TaskRay Reviews: Deloitte’s 2019 Enterprise Customer Success Study and Outlook

This year, Deloitte conducted an enterprise customer success (CS) study of 50 CS leaders from enterprise-scale technology businesses with annual revenues greater than $500M. From this research, they compiled a  comprehensive report on the current state of CS, and predicted the future trends for the industry.

In our second installment of TaskRay Reviews, we’ve put together a list of the three major takeaways from this important report so you can easily apply it to you and your business.

Here’s what you need to know:

#1: CS Is Now a Mainstream Practice and Is Driving Tangible Value

As the shift towards a flexible consumption model has spread far and wide throughout the tech/SaaS landscape, customers have become more empowered to make their software work for them, fitting both their needs and budgets. This demand for agility and flexibility has raised the bar for customer expectations, pushing CS principles to the forefront of successful adoption. Of the surveyed leaders’ companies, approximately 70 percent had CS teams that were two or more years old (p. 4). 

These well-established teams, and even the other 30 percent, all experience great success from implementing CS principles: more than half of respondents saw:

“10 percent higher up-sell and cross-sell revenue, renewal rates, and annual recurring revenue” (p. 4).

The latter of which saw the most positive impact, with nearly a third of companies gaining a 20 percent or higher increase (p. 4). One thing is clear from the data: CS, when done right, is having a measurable impact across revenue streams company-wide, so why isn’t it a company-wide philosophy yet? 

#2: The CS Mindset Has Yet To Become an Organization-Wide Philosophy

The survey found that the biggest challenge faced by CS leaders right now is nailing-down a cross-functional operating model, which makes it more difficult for other parts of the enterprise to wholly adopt the CS philosophy. CS leaders were also quick to admit that their primary focus is on implementing CS principles throughout the post-sales process: onboarding, adoption, retention, and growth. In fact, an average of 61% of their time is spent on these four aspects of the customer journey (p. 8). 

Top 4 Areas CS Leaders are focused on implementing CS Principles:

  • Onboarding

  • Adoption

  • Retention

  • Growth

However, this report makes it abundantly clear that in order to have a truly successful adoption of the CS philosophy, CS functions must connect different parts of the customer journey and, in the process, bind together internal teams that would otherwise not be so intertwined. The exclusion of product development, sales, and marketing from the agenda should be considered a continuity — meaning that a consistent view of the customer across the company isn’t possible without infusing CS values at every stage in their journey.

#3: CS Is Not Yet A Key Driver in the Boardroom


In case the first two takeaways haven’t emphasized it enough, here is the underlying theme of the report again: customer success is more than just focusing on improving retention and renewal metrics. The fact that CS is still not a key talking point in boardrooms across the tech landscape is probably a testament to the fact that business leaders continue to believe that CS is no more than a strategy for retention and renewal. CS-centric organizations have a proven track record of greater success and monetization than organizations that do not prioritize CS. 

For example, there is a measurable improvement to overall customer health for companies that have adopted at least some CS principles, but significantly more so in companies that prioritize CS everywhere.

In company’s who prioritize CS, “75 percent of these CS functions track the rise in renewal rates and have demonstrated a double-digit increase; 67 percent of them have seen a similar rise in the annual recurring revenue”, while only 43 percent of non-prioritizer companies have had a double-digit increase in renewal rates and ARR (p. 6).

TaskRay is proud to be a leader in customer onboarding and success. For companies looking to revolutionize the way they think about customer success and become company-wide adopters of this philosophy, TaskRay can help you get there. Schedule a call with us here to learn what we can do for your business.

And if you’re still questioning how crucial CS can be to the overall health and success of your business, check out the full report here.

The Top 4 Reasons Your Team Will Love Using TaskRay

Though our results speak for themselves, here at TaskRay, so do our customers. TaskRay is designed to help you and your team be more productive, efficient, and collaborative. Don’t just take our word for it! Hear for yourself what our users say about why their teams love our customer onboarding solutions. 

1. Plan and execute onboarding projects more smoothly and efficiently. 

TaskRay is Salesforce native, which provides teams with a single source of truth for all their data. Some TaskRay users like to say, “If it’s not in TaskRay, it doesn’t exist!” And with TaskRay’s multiple views, users can select which interface fits the best with the work at hand. Users can view their individually-assigned work in MyWork, entire project timelines in Gantt-like Plan View or overall project performance in Portfolio View. Efficiency and teamwork have never been easier to achieve.

“TaskRay has a WONDERFUL user interface. Setting up projects is fast and easy. 

The interface is modern and fun to use.” 

