Price Points Episode 06:

The Power of Customer Success

What is "Customer Success," and why is it so important to dynamic pricing? Omnia Vice President of Customer Success Haiko Krumm tells all in this episode of Price Points.

[00:00:11.120] - Grace

Hello. I'm going to Price Points, the podcast that examines the changing world of e-commerce, one episode at a time. I'm your host Grace Baldwin. And last time we posted I talked with our Product Manager Berend about what it takes to build a complete dynamic pricing platform from a technical perspective for this episode.

I wanted to talk about dynamic pricing success from the other side of the equation the user base inside dynamic pricing can be a big organizational change and it creates a whole host of opportunities but it's also complex and it touches a lot of different areas within your organization. So how do you manage that change and ensure that you're getting the most out of the tool.

I sat down with Haiko Krumm, our Vice President of Customer Success, to discuss how Omnia helps customers feel happy with their dynamic pricing I go began at Omnia about a year ago but he has a long history of working in the field of customer success. It's something he's truly passionate about and since he's joined we've made pretty amazing strides at Omnia. In this episode we talk a lot about what customer success means to him. The changes he's brought to Omnia and more. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this interview with Haiko.

Thank you for meeting with me. Can you maybe introduce yourself a little bit and talk about who you are and what you do here. And yeah just your overall roll.

[00:01:39.750] - Haiko

Cool, will do so.

My name is Haiko within Omnia I'm responsible for Customer and Partner Success. A bit myself first. I'm 41 years old, I live in Amsterdam, I have a son of eight and a wife. Love Amsterdam, won't ever leave it. And about Customer Success within Omnia I'm responsible for Customer and Partnership Success. To start off with Customer Success I think it's very important as we as a company sell in principle a product that's about pricing a marketing automation but the product itself doesn't make customers successful and doesn't directly deliver any value. So a Customer Success team is responsible to help our customers get the most out of our products and therewith achieve value and stay as a happy customer and become brand advocates.

[00:02:36.410] - Haiko

Thank you so much.

[00:02:37.360] - Grace

But this isn't a new role to you. You were Vice President of Customer Success at Insided, correct?

[00:02:42.330] - Haiko

Yeah that's correct.

[00:02:43.150] - Grace

Yeah. So one step before that before I was at InSided I had— I've been a Marketing Consultant which I loved because you see a lot of different companies and can help them out but there was also a little bit too passive for me because it's a lot about defining strategies, giving workshops and creating reports. But in the end you never know whether that really turns into value. So I thought I would like to be a little bit more active really making sure that that stuff happens. And next to that I also wanted to be a little bit more in an entrepreneurial environment.

So by then that's now I have to think like nine or 10 years ago even I by coincidence came into contact with Robin where there's an online community company and I thought these communities make a lot of sense from a marketing and customer service perspective. And he was an entrepreneur so I thought let's just have a lunch with him and do some knowledge sharing. And during that lunch a lot about communities made sense to me but also Robin told me he actually wanted to pivot a business model from owning his own communities to facilitating those for larger companies.

And that made a lot of sense to me. And after a couple of brainstorms he asked me what I would like to join. And actually that's immediately helped me to become more entrepreneurial of course.

So basically I started off there creating the proposition as it wasn't there, creating sales material, websites. Did sales, got the first customers onboard. And then of course we promised a lot. And then we had to make sure that stuff really happened so I did project management, consultancy, account management, etc. During this journey I more and more saw that my passion is more on the customer side instead of the sales side, as you really build up a relationship not with a company only but also with people within the company. And my passion is really to make them successful.

[00:04:47.230] - Grace

Why is that a passion for you?

[00:04:48.960] - Haiko

Yeah, so what I really like is to build a long term relationship with uh with people and to really accomplish something. I mean sales is just the start of the journey and it's super important uh part of course but it's just a start. And I'd rather really build up a relationship and in a couple of years together look back say wow we we really accomplish this and it's a mutual benefit. I mean of course companies pay money for our services but if they do so with joy, that's the best situation I think we we can have.

