As someone who has spent the better part of the past 25 years interviewing customers of tech companies in Silicon Valley, I have developed a pretty keen sense of who’s doing it right when it comes to customer care and support. In the process of researching and creating customer case studies (AKA “Success Stories”), I speak with B2B customers who very candidly share their opinions about the company I work for; they tell me what we’re doing right and what we’re doing wrong.
Over the past year, as part of my role as Customer Reference Manager for Nexmo, I have interviewed a variety of customers for case studies that illustrate how Nexmo APIs are being used very successfully. I ask them to describe why they selected and continue to stay with Nexmo.
Based on the most oft-stated responses that I hear, it’s clear to me that Nexmo is one of those companies doing customer care and support right! And, lest you think that I’m saying this only out of allegiance to Nexmo (and my desire to keep my job), I will share direct quotes from our customers to back up this observation.
When I speak with our customers, I don’t ask them specifically about Nexmo’s customer support. I ask them: “What are the top benefits you feel you’re getting from Nexmo?” Practically every customer has resoundingly cited Nexmo’s responsiveness and exceptional customer care as a tremendous benefit. Coincidence? I think not.
“From the very first day of using Nexmo, the support has been great. I mean I actually get phone calls, I get responses. I don’t have to wait, I haven’t had a single day of downtime so that is a big deal. The fact that there’s somebody there available to build a relationship, who listens to us and really tries to cater to what we need and customize some of the things that we need on the platform. I mean, it’s day and night from other experiences we’ve had. A lot of companies have so much volume, they don’t care. And at the end of the day unfortunately, as companies get bigger they seem to pay less and less attention to customers. At Nexmo, I feel I’m just as important as your biggest customer, and I feel like I’m getting the same attention. The support and follow-ups, the service that we’ve been getting from you guys, it’s been outstanding.”
Bobby Hakimi, Co-Founder, SVP, Convoso
Creating an Environment of Empathy and Support for Customers
Phil Holcombe, VP of Service at Nexmo, has been with the company for more than four years. He believes that Nexmo’s high level of concern for its customers began when the company was launched. “I think it comes from the founders, actually. Tony Jamous and Eric Nadalin each had a passion for customer satisfaction. Tony, due to having poor experiences elsewhere, was focused on customer success. Eric, though he was much more direct with customers, was very determined to solve anyone’s problem.
“So, from the start we had that yin and yang going for us—Eric’s amazing technical skills to be able to solve the issues, and Tony’s determination to do what was right for the customer. That was and continues to be instilled in the people who work at Nexmo.”
“Nexmo has been super responsive and anything that our account manager didn’t know … he was able to reach out to a technical team and provide us with an answer within less than an hour in some cases. Certainly within the day. We were afraid that as Nexmo grew, and then was acquired by Vonage, that we weren’t going to get the same great level of support. But it didn’t change. We had an account manager that proactively looked at our account and found some opportunities where we could improve and optimize our SMS infrastructure. Nexmo has always been able to provide great insight and details of how we can troubleshoot on our end.
Nick Moiseff, Director of Products, Remitly
According to a recent article published by Inc., sales and support personnel—regardless of industry, company, or market —must regularly ask themselves one important question more than any other. That all-important question is: “How does the action I’m currently taking help our customers?” From the number of customers I’ve interviewed that have moved from other vendors to Nexmo, it seems that not all companies are practiced in asking that question.
Holcombe says that one of the responsibilities of all support managers is to, regularly, review tickets where a customer has either said that they thought the service they received was not satisfactory or could be better, and to understand why. “We reach out to the customers and ask them what we could have done differently to make them happier with the service. If they had no problems with us, then great. If they had issues, what we’ll do is analyze the situation ourselves, draw our own conclusions, then try to remedy the situation. So, we’re really trying to understand the causes for any dissatisfaction so we can address them.”
“What I really appreciated with dealing with our account manager is that it felt like a much more human relationship than with other vendors. He got where we were, he wanted our business and he was prepared to put a commercial proposal together that made financial sense for both parties.”
Anthony Eskinazi, CEO, JustPark
Staying Customer-Centric No Matter How Much You Grow
One common reason that Nexmo customers turn to us after working with a competitor (which has often been the case for the customers I’ve spoken with) is for the specialized attention that Nexmo offers. Customers have told me numerous times that they switched to Nexmo because another vendor essentially didn’t give them the time of day.
Nexmo’s Head of Platform Marketing, Francisco Kattan, believes that some of the larger vendors in this market have not maintained an adequate level of customer support as their customer base has grown. As a result, they can cater to only their largest customers because of their limited resources. This leaves the mid- and small-sized companies without support. Many customers who have switched to Nexmo have told me that they simply did not receive any help or response when they tried to get a hold of someone at their former vendor.
