How to Deliver Great Customer Service in Enterprise Software

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This presentation is a humorous course I wrote for engineers, SEs, in enterprise software customer facing situations. By applying these lessons that I learned the hard way, your organization too can deliver great customer service.

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  • Very accurate and insightful presentation. Engineering is about a product, Prof. Services is all about the customer. Good advise on how to say no.

    Heinz Holzapfel
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How to Deliver Great Customer Service in Enterprise Software

  1. 1. 1 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. How to Deliver Highly Rated Enterprise Software Customer Service • Part 1  Motivation  Service Theory • Part 2  Organization Roles  Key Skills - 1 • Part 3  Key Skills - 2  Summary
  2. 2. 2 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. “Charm School" Objectives • Instill a trusted advisor mentality • Inspire Service Orientation  You will create THE Service Standard by which our competitors are measured • Break 20+ Years of Engineering Conditioning  There are no A+'s for being technically correct • Share tricks of the trade
  3. 3. “Begin with the End in Mind” 3 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc.
  4. 4. 4 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Goal: Become Trusted Advisors Anticipates & Exceeds Client Needs Proactive Set and Exceed Expectations Listens, Matches Needs with Solutions Client Respects / Needs You An Advisor / Confidant Always Seeks / Offers Knowledge Deliberately Conscious / Consistent Business Generation Team Member Traits towards Customers Trusted Advisor Attitude Expectations Communications Relationship Knowledge Actions Viewed By Organization Satisfies Clients Passive High Cheerfully Responds Customer Accepts You Friend Learns as Needed Somewhat Conscious & Consistent An Asset “Good Enough Service”
  5. 5. 5 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. What's Different about this Job??? 1. The Arrayent Tech Support team is the primary customer solution provider  You are Arrayent to the customer  Think service and solutions, critique the services you see and receive
  6. 6. 6 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. “Customer Corridor” Each of Us Sets an Impression Customer Asks: Is Arrayent  Competent?  Customer oriented?  Good partner? “Customer Corridor”Customer Experience (650) 260-4520 info@Arrayent.com www.Arrayent.com Customer portalTrade Press Google Dev Kit Contract Error Messages Kick Off Sales CollectionsVoice mail FAE AE SETrade Shows Product Manager Tech Conf’s Job Interview Legal Dept. Deploy
  7. 7. Exercise: Share recent customer service that you have received 7 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc.
  8. 8. 8 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. What's Different about this Job? 2. You will NOT be dealing with engineering objectivity Rather, human emotion, --> Customer's career is on the line --> Drives the need for service excellence --> Accentuates need for Business answers, not technical answers
  9. 9. 9 A Guillotine Story • Once upon a time there was a Lawyer, Doctor and an Engineer....
  10. 10. "I Know My Rights!" I want to be face up, and no blind fold! The blade stopped so you are free!
  11. 11. “I want the same!" I want to be face up, and no blind fold! The blade stopped so you are free!
  12. 12. “I want the same!" I want to be face up, and no blind fold!
  13. 13. 13 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. “Hey Wait a Minute!..." There's gum in the track!
  14. 14. 14 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc.
  15. 15. 15 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. The Bottom Line: • Being technically correct or elegant  DOES NOT MATTER • Business Results Matter… Key Message
  16. 16. 16 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Charm School Agenda • Motivation • Service Theory • Organization Roles • Key Skills • Summary
  17. 17. 17 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. 4 Steps in Learning Depressed "Best" Happy Lucky Conscious Unconscious Incompetent Competent Competency Awareness
  18. 18. 18 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. What Is Customer Service ? Knowing Customer Requirements. Then Setting, AND Exceeding Expectations
  19. 19. 19 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Customer Service, So What???? Bain Consulting Group Fun Fact: It costs 5X more to win a new customer than it does to retain an existing one Concentrated Customers In each segment 3 customers > 80% market share
  20. 20. 20 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Service Theory 101 Advertised Claims "Best" "Worst" "Internally Focused" Airlines FedEx Engineering Co.'s Explicit Implicit Random Consistent Service Delivery Service Deliverable Source: The Alexander Group
  21. 21. 21 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Getting to Best Advertised Claims "Best" "Worst" Explicit Implicit Random Service Delivery Service Deliverable Goal Consistent
