I’d like to think my job title sends a clear message that Saba is a different kind of company these days.
More than three months into my role as Chief Customer Officer, I can say without reservations that the title is the real deal – a position with C-Level visibility and responsibility that is laser focused on assuring that at Saba our customers’ success is at the center of everything we do.
Notice I didn’t just say customer, but rather customer success. I think it’s an important distinction.
At Saba, we believe the real game changer is partnering with our customers in ways in which they can ignite transformative change in their organizations that leads to happier, more engaged employees and better business results. For Saba to be the catalyst for that change requires that everyone in our organization adopt a mindset focused on creating and delivering innovative, dynamic and customizable customer solutions.
Proactive, prescriptive and personalized
So it’s not just the account managers, trainers or sales teams on the front lines that are tuned into the voice of the customer. It’s the engineers, the security team, product designers, marketers and number crunchers. It’s everyone who is even remotely connected to delivering Saba’s robust and dynamic talent management offering, Saba Cloud, to our customers.
We’re focused on three key levers to help our customers consistently achieve better results:
- Working proactively with customers: We’re moving from a vendor-customer relationship model to acting as a partner. That means understanding their business, and then pushing relevant resources to them.
- Working prescriptively with customers: We’re focused on enhancing offering unique solutions to address each customer’s specific challenges. That means our team asks the right questions and takes a consultative approach to our customer’s needs.
- Personalize the approach: We identify what is successful about each organization and then help measure and showcase that success. Whether it’s through videos, webinars or case studies, we act as customer advocates, building employee engagement and fostering deeper customer-to-customer engagement.
Drinking our own champagne
Of course, to achieve success on these three fronts requires the capacity to understand our customers on a deeper level. Fortunately, we can gain a genuine understanding of our customer’s experience by the fact that in many ways it resembles our own. Like our customers, we are seeking to transform our company in ways that deepen employee engagement and foster a dynamic, innovative and successful culture.
To facilitate that positive change, we are heavy users of our own product, known internally as Saba@Work. We definitely are drinking our own champagne. The fact we use the same solutions and resources as our customers do adds significant authenticity and insight when we are working with them. It also allows for continuous improvement. We are our own advocates, as well as our own outspoken critics. We encourage open and honest feedback, which fosters an environment that assures our solutions will continue to evolve and improve.
We can see the results. Every day, we’re experiencing the transformative culture shift that our CEO Shawn Farshchi has championed. This transformation within our company has not only energized and engaged our own team, but also created a dynamic in which we now interact with customers in more authentic and meaningful ways. We know first-hand the potential for Saba Cloud to create a more engaged workforce and better business results, and we’re excited to share that success.
Delivering unparalleled customer experience
The change at Saba has not gone unnoticed. Time and again over the last three months, customers have told me they feel a different vibe when working with Saba these days. While in the past they viewed us as a highly siloed organization, they now sense we are one unified company working toward a shared set of goals designed to deliver an unparalleled experience for customers.
I felt the force of that momentum during the second week I was with Saba while attending our @Work 2014 customer conference. Over the course of that week, I had a staggering 43 customer meetings. In my roles at some previous organization that experience might have left me drained and disillusioned. Yet I emerged from those sessions not exhausted, but truly energized and engaged. Customers were excited to be working with Saba and their enthusiasm was contagious.
The capper for me came on the final day of the summit. As we’ve all experienced, the last day of a conference is often a travel day with only a few attendees lingering who couldn’t manage a early flight out of town.
Not on this day, though. At the final session, I remember glancing behind me to see a room packed with customers and Saba representatives. It was so jammed that people were lined up against the back wall. They were excited, energized and engaged. It was awesome.
I knew at that moment I had joined the right company – a decision that is affirmed each day through my conversations with customers. Many of them get a kick out of my title, Chief Customer Officer, but they soon learn that it’s just one of many proof points that affirm that at Saba, our customer is truly at the center of everything we do.