Building Customer-Centricity into Your Organization

June 24, 2018 Elakkiya Sivakumaran

Building Customer-Centricity into Your Organization

In the SaaS world, people aren’t looking to buy a product once and move on. They’re looking for a solution that will continue to provide value as the company grows. This is where customer-centric thinking plays a critical role—it ensures that your customers are at the front of your organization from product development to the post-sales process.

Customer-centric thinking gives customers a positive experience that will bring value to both the vendor and the customer. Blue J Legal is a SaaS company that does exactly this by aligning their team around their customers.

Blue J Legal is a Toronto startup that provides legal research software for legal, accounting, and HR professionals to gain rapid clarity on challenging issues in Canadian tax law and employment law. Their software predicts, with 90% accuracy, how courts would rule on a given scenario.  

Amity visited Blue J Legal to chat about how customers are a part of their workflows. Each team had different ways of incorporating their customers’ best interests into their organization at every level.

Here’s an outline of Blue J Legal’s customer-centric operations and what makes them an exemplary organization when it comes to putting customers first.

 

How Product puts themselves in the customer’s shoes

The Product team at Blue J Legal understands that their actions affect not only their customers who will be using the product, but also the main decision-makers at their clients’ organizations. Blue J Legal’s product has to appeal to all parties to ensure a smooth implementation process and customer journey. Here’s how their Product team keeps customers in mind during their workflow:

  1. They conduct comprehensive research on the customer—why will the customers need to use their product? What language will be the most efficient and clearest to them?
     
  2. They ensure their data is providing the most accurate and useful information to their customers.
     
  3. When deciding what to implement in the product, they look at the possibilities as their customers would, ask customers what they want, and choose the solutions that will be most useful to them.
     
  4. They use feedback to continually refine their product and the language they use by tailoring the product to the user as much as possible.

“Everything we do at Blue J Legal is for the sake of making our customers’ workflows better. We build feedback mechanisms right into our product and make sure to follow up on any inputs to ensure that we truly understand what the customer needs. The more we interact with our customers, the better we are able to reflect their feedback into how we build, market, and sell the product, to ensure our customers’ success.”

— Avi Brudner, Chief Operating Officer at Blue J Legal

 

How Marketing mobilizes your customers for success

Blue J Legal’s Marketing team is responsible for sharing the value of their software with the people who need it most, whether they’re existing customers or have the potential to be one. Here’s how they use customer-centric thinking:

  1. They build customer relationships by delivering measurable business results and nurture those relationships with honest communication.
     
  2. They constantly learn from their customers to tailor the whole company’s actions to the values the customer truly cares about.
     
  3. With their drive to help people, Marketing creates helpful content to help customers think more deeply about developing smart solutions to their challenges.
     
  4. Marketing provides opportunities for their customers to showcase their successes, both with Blue J’s tools and in general.

“We believe in fostering open and candid communication with our customers. To that end, two-way communication is key. Whether it’s providing multiple outlets for our customers to give us feedback, or actively paying attention the relevant issues in their world, we realize that the only way we can provide real value to our clients is by understanding what they care about.”

— Michael Rodgers, Director of Marketing at Blue J Legal

 

How Business Development teaches and learns from customers

Blue J Legal’s Business Development team is often the source of the customer’s first interaction with Blue J Legal, before the customer meets the Customer Success team. They try not only to teach their customers, but also to learn from them. Who better to help improve your sales process and product than the people on the receiving end? Here are four things the Business Development team focuses on as they speak with prospective customers:

  1. Their product is something brand new to the profession, so they prioritize customer education in the sales process.
     
  2. They frame the sales process in the context of the buyer’s journey. At each stage, they make sure that they’re guiding customers with value for them and their organization.
     
  3. They have a solutions-based approach using a “discovery phase.” They spend 20-30 minutes with the prospective customer to identify their pain points and discuss how Blue J Legal’s tools can be part of the solution.
     
  4. Not all customers are aware of their pain points, so the BD team is proactive about providing insight on the legal profession and how AI can enhance their customers’ capabilities.

"Our products are only valuable insofar as our customers get use out of them. We approach the customer as people whom we can educate regarding machine learning applied to complex legal questions and view them as people who can educate us on their most important day-to-day tasks."

— Mark Coombs, Director of Business Development at Blue J Legal

 

How Customer Success improves customer and company communications

The Customer Success team at Blue J Legal is always thinking about the customer—how they can help their customers succeed, ensuring customers are using the product effectively, and providing customers with outlets to share their success. They keep track of what’s working well with different types of customers, so they can share those successes with other customers like them. Check out how Blue J Legal’s Customer Success team is focused on customer needs:

  1. They make sure all other teams are receiving a constant flow of customer feedback to improve how they serve customers from each point in the company.
     
  2. They hold weekly meetings with their Marketing, Product, and Sales leaders to align on customer needs in their processes and products.
     
  3. They regularly discuss with colleagues what they hear from their customers and file this information in their “Customer Compendium”, which is visible to everyone at Blue J Legal.
     
  4. They strive for excellence in preparing their customers for success by undertaking training, such as the Amity-sponsored SuccessHACKER training in May. They network with as many customer success professionals as they can, at Amity Meetups and other events, to learn more about how to provide value for customers.

“We strive for our interactions with customers to be helpful, value-focused, and collaborative. We want our customers to be partners in legal technology as both leaders and beneficiaries of innovation.”

— George Evans, Director of Customer Success at Blue J Legal

 

The rewards of customer-centric alignment

Within Blue J Legal’s organization, customer-centric thinking is a core pillar that drives all their teams to create, refine, and deploy the best services for legal professionals and provide a seamless experience for customers. The alignment they have in this area helps their Customer Success team fulfil their duty to their clients:

  1. Customers benefit from a Product team dedicated to making their tools a better fit for customers’ needs. This enables Customer Success to deliver on their promise of value for their customers.
     
  2. Customers and prospective customers benefit from a Business Development team that keeps the customers’ needs in mind and places them at the forefront of the sales process. This ensures that customers using the software are a good fit for the product.
     
  3. Customers benefit from a Marketing team that constantly offers opportunities to spotlight customers for the great work that they’re doing with the software. This gives Customer Success a chance to provide great value for both the customers’ organizations and their own.
     
  4. Customers and customer success teams that can rely on a dedicated customer-centric organization are well set-up to flourish in implementing innovative products and processes into their organizations. Together, they lay the groundwork for successful business endeavours on both sides by putting the customer at the front of everything they do.

“Among the many great strengths of Blue J Legal is the tendency towards outreach and the openness to modify the product to meet practitioners’ needs. My feedback was constructively addressed and built into the next version of the product. Blue J Legal is devoted to exceeding client expectations.”

— John Sorensen, Partner and Leader of the National Tax Group at Gowling WLG, Customer of Blue J Legal

“The integration process is simple with the team at Blue J Legal. They provide top notch support and establish a collaborative relationship immediately. It’s been a pleasure working with Blue J and we look forward to the ongoing development of a fine piece of legal software."

— Stacy Koehler, Manager of Administration at Carbert Waite LLP, Customer of Blue J Legal

 

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About the Author

Elakkiya Sivakumaran

Elakkiya Sivakumaran is a Technical Writer at Amity. She enjoys interdisciplinary writing (who said English, Classical Studies, and Psychology can't mix?) and learned almost everything she knows about English grammar from high school Latin. She is currently studying English and Classical Studies at the University of Waterloo.

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