At Clarivos, customer success has always been a key part of everyone’s role – from sales through to service and support.
But the role of customer success manager – fulfilled by Melissa Lewington – is a completely new one for the UK-based tech consultancy, which specializes in delivering cloud-based apps such as SAP Business ByDesign and SAP Analytics Cloud to its customers.
The key differentiators? The customer success manager is a true extension of a client’s team and remains accessible long after the solution has gone live. And, because Lewington is a part of Clarivos’ service team, her goals are based on delivering customer satisfaction rather than sales.
“Consultants have constant calendar constraints due to live projects,” explains Pablo Castagnini, head of Digital Transformation at Clarvios. “Melissa’s calendar is driven by our customers. They can initiate sessions as and when they feel the need because they have access to it.”
This increased level of communication is a tangible benefit for both customers and Clarivos. And, in Lewington, the customer has a genuine advocate within Clarivos when it comes to getting the right level of support at the right time.
“I know that when Melissa asks me to move priorities it’s because we have a customer in real need. We can then focus in on the solution, relieving the customer from any immediate operational pain and allowing them to focus on their business,” adds Castagnini.
As businesses continue to transform to a largely cloud-based way of operating, applying a customer success focus is increasingly important to retain and deepen client-partner relationships.
“The key benefit to customers is the opportunity to maximize the value they are getting from their investment in their cloud application, through awareness and education. As far as Clarivos is concerned, we get unprecedented access to the daily operations of our customers, so we know when and where to jump in and provide advice and support. In addition, we have seen a rapid return on investment since Melissa took up her post – in less than a month of her joining us, in fact. As I see it, it’s a win-win!” adds Castagnini.
Expanding the function over time is a “no-brainer,” he adds, as Clarivos moves from a reactive, “firefighting” position into the role of fully trusted advisor. “I’m delighted to say we’re already there with some of our customers.”
“Melissa has been very proactive in helping us to enhance our system…She provided us with detailed guidance when we reassessed our licensing requirements and gives us regular updates on future systems developments that we need to plan for. Additionally, she has built strong relationships with Clarivos’ technical experts which has allowed us to resolve any maintenance issues quickly and efficiently.”
— David Hodsman, Liberis
The CSM View
Lewington joined Clarivos earlier in 2021, bringing with her experience in providing customer support across the sales cycle from an outsourcing consultancy.
While no two days are the same, at Clarivos the customer is front and center when it comes to prioritizing workload.
“All my days start and end with a diary review, so I know what meetings I need what for, and when!” she says.
“I spend a lot of time with new customers, getting to know them and their businesses and ensuring they have support as and when they need it. Then there are the existing customers, understanding their growth plans, keeping track of business challenges, sharing relevant updates.”
Lewington also acts as the intermediary between Clarivos, the customer, and SAP, ensuring licenses are up to date and escalating any issues as needed.
She’s in touch with the Clarivos marketing team regularly so she can keep customers in the loop on any news, and she’s also a religious note-checker.
“I am always checking for common themes in my notes. With one customer, I found that solving one problem fixed two more. By being ruthless in reviewing my notes, I can see recurring problems and act quickly to resolve them.”
Lewington sees customer success managers as a prevention to churn as well as a dedicated resource invested in the customer which negates the need for ad hoc, reactive work.
“Ad hoc work is bad because it brings additional cost and time to a project,” she says. “Separating the ad hoc work into distinct projects gives a clear view not only of the resources available at any one time, but also of timelines and project planning. When a project manager is involved too, this only becomes more powerful.”
“Customer success managers can also advocate and coordinate around the partner and SAP, delivering a much more holistic service to the customer,” she adds. “A customer success manager does a lot of the leg work and can provide a lot of assistance, which only helps to increase our reach within our customers’ organizations and deepen the relationship with SAP.”
As Lewington settles into her role, she’s keen to develop new areas, including closer coordination with SAP account teams. “It will lead to better planning for customers and a better understanding of upcoming renewal incentives and licensing fees. That’s a powerful offering for SAP, the customer, and Clarivos.”
When asked about the future of customer success, Lewington is clear: “The priority has to be getting organizations to realize that investing in customer success is an investment in growth.”