Customer service is rapidly evolving, so it’s essential to have a conversation about the field’s major trends and topics.
Zowie’s New Wave is a series of interviews with trailblazing customer service experts. They’ll be offering insights and laying out their visions for the future.
For our 2nd edition, we’ll be talking with leaders we met up with at Web Summit 2021.
Today, we meet Simone Rothmund, Team Lead Customer Success at Any Desk.
About Our Guest
My name is Simone Rothmund, and I lead Customer Success at Any Desk.
Any Desk is a remote access solution. You can connect from a local computer to a remote one, or in terms of home office, you can help a colleague directly from your desk. There are a lot of use cases where Any Desk can help you be more flexible, like in IT or for mobility reasons.
What is your definition of ideal customer success?
Well, there’s a huge difference between customer support and customer success.
Customer success is supposed to be proactive. It starts with onboarding, and then it goes to value realization. In the end, if handled correctly, it will automatically lead to an upsell or renewal.
Why do you think customer success is so important?
In a SaaS business model, the risk of churn is very high and the entry barrier is very low.
Customers don’t have to have a lot of expenditure to use the product, and they can just leave at any time. It always depends on the sales model. Our product is sold on a yearly basis, so customers can cancel after one year, but in many models, it’s every month. Customers must see the value in using the product and what it helps them achieve in their business.
How do you define the differences between customer service, customer support, and customer success?
For me, customer service is the entire thing, including both customer support and customer success.
Customer support is the reactive part. That means if a customer reaches out for help, then the customer support team should be there.
The customer success team should communicate to the customer proactively, reach out to them, and by doing that, improve the process itself. They should be the main point of contact on the entire customer journey.
What about the link between customer support and customer experience?
What you often see is that customer experience is done by sales and marketing, while customer support is usually done by a different team that’s very operational. But the customer support teams are very close to the customer because they talk to customers every day.
Customer support teams are one of the most valuable sources of qualitative data about what customers’ feelings are, what their sentiments are, and what their questions are.
There must be a close collaboration between customer support and any other team related to the customer experience because they have to exchange feedback. It needs to be a feedback loop. If there are a lot of questions on the same topic coming to customer support, that information should be fed back to whoever can prevent those questions. That’s why the link is so important.
What are the main bottlenecks that you face working in customer success?
Many customers don’t really see the value of customer success managers until they talk to us.
We have to use different channels to engage with customers and rethink the entire process—not only having personal contact but also sending email campaigns, helpful videos, or (in-)product help. There are all these kinds of ways to push information.
In what way can technology improve and influence customer success?
I think when it comes to automation, there are a lot of things that can help. But we aren’t at the point yet where a chatbot can replace a real person. We only do video calls because the connection and empathy you can transport and create with the customer are just on a different level.
If you imagine a tool that would improve the quality of your work as a customer success manager, what would that tool be like?
It would show usage data to determine the possible challenges customers are experiencing but not discussing. This will let us push help to them at the right time. Sometimes it’s just a black box, and we don’t know what’s happening.
When we’re talking to customers, then we find out. But as I mentioned before, some customers don’t talk to us because they initially don’t see the value in talking to a customer success manager. It would help a lot if we could target them easily and offer tailored help, like giving examples of how they aren’t using the product to its maximum extent yet.
How do you deal with repetitive questions and issues?
Customers run into the same issues, but we’re learning from that. If it’s something that isn’t self-comprehensive, we have to change the product or the process.
What do you think customer success will be like in five years? What will the main trends be, and how will customer success and customer support change?
It’s still kind of new in Germany, and I don’t really know in which direction it could go. But it will definitely be supported by AI. Like I said before, it would be helpful to have all the usage data. You’re already able to have dashboards that show you the customers that are likely to churn based on different factors, but I think they will be improved in the future—for example, with many new integrations.
I think it will always be valuable to have a personal point of contact. Especially now, when everything is getting automated, personal connections are becoming more valuable. We were going in a trend where everything was automated, which was cool. But now that everything is automated, I think we’re reversing the trend.