Jan 18, 2021

CX Transformation: Why I Joined SupportLogic

I have been fortunate to spend most of my career at disruptive technology companies and in the past decade I have been with cloud-based subscription businesses, including InsideView, Zuora, VMware. By nature, subscription companies must prioritize CX transformation as they rely heavily on a “land and expand” go-to-market and revenue approach that has become widespread e.g. Salesforce reported in 2020 that 77% of their revenue came from upsell to their existing customers vs. selling to new logos. 

In the ‘subscription economy’ revenue growth is rooted in delivering great customer experiences. Service is no longer something you just do after the sale. Many prospects who try out your offering need help and guidance to get it set up properly, adopt and realize value from it. And the people on the front lines serving customers i.e. service agents and support engineers need to understand and act on the Voice of the Customer (VoC), in order to serve them well.  CX transformation is an important investment for all subscription businesses.

But it’s been difficult for companies to measure and act on the real voice of their customers to provide great service. First, most companies rely heavily on static survey metrics like CSAT and NPS – which, apologies to Mr Fred Reichheld, are subject to the limitations of survey methods: they’re point-in-time, backwards-looking and only sample a small subset of your customers. Net-net: the feedback you capture is not possible to act on in real-time.

Second, many companies have a cost-center perception of the value of their support organizations. Earlier in my career at a large software company, I worked on VoC projects with our support call center. We improved metrics like CSAT, first call resolution, and cost per support ticket – all wins deserving of celebration. But I realize how we were constrained in our thinking and approach for how best to improve the customer experience. And companies I speak with today have a similar legacy mindset. 

Third, most companies rely solely on ticketing systems to track support and service requests. These structured ‘systems of record’ only capture bare minimum metadata needed to categorize and respond to requests. All the good stuff – the rich details of what customers are experiencing is unstructured data that is often lost or not passed through these systems. Customers may originally share important contextual information through an email, chat or phone call but systems of record drop the signals, similar to if you were to record a movie with a 4k high-resolution camera but then display only still images to an old analog TV; there would be a lot of signal loss preventing you from seeing the full picture.

CX transformation requires a new system of intelligence to continuously capture all the unbiased customer sentiment signals and turn it into actionable steps companies can take in to better serve their customers in real-time. At InsideView we built a system of intelligence for sales and marketing teams to get smarter about who they sell to by utilizing AI and natural language processing (NLP) to capture, analyze and organize all potentially helpful data in a structured way. This same approach should also be applied to the customer success, service and support functions to improve how sentiment signals are analyzed and used. 

The good news is that companies are starting to recognize the CX transformation opportunity. Over the past two years, there’s been a 32% increase in the use of AI to automate customer service tasks. But that’s just the beginning. Companies need to go beyond automating tasks and get smarter about their customers. This is where SupportLogic comes in. We’re focused on helping companies understand and act on their real voice of the customer so that they can grow and protect their revenue. 

SupportLogic uses NLP to continuously mine and analyze the unstructured data containing all the rich customer sentiment and intent signals. Then support organizations can improve all their core functions for servicing customers, like predicting customer escalations, prioritizing and assigning cases to the right agents, and alerting the rest of the organization about important customer events so they can build better products and improve customer-facing processes. SupportLogic serves as a foundation for CX transformation.

SupportLogic was founded by a former support engineer, Krishna Raj Raja, who experienced firsthand the challenges his support organization at VMware faced. He conceptualized the way to solve them and how best to share out the customer learning that typically gets trapped as tribal knowledge with the other teams in the company e.g. product team, sales, executives who directly contribute to improving the customer experience. 

Krishna and the SupportLogic team have built a strong initial product that has delivered real value to our early customers like Nutanix, HPE, Qlik and Databricks. In our December webinar Qlik shared that they have reduced support escalations by 30% in 6 months and have transitioned from lagging indicators like CSAT to leading indicators like sentiment and attention score.

We’re still very early in this CX transformation journey. SupportLogic envisions a world where every company can harness the continuous voice of the customer and act with certainty to grow and protect their customer revenue streams. We also believe customer service and support organizations should be empowered to lead the way. I’m excited for the road ahead and would love to hear from innovative customer success leaders who are starting to focus on this opportunity.

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