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.

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