[00:05:21.490] - Grace

So if you say you know you want dynamic pricing you're choosing between different companies why do you think customer success is so important to figuring out which company you want or you want to go with?

[[00:05:30.940] - Haiko

So the definition of customer success is that customers achieve their ever evolving value they want to get out of our products. So as said, the product by itself doesn't deliver any value and we can just deliver a platform for whichever retailer or brands but it won't do anything. So taking one step back and that's of course also my proficiency but I believe that customer success is crucial for each SaaS, software-a- a-service, you buy as yeah just having this platform won't help you out by itself. And I think it's especially for dynamic pricing crucial as dynamic pricing of course directly impacts your overall company results. And it touches upon many different departments finance to marketing and last but not least but not least it's really a complex matter and you really have to have a clear strategy on your pricing and be able to translate that into your pricing rules within Omnia.

But that's only where the journey starts. After that you want to learn you want to use the insights you you get out of a platform because we have a lot of rich data and you have to turn it into insights and continuously optimize your strategy based on these insights.

And yeah that's a lot more than just the platform by itself. So I really believe that customer success is crucial for for getting the most out of the dynamic pricing.

[00:07:03.210] - Grace

So do you feel like our dynamic pricing tool is sort of like a hammer and the customer success team is showing you how to actually use it? Or is maybe a better analogy is a power tool so maybe like a circular saw and then for instance showing you how to use it safely and how to actually get the most out of it right?

[00:07:21.610] - Haiko

Yeah I like that analogy. Thanks. I will use it more often and if I would think uh onwards in this uh philosophy then I would rather uh call it the toolkit.

00:07:32.850] - Grace

A toolkit, yeah.

[00:07:32.880] - Haiko

With a lot of different uh possibilities. If you look at our platform it's pretty exciting what's possible with it. But indeed you have to understand what's to do with it. And first of all you have to have a plan, actually, of what you want to do because if you have a toolkit and you just start hammering nails into the walls that won't happen.

But if you have an idea to actually build a house then you have to start to really think through that already and to map stuff out and then start working on it. And that's indeed exactly what Customer Success is about.

So you actually automate the biggest part of your assortment continuously which is a quite a challenge.

[00:08:05.070] - Grace

And so how have you embedded this sort of philosophy into Omnia? So something that's been done since you first started here is we now have kind of core sections within Customer Success. I'm wondering if we can maybe talk a little bit about each of those. So you have Onboarding, Customer Success Management, Knowledge and Strategy, and Support and so you're responsible for all of that, correct?

[00:08:27.450] - Haiko

That's correct. So uh also nice to start in this order.

Onboarding is actually the starting phase. So if a customer starts to use Omnia, we know this is super crucial period where the customer is excited but also gave us a lot of trust and has to learn everything still about a platform at least. So in this period of approximately two to three months we really deep dive into the tool and not only making sure that it's technically implemented but that's the as said strategies are really translated into pricing rules that the customers really understand how the tool works and are able to use it themselves instead of that we should be doing it for them.

[00:09:17.880] - Grace

So it's partially making making sure the customer feels comfortable with the tool before you really kind of let them do their own thing, right?

[00:09:31.500] - Haiko

Yeah exactly. So it's it's uh making sure it is really implemented and live. But also that it shows the first initial value and that customers indeed trust the tool and are able to independently work with it, correct.

[00:09:47.870] - Grace

Yeah. And so then the next part the next part of this process is customer success management right. Or is it knowledge and strategy.

[00:09:55.340] - Haiko

No. The. Yeah. That's a bit the the same but.

So for if you look at a proactive process we start with the onboarding and after the Onboarding we move over to Customer Success Management. And Customer Success Management is about continuously checking, okay what is your objective with the tool? What are your strategies and what do we actually want to achieve in the upcoming year? And then do regular check ins whether that's indeed working or not. And also making sure that customers really know what is happening at Omnia, what is on our roadmap, what we have delivered, how they can use it. So that's the proactive contact we have to make sure that customers get the most out of the products.

