90 Days In #CustomerSuccess

September 24, 2018 Nicolas Bergeron

This article was originally published on Nicolas' LinkedIn. With Nicolas' permission, we are republishing and sharing it with our community. 


A few weeks ago, I published an article about my first 30 days in #customersuccess, where I presented my 4 key takeaways from my first month:

1. CS needs to be part of the total customer journey

2. Document, document, document!

3. Startups move fast

4. Quality data is the key to success.

Fast forward 60 more days on the job and I wanted to update these. Quick note: this is a professional and personal journey.

It might not be the typical Customer Success playbook, but I figured: ‘why not share my thoughts with my network?'

By the way, if you want to become an Upchainer (or know someone brilliant who does) we have Account Executive and Business Development Representative positions open.


The “total” customer journey

I am a firm believer of representing a process as a lifecycle.

Yes, a process starts and ends somewhere.

But as our customers are embarking on a journey with Upchain and as we are in the scaling/growth phase, it’s important to extract improvements and learnings from one customer and roll it out to the next one…

While simultaneously making sure your existing clients are included retroactively.

From the handoff from our team of Account Executives to the onboarding process, through to enablement sessions and projects going live, to the renewal phase, I’ve found it’s critical to look at the entire lifecycle of the customer journey by mapping out the key customer interactions, touchpoints and milestones.

For example, over the past month, I had the opportunity to work closely with our CTO Michael Aronzon’s and his team.

As we were contemplating a “bumpy” process between our respective teams, we quickly realized that we needed to be more connected than we were. So we put together an integration mechanism between the Engineering’s issue and project management solution, and our own CS support system, enabling far better information flow between our teams.

And this happened in just under a month (I did say startups move fast — more on this in a minute)

The result is in an proven improvement in team communication, prioritization, and issue handling processes. We are still working on ironing out the details and triage properly.

Now, what we know, they know, and we can talk effectively to customers and prospects.

It’s a typical process improvement, but delivered with agility and room for further improvements.


Never stop documenting

When a process is locked in someone’s head, it might as well be a black box.

We are now keeping a repository of processes, best practices, and a knowledge base that is growing as we implement, creating value for all teams.

But what I’ve really learned is that documentation is the key to scaling effectively.

As we continue to grow our team, whoever comes next shouldn’t have to spend hours looking for the “how-to” and keep asking “where is the document, what about this template ?”

We’re in the process creating one place of truth with accessible and reusable templates we can tweak for customers or internal use.


Startups move fast...and faster than that 🚅

I mentioned earlier that startups move fast, but I’m not sure that really does it justice.

That engineering / CS integration I mentioned? That might have taken a big enterprise months or even years to deploy. We did it in 30 days flat.

Personally, I can only say that I fell in love with the intensity and the high pace environment.

Having a pool of collaborators you share a passion with, driving you towards a common goal is a game changer. A request, an issue, a feature request that would accelerate our success - we all chat, debate and make a decision fast.

#CustomerSuccess is Upchain’s success, and every success is a huge team effort. There’s no CS without sales and marketing, and there’s no sales and marketing without a product to sell. It’s all related, and I love being at a place where everyone truly pulls in the same direction.


Quality data is key...so get it right

The speed that we’re growing and iterating at means that we’re constantly learning.

CS is an important feeder for other teams, telling sales and marketing about customer pain, feeding engineering product feedback, and keeping our executive leadership informed about what’s going on.

We’re a collector of data and a connector of teams, and what I’ve learned is a CS challenge isn’t just a problem for my team, but a challenge the entire organization needs to overcome.

Spencer Grover is my J.R.R Tolkien today on this article, he is working most of our #PLM publication on our website, check them out.



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About the Author

Nicolas Bergeron

Nicolas Bergeron (Nico) has more than 12 years’ experience successfully matching software solutions to his clients' business critical problems and leading customer-centric organizations. He is a technology evangelist and advisor on the topic of business process and digital transformation. Currently, Nicolas is leading and building the Customer Success department at Upchain, a next-generation collaborative Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software solution for manufacturers of complex products who operate in complex value chains in order to increase revenues, reduce costs, and increase quality.

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