“One thing we’ve learned from Customer Success is that the deeper the engagement, the more information we can net out from customers like where our customers’ businesses are going or how to roadmap our product to meet their needs. This has helped guide how New Relic hires so that we can build a team that serves for the future and not just right now.”
Dennis Reno, the VP of Customer Success at New Relic, has had over 30 years experience in developing customer relationships that last a lifetime. For them, it’s important for their company to stay open minded and let customers determine what is important for them. What’s important to their customers? Making sure they’re resolving their business problems with sufficient data to make such decisions.
Customer Success: jumping into the customer lifecycle
At New Relic, they have customer success enter the customer lifecycle in the pre-sales process and/or during the sales process. While sales takes the lead in driving the customer relationship, Customer Success gets an early introduction to the potential customer. “Many times when customers buy without ever really getting in touch with the vendor, not surprisingly, they might feel like they’re on their own during the implementation phase. The way we do it, we’re showing them we’re there with them every step of the cycle.”
So what does customer success do once they’ve joined the party? They help determine what is the best product or service for the prospect’s case, discuss how to manage their account going forward, and also determine a customer success plan for each account strategically rather than a one-size fits all solution.
Executive buy-in is not just an empty mantra
At New Relic, they’re big supporters of customer self-service because it’s an opportunity to lower your support costs. One of their big successes is their community forum and there is tremendous participation from within the company. Their customers are also very active on these forums — “it’s almost like attending a conference every single day and listening to peers”. At this forum, executives like to pop in and see what customers are saying and sometimes take it upon themselves to answer some of the questions that are posted. “This kind of interaction shows our customers that we really value them and it stimulates good conversation. I think they respect that we have engagement at all levels within the community and not just with a select few.” There have been instances where even their CEO participates.
Having come from many years of experience heading Customer Success at Oracle, Dennis shares that his biggest takeaway was understanding the broad cross-section of different types of customers and their expectations. Sometimes the bigger the customer, the bigger the expectations, but even if you’re in a larger company it doesn’t necessarily mean you have endless resources. It’s important to manage expectations and also exceed them when you can.
The proactive world of customer success and marketing
It used to be that marketing would reach out to the customer success team whenever they needed to write a case study, ask for a referral or get a quote from an existing customer. Today, their customer success team is taking a more proactive approach with the customers, sometimes suggesting or inquiring whether or not some of their top accounts/users would be interested in being contacted by marketing to write about their experience and transform them into promotional material.
What do you think of the customer success practices that have been put in place at New Relic? We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments below!