-Adrian D., Whetstone Inc. 

2. We help you build an onboarding relationship, not just a process.

With TaskRay, companies streamline their customers’ journeys with simple, efficient, and relationship-focused guidance. From prospect to repeat customer status, Taskray drastically improves your customer onboarding process by fostering accountability, transparency, and collaboration. 

“It is really refreshing to work with a company that understands the meaning of a true partnership. Trust is the foundation of customer and partner relationships, and TaskRay is one of the few software vendors that I've worked with that places such importance on that value.”

-Matt G., Conversive

3. TaskRay makes customization intuitive and easy.

Taskray optimizes UX with helpful visuals that place all of the information you need on one screen. You can have multiple projects running simultaneously and use filters to visually track tasks and project status. Users can create templates, customize their view with drag and drop features, and create a layout unique to them. 

“TaskRay has saved our nonprofit so much time! We are able to organize our work in a whole new way, making us so much more productive. Thank you TaskRay!!

-Shannon C.

4. Enjoy seamless handoffs, with all of your information available on one shared platform.

We create systems to ensure your customers receive a consistently excellent onboarding experience that is visible to management. In addition to tracking task status and project performance, Taskray facilitates transitions between teams—from sales to customer onboarding to customer success teams. Say goodbye to incomplete handoffs and hello to smooth handoffs.

 “Amazing application with lots of great built-in functions and best of all, it's all within Salesforce. It's simple, easy to use and was incredibly easy to customize the application to fit our business requirements and processes.”

-Ahmed N., Tier1CRM  

 

Ready to be one of our many happy customers? Reach out here to learn more about our customer onboarding solutions.


Where In The World Is TaskRay?

We are on the move! Over the next few months, you will find the TaskRay team all over the U.S. and U.K at the biggest and most fun customer success events in 2019. Check out the list of events below to see if you can join us:

Pulse World Tours

Gainsight’s leading customer success conference tour is back this year and featuring more industry experts, networking opportunities, and chances to learn about the latest best-practices than ever. TaskRay is proud to be a showcase sponsor for these events, continuing our partnership with Gainsight from our Customer Success eBook published earlier this year. We’ll be at the following three legs of the tour:

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  • Seattle: Join us on Thursday, October 3, 2019 at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel from 1:00 PM – 7:00 PM. At this event, you’ll hear speakers from Gainsight, Tableau, and more. Register here.

  • Boston: Join us on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel from 1:00 PM – 7:30 PM. Here, you’ll get the chance to listen to speakers like the CEO of Gainsight, the SVP of Customer Success at HubSpot, and more. Register here.

  • Atlanta: Join us on Thursday, October 24, 2019 at the InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta from 1:00 PM – 7:30 PM. At this event, you’ll have another chance to hear from the Gainsight CEO Nick Mehta, as well as from others at BetterCloud, CareerBuilder, and more. Register here.

  • London: Join us in London on November 5-6, 2019 at the Olympia London for the Europe’s premier customer success conference. Register here.

Dreamforce 2019

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Salesforce’s pioneering conference delivers on their promise to unite and inspire trailblazers in business–and this year should be no different. As a Salesforce-native software, TaskRay already loves what the Salesforce platform has to offer, but this conference brings it to a whole other level. Join us in San Francisco from November 19-22 for four days of fresh inspiration, giving back, and more. Register, and check out the ROI calculator based on what previous attendees have reported here

If you plan on attending any of these events, let us know. Shoot us an email at marketing@taskray.com and let’s connect in person this fall.






Q&A with TaskRay’s VP of Sales and Customer Success

This week’s customer success team spotlight falls on our VP of Sales and Customer Success. We talk a lot about customer success, but what does this mean for our sales team? At TaskRay, our sales and customer success groups coexist under one roof, led by Mike Davis, an expert in driving sales and supporting customer success. 

Could you discuss the relationship between sales and customer success?

Throughout the 2010s, everyone has diligently followed a similar model that’s been focused on funnel optimization for sales. That playbook has been written, it’s tried and true for at least the last decade, with maybe only three variations. With customer success coming in strong moving into the 2020s, sales is going to start operating a lot more like customer success in the coming years. 

From a personnel standpoint, we’re also seeing that buyers are actively avoiding talking with salespeople. They want to deal with online bots rather than talk to an actual person who is trying to sell them something. However, people will want to talk to somebody that's going to help them reduce their risk in any sort of purchase and really listen to their needs. So I think sales will continue to develop more of the customer success plays on the pre-sales basis.

What do you think the biggest changes in customer success will be in the next 5 years?