  22. 22. 22 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Best = Explicit AND Consistent • Explicit = Product Specification • Consistent = Standard Operating Procedures
  23. 23. 23 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Data Sheet Arrayent Being Explicit • Explicit = Product Specification
  24. 24. 24 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Standard Demo Consistency: Standards Standard Eval Standard Support Web E-Mail Telephone On site
  25. 25. 25 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Optimizing for Service Quality Service Quality = (What you deliver) - (Customer's Expectations) Be Consistent Be Explicit
  26. 26. 26 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Optimizing for Service Quality "Promise only what you can deliver and … deliver more" "The secret to exceeding expectations is to set them” Service Quality = (What you deliver) - (Customer's Expectations) Be Consistent Be Explicit
  27. 27. 27 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. High Tech Charm School • Part 1  Motivation  Service Theory • Part 2  Organization Roles  Key Skills - 1 • Part 3  Key Skills - 2  Summary
  28. 28. 28 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Goal: Become Trusted Advisors Anticipates & Exceeds Client Needs Proactive Set and Exceed Expectations Listens, Matches Needs with Solutions Client Respects / Needs You An Advisor / Confidant Always Seeks / Offers Knowledge Deliberately Conscious / Consistent Business Generation Team Member Traits towards Customers Trusted Advisor Attitude Expectations Communications Relationship Knowledge Actions Viewed By Organization Satisfies Clients Passive High Cheerfully Responds Customer Accepts You Friend Learns as Needed Somewhat Conscious & Consistent An Asset “Good Enough Service”
  29. 29. 29 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. The Bottom Line: • Being technically correct or elegant  DOES NOT MATTER • Business Results Matter… Key Message
  30. 30. 30 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Optimizing for Service Quality "Promise only what you can deliver and … deliver more" "The secret to exceeding expectations is to set them” Service Quality = (What you deliver) - (Customer's Expectations) Be Consistent Be Explicit
  31. 31. 31 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Charm School Agenda • Motivation • Service Theory • Organization Roles • Key Skills • Summary
  32. 32. 32 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. SW Company Roles and Responsibilities “Sales” “Support Team Manager” Support Team Customer “Pre-Sales” “More-Sales”
  33. 33. 33 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. “Sales” Responsibilities • Job One: Maximize Customer Orders • “Manage” the customer  Coordinates early technical support with Support team  Ensures customer deliverables arrive as planned  Responsible for all contractual issues  Works with “factory” to generate final schedule and commitments to customer  Attend status meetings, design reviews • Manages all non-technical communication to customer • Runs interference for Support team as required  “bad cop”
  34. 34. 34 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Support Team Manager • Job One: “success” of all customer engagements • Pre-sales  Assists Salesperson with initial customer contact, as needed  Assigns FAE/AE/SE and supporting resources to projects  Reviews and provides input to benchmark/Eval plans • More Sales  Reviews and provides input to support plans  Attends and audits internal/external design reviews review • Recruit, retain, motivate FAE/AE/SE staff
  35. 35. 35 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Support Team Responsibilities • Job One: Make customer successful • Pre-sales responsibilities  Demos  Analyzes customer requirements and identifies technical roadblocks and issues  Primary technical interface to customer  Assist in Proof of Concept tasks  “good cop” • More-sales responsibilities  Primary technical interface to customer  Responsible for creating and executing support plan  Teaches customer to fish (how to support themselves.)  Communicate weekly project status to internal/customer  Performs hands-on work as required in project plan  “good cop”
  36. 36. 36 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Support Team Charter – NOT !! Surrogate R&D • Architect fixes • Write code 0%
  37. 37. 37 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Support Team Charter -- NOT!! Surrogate Salesperson • Quote product/service price • Call the resource shots • Order entry paperwork • Quote product pricing • Approve evaluation • Approve benchmark • Negotiate license agreement • Sign SLA agreement • Sign NDA • Expedite Contracts Dept. • Expedite Operations Dept. • Tell account why we can't support them 0%
  38. 38. 38 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Support Team is the Good Guy • Let the Account Manager play the "Bad Cop“ • NEVER tell a customer:  "You are too small for me to spend time with you", or "the AM says I can't spend time with you“ • Better:  "The salesperson prioritizes my time, please take up that issue with her"  Then give the salesperson a heads up!