And it's not about only the the contact and relationship but it's also about really diving into the metrics we have of our customers and making sure that they're on the right way.

[00:10:47.010] - Grace

Okay. And then knowledge and strategy what's next.

[00:10:50.950] - Haiko

Yeah. So uh we have a lot of expertise on pricing and marketing and of course our own tool. And uh mostly that knowledge lies with uh with uh the consultants and of course all product management. And as we are as software as a service company we don't say want to do a lot of one on one consultancy because that's not really scalable and that's also not our business model to do by-the-hour consultancy. So that's why we tried to create more generic knowledge uh and share our expertise. And that's be done mostly by the consultants so they create a knowledge base with a lot of articles we create blogs.

We do a lot offer analysis which we want to share with our customers so that all the customers benefit from the work that we do and indeed again are able to get the most out of their pricing and marketing.

[00:11:47.080] - Grace

And do you see customer communities as part of a future within knowledge and expertise?

[00:11:51.240] - Haiko

Yeah that's a that's a nice one of course that's my background within, within Insided and I definitely believe that that it can help and especially also because now we have a lot of expertise. But the more and more customers we get the customers in the end of course know even more than we do. And communities are a great way to capture that knowledge and share it among the customers and making it a total more interactive platform. So I definitely do believe that's in which phase of the company I don't know yet.

[00:16:01.830] - Grace

And does Omnia and let you do that?

[00:12:23.730] - Grace

Yeah. Yeah but I mean I do think it's pretty cool because like for example but we had a customer independently come up with something that we'd been thinking about for a while but they were actually testing it and their strategy is working. And so it would be cool for them to be able to share that more easily with other with other customers.

[00:12:42.330] - Haiko

Absolutely. And also a lot about, of course, our platform development. So both communicating what has been developed how you can use that and if customers have any questions they directly can do so and other customers also see these questions and answers but also on product feedback. What do you like uh what what would you see different in our platform and by voting you know which is the most important for customers. Instead of just one customer asking something and then you have to say no because hey it's not the most important but then it's super transparent and also insightful for us.

[00:13:18.270] - Grace

The last step in the process is customer support which is a little bit different, I understand, right, than Customer Success. So maybe you can talk about that.

[00:20:08.170] - Grace

Do you think it's worth it for enterprise companies to try and build their own dynamic pricing system?

[[00:13:26.790] - Haiko

So in principle Customer Success is more a proactive approach where we continually help our customers proactively. And customer support is more reactively. So if customers still needs helps on something, still has questions or indeed if something's going not the right way. If there are issues with imports exports then of course we still need somebody to help these customers out. We have our Product Specialist Jelmer there. So we also define it as a Product Specialist and not as a support agent because he's not just simply following scripts but he's really expertise guy on our platform and knows on some points even more on the platform compared to the Consultants or the Product Managers as he's continuously diving into the stuff that happens with our customers and is really making sure that customers get the most out of it again.

[00:14:25.800] - Grace

So how did you come up with these four different parts?

[00:14:29.010] - Haiko

Yeah. So as I a bit explained within Insided I moved into this Customer Success but that was still with a with a consultancy mindset really doing one on one consultancy helping each customer out but that's of course not scalable.

And like five years ago I believe the Customer Success proficiency actually came up and that's still the same mindset making customers successful. But then in an efficient and scalable way more really with a structured process.

[00:14:59.850] - Grace

And that's the customer success proficiency?

[00:15:01.740] - Haiko

Exactly. And that that totally made sense to me. So I really dived into that gate side as a company SaaS company that really fueled this customer success movement. So I read a lot of books about it, joined conferences, follow each blog there is about this, but also I do a lot of one on one knowledge sharing with peers and I also facilitate a Customer Success a leadership Meetup like two to three times a year. So really to keep up with what is happening and also be able to translate that in actual actions and strategy and tactics we can use as Omnia.

[00:15:43.650] - Grace

Okay. I didn't know that about you. So how big is that event then, that Meetup that you host?