Until recently, business leaders had been really focused on perfecting sales and marketing playbooks. When everyone kind of came to the conclusion that these were all well-written, business leaders’ attention turned to customer retention. It started off and has continued with bodies just being thrown at the task. What’s missing has been a more formulaic approach to the entirety of customer success, including retention. I think that over the next few years there’s going to be a lot of emphasis on scaling business practices and really outlining a formulaic approach to each segment of customers. It’ll ultimately be about giving low-touch customers a high-touch experience without adding unnecessary headcount to your customer success team. 

What do you find most exciting about operating within the Salesforce ecosystem?

Getting into that ecosystem! There is a ton of room for expansion within this platform and endless reach opportunities. For us, it’s really a force multiplier because we can fill a logical gap in this otherwise very comprehensive platform. It’s great finding these pockets within the greater Salesforce ecosystem in which people are asking, “So what happens to this customer after they become a customer?”  

What TaskRay feature do you use the most?

The handoff technology that we’re doing is just fantastic–I use it every day. It’s going to become the standard in the sales/customer success world. It’s crucial to be able to capture critical information ahead of closing the deal so nothing falls through the cracks. Customers hate repeating themselves, so when they have to tell three different people on three different teams the same thing, it’s really frustrating. But our handoff technology allows you to hold onto all that information you collect during the sales process and pass it along down the line for the duration of your customer’s journey.


Summer eBook Blog Series Part 4: Investing in Your Future With Customer Success

Great companies know that providing a first-class experience to all customers is achieved by investing both time and money into customer success strategies. The pay-offs from this investment are substantial and growing.  

A recent study shows that by 2020, customer experience will officially surpass both price and product as the primary differentiator among businesses. Despite this, it is estimated that only 37 percent of business leaders have a dedicated budget for improving customer success. The time to get ahead of the curve is now. 

In other words, value-based customer success will be the game-changer for businesses moving forward. Here are three ways to infuse value-based customer success into your organization and your business relationships:

Modeling from the Top Down

Let’s use the example of a first-class flight experience. Everyone from the gate agents to the flight attendants are wholly dedicated to the quality of your first-class experience. Your company leadership should similarly be modeling their customer success values and holding themselves and everyone else accountable for reaching customer success goals. The best way to instill customer success as a value cohesively throughout your business is to ensure that executives are both practicing and preaching its importance. 


Providing Bottom-Up Support

Achieving and maintaining customer success requires an ongoing investment in the right tools, systems, teams, and training. More specifically, it is crucial that your business is allocating enough resources to support team members who are interacting with customers on a daily basis. A great way to do this is to provide teams with playbooks that clearly outline their priorities, the company’s values, and how customer success is at the heart of it all. Priorities should center around fostering those client relationships and improving customer experiences. In turn, they should feel empowered to think two steps ahead, proactively identify risks, and help their customers get to value faster and more effectively.


Implementing Strategic Financial Incentives

In order to successfully improve customer experience initiatives and deliver a luxe experience, it is important to reward good relationships by creating a financial incentive. Focus on two key audiences to structure incentives around: Customer Success teams (including sales and customer onboarding) and customers. 

Internally, you can create incentives that unlock when a customer reaches their stated outcomes at various points in their journey. Do so by structuring internal variable compensation for your team members around key stages in the customer journey. Your team will associate these incentives more closely with customer achievements–when one wins, they both do. 

Externally, the most beneficial incentives for a customer come from giving them even more stake in their own success with your business. Encourage them to hit the ground running through their process by providing incentives such as money back (percentage off or lump sum) or in the form of a free service or training. They’ll be satisfied with the returns, and you’ll have moved them through their processes much more efficiently.

At TaskRay, we know how crucial it is to deliver first-class onboarding and handoff experiences to your customers. Our software makes it easy to enjoy insightful visibility into your processes and gain a step-by-step view of each customer’s journey to maximize their success.

 Interested in learning more? Download our free eBook at taskray.com/handoffs.

Talk with TaskRay: A Q&A With Director of Customer Success, Sunny Harmon

Q&A with TaskRay’s Director of Customer Success, Sunny Harmon

Here at TaskRay, we believe in practicing what we preach. Our robust customer success team is at the heart of ensuring our own customers feel supported and find value throughout every stage of their journey with us. In a multi-part blog series, we’re highlighting a few of the very important people behind TaskRay’s customer success strategy. First on our list is Director of Customer Success, Sunny Harmon. 

How did you build a career in customer success?

