Why our Customers Love Customer Success Caroline Lawless Published on April 30, 2018 Customer success is a relatively new trend in the software industry. But we've had a customer success team since Carrie Weitzel, our amazing head of customer success, joined LearnUpon in 2015. Since then, Carrie has built a growing team that’s at the heart of customer experience at LearnUpon. Although everyone in the company contributes to customer success, Carrie’s team guides us at every step of the way. They make sure that developers follow through on feature requests and that the customer's voice is heard throughout the company, all the way up to Des and Brendan, our CTO and CEO. As a job that’s still quite new, not everyone is familiar with the expert work that customer success does. I spoke to Carrie and her team - including Emma and Cathal - to learn more about why success has become one of our customers' favorite things about LearnUpon. A culture of success Most LMS vendors haven't invested in customer success. At LearnUpon, the importance of both support and success stems from the values that inspired Brendan and Des when they founded the company. As soon as they'd built an excellent customer support team, their interest was piqued by success. Both believed that it wasn't enough to support customers if they experienced a technical issue. LearnUpon would be active, also reaching out and helping customers to succeed when their LMS was working perfectly. They found that these values were mirrored by Carrie, who was knowledgeable and passionate about customer success. Carrie explains: I was working in a customer success role for another software company when I spoke to LearnUpon. The difference I found here was that there was already a huge focus on customer support. Customer success was a natural development at the time I joined. The team was already really proactive in the way they dealt with customers. Belief in customer success was driven by LearnUpon’s leaders – Brendan and Des. They’ve always focused on how we best serve our customers. That fit my own belief that customer is king. We shared this passionate sense that, at the end of the day, if customers aren’t satisfied, we don’t have a company. Head of Customer Success @LearnUpon The spirit that inspired Carrie is the same energy that attracts new hires to LearnUpon. It flows from Brendan and Des, more friends than co-founders. Emma Nugent joined the customer success team in 2016. As she describes why she was drawn to LearnUpon, it echoes what I've heard from so many of our hundreds of customers: The personality that customers love starts with the culture inhouse. We’re not putting on a face. It’s who we actually are. Because it’s who Brendan and Des are. The way LearnUpon treats customers starts with how they treat staff. You feel the effect the second you meet people who work at LearnUpon. From the beginning, I just really liked the people - like Phily and Carrie - that I met. During my interviews, I loved hearing what LearnUpon is about. I was impressed by what they were doing. Putting the customer at the center of the company seemed different. I was excited to take this opportunity to do something customer-focused with a bright young software company. Because customer success is so central here, it’s a great role. Senior Customer Success @LearnUpon Customer success is more than customer support Most of us understand the value of good customer support: a team you can rely on to help resolve any technical issue you experience quickly and accurately. Because it’s still quite new to eLearning, it’s not always obvious how customer success differs from support. That can be a challenge for Carrie’s team. Once someone has spoken to customer success, they quickly see the huge value it will add to their training programs. To reach that point, they need to understand that it means more than simply resolving technical issues. Carrie describes her definition: Customer success means listening to customers. Listening is the big philosophy. Not only listening to what they say but reading between the lines. Sometimes a customer might not know exactly what they need in order to solve a problem. Our job is to help them figure that out. Head of Customer Success @LearnUpon That means customer success is focused, not just on getting things working, but on getting them working really well, and helping you to achieve the results you need most. Delivering that service is a process that runs through the whole company. Customer success starts with a call and becomes a partnership, as Carrie continues: At LearnUpon, customer success means following up on requests, checking a status, and coming up with a workaround in the meantime. Sometimes that means using features that are already in the LMS. Other times, we pass requests to the development team. When a customer requests something, it’s not always available immediately, so the team helps you to achieve what you need anyway. That’s how customer success differs from support. Support is focused on: “Here’s the answer to your question.” Success is more like: “Here’s the answer to your question – but have you thought about doing it this other way? Or this might work better for you, based on your workflow and what I understand about your company." Head of Customer Success @LearnUpon Customer support follows a familiar client-vendor relationship. Customer success transforms that relationship into a real partnership. It gives you an expert on your side, analyzing your requirements, use case and goals, and coming up with ingenious ways for your LMS to work harder for you. Cathal Small tells me what he loves about the role: The part I love most is working with customers to think about their project, learning about their goals and being creative about how we use the LMS and eLearning best practices to achieve those. Customer Success Specialist @LearnUpon Customer success is included free of charge with every price plan at LearnUpon. But that shouldn’t detract from its value. That value is one reason why so many customers stay with LearnUpon in an industry that’s full of churn. As Emma explains: When you treat customers as partners, they stay with you. You help them to get the most they can from the system. If they run into a problem, and not just with the platform, they know they can rely on us to give them the right steer. Senior Customer Success @LearnUpon Customer success lies somewhere between a consultation and a collaboration. When it works, success is contagious, benefitting both the vendor and the customer. Here's what some of our customers have to say: Ailbhe who works in support for us just asked me if Carrie's boss knows how amazing she is. Carrie is our benchmark for what excellent customer service and relationship management looks like. Stephen, Greenline Conversations LearnUpon is amazing, working with Carrie, Phily and the support team. I would recommend LearnUpon to anyone and everyone that needs an easy to use LMS. I can't think of anything that could be done better when they have already gone above and beyond their scope of work. Mel, Newmont Mining Successful customers build a better LMS The consultation element means that customer success is far from a “one size fits all” service. Carrie’s team manages all kinds of companies and use cases. They’ve analyzed the most specific details of very different training programs and figured out what gets results. Carrie explains: There are different types of customers that need different kinds of success. Some customers aren’t sure where to start with eLearning. They usually come to us and say: “I know that I want to do training, I know I want to do it online and I want to make money from it.” Our job is to help them meet their goals. We also have big enterprise customers with in house training departments and a clear vision of what they need to do. In most cases, they’ll have worked with learning management systems before. They tell you what they want and you show them how they can use LearnUpon to do it. In that case, it can be more of a “how to” role. Head of Customer Success @LearnUpon Success has also seen customers start small and grow to enterprise scale very quickly. Carrie smiles: We've amazing 'success' stories, where a customer starts as one and becomes the other, like Phalcon, KeyedIn Solutions and PBS Systems. That was possible because Brendan, Des and Caoimhín took the time at the beginning to really nurture them and make sure they understood the opportunities that were there and watch them grow. Head of Customer Success @LearnUpon That growth is also made possible by an LMS that’s flexible enough to adapt to ensure organizations thrive. Emma adds: It’s possible because it’s such a scalable LMS. The platform is flexible enough to deliver lots of different goals, depending on what a customer needs to achieve. That allows you to grow from a small outfit with a highly specific audience all the way up to enterprise really quickly. Senior Customer Success @LearnUpon The success partnership works both ways. LearnUpon partners with customers to help them achieve and they partner with us to develop a better LMS. Every customer that engages with the success team shapes the platform. Carrie tells me: Customers feel a sense of partnership. They know that they contribute to the improvement of the LMS. Our product roadmap is based on the features requested by customers. We use Trello to track how many requests we receive for every feature. It will run up the priority list if multiple customers request it. That’s a big benefit of meeting with customer success. Your name gets on the list and impacts priorities. And a constantly improving LMS is a win-win for customers and LearnUpon. Head of Customer Success @LearnUpon That’s one reason why LearnUpon’s customer success team want to hear from you. They know that you’re busy and finding time for a brief call might not be easy. But they’ll make it worthwhile. Carrie concludes: Take the time to talk to us that first time. You’ll see the benefit. We can adjust to the amount of contact that suits you after that. Head of Customer Success @LearnUpon Having seen what the success team delivers for customers large and small, it’s an opportunity you can’t afford to lose.