Appirio: The Customer Success Partner For The Customer Success Platform

May 8, 2018 Latané Conant

 

Appirio recently had the privilege of participating in all of Salesforce’s Sales Kick Offs across EMEA. As the sole partner, it was our honor to present to over 4,500 of Salesforce’s employees in fourteen cities across all of EMEA in a little more than a week’s time.

As I prepared before the Salesforce crowd in Stockholm, my first spot presenting to the RKOs earlier this month, I did a good deal of reflecting. I was curious to understand what Appirio had done to afford us this opportunity. Why us? And what success patterns could we share from our past as we take on new clouds and markets?

The simple answer is: Appirio is all about outcomes. It’s about the amazing outcomes we create for our customers every single day. And honestly, I believe that’s why we are ALL here. Our internal mantra is OUTCOMES NOT HOURS. So, let me share some of my personal, favorite customer outcomes:

1. Protecting people from burns and huge dry cleaning bills.

No one likes spilling hot coffee all over their newly dry cleaned shirt (or on their slightly soiled shirt, for that matter). So the customers of a major coffee chain took action. That’s right, the CUSTOMERS! Fortunately for this coffee retailer, Appirio had built them a customer community on the Salesforce platform that allowed customers to submit ideas and, low and behold, the iconic green splash stick was born.

2. Making sure your garbage gets picked up on trash day, even if you forget to put your can out.

Garbage day seem pretty basic. Roll the can to the curb, come back later it’s empty! But what if you forget to put your can out? Are you doomed to a week of trying to cram two weeks worth of trash into your stinky, overflowing can? Not if you’re a customer of this waste management company the reimagined the trash can and field service using the Salesforce platform. We helped put the sexy in trash cans by IoT-enabling the cans and connecting them to a tablet based field service app that let the driver know, in real time, if a can was missed. This allowed the company to call the customer and get that can to the curb. Customer service went through the roof while cost and driver frustration (having to go back when the customer swears you missed their pickup is not a great worker experience) dropped considerably.

3. Maximizing vacation time

Vacation time is precious, especially for us Americans who don’t get quite as many holidays as our European colleagues. But no matter the number of days off you get, nobody wants to spend that precious time filling out forms, writing checks, or leafing through brochures to book activities.  We expect a mobile, easy way to book excursions and even change our plans on the fly. So that’s exactly what we helped this travel company build on the Salesforce platform. Now, their customers spend less time on travel plans and more time enjoying honeymoons and family getaways.

Is that it? Is our success simply because we make outcomes our north star? Is it really that simple? On the surface it often feels that way, but I needed to dig deeper to see what was behind delivering those outcomes. So, I asked myself, what is our formula? What are the executable and repeatable patterns that we know work and will continue to work as we expand our relationship with Salesforce?

 


 

Here’s what I found. To deliver great outcomes for our customers, there there are four key things we have to do.

Our Success Formula =

Ignite ACTION + PROVE it’s possible + Deliver EXCELLENCE + Ensure customers THRIVE 

 

Ignite ACTION

Doing nothing is the easiest decision an organization can make when they don’t have a clear and compelling reason to act. So, we HAVE TO inspire action with our prospects and customers to overcome inertia.

It's challenging. At the same time, almost every company we engage with has a budgeted Customer Experience initiative going on right now. In fact, research shows 97% of organizations have some kind of Customer Experience (CX) initiative underway, but ONLY 16% claim to be successful. This is, of course, a HUGE opportunity for solutions (Salesforce + Appirio) that can transform both the Worker Experience (WX) and Customer Experience. Once we have established the critical WX/CX connection, we help our customers identify and prioritize the WX programs that will help them unlock value and get more out of their CX investments. We do this by using our Virtuous Cycle Framework that first helps organizations identify and prioritize the outcomes with the greatest impact on both the Worker and Customer Experience.

But wait, there’s more! What’s really fun to bring into the discussion is our Virtuous Cycle Diagnostic (VCD) Benchmarking tool. Everyone wants to know how they stack up and this diagnostic tool and report allows our customers to see how they rate against leaders in their market and industry.

 

 

PROVE It’s Possible

You might be thinking, “Really? We still have to prove technology is a better way to solve problems, or that the Cloud is a better way to consume technology?”  Yes, we have to prove it’s possible to the IT Manager who has been running legacy on-premise systems and is now being forced to make a change. Today’s buyer may be even more skeptical, nervous and risk-averse than 10 years ago. These more conservative buyers need to see the whole solution in a highly contextual way. No generic demos. It has to look and feel consumer grade and represent their company’s unique internal culture and address their specific pain points.

We can do this by utilizing design thinking, developing proof of concepts, persona building, journey mapping, and wireframing just to name a few. All very effective ways to provide real proof BUT my favorite “PROVE IT” tools are Lightning Bolts! If you don’t know what a Lighting Bolt is, it’s a Salesforce framework for rapidly building and deploying next generation communities and portals. With Lightning Bolt, companies can jumpstart the creation of a new community, next-generation portal or customer-facing website that seamlessly integrates with Salesforce CRM in a fraction of the time and with far less investment than was required before. We have already developed eight of these and have an entire innovation team dedicated to building more. They instantly bring credibility, industry context, and PROOF that it can be done. Better yet, they are an accelerator, so when it comes time to deliver we can execute faster and with higher quality.

Deliver EXCELLENCE

To last 11+ years in this ecosystem you need a brand associated with delivering excellence. I’m very proud of Appirio’s industry leading NPS score – 30% higher than the industry average. Of course I think our people are the best in the ecosystem but our secret sauce - and what I believe is key to an industry leading NPS score - is the tooling that backs up EVERY single Appirian.

This tool is our Cloud Management Center, or CMC as we know it. CMC provides Appirio’s cloud experts and customers on-demand access to thousands of Solution Accelerators (assets from past projects) and a robust set of tools to help manage the cloud architecture, automate deployments, and orchestrate expertise from anywhere in the world. In other words, CMC ensures EVERY consultant and client stakeholder has absolute transparency into the project, requirements are not missed, QA is done effectively, development can be done from anywhere in the world, and we don’t have to start from scratch, ensuring speed and quality that cannot be matched. CMC is why - when it comes to LARGE scale complex programs - we win with Salesforce.

Ensure Customers THRIVE

Sometimes customers buy licenses and don’t actually use them. Often this happens because they don’t successfully adopt the platform – either on the user side or on the IT administration side. The Salesforce platform has matured greatly over the last 11 years, from a front office business application to the enterprise platform it is today. The value proposition is much higher but so are the stakes, which means customer success and retention is critical.

Helping customers thrive is all about being able to provide the right suite of solutions to customers in a highly configurable way. To that end, we’ve taken a unique approach to our Application Management Service offering set which we call Appirio THRIVE. Think of it as individual service building blocks that can be spun up or spun down to design the ideal structure for customers at a point in time, knowing what they need today may change in the future. From basic things like System Administration, Fixes, New Integrations, DevOps, and Testing to more robust offerings like Governance Strategy, Lightening Transition, and Requirements Building, Appirio is all-in to turn Salesforce trailblazers into heroes. We bring expertise, scale, automation, and our Cloud Management Center (which we give customers for the long-term so they can continue to leverage the toolset & assets). Our goal is always to provide lower-cost, higher-quality support to our customers to free up resources to allow them to continue innovating and creating great experiences for their workers and customers.

So, there you have it. Whether its about maximizing vacation time, sexy trash cans, or keeping your coffee in the cup, Appirio really is… all about… OUTCOMES not HOURS. 

 
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