Growing up, I had a variety of different customer service and customer experience jobs. I managed the front-end of a Home Depot, then I interned at Disney and worked on how to provide people visiting the parks and resorts different kinds of experiences. At Digital Globe, which does all the imaging for Google Earth, I really solidified my interest in customer success. It was very fulfilling to help customers reach their goals and be successful. 

However, it wasn’t until I started working for a SaaS startup that customer success was really even defined. It was interesting seeing that shift because we had an influx of customers and all of a sudden we wanted to start paying close attention to ensuring each and every customer was getting value from our product right away. I started the onboarding program at this company, which eventually led me to another startup where I also started an onboarding program. At that company, we actually used TaskRay to manage our customer journeys and operational efficiencies, and shortly thereafter I joined the TaskRay team.  

What are the biggest trends in customer success currently?

One of the biggest trends in the last two years has been a major expansion of customer success software. Even before I began working for TaskRay, there were a lot of players in the mix, but you can pretty easily weed out the ones that are industry-specific or don’t actually offer all that they say they do. For example, TaskRay is really the only onboarding software that is native to Salesforce. A lot of others offer integrations, but you can run into a lot of compatibility issues with those. 

What do people get wrong about customer success vs. customer service?

Having worked in both customer service and customer success, I’ve heard a lot of misconceptions about these two. People often think that customer success is just adding a layer of adoption support to customer service. In this cyclical process, you get a contract, you deliver, then you seek renewal. But adding adoption support, like a dedicated onboarding process and team, does not automatically equate to an adequate customer success strategy. 

Customer success is more proactive; it’s about making sure that you have mutually beneficial goals and are facilitating alignment between the client and the organization. It’s ensuring that the customer is continually receiving value from your product, and this is based on what they desire to get out of the product, not necessarily what you think they should get out of it. There’s a saying that customer success is trying to give value, customer service is trying to make them smile. We’re definitely in the value business, but that usually leads to happy customers as well. 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received in your industry?

Listen. Listen to what customers are saying. Ask them questions, and genuinely listen to what they have to say. Onboarding is especially a critical time for this, because a lot of times, the customer will be trying to communicate something that is a requirement for them, but if it’s not a marker or a requirement for you, you risk just brushing past it. It’s so important to listen and know when to hone in on something a customer is saying to make sure you don’t implement the wrong thing.


Summer eBook Blog Series Part 3: Setting Up Your Process For Success

A Temkin Group study found that companies bringing in an annual revenue of $1 billion can expect to increase their revenue by an average of $700 million within just 3 years by investing in customer experience. 

With that type of ROI, businesses of all sizes stand to gain a lot by investing in customer experience through revamping onboarding and customer success processes. Optimizing processes for success will minimize issues and maximize return. We’ve broken down three key steps for perfecting systems that will make this overhaul seem more achievable. 

Step 1: Create Comprehensive Customer Journey Maps

In order to fix a problem, you first have to be able to see the problem. This step is all about transparency in processes and shining a light on the current state of the customer journey. 

Start by mapping out the current process for each stage of the customer journey. Whether it’s done on Post-It notes or across a whiteboard, writing down each step of the journey—no matter how trivial—forces teams to give a truly comprehensive picture. It is important to note not just each step in the process, but how customers actually move between steps. What type of communication is provided to notify them of the next stage? Will their primary point of contact change? And if so, how is this handoff managed? 

Step 2: Send in the SWOT Team

With your customer journey map in hand, the next step to a full process makeover is a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis. It is important to first review these charts internally and try to glean any feedback or insights you can from your team. 

Next, shift your focus directly to your customers by conducting qualitative and quantitative surveys, calls, and other outreach. Focus on targeting customer satisfaction metrics, reviewing online feedback, and any other qualitative sources you can access. Asking for honest feedback when talking to your customers is critical because it is a fundamental driver of change and improvements (and you wont know what they like or don’t like, if you don’t ask!). 

Finally, you’ll review the data you’ve collected: CSAT scores; review sites; churn, renewal, and expansion rates; and product adoption and usage rates for insights.

From this step, you are primed with the right information to innovate and refine your processes and, if need be, overhaul each stage of your customers’ journey. 

Step 3: Refine and Innovate

The final stage in the process is to reconvene the team, involve leadership, and delve into what is slowing or impeding a successful process. After hearing from customers, their feedback should be top of mind. This, coupled with your fresh ideas and customer journey maps, will enable your team to have an in-depth discussion about what your new process should look like, how long they should take, and how they can be individually adjusted for each client. Rework the steps you took in creating your initial map, but now these changes and new ideas should be informed by your client data in order to create the most robust, frictionless customer experience possible. Like a good spring cleaning, revamping your processes will make your handoffs feel fresh, maneuverable, and smooth. 

