For the Ringmasters series, we look behind the curtain at how our teams internationally actually use RingCentral day-to-day. They offer advice on getting the most out of the platform and share their opinion on the features they would like to see next. The second episode taps into our customer success team.
Throughout the pandemic, software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies saw huge spikes in adoption as the world pivoted from physical to virtual. Firms are adapting to this growth and will need to continue on this path to meet future demand. However, doing this will mean change. One of the most interesting ways businesses will achieve this is through their approach to customer success.
The role of the customer success team is more crucial than ever. It’s all about investing time, continuing to check in and helping customers deliver on their business goals. It’s a feedback loop that primarily focuses on support, improvement, success, execution and surpassing expectations. Customer success managers (CSMs) are in touch with customers and their own teams constantly.
Jason Zammit, director of customer success across EMEA, describes what remote working has been like for him and his team and tips to keep connected.
Can you tell us a bit about customer success at RingCentral?
“Our CSMs are the primary custodian of a client relationship and an assigned service to certain customers. Globally, we’re about 60 strong, including support roles out in the US. We’re a team of 10 in EMEA, with one vacancy and three members of that team located out in France. We task our managers with really driving the experience. We measure customer satisfaction (CSAT) and help customers get the most value out of the solution to make sure that it delivers on their anticipated business outcomes.
At the end of the day, customers are like us. If we look down our credit card statement and go, “what’s that? I don’t recognise it.” You go away and do some research and decide if you need that service or product anymore. It’s the same for customers. If they’re buying a solution, paying for it and not using it, at some point, they’ll stop it or, at the end of their contract term, they won’t renew. We’re here to make sure that they continue to get value from the investment they’ve made with us.”
Video helps us keep things human
“So the working landscape’s changed massively over last 18 months. The majority of the team is local, so I would have typically sat with most of them in the same office around three times a week, but because everyone is remote now we live in RingCentral Video. Furthermore, as a manager with ten direct reports, three of whom are now overseas (all but three of my team joined during the pandemic!) Video has been essential for me to maintain that human proximity, albeit at the end of a screen. Especially with our CSM team out in France. This will continue beyond the pandemic and RingCentral Video will continue to be an essential tool that will allow me to effectively stay in touch with my CSMs that are based overseas.”
“On an audio-only call, you lose out on body language, gestures and gesticulations. These are key elements of basic communication that you don't lose on RingCentral Video, which is why this is such an essential application for us.”
- Jason Zammit, director of customer success, EMEA
Recording for negotiation and governance
“There are a few features that we tend to use quite heavily when interacting with our customers. For governance purposes, we’ll regularly record calls with our customers (after seeking a customers permission to do so). Especially if we’re talking about things that may need some form of transcription or follow up in writing after the meeting. Doing this live whilst chairing a meeting can be a challenge, so having the ability to transcribe after a call is a very important feature for us.”
“The Outlook integration is another key feature we use. My calendar’s usually back-to-back as it is for a lot of the other members of the team. So the ability to quickly spin up an invitation, pull in a RingCentral Video session and send it out is really intuitive.”
How we recreate informal moments
“I was actually talking to one of the members of my team yesterday, and we agreed that one of the things we’re missing out on at the moment is the impulsive nature of a conversation.
Right now, you miss out on walking past someone in a corridor, whether that’s in our location or a customer’s, and the spontaneity of those interactions. At the moment we’re finding that there’s always an objective to a call. That’s where we’ve tried to educate ourselves a little bit by doing a completely informal team video huddle once a week.
We don’t talk about work; we make a point of talking about things specifically outside of work. So it’s not just a professional aspect; there’s a social aspect as well because we’re missing out on the social bonding we would have done naturally as a team. RingCentral Video helps us to not completely lose touch with each other from a social aspect, which is very important to morale and the way that we work together as a close-knit team.”
Something that’s been a huge concern for workers and business leaders alike is losing that human connection. The ‘corridor moments’ are something Jason’s team wants to keep going with customers too.
“The CSMs try to also maintain a semblance of informality in some of their discussions when they have been checking in on customers throughout the pandemic. For example, I’d previously worked very closely with a couple of our contact centre clients, and a few weeks into the pandemic, I just spun up a couple of calls with them with no agenda and just said to them, “How’s it going? What do you need from us as an organisation?” Ultimately, they were happy with the solution. One of these customers (Pharmacy2U) plays an important role in the fight against COVID, and they’ve seen an increase in demand as a result since the start of the pandemic. This made it even more essential to check in with them, and the app just makes it easy to do that.”
Managing employee wellbeing
Research tells us that 75% of UK employees suffered from work from home burnout in 2020. With hybrid working becoming the norm, introducing a healthy home-working culture is front of mind for many business leaders. Moreover, customer success teams, particularly in SaaS companies, have felt the exponential increase in demand this past year or so. Looking after wellbeing has never been more important. Jason explains how the RingCentral app makes it possible for him to provide more support to his team:
“I’m a firm believer in work-life balance. Another good thing about our product is the presence feature. This gives me the ability to see the status of a team member at a glance. This means I can ensure that the CSMs are not online or active too late into their evenings. That helps me manage their health and wellbeing.”
What new features would the customer success team like to see in the future?
“One we’ve discussed internally that would be a killer feature is real-time translation. Especially for me with an international team, but also for our wider CSM function. We’ve got certain internal teams that tend to transact primarily in English. They are required to support international customers. I regularly have a challenge with resources because my multilingual CSMs are asked to act as translators on a number of calls. So this feature would allow us all drop into customer meetings where certain participants may not be native language speakers.”
Something that RingCentral offers already is closed captioning. The tool converts spoken words into captions in real-time and populates them above the menu bar. Every participant is also able to enable and disable this feature individually. This feature doesn’t yet include translation, but who knows what the future holds.
Driving value through the platform
Cloud communications solutions offer more than a platform for connecting employees, partners and customers. They generate significant business value. As we’ve seen, our customer success team is a big part of this. The RingCentral MVP™ platform gives them the collaboration tools they need to deliver the best possible experience.