Updated: Oct 10
Customer Success Hero | MELISSA JURKOIC
We want to create happy users on the other side of this and reduce that time-to-joy.
Starting off her career as an engineer, Melissa later transitioned into more Product Management roles looking to bridge the gap between the technical side and the business side of work. This is where she began to gain perspective on customer experience and understanding not just the ‘how’ but also the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ behind what she was building. This search led her to the role at Addapptation, a low-code app platform that empowers anyone to build enterprise-grade applications and go from prototype to product with ease.
Melissa Jurkoic - Chief Customer Experience Officer,
WHY MELISSA IS A CUSTOMER SUCCESS HERO
From building the Customer Success organization at Addapptation, to streamlining processes and owning the strategy around customer requirements, Melissa brings the human touch to technology. Consistently looking to set the customer up for success, she works to not only build a connection but work through pain points by breaking old patterns and scale their experience. Melissa has worked with her team to shift the mindset to leverage the experience of building apps on their platform rather than solely on the services they provide.
For this we shine our CS Hero Spotlight on Melissa! We asked her a few questions on how she brought about this change.
HOW DO YOU RUN THROUGH THE ONBOARDING PROCESS?
Addapptation worked on a big evolution of the onboarding process last year; we were initially heavy on the services side of the business with onboarding really working like a service where we're building on behalf of our customers, similar to how people treat strategic accounts where it’s more of a ‘white glove’ service. We were doing everything for our customers…but now we are transitioning to a self-service model. We believe customer success begins with a great product that is simple and thrives when technology is just an extension of the end-user experience.
Our current onboarding flow is literally a sales to customer success handoff. We had to build a process, because it didn't exist before, where we get introduced to the customer once the contract is signed, talk about different roles and then move ahead. I like to explore other people’s philosophies - for example, I think you guys [Precursive] have even published some excellent content around the first 90 days and the different onboarding flows including what people are/should be doing. So I always say, let's talk about the first 30 days and set you up for success, so the customer can recall value. I recently heard the term ‘time to joy’ and so I think ‘How can I reduce your time to joy?'
My whole purpose is to meet with the customer and understand: What are the success milestones they’re wishing to reach? Get them to tell you about the outcomes they’re focussed on and in those initial kickoff meetings build around their roadmap. I re-establish why they signed with Addapptation to begin with, i.e what are they trying to actually achieve? How many people is it going to impact? What type of people are they? Really try to understand that, then you can assemble a plan from there.
IS IT LESS OF AN ONBOARDING AND MORE OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF PROFESSIONAL SERVICES KIND OF MODEL?
We want everyone to be able to build on Addapptation. Today, that means our customer success team is there to support new customers with co-creation sessions where we build alongside with them live. Our team is always available to answer questions to ensure their first app is a success and they are delivering value to their end users. And that's the motion we're going through right now so onboarding is going to look really different for us moving forward.
HOW WOULD YOU SCOPE/RESEARCH CUSTOMER EDUCATION? WHAT WOULD YOU BE LOOKING FOR?
We’ve been looking into inspiration for how to reduce that ‘time-to-joy’. I feel it's a lot easier, from a consultative solution architecture perspective, to get on the phone with a customer and have that connection. I can read your face, I know if I'm saying something that you're getting confused because I'm talking too technical. I know if there's something that's really frustrating you in your organization that is a huge pain point for you. I can read all of that, I have that connection with you. You lose that when you're talking about building a community of advocates, now all of a sudden you're more than an arms distance away. How do you ensure amazing customer experience when you're not there to share it with them? We are also looking into the tools we use and how our experience is with them, and learn from that.
YOU SET UP CUSTOMER SUCCESS AT ADDAPPTATION AND NOW YOU’RE CHIEF CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE OFFICER. HOW?
When I came in as Head of Customer Success, one of the other parts of my role was looking at the organization operationally. We're a small team of about 20 employees right now but we've grown quite a bit, even during Covid our growth has been interesting. It was looking into setting up processes across the board, not just for the Customer Success team. Where I always thrived and had passion around was engaging with customers, understanding their needs and making sure they had a great experience. So we started to transition our strategy to be more around embracing the platform as our unique value proposition itself, not necessarily the work we do with it, but enabling and empowering the world to do the same work while thinking, how can we grow? The answer to that was by scaling the experience of building these amazing experiences. Once we started to adopt that mindset, we thought about which roles would be most important to be successful. So we decided that we needed somebody really focused on experience, internally and externally.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE AT ADDAPPTATION?
As we adopt these new schools of thought we need to break out of existing patterns. It's really hard to take people that are used to your ways of doing business, especially where the relationship is somewhat personal with a lot of one-on-one time. Before they were able to call the founder, our CEO, up on his mobile and get something fixed within five minutes. But now we’ve put in a process between them and that's been a big challenge.
As you expand you want every customer to feel like they're your only customer.
SOME GOLDEN ADVICE FOR FUTURE CS HEROES?
Trust is first; build trust. You don't get that for free, loyalty is earned and it's earned by being consistent. That starts within yourself, but also your team and culture, so you cannot expect your customers to have an amazing experience if your team doesn't love what they do and if you're not making sure your team is having a great experience as part of your company. Whether it's a small team or a large team, it doesn't matter. If those people are working with customers, really being in-tune with them as people and humans, impacts empathically. Do you understand what people are feeling, how they're feeling about being part of your team? How they're feeling about being your customer?
We want to build a community of advocates for our platform. Create happy users and reduce that time-to-joy. Just have them be super excited about the job they're doing. That's helping other people work better and help improve the human experience. So our goal within the next year is to have this big community of Addapptation builders that are talking about us, that we can bring together in a conference-style format and actually network in person. That's the dream - have people share their stories of what they're doing with our platform. We believe that would be amazing and that’s definitely the vision. The dream is to focus on that.
AND FINALLY, SOMETHING NO ONE WOULD GUESS ABOUT YOU…
A lot of people have looked at me very much as a woman in tech throughout my career, a very technically oriented person, but I love to write and I have this more vulnerable emotional side of me when I do write. I think that’s been surprising for some people to know. I’m actually working on my own personal memoir, someday we'll be sharing my own story about my life and what I've done so far.
To hear from more thought-leaders in the customer success industry, head to our podcast series here.