At TaskRay, we know how crucial it is to offer seamless onboarding and handoff experiences to your customers. Our software makes it easy to enjoy insightful visibility into your processes and gain a step-by-step view of each customer’s journey to maximize their success. 

Interested in learning more? Download our free eBook at taskray.com/handoffs and stay tuned for Part 4 of this series on ‘Investing in Your Future With Customer Success.’


How to Improve your Onboarding Program though TaskRay’s Template Performance

By Sunny Harmon, TaskRay Director of Customer Success

Are you considering using the new Template Performance feature in the June 2019 release?

Reviewing performance is one of the most important aspects of a successful onboarding program. How do you drive customers to value quickly without understanding where in the process customers are successful, where they get blocked or delayed?  

While you can get this information through a combination of Salesforce reports and your TaskRay implementation, it has gotten much easier with the new Template Performance View released this June. This new view is a quick and easy way to understand performance right within TaskRay—without the need for multiple Salesforce reports. 

The TaskRay Onboarding team will be incorporating the new Template Performance feature into our internal process and we wanted to share a behind the scenes look at how we’ll do this.  

Step 1: Our “why” — we want better insights on template performance

Let’s start with the “why?”. Why should the TaskRay Onboarding Team move to Template Performance View to analyze our process? What do we hope to accomplish by using this feature? 

Internally, we offer several onboarding programs and need to understand performance across all onboarding templates and task groups in use. We also want to make informed decisions based on real data to improve these programs. And finally, we want to understand commonly overdue tasks, blocked tasks, and tasks completed ahead of schedule (in order to achieve the above goals). 

Step 2: Defining requirements and designing our own solution 

In order to justify a change in our process, we wanted a solution that tracked performance across all templates and time. It also needed include new, existing, and completed/archived projects, and as such, show performance for in-flight and completed projects. It was also important to us that we could select timeframes for reviewing performance, like specific date ranges. 

There were several solutions that could have been used to meet our requirements. Below are our definitions of what we needed, a high-level summary and the solutions we implemented. 

We first needed to define what it means for a project to be “Complete”. This definition is important because it determines when a project is set to “Complete” in TaskRay and each project must have the recently-added “Completed” checkbox to be reflected in Template Performance View. We determined that our definition of “Complete” is when a project reaches 100% Progress in TaskRay. 

Once we defined what “Complete” meant to us, we had to determine how we would mark projects as “Complete” moving forward. We had three options to choose from: 

  1. Manually check the “Complete” box on a project upon its completion (Note: the“Complete” field must be added to the TaskRay Project Layout pages for this box to appear). This is the easiest option.

  2. Import the Customer Onboarding Completion Flow - bonus you can implement the Onboarding Score to increase the reporting capabilities (We chose this one). 

  3. Create an automation based on our own definition of “Complete”. This is a more complex option. 

And finally, we had to decide how we would update all the existing projects that are completed. Similar to how we defined what “Complete” meant to our team, this step also requires deciding whether you want to see metrics for previously completed projects and if so, how you will access that information. Again, we had three options to choose from: 

  1. Do nothing and exclude all previous projects from Template Performance View. This did not meet our requirements, but is the easiest option

  2. Use the TaskRay utility which updates all projects with 100% progress with: (We chose this one). The utility marks the “Completed” checkbox as “True”  and sets the “Actual Completed Date” to the “Estimated End Date” (this was originally known as the Project End Date). 

  3. Use a data loading tool to update the above fields based on your definition of “Completed”. This is the most complex option.

Step 3: Train the team 

Even though the update to our process involves just a few minor adjustments so that projects are marked complete, training is always recommended to ensure everyone is on the same page. 

Once we’ve completed training on the appropriate aspects, the final step is creating a plan to review the metrics and determine how we’ll use them. This will be done in two ways: 

  1. Monthly reviews of all in-flight projects will help us uncover where customers might be blocked or delayed or where they are advancing quickly. Having these tactical discussions with the onboarding team will help us move customers forward and remove blockers. 

  2. Quarterly reviews of all completed projects to discuss how we can holistically improve our onboarding program. This will help us find quick wins like template modifications to account for more accurate ordering of tasks or identify areas ripe for additional training resources. 

Additionally, we can use this information to work on strategic initiatives and determine where we might create additional offerings in order to better support specific products or customer types, and review performance data. 

