Note: This post was published on Slack’s blog.
With Slack Connect, Qumulo creates an innovative, one-on-one customer success program that quickly resolves issues and generates fans
Customer support is first and foremost about solving customer problems. The key is to provide trusted support that resolves those problems quickly, and also delivers an inspiring customer experience—which can lead to customer loyalty.
This is the kind of customer relationship that Qumulo, a cloud-native file data platform, is passionate about. It’s also the reason they see an incredibly high Net Promoter Score (NPS) each quarter, which reflects customers’ likelihood of recommending the platform. By using Slack Connect to directly connect customers to support engineers, Qumulo’s teams quickly and securely collaborate with customers, utilize customer data and personalize every interaction.
“We believe that by being strong advocates for our customers, they become strong advocates for Qumulo,” says Chris Lisica, the director of customer success. “This dedication to our customer success continues to pay off for both our customers and for our business.”
Instead of slow, impersonal phone assistance, Qumulo’s customer success team relies on Slack channels—a single place to share files and messages—to stand out with:
- An NPS score over 80 for seven quarters in a row (50 or higher is considered excellent)
- An increase in Slack customer engagement to 88%, and a near-perfect resolution rate for issues raised in Slack
- All-time highs for both agent-response time and time to resolution
- Improved internal onboarding for customer success managers (CSMs) and customer success engineers (CSEs)
“We have never been a vague face behind the phone,” says Mandy Evans, one of Qumulo’s CSMs. “Instead we partner in our customers’ successes. When challenges are being faced, we reach a resolution collectively, and Slack is a key component to that entire process.”
“Without Slack, we wouldn’t be able to build such strong and trusted relationships with our customers.”
Customer Success Manager, Qumulo
To that end, Qumulo leverages Slack to build personal relationships with customers, share knowledge and insights with the entire Qumulo customer success team, and strengthen cross-functional expertise among engineers and CSMs. Throughout the past four years, Qumulo’s Slack message volume has grown fourfold to an average of 900 monthly messages exchanged. This showcases increased engagement, efficiency in response time and, ultimately, ongoing customer success.
What’s more, in 2016, fewer than 100 active Qumulo customers posted per week in shared Slack channels. Today, nearly a third of all customers are active in Slack at any given time.
Cross-functional teams expand their expertise to solve issues faster
Solving customer problems takes a village that includes not just CSMs, but CSEs and the members of the product development team, who can quickly get to the heart of any issue.
Qumulo, which manages support queries through its customer success team, previously used Google Chat. But the tool wasn’t much better than phone or email support. It didn’t allow the customer success team to bring experts into conversations, or capture data that could help improve future work.
“One of our key competitive differentiators is the ease in which we can ‘stack the experts,’” Lisica says. “As a customer support team, we know what Qumulo users need, but we require the flexibility to deliver the right problem-solvers to customers the moment they reach out to us.”
With Slack Connect, the customer success team can pull in cross-functional experts from across the company. The process starts with a message to a CSM via the customer’s private Slack channel. The CSM triages the issue and adds relevant CSEs to the thread, allowing the two parties to talk directly about the problem—and solve it faster.
Other departments also have access to the channel, giving them visibility as needed. The customer success team can easily stay informed of how Qumulo is operating in the customer’s production environment, the product development teams can gather feedback about new product features, and account teams can stay informed on customer workflows.
This kind of speed and agility came in handy when the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) needed quick access to additional data resources for Covid-19 pandemic modeling. Qumulo’s CSMs used their Slack channel with IHME to help the institute find new data-processing strategies—and analyze 20 times more data than normal.
Customer support gets an extra boost from key integrations with Zendesk, Qumulo’s support ticketing solution, and PagerDuty, which helps CSMs manage escalation workflows. Qumulo also uses GreetBot to welcome new customers: The onboarding assistant shows them how to reach out for support, and sends key links about support workflows.
Building personalized customer relationships in Slack channels
The “aha” moment for Qumulo’s customer success team was realizing that they could use Slack Connect to securely communicate with each customer using private channels. But there’s also #customer, a Slack channel open to all Qumulo customers via multi-channel guest access. Currently about 1,600 people have joined to ask questions or get advice from other users.
“Every customer is invited to talk to each other about all things Qumulo,” Lisica says. “We’re not hiding anything.”
In over 500 public and private Slack channels, CSMs can proactively reach out to Qumulo customers and ask about looming issues, resolving them before they escalate. This proactive resolution strategy is key to helping Qumulo better serve its customers.
“We want every customer to be an advocate and promote their experience and success with Qumulo,” Lisica says. “And the way you create advocates is by making every interaction an amazing, fulfilling and resolution-focused experience.”
Boosting NPS scores with positive customer feedback in Slack
Qumulo’s customers love having expert help at their fingertips. In fact, they rave about how important Slack is to their ability to use Qumulo effectively, saying it’s easy to use and feels like a casual, fun place to ask for assistance.
The personalized, organic relationships that Qumulo builds in Slack are reflected in its high NPS score, which was already impressive at 84 pre-pandemic and has risen to 89 in late 2020. CSMs often field positive feedback from customers, boosting Qumulo’s positive score. “It’s a testament to how well the company is engaging with customers,” Lisica says.
Considering the new and unforeseen remote work challenges of the past nine months, this reflects the unique synergy between Qumulo and its customers.
“Our customers love Slack. Every quarter when we do our NPS survey, they tell us, ‘Slack support is the best thing ever. Please don’t get rid of it.’ ”
Director of Customer Success, Qumulo
Onboarding channel starts employees off on the right foot
On day one, new Qumulo CSMs and CSEs are invited to a dedicated Slack channel, #CSM_success. “It’s a one-stop shop for asking all of their questions,” Lisica says. “It takes employees to the next level to ensure they are successful.”
New CSMs also have visibility on every customer account channel, not just the ones they manage. “It’s the best way for everyone to get to know their own teams as well as our product and customer base,” Lisica says. “They can share knowledge with each other and get a sense of our culture and energy.”
From amplifying customer relationships and onboarding processes to stronger cross-functional collaboration and alignment, Qumulo is able to do it all, with a little help from Slack.