what it is and how it impacts your business – WAU
We are seeking to strengthen our customer-focused culture. And that was how the Customer Guardian project was born. Understand what the customer guardian is and how it directly impacts your business.
The year 2018 ended with important changes being made at Websites Are Us.
We understand that we have reached a level as a company in which it is necessary to look at basic points of our organization, and ensure that we are following the path that will take us to where we want to be in 5, 10, 20 years.
The Customer Guardian project emerged from one of the pillars of this change: that of customers.
Websites Are Us has a clear mission: to enable business and people to grow. And we understand that in order to do that, we need to have a culture that puts our customers and their success at the center of everything we do.
THE Barbara Greggio is our Customer Guardian, and is here to be the primary advocate for customers and their interests.
But, before explaining who she is, and how she impacts your business, you need to explain better why she exists.
The 5 pillars
To put WAU on the path that leads to our goals, Diego Gomes, the company’s CEO, started a project called 100 Day Plan.
For 100 days, the efforts of a large part of the team stayed in structuring processes and developing projects based on 5 pillars:
- People and Leadership;
- Customer Focus;
- Innovation and Scalability;
- Resources and Financing.
Each of these pillars represents a challenge and an opportunity for Websites Are Us and everyone is going through changes in their processes and gaining strength within 100 days.
We’ll cover them more thoroughly in other content, but here, the goal is to tell you a little bit of what’s been done to strengthen our Customer Focus culture.
Customer Focus is not a seven-headed bug. It’s about understanding what your customers do and what they need.
I can talk for hours about how great Websites Are Us is… but who cares? The best testimonial will always come from customers who can show all success that reached.
To listen to them, to have a professional inside representing them and bringing their perspective into the office, we had the idea of the Customer Guardian.
Its objective is to criticize us, find errors and flaws in our processes, and drive corrections.
We want something succinct and pragmatic. The main metric for success in focusing on the customer is quite simple: the renewal rate.
It should be the central goal of every effort for companies that want to have the customer at the center of their culture. Our goal is to increase it and improve our NPS over time.
Our numbers today are good, but not perfect. Our mission is to have perfect numbers, and that, without a doubt, is the metric behind it.
Unhappy customers don’t renew. Of course, our software has yet to evolve in many areas – we take care of the entire content operation, from finding creative talent to the moment the customer publishes the final content.
Customers are free to make choices and can always leave the project. So, we decided to be proactive. That’s what we expect from our Customer Guardian.
Diego Gomes, CEO of Websites Are Us.
The Customer Guardian project is part of a larger whole. We want to be, more and more, a company that has the needs and success of its customers as the focal point of everything we do.
For this, we are developing other projects in this same pillar. See which are some of them below.
Seeking to encourage and reward employees who have the customer as a priority, Customer Hero is an initiative that elects one rocker per month as the one who exceeded his delivery in relation to customers.
To be the Customer Hero of the month, the rocker has to show (himself or by referral) that he did something that had a big impact on the customer’s success, going beyond what is expected of him. And by impact we are not only talking about results, but also about experiences.
With prizes in gifts and bonuses – in addition to the possibility of the rocker being elected Customer Hero of the year, and traveling to meet a partner company of Websites Are Us or of his interest – the project encourages a culture centered on our customers.
The success of our customers goes far beyond our partnership, obviously. The goal of the Spotlight project is to tell the incredible stories behind our partners’ businesses.
The idea is that companies are made of people, challenges and overcoming, and in the videos produced in this project we will tell how our customers got to where they are today.
Customer Guardian goals
In the midst of this endeavor to put the customer’s needs on top of everything we do, the Customer Guardian project came up and received an owner: Bárbara Greggio.
It aims to put the finger on the wound, and go deep into the mistakes we make with our customers. To make it clear, your missions are:
- centralize all the problems that our customers have in relation to Websites Are Us;
- document and analyze how they happen, their causes and impacts;
- report to the entire company or to the areas involved;
- develop action plans to solve problems;
- create ways to prevent recurring problems;
- help to insert, in the company culture, the philosophy of solving customers’ problems.