There are many options when implementing new June release features into your existing TaskRay workflows and I hope it was helpful to hear how we internally transitioned to use the new feature.  If you have questions on using a new feature, our support team is a great resource.

Behind the Scenes of the June 2019 Executive Insights Release

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A conversation with TaskRay VP of Product and Marketing, Jamie Cole

With TaskRay’s June 2019 release came new groundbreaking capabilities for executives and leaders. The ideas behind this release have been in the works for the last year, and one of the people at the helm has been our VP of Marketing & Product Jamie Cole. In today’s blog, Jamie gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the ideation and product innovation processes behind this release. 

How did the idea behind the June 2019 Executive Insights release come to be?

Last summer, we began surveying our client base in an effort to help us better understand what our customers valued in our product, and what we could expand upon. One of our big “a-ha” moments in talking to our customers was a story that we heard over and over again.

Our customers had been able to go along with a sort-of cobbled together system, whether it was spreadsheets or Google Sheets or some off-platform, low-cost system for their onboarding and customer journey mapping. But the first time something went wrong and they needed to present information to an executive or a leader about what was going on, the pain of not having a true system with analytics built-in made them realize they needed to switch to something else. So we knew we wanted to introduce even more ways to give our customers access to the insights that they need. 

What is the product innovation process like at TaskRay, and specifically with this release?

It’s a mix of us really knowing the market and being a leader, but it’s also mixed with what our customers are saying. We are constantly working toward the goal of getting everyone to be able to do onboarding well. We are always listening. We get a lot of ideas from our ideas forum and customer feedback. This release, in particular, is very innovative and comes from us knowing where to step up and set a precedent of how it should be, but it’s still based on practical feedback and what our customers need.

Additionally, one of the interesting things about building TaskRay is that we also use TaskRay to onboard our own customers. We’re always actively using our own product. Whenever we do a release, one of the first things we do is get user feedback both internally in our own office and externally from our customers. And for this particular release, we actually interviewed our CEO and our VP of Sales and Customer Success about what metrics they couldn’t currently get access to and what pain points currently existed. We thought that if we could build something to solve their issues, it could solve other executives’ pain points as well.

What were the primary drivers of this release and how will it affect your customers?

This is the most strategic release that we’ve ever done. We are really building a tool that allows everyone at the organization to drive first-class onboarding, and each user persona now derives value from TaskRay. We had a lot of very important data that wasn’t readily available to the executives and leaders who need those insights to make business decisions about where to invest, when to hire and what areas they need to focus on if there's a problem.

The handoff functionality in this release was designed to generate the data that would feed the reports that allowed these types of people to get a 10,000 foot view of all their projects. It helps people detect the health of a business process and then drill down into where problems are and come up with solutions quickly.

There’s really this highly innovative duality at work in this release because the handoff functionality adds more built-in structure to people using TaskRay as an onboarding tool, while at the same time generating rich information and insights for executives.  



Three Reasons Why Customer Onboarding Needs Executive Level Insights

Onboarding is unequivocally the most decisive stage in a customer’s journey. It’s no secret that churn rates are the highest when onboarding is insufficient, nor is it that churn is bad for business. In fact, research shows that “for every 1 percentage point increase in revenue retention, a SaaS company’s value increases by 12% after five years” (SaaS Capital). 

So why is it that the same business rigor that is applied to other divisions, such as marketing and sales, isn’t also applied to understanding your customer onboarding? Just as marketing automation provides insights, reporting, and analysis for marketers, accessing an aggregate view of customer onboarding data provides crucial and otherwise untapped opportunities to a pivotal aspect of your business. 

Customer onboarding is more important than ever to a company’s health, but applying the same level of business discipline and technical capabilities to this process has too long been overlooked. Here are three reasons to stop overlooking the importance of aggregate customer onboarding data and start utilizing executive-level insights for your company’s gain.

Reason 1: Assess the Health of Your Company

Customer onboarding is, in many ways, the beating heart of your company. Your business’ success is presumably contingent on your customer’s success, and customer success is dependent upon the success of the onboarding process. The significant ROI from focusing on onboarding has been proven time and time again. 

63% of companies that prioritized customer onboarding were able to better anticipate higher-level customer needs. ~Harvard business review

A Harvard Business Review study found that 63 percent of companies that prioritized customer onboarding were able to better anticipate higher-level customer needs, compared to 30 percent of companies that didn’t prioritize an understanding of onboarding. Without visibility into data around customer onboarding and implementations, there is no way of pinpointing your company’s performance at any given time, including important performance metrics such as drop-off points in the onboarding process. This vital data provides improvement opportunities as well as feedback on successful initiatives. 

