A few weeks ago, a member of the Drift Customer Success team and a member of the Sales team both approached me to share that they felt the customer handoff process was broken. So we grabbed a whiteboard and started talking about the steps in the process...

“There are details we tell the customer they’ll review with the CSM, but they’re not consistently addressed in every kick off call.”

“There are notes that are supposed to be filled out in Salesforce from a rep that doesn't always get filled out.”

The back and forth discussion on process precision would certainly make any operations employee smile, but we had to take a step back and put someone else’s sentiment into focus: Our customer’s.

“Forget OUR process and how we’ve architected the way WE think things should be. What would our customer say?”

The conversation changed.

The whiteboard was erased.

We started over, with the customer at the center of the conversation, and landed someplace completely different.

A few weeks prior, we had Lisa Rubino, Program Manager of Patient Experience at Boston Children’s Hospital, come in to run a  lunch and learn with the entire Drift team about patient experience. We were stunned by the number of similarities between patient care in health services and customer care in SaaS services, and how dependent they were on partnerships, much like the relationship between sales and services.

Lisa mentioned the tough feedback they’d received from patients about the transfer from nurses between shifts, and how they wanted the exchange of patient information to feel more human. It resulted in a change they now call “the warm handoff,” where both nurses -- as well as the patient -- are present to review important patient details. This required a change to their process, training for employees to get onboard, and follow-through to make sure it was happening. And it was the right thing for their patients.

It taught us to challenge ourselves to throw process in the trash if it didn’t solve for the needs of the customer and to also look in the mirror when it came to how important our Sales and Customer Success partnership is in the eyes of our customers.

Our Drift customer handoffs are now “warm” (thanks to the change-agent nurses at Children’s for inspiring us), have far fewer steps, and more immediate tool-driven automation. The updates reflect what our customers want and need when they first buy our product, instead of the process steps we’ve trained on and predefined internally.

At Drift, we continue to find that over-dependence on the internal business process is where Customer Experience dies, and alignment between Customer Success and Sales falls apart. Alignment works when customers are at the center of what we build, across every part of the business.





About the Author - Julie Hogan

Julie Hogan has been on the front lines of the customer experience her entire career. She began her career in the Human Capital practice of Deloitte Consulting servicing customers across multiple industries, and then spent 7 1/2 years at HubSpot in multiple customer-facing roles, most recently as the VP of Customer Success and International Services. She was responsible for the retention of HubSpot's global customer base, global services strategy, and for building, developing and leading HubSpot's Services organizations in Dublin, Sydney, Singapore, Latin America, Japan, and Germany. She spent the first half of 2017 living in both Singapore and Dublin. In October, Julie joined Drift as their first female executive as their VP of Customer Success and Services. 

Julie is a member of the Board of Directors for the International Institute of New England, a nonprofit supporting the refugee and immigrant communities of the Greater Boston area, and is a Team Captain for Cycle for Survival, a nonprofit supporting the research of rare cancers.  Julie is a proud Woburn native, Penn State grad, and mom of two boys ages 3 and 1.