How Innovative Customer Success is Driving Business Success
In a high-growth SaaS business, the focus on the customer is key to driving the future growth and success of the business.
To learn more about why customer success is so important, we sat down with our Director of Customer Success, Michael Jones, where he spoke about what his growing team is doing to innovate in the talent management space, how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way enterprises use our software, and what he’s looking forward to most as his team and Ten Thousand Coffees continues to grow.
Why do you think informal talent development is so important for businesses at this time? What are the results our clients see?
“I think to answer that question, we need to think about it from an employee perspective first.” Michael begins, “People want to build their skills and develop in their career, and if a company is built on the success of their employees, then it's only logical to give them the tools that they need to succeed as individuals as part of a larger organization. Informal talent development makes companies feel smaller, it helps employees know how they fit into it and where they can in the future, it accelerates the development of ideas, drives personal development, and so much more”
So how has this changed since the onset of COVID-19 and hybrid working environments?
“Let’s focus on one example - innovation. Companies are pushing employees to innovate quicker; that innovation comes from the collision of ideas and people. COVID has significantly reduced these collisions - knowledge sharing has declined and what used to happen at the water cooler now requires a meeting. Why I believe Ten Thousand Coffees is so well suited to address that, is we are the catalyst for meaningful collisions. We are the multiplier that helps employees form that knowledge network that allows the whole company to do better. The solution fits into their day to day, it's just about driving real connections that will have meaningful benefits.”
How is 10KC innovating for our customers within the informal talent development space?
Despite it being a fairly recent shift for companies to invest in informal talent development, Michael stresses the importance of getting it right. “Networking events have previously taken the place of informal development, but 10KC focuses on building the skills required to network effectively, and turning that into a real disciplinary competency within a company for things like DE&I, mentoring, and career development initiatives.”
In terms of what 10KC is doing to stay at the forefront of innovation, Michael puts it down to the way our product is built and the support the Customer Success team provides to clients. “Ten Thousand Coffees is not only providing the technology, but we're leaders in thinking about how it can drive tangible results. It comes through in the way that our product works, in the way that we structure programs, and how we interact with our partners. We support them in launching the product properly and then connect it to their DE&I, connectivity targets, and people targets.
He adds,“When we work with our clients, it's not just a tool that we provide, it's also the expertise to inform and solidify an informal talent development program.”
For Michael, the recent changes we’ve experienced over the last few years, and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic have added to the importance of informal development programs. “I think that there's been three big shifts that have laid the groundwork for informal development programs to be a must-have in every business. Hybrid work, increased focus on diversity and inclusion, and the need to create culture to drive retention and engagement. Businesses have had to seriously question how they can create a more inclusive culture that people want to stay in, while also responding to the hybrid workforce. The answer to a lot of that is how people work together. We've been on this path for four or five years and have gone through many iterations to get to where we are now.”
How is the CS team growing to better help our customers succeed?
Michael has organized the Customer Success team to give each client a personalized and guided experience. “We've spent a lot of time thinking about the right model for our customer success team. While some SaaS companies have their CSMs managing 100 accounts with automated emails and the odd business review, at Ten Thousand Coffees, a CSM has a much lower number of customers and strategically works with them very closely, as a partner . The reason behind this model is that setting up the software is easy, but building an effective program is hard - we want to help.”
As a result of the level of support provided to our customers, the team and the business is growing. “Our CSMs work very closely with our clients from the time that a contract is signed to the time that it launches and onwards. They make recommendations around how their informal talent development strategy can grow within their company and bring them the tools to achieve their goals”
He adds, “We’re looking to bring in more senior CSMs who have knowledge of and are passionate about the talent space, as well as people that specialize in certain areas like onboarding or DE&I, to deliver even more value to our customers.”
Despite the high-growth mentality at 10KC, Michael stresses the importance of providing a personalized experience.
“As we grow, our promise to our clients is to always work hand in hand with them, and for them to know if they ever have questions they can just pick up the phone. But more often than not, we'll be giving them ideas even before they need to reach for that phone.”
What's the best part about working at 10KC?
For Michael, hearing stories of global teams connecting over career and personal goals is what excites him. “My favorite part about the job is when we sit in business reviews, and I hear the hundreds and thousands of stories of the benefits that it's having for people, from access to leaders, to meeting others, to generally making the company more accessible.”
He adds, “That's the thing that is most meaningful to me. I also think that amongst the people that work here, there is such a shared belief as to why we're here.”
What are you most excited for in 2022?
In this ever changing environment, Michael is most excited for the growth he is seeing in 10KC and among his clients. “Over the past year, we’ve built so many advocates that I can’t wait to see what we're able to do with our community. I'm also excited to see our clients’ growth and how their approaches become increasingly sophisticated and embedded into their companies’ success.”
As for his team, Michael can’t wait to welcome new members and continue to step up their game.
“As a rapidly growing company, we’re hiring so many smart people with different perspectives and I’m curious to see how that shapes our company and where that will take us. We're looking to immediately hire about 6 Customer Success Managers so that we can be more efficient and effective in what we do.”
If you have the skills to provide unmatched support to some of the world’s top enterprise businesses, check out our career page for open positions in Customer Success and other departments.