Reason 2: Expose Hidden Issues and Inefficiencies

Mitigate risks by tracking the effectiveness of your onboarding process in real-time.

Mitigate risks by tracking the effectiveness of your onboarding process in real-time.

In customer onboarding, the currency is time. And if your business is like most others, you have no idea if your current onboardings are performing to standards or have much advance notice of potential issues ballooning into major problems. Many teams are operating blind, only receiving feedback through customer churn.

With executive-level insights, business users can monitor processes on a summary level, exposing issues before they become larger problems. Head off potential lost business by analyzing churn rates at each step of the onboarding process and addressing those weak points. Mitigate the risks of customer onboarding by tracking the effectiveness of your onboarding process in real-time through a comprehensive view of this data. 


Reason 3: Gain Unprecedented Insight into Your Company’s Growth Track

Proactively drive growth through a focus on successfully onboarding customers.

Proactively drive growth through a focus on successfully onboarding customers.

The easiest way to proactively drive your company’s growth is to focus on onboarding. Increasing the visibility of your customer onboarding data, and using it strategically, can be transformative for your company’s trajectory. Access to high-level insights into your existing onboarding program helps teams to uncover both strengths and inadequacies—both of which are essential to sustainable growth. 

B2B and B2C relationships can be complex–which is exactly why, in order to strengthen ties and propel growth, it is crucial to start with a positive first impression during the onboarding process. Build a solid foundation for your customers and use the insights you get along the way to create a complete picture of your successes, failures, and what both are telling you. 










Summer eBook Blog Series Part 2: Delivering Customer Success Through Optimized Communication

In business, both internal communication within your company and external communication with your customers are central to customer success. When communication is clear, concise and direct, everyone wins. But in crucial handoff times, when communication is the most important, businesses often miss the mark.

Research shows that 85% of consumers churn because of poor service. However, great communication, especially during the first few steps of the onboarding process, is at the heart of prevention: 67% of customer churn could be avoided if the business resolved the customer’s issue during their first interaction.

The Illusion of Communication

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

For any business, the illusion that effective communication has occurred can be both toxic and tragic, leading to high churn rates and lost opportunities. If you’re confident that this could never be your company, you may want to think again.


A Bain & Company survey revealed that while 80 percent of companies believe they are delivering “superior experiences” to their customers, only 8 percent of customers agree with this sentiment. This staggering chasm between company and customer perceptions exposes a harsh but true reality that the experience for the customer might not be as good as companies imagine and often times this can be the result of ineffective communication.

How to Address the Communication Illusion

First, review your external communications, from the first touchpoint your customers have with your product and brand to their annual renewal emails. Ensuring a consistent message at each stage of the process is critical to providing those promised “superior experiences” for your customers.

Next, look inward. Internal communication often degrades during the handoffs from sales to customer onboarding and customer success (think of it like a bad game of telephone or one of those interminable forwarded email chains). Mapping out these processes and identifying breakdown scenarios will help support more consistent customer communication and potentially give insight into where new systems are needed.

Optimize Your Communication Systems

At TaskRay, we’re deeply invested in key customer success principles. When all eyes are on you to successfully onboard a customer, communication is crucial. One of the primary questions we receive about how to nail the handoffs is, “How do you do that at TaskRay?”. And the simple answer is, we drink our own Koolaid. We regularly review our own communications and how we’re nailing (or missing) the handoffs.

Interested in learning more? Download our free eBook at taskray.com/handoffs and stay tuned for Part 3 of this series on ‘Setting Your Processes Up For Success.’





Summer eBook Blog Series Part 1: Be Our Guest - Secrets in Customer Success from the Hospitality Industry  

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Imagine you decide to stay at a gorgeous, new hotel, in a city you’ve never been to for a long weekend vacation. Your enjoyment of the trip is largely dependent on your experience in that city and your hotel plays a major role in that. Sadly, many of us had bad experiences at hotels where from the moment we’ve checked in, the hotel ‘checks out,’ overcharging our rate, giving us poor directions to our room, even sending us to a room that’s not ready or in bad shape.

These disappointing first impressions immediately color our perception, not only of the hotel, but of the overall city we’re visiting in a negative light. But this poor ‘handoff’ experience is not unique to the hospitality industry, it is echoed in the B2B and B2C customer experience as well—and something we see regularly in our work with customer onboarding at TaskRay.  

The hospitality industry, hotels especially, (typically) understand that their brand and their product is the lived experience of a stay, a meal, or a perfectly curated moment. So it’s not surprising that the best guest stays are the result of a great customer experience from the moment you book to the end of your stay.

