Q&A with Addy Clark, Global Enterprise Customer Success Lead at FinancialForce.com
Addy Clark has been with FinancialForce.com for several years and has in recent months taken the role of Global Enterprise Customer Success Lead, heading up the teams of Customer Success Managers in England, Canada and the United States. We talk to Addy about the new role and the importance of working in partnership with customers to drive success.
Tell us a little about your new role.
Overall I work with the team to achieve our department goals, which are to drive satisfaction and retain customers by engaging in proactive relationship management and using metrics like Net Promoter Scores.
It helps that I have a good knowledge of the company and have been here in customer success focused roles for the past three years. Prior to that I sat on the other side as a customer while I was based in Canada, which gave me two years of exposure to FinancialForce.com, including seeing how they serve their customers and help them succeed.
How do you and your team help customers to drive success?
We act as the customers’ advocates inside of FinancialForce.com. We help to recommend best practices, help them navigate inside of FinancialForce.com and we provide them with access to resources they don’t have to hand themselves. Essentially we help our customers find ways to help achieve their business objectives and become a firm part of how they achieve their own business success.
How large is the Customer Success Management team now?
There are around twenty in the team now, split into three different segments to ensure we are mapping our expertise appropriately against our customer base. We have four CSMs (Customer Success Managers) looking after Strategic/Premium Accounts, thirteen CSMs taking care of mid-market size enterprise accounts and two CSMs assisting community accounts.
As the company expands geographically, for example, recently into Australia, we will continue to grow the team to both ensure we cover different time zones and continue to map expertise appropriately to give us the best opportunity to help our customers drive success.
What are your biggest challenges?
The biggest challenge we face is the breadth of engagement with clients. We are trying to get them set up for their long term goals while all are at different stages and want to achieve different things. Some want to expand to different product lines, some want upgrades, some are sales and PR references. There are no set rules for how to engage because every customer and business is completely unique.
We are expanding our own tools that we use in CSM to offer our customer base higher service standards this year with new tools on intelligence. We are also exploring how customers are engaging with customer success and using the software to ensure we and them stay ahead of the curve. We will remain proactive, but also introduce standardised play books and processes that can really aid our CSMs to deliver a top quality service and guide them in different situations that help to drive customer success. It’s not black and white – due to the unique nature of each individual customer we are still ensuring there is enough flexibility to enable them to take their own approach.
We have a range of experience in the team – some of our CSMs used to be sales, some in support, some consultants. All bring a different set of skills and expertise to the table and this enables us to ensure we are thinking of different ways to continue to deliver great service. All of our team members can exercise freedom and bring their own ideas to help make our customers successful.
How would you describe your team?
I am lucky to have such a great team and just as the rest of the company, we have a very team-focused atmosphere. Everyone is encouraged to work together to drive our team success. With a set of intelligent and unique team members we all collectively move things forward and improve the status quo. We all continually strive to improve how we work and how we can help our customers do the same.
We have the right tools in place to operate seamlessly as a global team. We’re in Harrogate and London in the UK, Dallas, Chicago, San Francisco, Phoenix and Denver in the US, plus Toronto in Canada. We will also be making hires in Australia later this year. It helps that we are a cloud based company which actually does use its own products! We use online collaborative tools across different time zones, we all have access to information with Salesforce visibility on customer data, knowledge sharing and Chatter. As I mentioned earlier, we also have best practices in playbooks which can help ensure consistency of service.
What do you think about the culture at FinancialForce.com?
It is an extremely supportive culture. You can even discuss your personal life challenges and the company will work together with you to find a solution. The culture is very open, transparent and understanding with open discussion to help you drive your own success. They really are interested in helping you make things work.
Cloud technology is deeply embedded, which I’m sure would not be a surprise to anyone, given the nature of our business. This adds great flexibility – you really can work and contribute from anywhere. In turn, this creates more commitment and more respect from the employee base. We have high quality management with low turnover, a great sign for employee satisfaction.
You can bring your own personality and your own thoughts to the company who will listen and often act to make further positive change.
In my own experience I saw how customer centric the company was prior to joining and the success focused approach is much more strategically focused and motivating to work on than a general customer service consultant role. We really do make a difference to our customer success.
Any fun hobbies?
Ice hockey is a passion of mine having spent 24 years playing in Northern Canada and picking up with a UK league when I moved to the UK.
Thanks for your time Addy. I look forward to hearing more about customer success as your team continues to grow in numbers and geographies!