You’ve developed leading-edge software, and your channel is doing a great job selling it to end users. But unless those end users are successfully onboarded, activated and making full use of your software’s capabilities, they won’t realize the maximum return on their investment. And that could mean they’ll consider a competing product the next time around.
Ensuring end users have an outstanding customer experience is vital for any technology company to succeed. But not all businesses have the in-house capabilities to do that. Without the right teams in place to gather essential information on customers’ post-sales experiences, a company won’t know if customers truly understand how to use its products and gain the maximum value from them. Insights like these are key to retaining customers and generating recurring revenue.
Analyzing the Onboarding Experience
Once a customer has purchased and received your product, they’ll need to learn how to take full advantage of its capabilities, which is where the onboarding experience comes in. Not only do you need to provide resources such as online tutorials, how-to guides and ongoing customer support, but you also need to make sure your customers know where to find these resources and how to use them so they can use your product successfully. The best way to assess your customers’ onboarding experience is by asking them. But contacting customers to gain these insights typically requires more tools and resources, more planning and a larger headcount, which isn’t necessarily easy to accommodate on your own. Instead, many companies look to customer service partners to contact their customers on their behalf.
Partnering for customer success is exactly what Extreme Networks did when it sought to gather information about its customers’ onboarding experiences with its Extreme Management Center™ software. Extreme Networks chose to partner with Tech Data Global Lifecycle Management (GLM) based on GLM’s flexibility, language support and cost-effective lifecycle management solutions.
GLM’s customer management services team worked with the company to understand what insights they needed before developing a focused list of questions to ask their customers. GLM also determined appropriate metrics for relaying the feedback gathered from those conversations, and then worked as an extension of Extreme Networks to call a targeted list of customers. GLM quickly and cost-effectively gathered and analyzed key customer insights during a six-month engagement.
Assessing Customer Experience and Usage
After customers have been properly onboarded and using your product for some time, it’s important to follow up with them to learn about their experience and usage. Do they truly understand everything the product can do to improve and transform their business? Do they know enough about the product to make full use of all its features? These questions are important in ultimately setting your customers up to achieve their long-term business goals and in retaining revenue for your business. After all, the more value customers derive from the product, the more likely they are to renew their contracts and recommend it to others. Having a partner who’s focused on customer success can help you collect those answers and effectively analyze this key customer experience information.
Seeing the value of the customer onboarding information gathered by GLM, Extreme Networks embarked on a second six-month mission. This time, GLM set out to gather information on customers’ experiences using Extreme Management Center. These conversations focused on how well customers understood and could use the software’s features and capabilities, and the feedback helped Extreme Networks make informed decisions about product adjustments.
Researching Renewal Opportunities
In addition to ensuring outstanding customer experiences with your products, a scalable team that’s dedicated to customer success can also proactively capture revenue for your business by managing renewals, monitoring warranties and unlocking opportunities to upsell and cross-sell. Having a more streamlined renewal process can increase your renewal rates, leading to long-term customer retention and revenue growth.
Impressed with GLM’s ability to pivot from one six-month engagement to another and to grow the team as needed, Extreme Networks set a new task for the dedicated GLM team: Find out how partners work with their end customers on cloud subscription renewals. How often were partners sending out renewal quotes? And how many customers were renewing their subscriptions? The GLM team uncovered many opportunities for revenue growth that simplified the renewal process and benefited Extreme Networks, its distributors, its partners and, ultimately, its end customers.
Choosing a Single Partner for Scalable Customer Success Solutions
Extreme Networks has continued working with GLM through additional engagements. Edmund Vasquez, senior manager of Customer Success & Cloud Renewals at Extreme Networks, discussed the benefits of working with GLM:
With these short, six-month sprints, GLM is able to pivot very quickly and jump into the next program. That’s a big plus. They’re also able to support multiple languages. They’re calling customers who speak English, Spanish and German, and I really appreciate that flexibility.”
Vasquez also values the quality of the data GLM gathers. “They’re great at understanding what metrics are needed and massaging it along the way,” he said. “They’re able to get that just right and interpret it so that it’s useful not just for our day-to-day business, but also at a higher level, so our executives have the insights they need.”
He is also pleased by the uncovering of new sales opportunities during customer conversations. “We send our customers an email to let them know we’ll be contacting them to find out about their experiences,” Vasquez said. “And when they know we’re not making a sales call, they’ll lower their barriers and say, ‘Oh by the way, since you have me on the phone, we’re thinking of purchasing X.’ And GLM will turn that lead over to our sales organization. And sometimes our sales reps will say, ‘Wow, we’ve been talking to that customer for months and they never mentioned that.’”
Working with a single partner for comprehensive, scalable customer management services can strengthen the customer experience of any technology company. Partnering for customer success enables you to quickly gain cost-effective access to a dedicated team that delivers capabilities you may not have within your company. You can transform your customers into product champions by helping them gain the most value from your products and showing them that you care about their experience with your company by taking actions based on their feedback. From the initial sale into ongoing revenue through renewals and up-sell opportunities, partnering for customer success has certainly paid off for Extreme Networks.
Learn more about the GLM and Extreme Networks partnership and discover how GLM can tailor a similar solution for your company to drive customer success, engagement and loyalty.
About the Author
Gonzalo Guillen serves as the director of Operations and Business Development for the Customer Management Services (CMS) division of Global Lifecycle Management, a specialized solution business within Tech Data. Gonzalo manages the end-to-end CMS organization, including implementation and onboarding of net new customers, day-to-day operations, strategic growth and renewals. He is also responsible for leading global sales and operations teams; developing and executing go-to-market strategies; overseeing business intelligence, project management and contracts management; and driving engagement with more than 15 global OEMs in the IT industry.