With a retention rate of over 98% you could be forgiven for thinking that continuing to optimise our service levels would not need to be a priority. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. We talked to our new Customer Success Manager, David Brennan, to find out more.
Why does Whitespace place such an emphasis on customer success?
As the UK’s leading provider of waste management software to local authorities and the public sector we’ve worked with over 100 UK local authorities and public sector contractors since 2005. This sustained growth means it’s vital that our customers’ journey with us, and all our touch points are focused on maximising value, adoption efficacy and satisfaction.
Whitespace recognised that any degree of complacency would mean our excellent service levels and engagement would become compromised. I joined Whitespace earlier this year, tasked with setting up a Customer Success Framework. This framework is based on the premise that the more value a customer receives, and the stronger their adoption efficacy and satisfaction, the longer they will remain a customer and the more they invest.
Can you tell us a bit more about your role and what it entails?
I work closely with our Account Managers to ensure our customers are exceeding their desired objectives. Two key elements of this are ensuring that customer feedback is taken onboard when developing new products, and the effective escalation and resolution of any issues that our customers might have. Our primary focus is to always ensure our customers are successful not only with our software, but with their business operations.
What are some of the initiatives you’ve put in place to improve customer satisfaction?
One of the first things we did was to analyse the customer journey and all our touch points, each of which provides an opportunity to add value. Quite early on I could see that building relationships with our customers was at the heart of our company. You do however need a voice for the customer, and that’s where I come in.
Every customer can now have a detailed review of their Whitespace implementation. This is a completely non-commercial discussion where we focus on the success of their operation, any challenges they might have and their future goals. It’s important that we are aligned on these areas and that there is a plan in place to help them succeed. From speaking with our customers, we map their adoption efficacy, satisfaction levels and the value they receive from us. These reviews will typically include a range of users who use our products for different reasons and have their own responsibilities and objectives.
These reviews are also the main vehicle for getting customer suggestions into our product development. Feedback that has come directly from our customers is logged and discussed openly. We have already implemented several improvements and new features as a result of this process.
We have also created Whitespace Connect which is a series of regional events for our customers. We wanted to bring our customer community together to promote best practice and to share thoughts and ideas. In doing so we directly connected industry specialists to our systems and each other. We’ve had fantastic feedback and we’ll definitely be hosting more events in 2023.
How do we know we’re doing a good job with customer success?
There are various ways of measuring customer satisfaction. We decided to implement the NPS (Net Promoter Score) method as it provides unbiased information from our customers.
The Net Promoter Score is calculated by the customer filling out a very brief survey with one of the questions being ‘How likely are you to recommend Whitespace to a friend or colleague?’, 10 being highly likely, 0 being not at all.
We can say for sure that if a customer rates us 9 or 10, then they are likely receiving a lot of value from us, are very happy and that Whitespace is well adopted.
If a customer provides us with a 7 or 8, then there are going to be opportunities for us to add value. The Customer Success Review will allow us to find those opportunities.
If a customer provides us with a score of 6 or less, we are probably not doing everything we can and we need to work with them to improve their satisfaction.
We log these scores over-time, along with any actions, activities or strategies with the aim of turning all scores into a 10/10.
These metrics are very important and allow us to measure customer satisfaction across our entire customer base. This is reviewed in a monthly meeting with all the customer-facing teams in the company.
How do we ensure we continue to improve?
We have set ourselves several objectives and actions to maintain progress and deliver continuous improvement. These include maintaining our schedule of regular on-site client visits, incorporating customer success reviews, new customer introductions and check-ins.
We will also stay focused on maintaining and increasing both Whitespace’s NPS score and our individual customer scores. We have committed to ensure there is adequate capacity, and the processes are in place to ensure the quick and efficient resolution of any issue escalations.