Since joining UserIQ in 2019 as a Customer Success Manager, Daniel Hao’s focus has been improving the onboarding experience.
In addition to that task — and becoming a certified CSM through SuccessHACKER — this ex Google-er also became a dad.
So, what does he have to say about being a CSM during a pandemic, the strategic importance of onboarding and more? Read on …
How has it been working from home?
Daniel: It’s weird because when you’re working in an office, there is automatically some natural separation between your “work life” and your “personal life.” But, now with the coronavirus pandemic and everyone working from their homes, we’re now all forced to sort of blend the two!
But honestly, it’s been going pretty well. I set up a little office for myself in our garage, and I’ve kept myself organized, so I’ve been able to be productive and busy during the last few months. Plus, it’s been nice to get a little extra time with our newborn baby girl than I would’ve otherwise have had if I was commuting into the office.
What led you to UserIQ?
Daniel: Sure. Earlier on in my career I worked in business development, so I was more on the sales side. I actually worked for Google in their Google Home division. I had a great experience there, and I knew I wanted to continue that relationship-based work in my next role.
Customer success was a great transition from sales for me because it kept that customer relationship focus and allowed me to focus my energy on more than selling. Plus, I loved the feel of UserIQ because I could wear different hats and be a part of a growing company where I could truly make an impact.
Has the pandemic changed how you interact with customers?
Daniel: Hmm, that’s a good question. I don’t know that it’s drastically change my interactions with customers, but it and relate on that human level since we’re all going through something similar—being stuck in our houses, trying to get as much done as we can under trying circumstances, and that sort of thing.
That relationship-based approach has always been something I’ve tried to cultivate as a CS professional, but living and working through this crisis has only enhanced that. Reassuring my customers that I have their back as they work through challenges at their own companies. Plus, being a CSM at UserIQ I can really relate, since customer success is both my industry and my role. UserIQ’s mission is to help companies get centered on customer success, and as a growing company ourselves, there are so many relatable challenges that we can talk honestly about with our customers.
What other projects are you working on?
Daniel: Yeah, that has been another fun and interesting hat to wear at UserIQ. Obviously onboarding is so vital to longer-term customer success. Reading articles and digging into data about onboarding, you learn that customer retention efforts start long before you find yourself a few months out from renewal. The decision as to whether a company is going to continue using your software often stems directly from their onboarding experience and their ability to get off on the right foot.
So given the importance of onboarding at UserIQ, we wanted to make sure that we continued to seek ways to improve our own program.
What are some improvements you’ve made?
Daniel: There are always ways we can improve, and we’ve already made some adjustments to how we approach onboarding here at UserIQ. One thing we wanted to pay attention to was the transition from the sales team to our customer success team. To make this process smoother, we now involve sales more formally and proactively during implementation, which helps customers to have a warmer handoff to the CS team and a more seamless experience overall. We also worked to refine and shorten some of the pre-onboarding activities so that we’re spending more time validating customer goals rather than rediscovering them.
We’ve also restructured the CSM-led onboarding sessions so that customers can pick and choose what they want to learn about first. If a customer is dying to get campaigns launched ASAP, then the CSM is now able to ensure that that topic gets covered first. Whereas previously the onboarding sessions tended to go in the same order for most onboarding accounts, we’ve now added more flexibility so that customers can achieve their goals with UserIQ.
Daniel: My attention is still mostly focused on onboarding, but we’re actually preparing to add to the onboarding program so that we can walk customers through some of new features and functionality that UserIQ will be rolling out. It’s exciting to create some of these onboarding elements for the first time, since these capabilities we will be launching are brand new.
So, that will be exciting! Plus, while working from home has been going well, I am hopeful that I’ll be able to go back to the office sometime within the coming months.
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