BUSINESS

Software & IT

LOCATION

North Sydney, New South Wales

CHALLENGES
  • Disjointed communication tools
  • Lack of context around customer interactions
  • Management of the customer journey
 
RESULTS
  • <1% account churn rate
  • 37-point improvement in NPS
  • 85% improvement in average time during onboarding
     

Total Synergy is a business and project management software designed to meet the unique requirements of architecture, engineering and construction design professionals - collectively known as the AEC community. As the company began to evolve from its startup origins, it needed a customer success software that could provide a more sophisticated overview of its customers and prospects. We spoke to Scott Donnelly, Operations Manager APAC, at Total Synergy, to understand how the company uses Freshdesk Customer Success to build enduring customer relationships. 

CHALLENGE

From its inception in 1999, delighting customers and empowering them to do what they do best has been the guiding force behind each of Total Synergy’s decisions. But the company’s existing customer success system was becoming an impediment to that.

 

Challenges in conducting context-driven discussions 

The customer success team at Total Synergy is built along three verticals, each with a special focus on different parts of the customer journey: implementation, frontline support, and ongoing customer success management. But despite the clear-cut setup, the company lacked a dedicated system to manage its many customer relationships. “There were zero systems in place,” admits Scott. “We used collaboration tools like Trello, Sharepoint and, sometimes, email to put in notes from success reviews and QBRs. Without a dedicated platform, managing the customer journey from subscription onwards was starting to become a little haphazard.”

The most obvious challenge that this posed was a lack of visibility into who the customer was and how Total Synergy could support them in the best possible manner. “Our CSMs didn’t have context to understand what the customer’s experience had been so far, and without that understanding, it was really difficult to design a plan or even just build a relationship,” says Scott. “You're constantly asking questions that you should already have the answer to or that the customer has already answered. And ultimately, you just don't have any evidence to be able to make decisions about how you should manage the account.”
 

Scouting for the best customer success software

It soon became clear that the existing system did not equip CSMs with the insights they needed to anticipate and resolve the needs of their customers. The management team at Total Synergy recognized that it was time to invest in a comprehensive customer success tool - but which one?

SOLUTION

Before finalizing on a solution, the team identified three overarching goals they wanted to achieve with the support of the solution:

  • Gaining a 360-degree view of the customer: Total Synergy has a rich ecosystem of applications and software, such as Intercom, Hubspot and Sharepoint. The customer success tool needed to be able to integrate with each of these platforms and build a data warehouse by pulling information from each of them. This would help build a holistic view of the customer that can then be a single source of truth for CSMs to go back to.
  • Defining the CSM workflow: After a customer subscribes, at what points should a CSM intervene, interact and support them? This was a challenge Total Synergy hoped to resolve with the new customer success solution. “We wanted a system that could generate red flags for reactive behaviour and also define a proactive workflow for CSMs to take the customer on from onboarding to advocacy,” explains Scott.
  • Understand platform usage: The company wanted granular data into exactly how customers use their software so they could use those insights to guide product improvements and feature launches. 

With this list of priorities in hand, Total Synergy undertook an exhaustive evaluation of different solutions until it found the perfect match in Freshdesk Customer Success. Speaking about the decision to implement Freshdesk Customer Success, Scott says, “We looked at many competing solutions, but ultimately what swayed me towards Freshdesk Customer Success was the crazy amount of applications in each portion of the software. The tool is so malleable in terms of how you can set up health scores, and in the kind of reports you can generate using analytics.”

“The BI portion of Freshdesk Customer Success was so rich that it was not only nailing the things that we were really looking for, but was also pushing us to review many of our own processes. It felt like the software was growing from month to month and it has set a pace of continuous improvement as a result of that development.”

Scott Donnelly

Operations Manager, APAC

Total Synergy

Making the move to Freshdesk Customer Success

Adapting to change is rarely an overnight feat. With the implementation of new software, especially one that is so deeply embedded in business operations, teams need to rethink and relearn the processes they have been following for years. “There are usually two things that can go wrong during onboarding,” explains Scott. “From a technical perspective, you can end up with data that just doesn’t work for you. From a change management perspective, you can end up with a tool that CSMs aren’t fully engaged with.” To proactively mitigate these challenges, a dual-role team was set up: one to oversee the onboarding and training and the other to provide technical knowledge of the integration. This ensured that the tool was seamlessly integrated within Total Synergy’s ecosystem. 