Let’s take a look at the tenets of a great guest experience and how that can translate directly into how your customers experience your SaaS product.

Anticipate Needs By Understanding Your Customers

One of the best things hotels do to allow for customer success is anticipating guest needs, then meeting or surpassing them flawlessly. For example, your hotel concierge may have asked you a bit about yourself and your travel plans when you arrived, then offered personalized guidance and recommendations for relevant attractions around the city. Or, say you are running late for your 7:00 pm dinner reservation that you mentioned to your concierge–you come downstairs only to realize that the valet has already pulled your car around. This proactive anticipation of customers’ needs or even pain points has an incredible power to ensure and drive customer success, as you’re creating successful experiences ahead of time.

While SaaS customer onboarding and success teams are typically more removed from their customers than hotels from their guests, there is still room for creating a better understanding of who your customers are so you can better anticipate and meet their needs. But similar to the hospitality industry, getting to know your customers begins the moment the deal goes closed/won (ideally before). Capturing information about your customers’ industry, use case, team structure, and what successful implementation and use of your product will look like is critical to anticipating what they will need from you along the way.

Actively Participate In Your Customers’ Success  

The very heart of your hotel experience is often how the staff made you feel valued. Every hotel guest wants to feel special, as if their stay is personalized just for them, and great hospitality staff go out of their way to make their guests feel important.

Making your customers feel valued may look different when it comes to technology, but the basics are the same: keep track of your customers’ information, know where they are in their customer journey, and don’t make them repeat themselves.

Following these three basic rules can make any B2B or B2C customer experience feel as smooth as a stay at the Four Seasons.

Listen To What Your Customers Aren’t Saying

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Great hotels know that it’s essential to listen not only to guests’ initial requests but also to what they don’t say out loud. If you’ve been lucky enough to stay somewhere that your drink never seems to empty or your room is somehow always made up and the flowers in the lobby are never droopy, you’ll recognize this silent hospitality magic. There is a very well-rehearsed formula to this type of service that can be similarly applied in other industries: listen to what your customers aren’t saying.

With customer success, especially in SaaS, your customers may not be able to articulate what they “need” from your product or what they wish it could do for them, but it’s critical for you to read between the lines. How? Review your customer's usage data—are they even using the product? Do they have new users who haven’t been onboarded properly? Are they aware of new features and functionality that fits their needs? What are their growth goals for the next 3,6, 12 months? How can your product help them reach those in ways they hadn’t anticipated?

When broken down, the five-star hotel guest experience is comprised of the same basic elements any customer experience should include:

  • First impressions matter.

  • Anticipate customer needs.

  • Actively demonstrate interest in the customer experience.

  • Listen to what your customers aren’t saying (and of course, what they are saying!).

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For more details on how we’re applying these customer success fundamentals at TaskRay, download our free eBook — taskray.com/handoffs 

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series on ‘Delivering Customer Success Through Optimized Communication.’  




















Class of 2019 — Our learnings from the Salesforce Accelerate Program

In March, we excitedly announced our participation in the Salesforce Accelerate program. And in May, we filled you in our progress at the program’s midpoint. We’re thrilled to share that we’ve completed the Accelerate program and are now Salesforce Accelerate graduates!

The Salesforce Accelerate experience was nothing short of extraordinary. The learnings we came away with will help us drive forward faster and with greater impact than ever before. We also made great connections with other Salesforce ISVs and partners and gained valuable insight into our industry and core market position.

Oh, and we had a great time doing it!

“The Salesforce Accelerate program was akin to getting an MBA in SaaS growth in 11 weeks. Over 37 sessions, we learned invaluable lessons on go-to-market strategies, product excellence, and customer success.” -Blakely Graham, TaskRay CEO and Co-founder

Our top highlights included:

  • Creating a focused blueprint for our customer journey is a challenging but essential step in articulating how we can build a whole product solution that meets our customers’ needs within and outside of our offering.

  • Salesforce has always been a leader in embodying and activating their values, and the Accelerate program further cemented the need to further thread our own vision and values into departmental and personal objectives.

  • Acknowledging the value of and need for different roles and resources in different stages of company growth can be empowering and help you recognize exactly where to focus your efforts. Aka - there isn’t a “one size fits all” approach.

  • Transparency is not only powerful for internal organizational alignment, but also in connecting with customers and partners.

“We’ve always believed in our product and team, but Accelerate has allowed us to step into a bigger and bolder role as leaders in the Customer Success ecosystem.” - Jamie Cole, TaskRay VP of Product and Marketing