How Grit & Nashville Charm Can Redefine a Tech Company’s Customer Experience

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“Although your customers won’t love you if you give bad service, your competitors will.”

These words from business expert Kate Zabriskie defined a once tumultuous season under old administration at Edgenet—a Nashville-based Software as a Service firm. Customer service, at the time, was an afterthought—at best. Many clients were basically neglected until a need arose.

But in the SaaS industry, where recurring revenue is king, long-term customer satisfaction is the only prescription for a healthy, thriving business. So when new leadership took over mid-2014, we knew our customer service model could not move forward without a serious overhaul.

From the Inside Out

We began with a company-wide customer service outreach. Every employee—from our CEO to our newest entry-level employee—called clients to check in on the relationship and assist with technology adoption. This was such a priority for us that we put our sales efforts on a temporary hold while we focused on reconnecting with our customers. It was time for us to champion them.

Through these discussions, we began to collaborate internally and discover new ways our customers could use our technology. Customer success became part of the Edgenet DNA. And the more this DNA became ingrained—in our meetings, our hiring and our conversations—the stronger our company became. Because of this renewed focus, the number of customers in our product data ecosystem increased 328 percent in a single year.

With Nashville Pride

Still, we knew customers needed even more care. They deserved real relationships. So, we developed Edgenet Academy—a hands-on training program that brings customers to Music City for a deep dive in our technology and an opportunity to meet us face to face.

With Edgenet Academy, we work with our clients in an intimate, accessible environment and give them personalized demonstrations and assistance. That allows them to make the best use of our technology for their businesses. But the beauty of Edgenet Academy is that we also get to show off things outside of our new, world-class office. As hosts to the country’s “it” city, we get to show Nashville off at a Predators game, perhaps, followed by a night out on Broadway.

With our staff as tour guides, reps from 3M, Johnson & Johnson and other customers big and small get to experience the heart of a city that has much to offer. But more than that, they get to know the soul of a company that will hang out until wee hours to build relationships and help our clients squeeze as much of Nashville out of a two-day stay as possible.

The New Normal

The Edgenet of 2014 and the Edgenet of 2016 are nearly unrecognizable. One customer put it this way:

“It’s no secret that our relationship with Edgenet in the past was rocky, at best. So going into the Edgenet Academy workshop, we had no idea what to expect. … To sum it up, this was a big step in the right direction, and I really wish that the other data service companies we use would adopt this approach. They don’t, you do, you win.”

Getting a second chance to serve our customers reinforces the value proposition of our products—and for the first time in years, it’s turning a profit for the company. So we constantly push to be better than the day before. For other companies struggling with client relations, own up to the issues. Start conversations. Respond to needs. Know your clients personally—as real people. Your business will be all the better for it.

Photo courtesy of Ben Velker.