[00:15:48.720] - Haiko

And that's not too big. Actually uh because uh usually if you go to conferences you hear the showcases and how great everyone is doing.

[00:15:48.720] - Haiko

And that's not too big. Actually uh because uh usually if you go to conferences you hear the showcases and how great everyone is doing.

But that's most of the times not the things you can learn from you. You learn from each other's challenges and falls and and more deep dive in setups. So that's why there's this meetup is only like I believe eight to 10 people. And we are really transparent there of what do we do and what is working what isn't working and each time we have a different

[00:16:32.970] - Grace

Yeah and I imagine it's probably also probably better rather than going to a conference once a year to act to have multiple touch points throughout the year. That's sort of the same thing here with our, we do EBRs multiple times a year. To make sure people are on track and they're getting the most out of the product and we don't wait for a catastrophe or for like a once a yearly review right.

[00:16:54.930] - Haiko

Absolutely and and also I think the difference is that conferences mostly are somebody presenting and learning from that's where both the EBRs as the meet ups are more interactive so that you actually can ask a debate about things. So getting some more deep learning instead of just scratching the surface.

[00:17:18.060] - Grace

So what makes Customer Success at Omnia different than at other organizations?

[00:17:22.980] - Haiko

Yeah I think uh that's based on the passion there already was within the company and the knowledge before I came.

So Sander our CEO is really an expert on this matter. We have consultants said are really experts and so does these this expertise and already having the passion to really make our customers successful has been embedded in the company for for many years and I think what I tried to contribute to that is to make it more structured and scalable from now on.

[00:17:58.950] - Grace

What about partnerships. What role do partnerships play in customer success?

[00:18:02.550] - Haiko

Yeah that's a good question because we decided to make it the responsibility of partnerships also within the customer success teams who is actually customer and partner success.

[00:18:13.960] - Grace

Why did you decide to do that?

[00:18:15.320] - Haiko

Yeah. So it both is about the long term relationship and getting mutual value. So both our relationship with our customers as our relationship with our partners. And within Omnia we also defined partners and partnerships as really of strategical value. So first of all we of course have our marketing and pricing platform but it's fueled with competitive data and competitive data we get by our data partners or data partners so there are actually a crucial part of our proposition. And next to that we also have partnerships with for instance Microsoft, Google, a lot of strategy consultants. So we believe there's a lot of value in and in partnerships both for partners as for us as for the customers of course. And that's it's a pretty similar dynamic compared to customer success. We decided to have that in the same department.

[00:19:15.960] - Grace

Thank you for talking with me. If people want to get in touch with you what's the best way?

[00:19:20.910] - Haiko

They can always send me an email at haiko@omniaretail.com. I think that's the most easy way to do this.

[00:19:27.030] - Grace

And then also include a link to your LinkedIn. Perfect alright. Thanks Haiko.

[00:19:31.810] - Haiko

Thank you so much Grace.

[00:19:40.440] - Grace

Thanks for listening the price points. I hope you enjoyed this episode if you'd like to get in touch with Haiko feel free to send him a message. Haiko that's H a i k o and I'm your retail dot com or connect can be linked. I'll include both of those in the show notes along with my contact details as well. In the meantime now I hope you have a great rest of your day.

Show Notes

Omnia was founded in 2015 with one goal in mind: to help retailers take care of their assortments and grow profitably with technology. Today, our full suite of automation tools help retailers save time on tedious work, take control of retail their assortment, and build more profitable pricing and marketing strategies. Omnia serves more than 100 leading retailers, including Decathlon, Windeln.de, Tennis Point, Bol.com, Wehkamp, de Bijenkorf, and Feelunique. For her clients, Omnia scans and analyzes more than 500 million price points and makes more than 7 million price adjustments daily.

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Music: "Little Wolf" courtesy of Wistia

To contact Haiko Krumm:

Email: haiko@omniaretail.com
LinkedIn: Visit here

To contact Grace Baldwin:

Email: grace@omniaretail.com
LinkedIn: Visit here