Co-founded by Canadian entrepreneur Garrett Camp in 2009, Uber is evolving the way the world moves. Since launching in Canada in December 2015, Uber Eats has revolutionized food delivery by offering hundreds of thousands of Canadians an opportunity to connect with local restaurants in cities like Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Edmonton, and Vancouver. For small business owners, Uber Eats has helped expand their reach and grow their businesses while also creating flexible earning opportunities for delivery partners.
Amity sat down with Karin Ronde, Manager of Client Success at Uber Eats to ask her about all things Customer Success. Read our interview with Karin to find out where Customer Success started at Uber Eats, where it is now, and where it’s headed in the future.
Can you tell us about your responsibilities at Uber Eats?
Uber Eats provides a food delivery service via the Uber Eats app, facilitating deliveries from popular restaurants all over the world. I manage Restaurant Partnerships for our Canadian business and make sure that they are successfully using our delivery platform. I manage the Account Management and Onboarding teams that work with the restaurants on ensuring their success.
How did you get started in Customer Success, and how has your path led you to your current role?
After university, I was drawn to web and software technology, I started my own blog, and went to Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) to learn HTML so I could edit my own web pages. I then worked for a variety of small startups providing a mix of web consulting and client service until I found Q4 Inc. where I became their first Client Success Manager. I was at Q4 Inc. for 3.5 years, where I managed a team of Client Success Managers, providing website consulting, online webcasting, and conference call services with a very low error rate to many of North America’s Fortune 500 companies. When the opportunity arose to work with the Uber Eats team and their restaurant partners, I was really excited to join the team to help grow Account Management within a different industry.
How is your team structured, why, and how has that structure evolved over time?
When I initially joined, the team was a group of six account managers, and they were for the most part just providing really reactive services to restaurants who needed their help. The team responded to tickets that were escalated to support teams, troubleshot hardware, and helped restaurants with any customer issues as and when they came up.
I wanted to help develop the team to provide more proactive services as well as implementing new processes, and segment our restaurant partners based on the size of their business and success metrics on the app. We now have nine Account Managers split into two groups, one providing services to our mid-market/enterprise accounts, and the other servicing our small business accounts. We continue to iterate on this and improve how we provide services to our accounts.
We have two team leads, one who’s more focused on Onboarding, the other who is more focused on Account Management, she also manages some big accounts herself and I have one account that I co-manage. We are trying to get to a place of more proactive Account Management so the team is looking at data and trying to change anything that impacts the end users.
We are trying to get to a place of more proactive Account Management so the team is looking at data to change anything that impacts the end users.
What is the most unique thing about the way your team functions?
Along with being responsible for the relationships they build with restaurant partners, my team have high input into feedback to product and engineering teams, and are often the first to catch issues and escalate them. In addition to their daily responsibilities, they each have expressed interest in owning certain functions or being a part of bigger projects, which we encourage and facilitate by asking for their help on execution of sprints, or brainstorming on how we are going to use a new tool or approach other problems together. They also get to be involved in big marketing stunts that are unique to UberEATS, such as the one we ran with Amex and their popup kitchen, Cobalt, in collaboration with Gordon Ramsay.
The Customer Success team has high input into feedback to product and engineering teams, and are often the first to catch issues and escalate them.
What is the biggest challenge facing your team, and how do you address it?
Pure scale and volume of restaurant partners! We’ve successfully segmented our accounts to ensure each segment is getting the service they need, based on the amount of volume of business they generate. Our challenge going forward will be how we scale these activities to make them operational with the same size team we have now, but with the volume of restaurant accounts growing each day. So the question is, how do you do what you are doing for one restaurant, but do it for fifty. Phone and email is becoming increasingly difficult to scale, so we have to find more innovative ways to communicate with restaurants as our portfolio grows. It’s always going to be an ongoing challenge that we have to keep pivoting on, I don’t think there is a one size fits all solution.
We’ve successfully segmented our accounts to ensure each segment is getting the service they need.
What does the culture of Customer Success look like at Uber?
We’re really fortunate to have an ambitious group of individuals who get excited about the prospect of expansion and growth. They’re used to big targets and the concept of ‘failing fast’ so they tend to innovate really quickly and get motivated by new projects. We spend time together weekly to discuss key metrics and we celebrate big milestones, recognizing when the team is able to accomplish something together as well as on the individual front.
How has your user base evolved over time, and how has that affected the way your team operates?
When Uber Eats first launched, we had a large base of small businesses on the platform. Over time we have generated more and more interest and have evolved to include more chains, and now enterprise corporations. This has pivoted us from being reactive and purely responding to issues to thinking strategically about how we will service those larger partners while still keeping a local presence in our markets. We want to make sure we are still supporting the businesses who have been a part of our platform from day 1.
