The Identity Automation team happily welcomed Joanne Jackson to the company in August 2017 as our first Customer Success Manager. She was brought on board to drive the creation of a department completely focused on all aspects of the customer experience.
A relatively new industry, Customer Success is not as widely understood as (and is oftentimes confused with) Customer Service. Where Customer Service is focused on resolving existing issues, Customer Success takes a much more proactive approach. The focus is on understanding the customer’s goals and actively reaching out to help drive progress.
A native Texan, a fierce advocate for our customers, and a mother to two boxers, Niko and Mia, Joanne is right at home in this field. She has the unique background to understand and guide our customers exactly the way we need.
Joanne’s Journey to (Customer) Success
Joanne started her career as a commercial real estate agent before transitioning into corporate lease administration and eventually expanding her role to encompass construction project management. She led major space planning and development projects for many Fortune 500 organizations, which entails management of the design, construction, procurement and installation of all furniture, fixtures and equipment within those commercial office spaces.
After living and working in Atlanta, Georgia for twelve years, Joanne was offered an opportunity to return home to Texas. So, she relocated to begin the next chapter in her career as the first Senior Implementation Manager for iOffice, the position which would spark her passion for customer success.
At iOffice, Joanne was responsible for standardizing and configuring custom space, staff, and asset management and data integration processes for her clients within a SaaS portal, and she excelled in her role. Because of her extensive experience in the real estate and construction management field, she had the advantage of being able to uniquely understand her customers’ needs.
“When complex questions were being asked, my experience provided insight into the management goals they were attempting to achieve,” Joanne explains.
She helped land many large clients for the small company and held an impressive 100% close rate when brought into final customer presentations as the product Subject Matter Expert. Most importantly, however, she used this time to hone her customer success skills and refine her ability to guide and serve her clients as they optimized their management processes.
“It was definitely where I started getting my feet wet in customer success. When serving multiple groups, from C-Suite to operations, it’s your job to successfully work with different personalities so that you can conceptualize each account’s strategic goals. Obviously, executives have a set of goals, management has a set of goals, and often vendor partners have a third set of goals—you want to make it win/win for everyone involved.”
This experience would later serve as a foundation for helping Joanne create the building blocks of Identity Automation’s Customer Success department.
The Building Blocks for Success
As Identity Automation expanded, our focus on our customers had to expand as well. The goal was to ensure our customers did not get lost in the shuffle of a growing company. Instead of reactively waiting for customers to call in with issues, we wanted to be a long-term, proactive partner to them.
With this in mind, Joanne became the first member of our newly created Customer Success department. In addition to responsibility over support, renewals, and onboarding, our Customer Success team is responsible for ensuring each customer is getting as much value out of our solution as possible.
Improving the onboarding process was Joanne’s first priority. After identifying the need for more clarity and less complexity, she set out to standardize the onboarding process and create best practices. For example, Identity Automation now meets weekly with all customers during implementation to ensure a steady flow of communication.
The most significant improvement made, however, was the creation of our web-based onboarding dashboard, which allows both the customer and the implementation team to see exactly which steps are required, the deadlines for all actions, the complete project timeline, and the general status of the implementation plan.
To create even more transparency, the leadership team at Identity Automation has access to an Executive Dashboard where they can quickly check the status of each customer’s implementation. With this tool, progress is easily trackable, providing increased accountability for all teams.
Growing Relationships, While Growing a Department
To date, the onboarding dashboard is the project that Joanne is most proud of, but she is adamant there is still more to be done. As the possibilities for Customer Success grows, so does the department. We have since added another Customer Success Manager, and as a team, they are working on multiple, pivotal projects.
For example, Joanne plans to create a list of characteristics that will indicate when a customer might have unrealized success potential, and she is also strategizing methodologies for correlating the unique wants and needs of each individual customer with our product offerings.
“We know that the most effective way to keep our customers is to make them as successful as possible in using our products. And while we’re a relatively new department in our organization, our team is working hard to ensure that Customer Success is an integral part of Identity Automation’s customer relationships.”