Social Business Engine: The enterprise podcast on social media, content marketing, social selling and employee advocacy.

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Bernie Borges hosts the Social Business Engine podcast, featuring business professionals at brands sharing how they use social media across their business to deliver great results. Brands showcased include Dell, Discover Card, Humana, LinkedIn, Oracle, Safeway, SAP, U.S. Marines, Walmart, Whole Foods and others. Find our show notes at: http://www.socialbusinessengine.com/podcasts/.

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If your Customer Success team isn’t contributing to your growth strategy, maybe this function is in the wrong department? Your customers not only need to be happy with what you sold them, they also need to have a great experience with your brand. Creating a team that is exclusively focused on providing that experience is one of the best ways to ensure customer happiness, loyalty and repeat purchases. But where does the Customer Success team fit inside the broader organization? That’s a question not always so easily answered.

This episode of Modern Marketing Engine features Jeanne Hopkins, CMO at Lola.com - a business travel company that makes it easy to track expenses, save money, and create a more enjoyable experience for business travelers. Jeanne explains how and why she’s made Customer Success at Lola an integral part of the marketing team. She also unpacks why marketing is the natural fit for this vital customer-facing team.

Most Companies Don’t Know Where To Put Customer Success

Jeanne points out that CEOs and Boards often know that an effective Customer Success team is vital but that they don’t always know where it fits into the existing organizational structure. It sometimes winds up as a part of the product team, sometimes is attached to sales, and other times it is integrated into technical support. But are those teams the most relevant resources to work hand in hand with Customer Success?

Jeanne says, “No.”

In her mind, marketing is the natural fit for Customer Success. Why? Because marketing owns the website, runs webinars, has direct access to the CRM, and because everything they do touches what Customer Success is all about. None of the other organizations within a company have the power that marketing has to reach customers and solidify a communication calendar across the organization.

First 90 Days Are Vital For Customer Success

Are you familiar with the phrase “time-to-value?” Jeanne uses it a few times during this conversation to express how important it is for new customers to quickly benefit from the service her team provides. Her Customer Success team is focused on making the time-to-value as small as possible for their customers. The target time frame her team works toward is 90 days.

Listen to hear how the Customer Success experts at Lola.com - known as Wombats - drive adoption of their app within the first 90 days and tangible customer success. Jeanne explains the results they achieve from hitting this goal, and how ongoing interaction and connection with customers even after the 90-day target is essential to renewals, product updates and features, and more business opportunity.

Customer Success Must Tackle Friction Points Head-On

As with any service or product, trouble spots can occur. Any point where customers typically experience frustration, setbacks, inconvenience, or other types of friction are vital to address. For the Lola.com team, many of those areas initially appear to be outside their control - confused hotel bookings, ever-changing airline schedules, and missing or incorrect rental car reservations are all examples within their industry.

Jeanne and her success team have decided that it’s not acceptable to allow their customers to be at the mercy of the services they’ve booked through Lola. The Customer Success team digs deeply into their partnerships with service providers, working on the customer’s behalf to prevent issues from happening and to correct problems rapidly should they arise. This proactive approach has made the Lola Customer Success team a shining example of how to care for customers and drive ongoing revenue through renewals.

Making It Profitable For Salespeople To Be In Alignment With Customer Success

True customer success is more easily achieved when a customer success mindset is baked into the company’s overall DNA. Since salespeople are the ones to work alongside prospects to the point they become customers, they must have a vested interest in that customer’s success once they have sealed the deal. At Lola, sales teams are part of the customer success formula, with certain aspects of the future revenue of their salespeople tied to ongoing customer success and retention. That enables salespeople - whether in direct sales roles or account management roles - to be highly motivated to continue providing great value and assistance to customers every step of the way.

Featured on This Episode

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:32] Jean’s role as CMO at Lola and how she’s come to be a marketing leader
  • [4:35] Strategically, what is the role of Customer Success?
  • [9:02] Why WOMBATS? And how the company pivoted toward business travel
  • [11:28] Why Customer Success resides in the marketing team at Lola
  • [15:20] How the Sales department integrates with Customer Success at Lola
  • [23:05] Bernie’s summary of what Jeanne shared about her Customer Success team

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