that makes sense so...

...spaking of which, just to rap here liketo ask everyone the same question, which is what is the best piece ofadvice related to the customer success that you personally have ever gotten?Well, I love Steve Jobs. I thought he was such a successful business man asmany people do, and he said a lot of things that were really inspirational.He also said simple things that I really remember and liked like it's,not the customers job to know what they want and I think about the rich Carltonto they have this gold standard that they go by and it's the same thing knowwhat the customer wants before they know they want it, and so it's the samekind of philosophy and if you can help them and know them that, well that youcan understand what they need before they even know they need it. You've gota strong relationship yeah. I believe that soits often appreciate that tobecause then you're alleviating some of the burden of them to actually knowwhat they don't already know right. Owsome L. Thank you so much your timetoday, Sarah Again of Sarah Lower from...

...reflexis system. I Mayor Crane fromflat file and thank you for listening to customer success leader. You depend on the fastest time to valuefor your customers. So why let Datea onboard and sell you down? Stopemailing spreadsheets, creating CSB templates for setting up ftt transfers,create collaborative secure work spaces with your customers ind their Danasaving. You time, while providing a memorable, onboarding experience. Ohand there's no code required, you can go to flat file, O Io Lash CS leader tolearn more and get started for free. Thank you so much for joining us forthis episode. Customer Success leader is brought to you by flat file ifyou're a fan of the show and want to help us share these conversations withothers. Leave us a rating on Appe podcast, just TAPD HA number of stars.You think the show deserves. That's it for tyday catch you in the next one.

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