  39. 39. 39 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Charm School Agenda • Motivation • Service Theory • Organization Roles • Key Skills • Summary
  40. 40. 40 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Key Skills • Establish Credibility • Problem Solver • Recovery • Business Answers • Saying Yes and No • Crisis Management
  41. 41. 41 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Steps to Establishing Credibility 3. Commonalty 1. Propriety 2. Competence 4. Intent
  42. 42. 42 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Propriety • Meet customer expectations of appropriate business behavior: •Dress •Manners •Language •Punctuality •Respect •Honesty
  43. 43. 43 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Competence • Establish your ability to solve problems by  Providing information on your background  Demonstrate your knowledge of the customers design situation Warren Buffet
  44. 44. 44 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Commonality • Find areas of common interest:  Discuss a third party that you both know  Meaningful interests and common beliefs The Master: Jimmy Carter Navy Veteran Farmer Engineer Nuclear Engineer Governor Church Deacon Father
  45. 45. 45 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Intent • Convey a sincere interest in the customer's benefit:  Follow up on commitments  Body language  Care Mother Teresa
  46. 46. 47 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. 4 Steps to Establishing Credibility 3. Commonalty Find areas of common interest: a. Discuss a third party that you both know b. Meaningful interests and common beliefs 1. Propriety Meet customer expectations of appropriate business behavior: dress, manners, language 2. Competence Establish your ability to solve problems by a. Providing information on your background b. Demonstrate your knowledge of the customers design situation 4. Intent Convey a sincere interest in the customer's benefit: a. Follow up on commitments b. Body language Credibility is Fragile
  47. 47. 48 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Introducing … The Arrayent
  48. 48. 49 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Arrayent Hall of Shame… • “You’re the only customer with that problem“ Customer: “Why?”
  49. 49. 50 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Arrayent Hall of Shame… • "We've known about that problem for a year!“ Customer: "So why didn't you tell me about this problem last year!!"
  50. 50. 51 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Arrayent Hall of Shame… • “Because you have the first version, we fixed it for everyone after you.” Customer: “Why not us too?”
  51. 51. 52 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Arrayent Hall of Shame… • ""That problem will be fixed in the next release (I hope)" Customer: "You told me that the problem would be fixed!!"
  52. 52. 53 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Arrayent Hall of Shame… • "Yes the product can do XYZ in the next release (I hope)" Customer: "This time you said it could do XYZ, But it never has!"
  53. 53. 54 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Strengthening Your Credibility • "I Don't Know" is OK  Follow-up strengthens credibility and customer relationship  When in doubt, communicate
  54. 54. 55 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Key Skills • Establish Credibility • Problem Solver • Recovery • Business Answers • Saying Yes and No • Crisis Management
  55. 55. 56 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Is The Customer Always Right?? NO!
  56. 56. 57 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Beware: Customer Solutions Disguised as Customer Problems
  57. 57. 58 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Too Common are: Customer Solutions Disguised as Customer Problems • Customers will talk in terms of solutions, NOT problems  Customers want to be helpful • Your job: Uncover their positive intent
  58. 58. 59 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Arrayent Example • “We need the Arrayent backend to send local time to refrigerator every time it’s logged in, and support daylight savings time.”  Problem or solution? • Underlying Problem: Energy Star Delay Defrost Spec.  product shall automatically move the defrost function outside of a 4-hour deferral period, as follows: • 6am to 10am – November 1 through April 30 • 3pm to 7pm – May 1 through October 31
  59. 59. 60 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Arrayent Example • “Turn off the radio in the thermostat when not- connected-to-cloud lasts for > 15 minutes.”  Problem or solution? • Underlying Problem: “we want a way to save battery drain when the gateway is not around.”
  60. 60. 61 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Problem Solving • Resist the temptation to jump to conclusions, give a quick answers • Key: solve the “right” problem • Ask, Listen, confirm
  61. 61. 62 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. High Tech Charm School • Part 1  Motivation  Service Theory • Part 2  Organization Roles  Key Skills - 1 • Part 3  Key Skills - 2  Summary
  62. 62. 63 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Goal: Become Trusted Advisors Anticipates & Exceeds Client Needs Proactive Set and Exceed Expectations Listens, Matches Needs with Solutions Client Respects / Needs You An Advisor / Confidant Always Seeks / Offers Knowledge Deliberately Conscious / Consistent Business Generation Team Member Traits towards Customers Trusted Advisor Attitude Expectations Communications Relationship Knowledge Actions Viewed By Organization Satisfies Clients Passive High Cheerfully Responds Customer Accepts You Friend Learns as Needed Somewhat Conscious & Consistent An Asset “Good Enough Service”
  63. 63. 64 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Key Skills • Establish Credibility • Problem Solver (Continued) • Recovery • Business Answers • Saying Yes and No • Crisis Management
  64. 64. 65 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Too Common are: Customer Solutions Disguised as Customer Problems • Customers will talk in terms of solutions, NOT problems  Customers want to be helpful • Your job: Uncover their positive intent
  65. 65. 66 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Dig Deeper -- Ask One More Question • There are no stupid questions • Assume = Ass * U * Me • Asking is powerful tool to give you thinking time Johnnie Cochran
  66. 66. 67 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. The Active Listener • Confirm what you heard  “I understand your concern to be <playback what you heard>” • Clarify what you heard  “I am not sure I understand, please explain one more time”
  67. 67. 68 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Quiz • The customer yells: • "Hey!! I need a screw driver with a longer handle, and I need it Now!!!!" What do you do???
