This week we are featuring an interview with Emily Miller, former Customer Success Manager at LeadSift. Emily discusses LeadSift’s philosophy of listening to its customers, best practices and why championing customer success is part of LeadSift’s DNA.

Q: Why is focusing on customer success early on so important?

A: At LeadSift, we made sure to develop our product with our customer in mind. Before rolling out a new feature, for example, we would talk to customers first and use their feedback in the final product. This does take more time and energy up front, but it’s better than having 6 people in a room creating something that our customers don’t need. Our approach allowed us to create a product that is more relevant and valuable for our users.

Q: What are some of the key tasks or activities that you performed as head of customer success?

A: The most essential thing that we learned early on was to have an initial onboarding conversation with the customer. This was normally a half hour phone call where we walked them through the product, got an overview of how they do outbound sales, and shared best practices and how to make the most of the leads we deliver. This builds the foundation of the relationship, and makes sure they are getting everything they want to get out of our tool.

Related to this, having a check-up call a week later was also very useful. This way we could proactively address any questions or concerns that came up, rather than responding to their possible frustration 3 months in to using the tool without the proper knowledge.

Q: What challenges did you face while engaging with customers?

A: Silence from the customer was actually the scariest part of my job. That’s a warning sign – you can do as much as you can to get around it, like call or email them, but at the end of the day sometimes people just drop off and go silent. The good thing is, most customers are pretty willing to engage and have discussions about how they are liking the product, so this was not a common situation.

Another challenge was the automated nature of the product. If our system was ever down and not sending leads, we would get customers contacting us frantically about their missing leads. Handing these requests took time, but this was actually a good sign because our customers were obviously using their leads and finding value in them.

Q: Can you share some best practices when it comes to customer success?

A: To keep my own skills sharp, I would read industry blog posts and articles every day. To be great at this job, you have to have empathy and patience. Ultimately, it’s your job to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and understand what is frustrating them or how you can walk them through a problem they are facing.

One of the things that we did, that I think more companies should do, was check in on our customers regularly. And in order to make sure our check-ins were valuable, we would always provide something new for our customers when we did so: a blog post, news about a new feature, tips and best practices and more. This way we kept an open channel of communication with all of our customers, and helped them get the most out of the tool.