We realized that our errors were spreading across areas, teams and teams of each client.
Problems that have the same cause were receiving different solutions, each requiring its own time and individual effort, that is, wasted resources.
It was necessary, therefore, that everyone had a single owner. Someone to group, analyze and find solutions that would help the whole team.
In addition to causing problems for customers, we were failing to build a truly customer centric team.
Customer Guardian’s role is not only to act on mistakes, but to ensure that our company as a whole has more attention and proactivity in ensuring that they don’t happen.
And this is not only good for customers, but for employees themselves. Working in an environment that delivers constant problems to its customers undermines the well-being of any worker.
Think about what it’s like to work with constant criticism, and dealing with problems that your services cause daily. If Bárbara does that today, it is for the good of the entire company.
I think it was clear why, but how does she do it?
How Customer Guardian works
To fix and prevent errors, and there are many, we must first find them. The first part of Bárbara’s action process is to map where and how we went wrong.
Mapping and documentation
This part is only possible if our Customer Guardian is present every time we make mistakes and we need to apologize.
For this, a specific email was created ([email protected]), which is the responsibility of Barbara.
This is not the only way she has access to the mistakes we make with partners, but it is the most recurring one.
It works like this: whenever an error is found, either by us or by the client, a WAU analyst must open contact with the client, to explain what happened, and ensure that everything within our reach is being accomplished.
This contact usually takes place by email, and that’s where Customer Guardian comes in. The analyst puts the email [email protected] in a blind copy, notifying Barbara.
Upon receiving the notification, she reads the entire conversation in order to better understand the error, and documents it, recording important information, such as:
- customer impacted by the error;
- row: we separate our customers into segments based on the number of employees in the company;
- person who reported the error;
- what was the error itself: what the error was specifically;
- error category: how to group errors into common categories for future analysis;
- cause: root of the error – often involves more in-depth research, with several internal teams;
- cause category: the cause may stem from human, tool or process failures;
- internal error location: which Websites Are Us team was responsible for the delivery where the error occurred;
- impact for the client;
- error level: evaluation that helps to prioritize your actions (I’ll talk more about it);
- solutions: vary according to the level of the error.
I will give an example from a recent case.
A customer was concerned about receiving multiple emails telling him that tasks on the platform were expiring and notified his success analyst.
Expired tasks are content intended for the client’s strategy, which were launched on the platform (usually by the client himself), taken by a freelancer from our talent network, but which for some reason delayed and had expired.
It is important for the analyst to know if tasks are expiring, as this can cause delays in their publication and affect the strategy as a whole.
However, the analysts responsible for this strategy were not being notified, the client being the only one to receive the task expired email.
This happened because these emails were configured to be sent only to the person who created the task on the platform, in this case, the client. This is the cause of the error, derived from our tool, the platform.
After doing the investigation and getting to the root of the error, Bárbara has a much clearer picture of its impact on the client, but she still needs to define the level of the error in order to prioritize or not its solution.
The level of any error is calculated using the GUT methodology, which has been adapted to our situation. The image below shows how this works and what is the priority level for each result:
As I said, we still make a lot of mistakes, so prioritizing according to severity, urgency and tendency helps us focus efforts and deal with the problems that most impact our clients’ results.
In this case, it looked like this:
- Severity: 2 out of 3 – an error that can cause delays, but that usually didn’t reach that much.
- Urgency: 3 out of 3 – because it can cause delays, it is a top priority.
- Trend: 3 out of 3 – happened to some customers and would certainly happen to others again.
The problem level was 8 out of 9, placing it as a high priority level. This means that immediate, long-term and preventive solutions should be found (in this case the long-term solution is also the preventive one).
