How a Job Title Changed the Customer Support Story

Jul 8, 2019 | Customer Success

By Korinne Condie

The Technology Industry’s Number One Nuisance

Customer service has a certain stigma in the technology industry. Client requests are often considered a nuisance, an afterthought, or worse, a joke. Their issues have to be dealt with quickly so the team can get back to the real work of development. This mentality creates a lot of stressful chaos, for both the customer and the customer service professional. As best described by the coffee mug that sits in our cabinet at work some long ago acquired gag gift from a previous company:

Being in Customer Service is Easy
It’s Like Riding a Bike
Except the Bike is on Fire
Everything is on Fire
And You are in Hell.

Customer Service: The Fairy Tale

The following “fairy tale” illustrates the typical role of customer service in the software industry. It’s all told from fantasy company called Standard Security Software.

Once upon a time…

  • Standard Security Software spent lots of time and energy signing new customers. They showcased the strengths of their case management system and convinced them of its value.
  • The new customer happily signed on.
  • Standard Security Software then developed a statement of work and an implementation plan. Next, they implemented that plan and conducted one single training session. And lastly, they provided a support email address: help@standardsecuritysoftware.com.

… and the customer lived happily ever after (or not, no one ever checked). The End.

Customer Service: The Real Story

However, this is how the real story usually goes. Once the exciting prospect becomes a “customer,” they are quickly surrounded by solution architects, project managers, implementation specialists and developers. Together they develop and implement their new system. And once the one-day-training is done, everyone breathes a sigh of relief: “thank goodness that is over”. The shiny new customer is no longer shiny new. They are moved into no man’s land: the “support” phase.

The shiny new customer is no longer shiny new. They are moved into no man’s land: the “support” phase.

And there the customer remains, with only a support email address and a pre-canned response of “Thank you for your support ticket. Someone will be back with you shortly”. The previous team has disappeared, off to work on the next shiny new customer. The product is implemented; the work is done. The customer is now “old news” with:

  • No further review to ensure it continues to meet business needs.
  • No feedback mechanism to communicate when their needs change.
  • No one ensuring the product they bought is providing any real benefit.

Stuck in Customer Service Purgatory

Having worked in customer support for the past seven years, I can attest that the the preceding story is, unfortunately, all too common. It often results in a very frustrated customer, not to mention a huge loss in revenue to the company.

Angry Customer Service Full Photo

Customer service doesn’t have to be an afterthought in the law enforcement and corporate security technology industry.

What if the Story Changed?

When I was hired at Kaseware, it was as the Director of Customer Success. Not Director of Customer Support or Customer Service or Operations — all of which are typical and basically synonymous job titles — but as Director of Customer Success. So, in an industry that is focused on the development of law enforcement or corporate security software— where customers are typically an afterthought — what does that job title even mean?

Customer Service vs. Customer Success

The Kaseware definition of customer success is built on the idea that we are developing a customized solution for every single customer. We believe in building our product in a true partnership, where every new customer becomes a development partner. This means that we listen to each person’s unique insights and work together to incorporate new solutions into our product.

But most importantly, this partnership continues for as long as they are a Kaseware customer. Our support team is backbone of entire company. The support team doesn’t operate as a silo; working in isolation to answer customer questions and issues. Instead, support is an open dialog, where a question or feature request comes in and the entire customer success team is involved. This includes frequent discussions with everyone from the development team, to sales and to the company founders.

The Records Management Relationship

As a company, we are only successful if our customers are successful. We are not just a company that builds a computer aided dispatch (CAD) or records management system (RMS), or provides analytics to aid investigation management. Similarly, we are not a company that cares more about finding new clients than helping our existing clients. Kaseware changed the job title, changed the way we look at our clients, and wrote a new story.

This explains why I am not in the business of customer support or customer service. I am the Director of Customer Success. The joke around at the office that I am “annoying”; I am constantly contacting clients and asking how things are going and if they have any questions. But it is that frequent request for feedback that ensures my clients understand their case management system and are using it to its full potential. Most importantly, it help me makes sure my clients have the results to prove they are successful in achieving their goals.

The New Story

As a result, this is how Kaseware’s Customer Success philosophy helps us to rewrite the whole story. What if Standard Security Software adopted the safe philosophy?

Once upon a time…

  • Standard Security Software spent lots of time and energy signing new customers. They showcased the strengths of their case management system and convinced them of its value.
  • The new customer happily signed on.
  • Standard Security Software then developed a statement of work and an implementation plan. Next, they implemented that plan and conducted one single training session. And lastly, they provided a support email address: help@standardsecuritysoftware.com.

But then…

  • Additionally, they provided an in-depth training, designed to work with the customer over the course of a few days to walk through the system, customize it to their exact needs — whether, for example, that be records management and/or case management — and sit with the actual users as they enter real data.
  • They also provided on-going support, with the entire company focused on ensuring questions and issues were addressed promptly, and partnering with our customers to develop new features in the system.
  • And they continued to work with the customer, on an ongoing basis. This ensured the customer was successful in their continued use of the law enforcement or corporate security systems and were able to see real, tangible results.

… and the customer lived happily ever after. The End!

This is the kind of customer success you can expect from Kaseware! Schedule a free demo today to learn more about us, our support offerings, and our incredible product features.

Korinne Condie is the Director of Customer Success at Kaseware. She is a former government contractor with extensive experience in system engineering, operations and customer success within both government and corporate organizations.

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