  68. 68. 69 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Quiz Answer • The Customer wanted a hammer!
  69. 69. 70 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Problem Solving Summary • Customer’s often ask for help with an ill- conceived workaround to a more fundamental problem • Strive to uncover the business problem behind the question • Listen, confirm what you hear ???
  70. 70. 71 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Key Skills • Establish Credibility • Problem Solver • Recovery • Business Answers • Saying Yes and No • Crisis Management
  71. 71. 72 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Customers Know Stuff Happens
  72. 72. 73 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. What Do Customers Want? 1. Friendly, caring service 2. Flexibility 3. Problem solving 4. Recovery: • Apologize • Take responsibility for fixing • Go the extra step Source: Kaset International British Air Study:
  73. 73. 74 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. The Value of Fast Recovery Customer Repurchase Rate 8% 19% 54% 82% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% Complaint not made, no resolution Complaint mentioned, not resolved Complaint resolved Complaint resolved quickly Source: Technical Assistance Research Project
  74. 74. 75 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Key Skills • Establish Credibility • Problem Solver • Recovery • Business Answers • Saying Yes and No • Crisis Management
  75. 75. 76 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Give Business Answers • You are not in Engineering School any more! There are no A+'s for being technically elegant
  76. 76. 77 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Our Ultimate Customer • The Person Who Signs the Checks! • Time to Revenue
  77. 77. 78 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Give Business Answers • A Business Answer Focuses the Customer on what is Important: Her Business & Her Job
  78. 78. 79 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Business Answer Advantages • Forces a customer/business orientation (not techie) • Focuses the discussion on business goal (the why), not means (how) • Generates two sided discussion / discovery
  79. 79. 80 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. When in Doubt…. • Come back to business objectives… Schedule Cost Performance
  80. 80. 81 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Key Skills • Establish Credibility • Problem Solver • Recovery • Business Answers • Saying Yes and No • Crisis Management
  81. 81. 82 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Saying Yes • Say Yes Only When You Can Deliver  Or commit to when you will have a plan “You can't pull a rabbit out of a hat unless you put one there first.” -- Harry Houdini
  82. 82. 83 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. The “Service No” • Answer with 2 Answers  “Here’s what WE can do”  “Here’s what YOU can do”
  83. 83. 84 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. “Service No”: Example • We cannot get ABC on DoReMe  “Here’s what I/we are going to do”  “Here’s what you can do”
  84. 84. 85 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Key Skills • Establish Credibility • Problem Solver • Recovery • Business Answers • Saying Yes and No • Crisis Management
  85. 85. 86 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Crisis Management • React Now, Think Later:  " I sent a e-mail to 5 people (but it was not directed to any one person)"  "I'll fly in tomorrow (who will write that code?)“ • Better is:  Think now , react later
  86. 86. 87 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Think Now, React Later • Understand what is really going on  Ask questions to give you time to think • Think through the sales implications  Defer to the Account Manager • Understand and Set Priorities  If you don't someone else will!  Put the customer's issues down on paper • Take Ownership of Problems  Until you get positive acknowledgement that  Someone else has accepted ownership • Ask for due dates (the acid test!!)
  87. 87. 88 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Charm School Agenda • Motivation • Service Theory • Design Center Roles • Key Skills • Bringing it all together  Becoming a Trusted Advisor
  88. 88. 89 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Desired Customer Perception: “Arrayent is the Platform for Connected Products”
  89. 89. 90 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Success: Customers Depend on Us • Become the Trusted Advisor that the Customer Depends Upon • All our actions add up to Arrayent, Inc. • Service Team Goal: Become a trusted advisor
  90. 90. 91 © Robert W. Dahlberg For Arrayent, Inc. Each of Us… A Trusted Advisor Anticipates & Exceeds Client Needs Proactive Set and Exceed Expectations Listens, Matches Needs with Solutions Client Respects / Needs You An Advisor / Confidant Always Seeks / Offers Knowledge Deliberately Conscious / Consistent Business Generation Team Member Traits towards Customers Trusted Advisor Attitude Expectations Communications Relationship Knowledge Actions Viewed By Organization Satisfies Clients Passive High Cheerfully Responds Customer Accepts You Friend Learns as Needed Somewhat Conscious & Consistent An Asset “Good Enough Service”

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