Understanding the root of the error and defining its level and solutions, Bárbara documented the failure as follows:
- date: date the error was reported;
- customer impacted by the error: customer x, impacted by the error;
- row: customer queue x;
- person who reported the error: internal employee who reported the error to her, in this case the successful analyst responsible for this client;
- what was the error itself: the customer got in touch with concern due to receiving emails for expired tasks from the platform. In addition, there was a delay in deliveries;
- error category: delay in delivering content or agenda;
- cause: the platform only notifies you that tasks have expired for whoever creates the task, most of the time the client. Successful and content analysts are unaware that this has happened and cannot act on the problem;
- cause category: tool failure;
- internal error location: ccontent – production (team and sub-team responsible for delivery where the error occurred);
- impact for the client: possible delay in the publication of content, which directly impacts its results;
- error level: 8;
- solutions: Immediate. Check all the contents and ensure that they will be produced as soon as possible, prioritizing those that are late. Explain the error to those involved and show the measures that are being taken so that it does not happen again.
- preventive: the platform must send the expired task email to all rockers participating in that task, regardless of whether they created it or not. In addition, the customer will only receive this email if he wants to.
Each problem notified to Bárbara has to go through these stages of investigation, prioritization and documentation. The result of documenting all problems generates data that allows you to proceed to the next step.
Analysis and construction of reports
The example used in the step above, was classified as level 8, out of 9. This means that it is at the maximum level of prioritization and was promptly resolved.
But what is done with cases that have low or medium priority? And how to understand how problems are divided between teams and levels?
This part of Customer Guardian’s work is focused on compiling documented errors, and presenting them to the company, focusing on the areas in which they arise, affect or depend on to be resolved.
The goal is to generate information based on the data collected, enabling managers to understand how their team impacts and is impacted by the errors that happen in our relationship with customers, as well as how to solve each problem.
The report is delivered once a month, and Bárbara is available if any team needs to be reported in a shorter time.
In the example above it is possible to see some analysis of the documented data, showing how the problems are divided by the company. Below, how is the progress of the solution for the errors:
The monthly presentation of reports for each team does not only help with the resolution of problems and management of teams and processes.
This moment contributes to forming a culture of raising and discussing problems that we cause for our customers.
We still cannot prove this effect with numbers, but there is already a consensus among the teams that the culture of focusing on the client is gradually strengthening.
And, as the problems raised need to be solved, understand more about the missing step.
Development of action plans
After all the documentation, analysis and dissemination work, our Customer Guardian actively participates in the elaboration of action plans to solve the problems.
Whether looking for immediate solutions or helping managers to better understand what their teams deliver and how they avoid mistakes, the work developed in the previous steps is essential to support any decision.
Barbara told me that this is a complicated step to be described accurately, after all, each mistake demands a different solution, involving different teams.
Problems on the platform – such as the case of expired content – demand meetings with the Customer Success, Content and Product teams, to arrive at a solution that is specifically developed by the Product team.
As each team has a different dynamic, problems can take as long as 40 days to be solved. The important thing is that it is happening, even with different speeds.
But after all, who wants to work with problems?
As I said in the objectives part of this project: Have you ever thought about what it’s like to work all the time with criticism and having your company’s mistakes pointed out?
Perhaps some of you, readers, understand this situation, for working with areas that deal with it. But I honestly can’t imagine myself in that position. Therefore, it is worth understanding what motivates Barbara to wake up every day to hear how we made mistakes in some delivery.
Customer Guardian is not her first role here at Websites Are Us. Before that, Barbara was on the support team, and helped clients with difficulties on the WAU platform. It’s not a coincidence, right?
Advertising, she always liked the part of interacting directly with customers, which led her to the support area.
But he was already interested in the strategic and organizational management and this aroused his desire to get involved with projects in the area of organizational culture.
A vacancy that brought together more interests could hardly appear, and when we started looking for a Customer Guardian internally, she applied promptly.
Today, Bárbara works developing and improving the processes of mapping and solving problems, and aims at an increasing impact on Websites Are Us as a whole!
If you were curious to understand more about his work, or just discovered the right person to give feedback on our products or services, Bárbara’s email is [email protected]
If you liked the way we deal with our customers, and thought about becoming one, just click on the link below to speak to a consultant and understand how we can help your company.