Meet Pernille Østergaard, Head of Customer Success

We sat down for a conversation with Pernille Østergaard, our Head of Customer Success, to ask her about customer satisfaction and her approach to ensuring that our customers get the most out of the RightHub platform.

RH: What do you see as your greatest responsibility as the head of customer success?
PØ: I think my greatest responsibility is to ensure that our customers who have bought our platform get the most out of it. So, it's tips, tricks, making sure they're properly trained, making sure that the feedback that they give us is received and passed on to the relevant people. Also, another main thing is listening to any issues and complaints.
They pay for the use of the platform. But to actually listen be available for when they need to have a solution to something - I think that's my greatest responsibility and my greatest joy.
RH: I'm sure that this requires some sort of relationship with the customers. So, what is your approach to building and maintaining these strong customer relationships?
PØ: Well, first of all, I make them laugh as much as I can, because I do think that a smile creates a connection. I make sure that they know that I'm approachable and that they can contact me. And I spend quite a lot of time in trainings, because I feel like they need to know that I know the platform, so they can trust that I can help them. And so that's very important to me that they understand that I understand what they do. What takes up some of my preparation time before trainings, for instance, is that I spend quite a bit of time figuring out who is my customer. That's why I love our onboarding meetings or kick-off meetings where we meet them first, make sure they feel well received, heard and understood. And that's really my job and the tools that I use.
RH: And how do you then ensure effective communication and collaboration between your customers, the sales team and other departments within the company?
PØ: That's a tricky one, especially with all the changes that has happened within RightHub over the last couple of years. We went from being able to get up and just talk to the people in the next room to now everything being online. So that is something that Karin Holm, our Director of Customer Experience and I are working on at the moment, making sure that we filter the information that comes in to the right departments.
RH: Are there any means to proactively identify and address potential customer issues internally before they escalate?
PØ: We just had an issue with our emails - something wasn't working, and the system was able to tell us that there is an issue. I think that's something that we need to focus more on in our future development, that we are able to put out the fires before the customer even knows that there is a fire, rather than just reacting to the customer issues.
RH: So, we have a lot of things going on in RightHub. And something that is inevitable is losing customers sometimes along the way for different reasons. How do you handle customer churn and what actions do you take to minimise it?
PØ: Every churn is different. I think becoming a company that measures churn as one bulk entity is a mistake. We need to look at the customer because we have lost customers and services that they are buying from us before. Sometimes it's because of the financial state of the company that is cancelling our services, and we also have some customers who are simply not a great match for us, and we are going to lose some of them – these we need to be okay with losing.
But we have some customers I will fight tooth and nail not to lose. Involving them in the development process is very important because there is nothing worse than moving over to a new platform and feeling like this is not what I signed up for. So, I am desperate and very happy to get their feedback and have open communication, making sure that they know we value their feedback. And we will act on their feedback; we will collect it and analyse it and most importantly, act on it. And I think that's the most important step coming up, making sure that we know exactly what to do with their feedback.
RH: And that is a great point as well, that sometimes it’s just not the right match between the customer and the company and that's important to realise and it's best to accept.
PØ: I tend to take every churn personally because I love our platform so much and I don't understand why anyone would leave, but analysing who is leaving and why they're leaving is in my book more important than just looking at the statistics of people leaving. Because we cannot keep every customer, and the customer relationship is a give and take from both sides. We also need to get something valuable from them. Otherwise, we are just pouring our energy into someone who is not a good match for us. Whether we are good match for them can be secondary in those cases. So, we need to go very far for our customers, but we also need to make sure that we're going very far for the right customers.
RH: How do you manage to stay up to date with the RH product updates? A lot of things are happening all the time - how do you stay on top of that?
PØ: I'm quite blessed because Karin is also incredibly knowledgeable on the development. We have the migration meetings where we get a presentation, and we have tech presentations that go online. I am also in some MS Teams groups with our developers where I get information. I do feel that that's very hard because often there will be five or more messages in the same day and then finding the communication around that is difficult.
And but I do have trainings with Karin because I have to know the new platform as well as I know the old platform. So, twice a week we do have trainings on the new platform where she goes very in-depth with the different features and developments on the new platform so that I feel already quite well dressed for running out there in the rain with the new platform.
RH: That's lovely. And speaking of our new features, how do you ensure that customer feedback is considered when building new features on the platform?
PØ: I have set up a few teams chats directly with our customers. It is a direct line to me, so that all our customers know exactly where to go, and - which is more important in my book – we also know exactly where to go internally because just ending up on a table is not acceptable for anyone.
RH: What is the process for getting feedback from a customer to creating a feature? Because my understanding is that one request can come from one customer, but that doesn't necessarily make it a great feature.
PØ: No, it doesn’t. One of the most important things is what our CPO, Jon-James Kirtland said when we were in Malta, and it stayed with me ever since. It is to not take what the customer says that they want, but to figure out what issue they are trying to solve is. Once you understand the issue they are looking to address you can solve the issue in a way the customer might not have considered. Often better than planned as we have such amazing recourses with lots of experience from the industry. Not to mention, we have users all over the world. So using the experience as well as the solutions from other countries is a huge benefit.
We still have a long way until everything is perfectly smooth, but we work on advancing our internal structure every day. And with the passion I feel daily in colleagues I know we will get there. That, more than anything is why I love this company. Everyone working here comes to work with the desire to make RightHub a little bit of magic. And boy do I feel lucky I get to be part of that.
RH: Thank you, Pernille.