On today’s episode, we’re talking to Lee Roquet, the Chief Customer Officer at Yellowfin, a B2B SaaS company that provides a business intelligence analytics platform. We chat about his progression from running a call center to becoming a CCO, and the work he’s done to get employees and leaders to view B2B operations as more than just a sales approach, but as an overall customer experience journey.
Lee, who has over 25 years of experience in customer success management, shares how determining the power core at Yellowfin helped him understand the company’s culture, which laid the groundwork for his CX strategy. This was a smart approach on his behalf because the power core is the driving force of your business’s operations. It can be the most influential in directing the silos and is one of the biggest determinants of how success, metrics, recognition, and company growth are defined.
Understanding your company’s power core is a first crucial step in knowing how to proceed with your customer experience agenda.
Determine Your Company’s Power CoreBefore Yellowfin, Lee began his career at a software company call center, working his way up to team lead, manager, then a VP to handle client success. When Lee oversaw the call centers, he focused on the idea that the success of the customers was directly related to how the customer was brought into the organization, and how they were managed towards success.
Lee’s focus in the call center was on retention – and he makes an excellent point that customer acquisition and retention involve different processes and incentives for how to bring a customer in. These processes and incentives affect how you grow your customers and engage them so that they stay with you and become a champion of your brand or service. Lee needed to figure out what processes could be implemented to improve retention.
In order for Lee to expand his role to customer experience, he spent time deliberately connecting the work of employees to customer growth and retention. Here’s what he learned while focusing on the operations of the work:
- Get others to listen: This is typically the most challenging part, getting people in the other departments to listen. And how do you emphasize the importance of listening and getting colleagues on board with CX work? You find your champion, someone who can help push your work through.
- Determine the power core: Lee realized the power core lay within bringing in new business. Aquisition was driving the focus of the sales team and operations, but he wanted to emphasize a strategy for retention. Lee engaged the CEO and middle management once he began the CX transformation process. Working with middle management is important because they’re the group who has to enforce new processes and operations with employees; it’s easier to have them involved and engaged with the work from the beginning.
- Infuse CX around the core culture of the company: When you’re in B2B, operations can sometimes be very sales-driven. Yes, you need to sell product to make money, but it needs to be looked at through the lens of the full CX journey, inclusive of customer and employee engagement. One of his first steps to initiating this infusion was to experience the Yellowfin product training as a customer himself.
Put Things Into Perspective by Being the Customer
Within the first one to three months at Yellowfin, Lee looked at his CX work through buckets, placing them in the following categories: product, people, and systems and process. When he took the time to dive deep into assessing these aspects of the organization, he spent a lot of time acting as a customer. He took training courses that Yellowfin puts its customers through in order to understand the experience (similar to Christine Corbett’s delivery route exploration at the Australian Post).
Taking a walk in your customers’ shoes helps put things in perspective. For Lee, understanding how Yellowfin’s customers are trained is beneficial to the team because the knowledge gained from this first-hand experience can help them set customers up for success. After the training, he spent time trying to piece together the journey on the back-end. He started looking at financials, churn rate, and customer life cycles to understand how they can make day-to-day operations better for employees to ensure a smooth process for both them and the customers.
I think it’s really easy to build a product and sell a product, but it takes a different mindset or community culture to say, ‘Well, we really want to help you to the next level and we want to open the doors of our business and invite our customers in.’ – Lee Roquet, CCO, Yellowfin
To help provide context for the customer journey and understand the process for product development and customer issues, Lee looked at standard requests that came in from support, backlogs in development, the average open time for defects, and what type of defects occurred. Lee and his team assessed all of these variables and pulled together a monthly report to address customer issues. Ultimately, these efforts have been instituted to help employees spend more productive time with the customers. At Yellowfin, when you bring a new customer in, that’s part of building a partnership, and since it’s a continuous relationship that changes and evolves, so too should the analytics.
What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?
- When you’re in a customer-facing, champion role, you have to know it takes a long time.
- Understanding the culture of the company was also a journey in itself. You need to know the power core – what is your organization driven by? Is it sales, a is it a product? You can’t put your game plan together unless you understand the core of the culture.
- You’ll need to know each department’s objective and passion in order to bring everyone together.
- Take your time and do the work in small chunks. Take manageable small steps and use metrics because it’s the data that drives everything.
About Lee RoquetLee is a pro-active, results-focused customer experience professional with 25 years of experience in all aspects of customer success management, team development, and systems & process architect. He is a certified operations leader who delivers consistent results towards business objectives. Working across multiple projects, hierarchies, and silos to achieve effective process redesign and champion customer initiatives, Lee drives success by establishing meaningful metrics for all teams. Strong team builder and leader who fosters an atmosphere of empowerment that encourages talented professionals to achieve the highest level of productivity.
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