What does a great customer experience look like to you? If you are like most people, you immediately think of personal shopping, technology or travel experience. Shopping at Amazon is fast, easy and with smart recommendations on what else you might need. You might think about Apple and their beautiful products, elegant stores, and a tightly integrated ecosystem. Or you might think about Disney, the highly detailed and immersive travel experience allowing your children to believe in a fantasy.
Now think about the customer experience with enterprise software – can you think of a time when you would say your experience was great?.
At Degreed, we aspire to something far better than the typical enterprise software experience. We aspire to provide you with an experience that not only exceeds your expectations of what our software can do to transform the learning journey in your organization but also provide you with support and a partnership that is second to none. As Chris, our CEO, noted in his year-end summary, Degreed has made a considerable investment in our Client Experience team, all with the goal of creating a truly exceptional experience for our clients.
To deliver this exceptional experience, the first thing we focus on is getting the foundation right.
Hire the right team
There is a lot of work that needs to happen behind the scenes to ensure a seamless customer experience. This starts with ensuring that we hire individuals with a passion for service. That sounds basic enough but it is absolutely essential. For example, I personally interview every candidate for roles on the client experience team to ensure – without exception – my team is focused on service. For reference, we added 30 people to the team last year. We challenge ourselves to not only hire deep experience and expertise (our Engagement team has 10 years of L&D experience on average) but we actively work to hire from diverse backgrounds to constantly challenge our own status quo.
Create great training and processes
With the right people in place, we work hard to train our internal team not only on the Degreed solution but the learning ecosystem as a whole. We use Degreed, as you would expect, to power this learning and have developed pathways for on-boarding and growth. Our internal culture of learning ensures that the latest content and resources are organically shared across the team. Beyond training, we also invest time in ensuring that the handoff between implementation and customer success teams is seamless, that we have strong implementation methodologies augmented with best practice recommendations. These best practices aren’t hopes and dreams, they are tried and true – acquired from years of experience. We specifically designed our resources to allow our team to truly focus on each customer and creating a white-glove experience.
Standing up a disruptive learning technology solution in an enterprise environment can be surprisingly complex. Doing this well would set us apart from most enterprise technology implementations but that’s not what we would consider “a great experience” yet. It doesn’t fully realize our aspiration of exceptional.
So how do we deliver something more? It’s more than hiring the right service-minded individuals and putting them in a position to be successful with training and smart programs. We want more. And we deliver it. As an example of how we go further, we provide our customers with free services like customer marketing. This is a small dynamic team focused on supporting customers with their own internal marketing of learning to end users. This team provides customers with sample collateral, best practices, hands-on partnership, creative development and swag (everyone loves those socks!) to help our customers deliver high impact launch and change management. As another example, we provide free training including things like the latest insights and exposure to experts in the field so our clients to stay on top of evolving fields like content curation which helps our customers become experts.
Listen and act on feedback
We invest a considerable amount of time in listening to our customers and, most importantly, acting on that feedback to continuously improve our product and services. Twice a year, we facilitate a Client Experience Survey using the Net Promoter Score framework to ask both our L&D partners and end users whether they would recommend Degreed, our services, our product, and our Support.
For each implementation, we survey our L&D partners to ask what worked well and what we could improve upon. For each Support interaction, we ask how we did. But most importantly, we act on this feedback.
As an example, last year our customers told us they wanted better visibility to the Product Roadmap so they could plan right along with Degreed and the future of L&D. Our Product team listened, stepped up, and now not only do we have a customer facing roadmap available but we also host webinars and individuals sessions with customers to share this roadmap. And you guessed it – our clients noticed. In our survey results this year, customers said thank you.
Engage beyond the CX team
Surveys are important but exceptional requires even more. The broader Degreed team including Product, Engineering and Leadership teams actively engage with our customers to listen, learn and then act. Our Chief Product Officer is constantly on the road meeting with customers and listening to inform our roadmap and share our vision for the future of learning. We also facilitate regional user group meetings to get customers together to learn from one another. We facilitate product advisory board meetings and last year we hosted our first annual Client Summit with more than half of our customers attending in person to engage with and learn from one another.
The job is never done…
A moment of honesty. Do we always achieve our aspiration of delivering an exceptional experience? No. There is always more that we can do. In cases where we fall down and don’t deliver the experience we expect, we work hard to quickly course correct, look at root causes and act on feedback to ensure that we are constantly improving and learning from what didn’t work well. Without constant experimentation, without constant learning and growth, we can’t deliver the exceptional experience we aspire to provide.
I am proud to share that our focus on exceptional is working. We have heard, “You set the standard for software vendors” and “Oh, and the Degreed team? They. Are. Everything. The -only- vendor team I’ve ever partnered with that I feel truly cares and always has my back.” Yes, those are direct quotes, and we hear similar anecdotes often. Our customers also recommend us at a level that is consistent with the best in consumer shopping, technology, and travel experience. Our customers continue to partner with Degreed giving us customer retention numbers above 90% and even stronger growth with customers expanding their partnership.
There is always more to do and we will continue to challenge ourselves to go even further we are well on our way to exceptional.