Where is Customer Success headed at Uber, and what are you most excited to do in the coming year?
Customer Success is never really a ‘one and done’ project or implementation. This year, I want to create more efficient feedback loops to our product teams in San Francisco, find more ways to automate messaging to larger groups of restaurant partners, and make sure we’re advocating for them no matter the size of their business. I’m excited to see the team build strong relationships with our enterprise partners and discover new ways to help them grow their business using Uber Eats
Customer Success is never really a ‘one and done’ project or implementation.
What does a typical day look like for a member of your team?
This is pretty hard to answer because it varies so much. We have project sprints we execute on to reduce and improve metrics, while also responding to inquiries from restaurant partners. Because I advocate internally to have Toronto be involved in a lot of experiments and pilots, that means my team needs to be ready to help - sending out advisory communications letting restaurant partners know what’s changing, collecting feedback or looking at how certain accounts could improve customer experience, and relaying that to the account owners.
What metrics do you watch most closely?
Engagement metrics like how many tickets restaurants are sending in and what they are about, and whether they are something that we can give feedback to the product on. We look at NPS and CSAT, retention rate, and causes of churn. Because we consider restaurants partners in our business, we look at their overall performance metrics, such as growth and opportunities to improve, which we monitor closely and surface any improvement areas to them where needed.
What part of your customer journey plays the most critical part in long-term success, and why?
I would say onboarding, because it’s during this time that restaurants realize what they need to change to handle the orders coming in from the new customer base, and how to fit UberEATS into their internal workflow of operations. Having a team who care strongly about the restaurant experience is important because they’ll take the time to explain thoroughly the process a restaurant needs to go through to get set up and online. A member of our onboarding team actually used to be a restaurant partner herself before she joined us, she knows first-hand what the challenges are for restaurant partners, and she knows what we need to do to onboard new ones well. We need to collect menus, set-up photo shoots and make sure they have the hardware they need to get online, which we try to get done in a short period of time, normally only a few days. With those tight deadlines and high volumes, the team has to work really hard and explain everything well, so that restaurants are comfortable getting onboarded so quickly. The better you onboard a restaurant and implement that new relationship, the longer term you’ll see benefits in return. A well-onboarded partner will come back less often with issues, because they got the information they needed at the start rather than midway through. This holds true for any team doing onboarding or implementation.
The better you onboard a restaurant and implement that new relationship, the longer term you’ll see benefits in return.
What role does Customer Success play in developing the overall business strategy at Uber?
In order to build long-term relationships with our end-users, we need to ensure restaurant partners are happy and providing the best service to those users. By taking the time to ensure our team has the right tools and development they need, we can build great service models to our restaurant partners, and in turn, great service to the customer base.
How do you keep on learning about Customer Success?
This is cheesy but, I read every single post on the Amity blog, I try and sign up for all the webinars and if I can’t attend live then I listen to recordings. I actually think Amity’s blog and online webinar resources have been core to my growth and development as a Customer Success professional. I also attend their in-person meetups which I’ve found to be a great source of friendships, networking, and knowledge from the speakers they’ve invited to participate at their events.
I believe in sharing these resources with the team, so I always invite them to participate in webinars or meetups I’m attending and encourage them to read interesting articles.
Amity’s blog and online webinar resources have been core to my growth and development as a Customer Success professional.
At the end of the day, how can you tell that you’ve made your customer successful?
If a restaurant partner is able to grow their business with Uber Eats and make our end user happy by providing great quality food and a quick delivery, we know they’ll see repeat orders on the platform and get high ratings from customers. So feedback plays a big part in assessing success.
In your everyday life, what does success look like?
I really like developing my team and giving them opportunities to learn and grow, as well as helping them find a way to develop their skills. Success for me is also my own development, getting feedback from peers and my team is important as well as learning new skills. This year at Uber I’ve been learning SQL, which has been so great because I’m able to pull information about our partners and solve problems with them by using data.
Do you have one piece of advice for Customer Success professionals who are just getting started today?
Work on providing the best service possible to one or two clients, then scale it up. Think about how you can convince product to automate what you’re doing; collect feedback from clients using surveys or even better, partner advisory boards, where you can invite product and heads of departments to the table with the client. Then work with those teams to prioritize the client’s needs and feedback into impactful outcomes. If you position yourself as the advocate for the client within your company, you will open yourself up to more opportunities, and exposure to other parts of the business.
Work on providing the best service possible to one or two clients, then scale it up.
Photos by Setti Kidane Photography
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