The DroidDevCast is a weekly podcast brought to you by the team at Esper, where we explore all things Android, mobile DevOps, and open source software development. On this episode, Esper Platform Evangelist Rin Oliver spoke with Esper Vice President of Customer Success Chris Stirrat to explore best practices for identifying key pillars of customer obsession, customer retention, and maintaining customer relationships. Later in the episode, they touched on how being proactive, particularly in a cloud-based service landscape, is key to making customers feel valued. 

Customer Delight as a Full-Service Solution

When considering what makes an ideal customer experience for the device management space, Stirrat mentioned that when thinking about what an ideal solution looks like, he considers three key things critical to creating the perfect customer experience:

  1. How easily customers are able to get their devices provisioned
  2. How quickly they can deploy devices
  3. How simply they can keep their applications up-to-date

“We (ask ourselves) how can we make sure that our customer’s full solution is really delighting their own customers? So really, we’re kind of one step removed from their customers, but we need to make sure that they’re able to provide a perfect solution to their customers.”

Finding the perfect solution for your customers is often considered the ideal scenario for marketing and sales professionals. By demonstrating these solutions and attention to detail by solving customer problems, your team can ensure not only that customers newly on-boarded are pleased with your services, but that current and long-term customers are shown that your organization cares about their goals as well. Often, the focus in many sales and marketing teams is slanted towards customer acquisition rather than customer retention. Eventually, that focus shifts to customer retention, Oliver noted, asking what teams should do to nurture those relationships with existing customers further along in the sales pipeline.

“Checking in with customers periodically, I think is key both from a sales and marketing standpoint and a customer success standpoint, so that we make sure that we’re in tune with them. Are they running into issues? Are there issues out of their control, like a device manufacturer? COVID hits and it slows down manufacturing. Just kind of working through those types of situations, making sure that we’re bringing all the expertise we can to the situation. Again, it’s really about checking in periodically, making sure that customers have the ability to roll things out, and they’re able to be successful in what they’re doing.”

Being Proactive in Customer Service

One key factor in creating a first-class customer experience is often sensing a customer’s need before they even realize that they are looking for that particular solution. Being able to anticipate and identify the needs of customers is critical, and even more so in today’s cloud-native landscape. Stirrat noted that in the DevOps space, this is particularly true. While devices may all run Android, there are many different versions of Android, such as AOSP and GMS certified devices, thus, being proactive is the key to success. 

“One thing that we can do to be proactive, is really trying to find problems before a customer does. So for example, we know that maybe the Android 11 update is coming. And so some customers, if they’re using GMS devices and they’re more consumer-based devices that they’re using, the update will actually be controlled by maybe their mobile data provider. And so understanding, okay, what does that mean?” said Stirrat, going on to explain that this means considering the upcoming changes to the operating system, how this will impact typical customer applications, and communicating those changes quickly and efficiently to customers so that they know what to expect.”

Monitoring also plays a key role in being proactive, particularly when it comes to delivering a first-class customer service experience for those cloud-native businesses. 

“If we see via our own monitoring of our cloud, where devices are continually updating their status and things like that, and seeing certain devices having a pattern of issues or something we’ve seen before, being able to proactively alert the customer and make sure that they understand this is going on. […] If we can preemptively say, “Hey, by the way, we’ve seen 10 devices run out of battery.” More typically, the other 2000 in your fleet have not, we can alert them to those particular devices. We can tell them where they’re located, things like that, so that they can proactively address the situation before the customer sees just a dead device.” 

This customer-focused approach is something that is baked into not only Esper’s sales culture, but is company wide, Stirrat went on to explain. Esper Sales and Customer Success team members will often walk new customers through rolling out a large fleet of devices on Esper, which we call provisioning. Stirrat explained that the team at Esper has also implemented a way to track every time a customer provisions a device and it fails, triggering a message to be sent to Slack for our team to be notified that not only is a customer experiencing an issue provisioning their device, but so that we can proactively reach out to them and help them debug it, and also are able to get enough information to see why provisioning failed.

“There’ll be something clearly that’s not even something related to us, but we’ll dive in, we’ll try and help. We’ll help contact the hardware vendor for them if they need that, to make sure that we understand what’s going on there, or help go through its crash logs, many different things like that. And so I think it started initially with the founders, they really put it right in the core tenants of the company, and then I think through hiring and through just watching people’s examples of how far we’ll actually go to help a customer be successful, it’s contagious and it’s been really successful.”

In this Episode of The DroidDevCast: 

00:55 – What would you define as the ideal customer experience in the Android and MDM space?
01:37 – What are some things that sales and marketing teams can do to ensure that they’re focusing on not only acquiring customers, but nurturing their relationships with their existing customer base that they have already?
03:12 – What do you think makes it really special for customers when they’re interacting with a business, especially in the cloud-based services?
05:58 – How Esper handles cloud-based alerts
11:52 – How are we analyzing customer data here at Esper?
14:37 – What are some key takeaways you’d like to offer our listeners who might be hoping for some tips on how to approach customer obsession from a marketing and sales standpoint 

You can read the full transcript of this interview on Simplecast. We’ll be back next week with another exciting episode. In episode ten, we’ll be talking about the rise of 5G in the telecommunications industry, and using Android devices such as the UV350 in the public sector with Jason DePue, VP of Sales at Siyata Mobile, Inc.

As always, be sure to like, subscribe, and listen to the DroidDevCast wherever you get your podcasts from. 

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