“The people at Nexmo are brilliant to deal with, incredibly supportive, and very passionate about working with us, which was something we didn’t necessarily have with other vendors. The quality of the team that you have, certainly the team that we’ve dealt with so far, is impressive.”
Andy Griffin, Founder, CTO, and Product Director, tPoint
“The products that we sell are complex,” said Kattan. “They’re not like packaged applications that a customer just turns on and they work. Our APIs often need to be customized for specific uses and though that takes time and effort on our part, we absolutely do that.
“So customer empathy and responsiveness is a more important requirement for customers than our competitors would seem to think. That is, for a customer to be able to get the help they need during development, during deployment, and also if something goes wrong later on.”
“The support we got from Nexmo was wonderful. We received any answer to any given question within one business day. And for technical integration, there was a separate person assigned to us to help us with integration and to answer various technical questions when it came to APIs, communication, the response codes … everything. So, the very integration went quite smooth, even though we added new use cases during the integration and there was a lot of work for our account manager. But it was managed very well and, in the end, I didn’t have any additional questions or dissatisfaction with the process.”
Oleg Leonov, Manager, G2A
The Secret of Nexmo’s Success: Responsiveness, Knowledge and Personality
Sverre Wendelbo, Nexmo’s Head of Sales Engineering, thinks that there are two major contributors to Nexmo’s success in dealing with customers. “The first is pure support. We are one of the only CPaaS companies in the market today with localized support in every geographic region that we cover. This means that we are in a great position to quickly respond to customer needs with the appropriate information they want.
“The other thing that makes us stand out to customers is the time and effort we provide in presales and consulting, which is also localized. Having people in every geography who are able to respond very quickly with empathy to the needs of customers is a key part of how we are able to do this. Customers tell us that we not only offer the right level of technical support, but we also bring this human factor that is associated with an understanding of local language, local presence and the fact that the people we’re helping feel comfortable speaking with someone who shares the same culture.”
“We get approached by every vendor that’s looking to sell voice. And though we did start a dialogue with another vendor, they just disappeared on us; they really didn’t show any follow through about winning our business. Right from the start, the conversations we’ve had with Nexmo versus the conversations we have had with other vendors have been like night and day. Our dialogue with Nexmo has been pleasant, productive, smooth, and efficient compared to very, very difficult, sometimes almost impossible, conversations with some of the other providers.”
Brian Handrigan, Co-founder & CEO, Advocado
Wendelbo has seen this work time and time again. “I repeat the same thing to our pre-sales employees. At every single meeting, I remind them that people buy people; they don’t just buy product. You can have the best product in the world, but if they don’t like you, they’re not going to buy your product. If you want to actually develop business over a long period of time, you need to make sure that people like you.
“And the best way to make sure that people like you is to be first technically sound, but also personable and responsive. And what I’ve observed over the last 20 years doing engineering in various companies is that it doesn’t matter how major your product is. If your sales group is reliable, if your support group is personable, if your pre-sales group is likable and knowledgeable, then you will have loyal customers who appreciate you.”
“I’m happy to say that I found Nexmo to be a real partner. And by partner I mean it’s a company that not only sells you a product, but also accompanies you through the product deployment and usage, and helps and supports you throughout the process. I think that the main question is not ‘is the product perfect?’, but rather ‘how does the company that sells you the product deal with any issues that arise?’. And I must say, I think that Nexmo proved to be great in that way. Starting with increasing our support when we needed it, giving us a dedicated tech support person, and working with us 24-7, regardless the hours, the days, the day of week or month of the year.”
Gai Hanochi, former Global Head of IT, Gett
According to a 2017 Forbes Insights and Pegasystems report, “Customer engagement is not a one-off endeavor, nor is there a single button to push or a box to check to ensure success. Meaningful customer engagement requires that companies remain diligent, predictive and proactive.”
Customer empathy, customer care, customer responsiveness, customer success, and customer recognition are all integral pieces of the customer engagement pie. Whether because of the keen instincts of Nexmo’s founders, the customer-focused insights of those who have helped to build the company, Nexmo’s commitment to do right by its customers, or a combination of all, it seems that Nexmo has achieved a level of customer satisfaction that most other companies still aspire to.
In the 1900’s, Chicago businessman Marshall Field (of department store fame), set a standard among his peers for treating customers with respect and courtesy. He inspired his team to go the extra mile for their customers. Though his most famous quote, “The customer is always right” was focused on retail customers, a customer is a customer.
And a lesser known quote from Field, “Goodwill is the one and only asset that the competition cannot undersell or destroy,” is extremely applicable to B2B customers. It’s evidently true with Nexmo, vis-a-vis our competition. In a highly competitive market, Nexmo is clearly the company to turn to for responsive, caring, empathetic and professional support.