A problem solver, and an ‘old school’ communicator.
Paula has been with the company for 16 years. She started as service desk manager in 2002, just in time to help customers transition from the radio network to GSM and she has been supporting customers through technology change ever since: from one network option to multiple networks; from rugged devices to smartphones; and from basic data capture to voice, image and video. Paula says “The radio network was switched off less than six months after I joined, so it was a steep learning curve. It’s been a steep learning curve ever since.”
Having worked with all of our customers at one time or another, Paula is ideally suited to her new role. “The difference between customer service and customer success” she says “is one of mindset. Customer success is more proactive; I am here to champion the customer and make sure they get the most from our products and services.”
She’s going to be busy, because the role involves working with customers at every stage of their relationship with the company. The emphasis is on continual improvement: making incremental changes to processes, both ours and the customer’s, and to our products and services, which will add up to significant improvements over time. To achieve these improvements, Paula will need to understand each customer, how they work and what they want from the solution. She will also be a single internal point of contact for any service related issues, and will advocate for the customer throughout Cognito iQ.
It’s a big role to fill, but Paula is feeling confident. “Coming into this new role is great because I know the customers. I’ve looked after most of the accounts at some point so I can easily pick up the phone and talk to them”
Paula will be working with other members of Steve Beeson’s client services team over the coming months to develop tailored Service Improvement Plans (SIPs) for each customer, which set out how we will work to move towards their goals and how we expect the relationship to progress. In some cases, SIPs will involve other organisations, such as customers’ network, hardware or other service providers. In these cases, Paula will have to understand how to work with third party data, and to negotiate with external service teams to create realistic actionable plans that take a holistic view of our customer’s needs.
Key areas where Paula will make a difference for customers, whether they are engineers, operational staff, service or IT professionals, are as follows:
- New customers: Once our solution is rolled out and the relationship transitions from project-based to ‘business as usual’, Paula will ensure that any issues that have been uncovered are acted upon.
- Incident management: When issues or problems occur, Paula will work with the service desk to understand the problem, and expedite the solution, bringing in other parts of the company where necessary. She will also be working on incident trend analysis and reporting, so that incidents lead not only to resolution, but to improvements.
- New releases: Paula is working with our new Release Manager to develop a better software upgrade process, with more detailed release notes, and on ensuring that any issues picked up following the roll-out are fed back internally and acted upon.
- Peak planning: Some of our customers have seasonal peaks and troughs in their businesses and it’s Paula’s role to work with them in advance of these periods to plan for the peak, and then to review performance and apply any lessons learnt, to improve the next time around.
As well as being organised, knowledgeable and unflappable, Paula is a great communicator, which is one of the most important skills that the role requires.
Paula says “I’m quite old school. I like to pick up the phone and have a chat, find out how things are. If a customer has a problem, I just give them a call. I still think that is the best way. I know that a lot of people prefer to hide behind email, but for me, the phone or face to face is key.”
The many customers who have missed Paula over the last year whilst she has been on maternity leave will no doubt be glad to hear that she is back, in this important position, and they will be looking forward to getting a call and having a chat with her very soon. We’re thrilled to have her back in the office too, and wish our new Customer Success Manager every success of her own.