Appier’s Customer Success Team Uses AI to Find Customer Pain Points
 
Mar 14, 2020
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Appier (沛星互動科技) is Taiwanese tech company with an estimated value of one billion US dollars. As far back as the early days of its foundation, Appier knew it needed to recruit customer success specialists. It is one of the few companies in Taiwan that knows to focus on a new field of study called “customer success”.

“We began recruiting for this position on the very day of our founding, because we were thinking about how to create value for our customers,” says Magic Tu (涂正廷), Senior Vice President of North Asia and Greater China at Appier.

To date, Appier has served over 1,000 global brands and agencies from diverse sectors ranging from finance to retail to traditional industries. Appier uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help customers conduct “cross-screen” digital marketing on different smart devices. They also offer business strategy consulting services as well as subscription-based “Software as a Service” (SaaS) products.

Cara Lee (李宛蓉), Lead of the Customer Success Team at Appier headquarters in Taiwan, used to work for a foreign consulting company. Her team is still recruiting and expanding in order to satisfy customers’ diverse demands.

Step One: Manage Customer Expectations
Understand the need and find the pain point.

What does the job description “help customers succeed” entail? Lee explains, “It’s a fusion of sales and consultant. In addition to selling the solution, you need to spend more time thinking about the customer’s pain point: What kind of help do they really need?”

Lee uses a team experience to illustrate. When a new customer knocks on Appier’s door, the first thing the team thinks about is not how they can immediately acquiesce to the customer’s request. “Customers may think anything is possible as long as they spend money. But we must communicate the right message. Sometimes there’s a limit to what we can do on the first project; there’s no way to conquer the world on the first attempt.” Especially since AI is relatively new to Taiwanese companies, customers often harbor erroneous expectations. They think applying AI to the problem will instantly improve sales, but they neglect the prerequisite of precision marketing, which is whether the company has enough accurate (clean) data, and whether the data correspond to the problem they want to solve. Customers often want to use the Appier system to increase web traffic and raise conversion rates to bring in new business. Lee says the customer success team gives in-depth advice on how customers can achieve this.

Step Two: Offer a Solution
Clarify the direction and execute the strategy.

After understanding what the customer needs and proposing a solution, the team will assist in introducing suitable products. This puts the team’s understanding of their own products to the test. Unlike traditional software packages, for a company that sells SaaS like Appier, the test of whether they can maintain customer relations often comes after the contract has been signed. “Customers will only continue working with us and giving us steady revenue if they think we are doing something that’s of value,” says Tu.

For example, ezTravel is one of Appier’s clients. At first they wanted to buy Appier’s system to increase web traffic. But after multiple discussions with the customer success team, Lee found that when a consumer visits the ezTravel website, they browse, search, prepare an order, put it in the shopping cart, and complete their order…there are many phases of the process during which specific ads can be placed based on the consumer’s previous actions and preferences, and the consumer can be progressively led to completing a purchase. Because of the team’s advice, after ezTravel began working with Appier, they successfully captured customers’ attention and increased their click rate by 400-600%, whether customers are using a web browser or a smartphone.

Besides this, the fact that members of the customer success team actually put themselves in their client’s shoes, meeting not just the marketing people but also sales, product management, customer service, etc. gives the customer success team input from different departments of the client’s company, and so they are able to help solve more of the client’s problems.

Achieving Balance: Retaining Loyal Customers
Good communication and the ability to think logically.

Even though customer success manager is a hot new job in the subscription economy, the Harvard Business Review notes that customer success managers need to find the balance between “customer success and company success” and “customer satisfaction and company revenue”.

How can a win-win situation between the customer and the company be achieved? Lee admits she often finds herself facing such a conundrum. But she says, “The customer success manager’s job is to bring the customer’s feedback back to the company and help the company improve the product.” In this way, both companies can grow together and achieve a win-win situation.

Because of this, communication and logical thinking skills are especially important. If a customer success manager cannot clarify and analyze the customer’s needs, and by doing so arrive at a solution, then they will not be able to evaluate the severity of a customer’s complaint, think about how to solve the problem, and bring the correct message back to the company for internal review.

The lesson Taiwanese CEOs need to learn is how to incorporate the field of study called “customer success” into the company, let it change the organization’s culture, and turn the company into an enterprise built on the foundation of mutual success.

Appier

Founders: Chih-Han Yu, Winnie Lee, Joe Su
Business: AI and data analysis, digital marketing
Estimated value: More than one billion US dollars
Accolades: Offices in twelve countries around the world, more than a thousand clients, recognized by Fortune as one of the “50 Companies Leading the AI Revolution”.

Translated by Jack Chou
Uploaded by Judy Lu