Ultimately, of course, the success of the tool lies in the extent to which CSMs adopt it. “The great thing about Freshdesk Customer Success is how easily you can train teams to use it,” says Scott. “After just one session, our CSMs were comfortable with the tool, understood how to navigate it and knew how to utilize its various features. When we hit the button on the data integration, we were ready to validate it and the CSMs were ready to use it straight away!”
 

RESULTS
Expanding the capabilities of the customer success team
 

With a complete view into the customer, the customer success team at Total Synergy is now empowered to reimagine the customer journey. There are three key features that the team uses extensively to manage customer relationships:

  • Success Goals: The team uses goals to manage the early life onboarding period for customers within the critical first 90 days. The goals module helps quantify how well the onboarding process is working and what feedback can be shared with the CSM and product teams.
  • Campaign management: Previously, the marketing team handled email campaigns about feature launches to expand revenue through cross-sell and upsell. However, these campaigns typically had low engagement. After moving to Freshdesk Customer Success, the customer success team has taken control of these campaigns, personalizing the messaging based on the wealth of data from the system. These campaigns have seen great results and have made customers significantly more likely to adopt new features.
  • Forecasting churn: The first 90 days is the most “at-risk” period for Total Synergy customers, typically from historic data. The team now uses the Churn Reports feature to proactively identify and engage with customers who pose the highest risk of churning. Even if the customer does churn, the team can identify the cause using the wealth of data provided by Freshdesk Customer Success, and build changes to product and process to mitigate that risk in the future.
Gaining actionable insights through rich data

Implementing Freshdesk Customer Success has impacted the customer success and product functions at Total Synergy in the following ways: 

  • CSM productivity: For CSMs, juggling between the various customers they handle can get tricky. Freshdesk Customer Success is their everyday, go-to solution  where they can visualize all their tasks, action items, and data in a single dashboard. Speaking about how the typical workday of a CSM has changed, Scott says, “Having rich data around health and usage has really helped CSMs find out which customers are crying out for help and which ones are great candidates for exercises like case studies. Freshdesk Customer Success has helped CSMs prioritize the immense amount of tasks they have to do every second of the day.”
  • Pushing product improvements: “We found that there was often a disparity between our understanding of the adoption of a module and how much it is actually adopted,” Scott observes. To bridge this disparity, the product team uses insights from Freshdesk Customer Success to incorporate customer feedback into new feature rollouts and create an experience that’s truly customer-centric.
Looking ahead

At Total Synergy, the drive for perfection never ends. As the company expands, it plans to delve deep into its customer data to understand potential avenues for product improvement. “We are really looking forward to tracking what’s happening inside the app. This will arm our product team with information about what our customers are actually doing inside Synergy and how we can revitalize our roadmap to help them achieve what they’re trying to,” says Scott. “We are also looking at integrating Freshdesk Customer Success into our Power BI dashboards so we can widen the reach of the data, influence our executive team and make sure that everyone in our business is reaping the benefits of using the platform.”

“Freshdesk Customer Success has enabled us to see a wider, richer and deeper view of our customer. We can weave that voice of the customer into everything we do, whether that's product development, the way that we manage our existing relationships, or the way that we talk to our prospects. We are never in the dark anymore and live a very ‘no surprises’ life in the customer success space.”

Scott Donnelly

Operations Manager, APAC

Total Synergy

About Freshdesk Customer Success

Freshdesk Customer Success is a Customer Success Management platform that helps B2B companies maximize customer value by preventing churn, increasing expansion revenue — via upsells and cross-sells, and strengthening customer relationships. 

At Freshworks, Freshdesk Customer Success helps unify customer data and generate actionable insights to engage with the right customers at the right time ensuring successful renewals of over 50K+ paying customers.

About Total Synergy

Total Synergy has built business and project management software for architects, engineers and construction design professionals since 1999. Its goal is to give AEC people more time for design as its core philosophy is that engaged people lead to great products and excellent user experiences