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Oh, The Places You’ll Go! Trailblazing in a Customer-Centric Organization

Posted on October 17, 2013 , by Sabrina Bozek
CATEGORIES: Case Examples

We had the recent pleasure of listening to Jen Maldonado during a webinar discussing Cornerstone OnDemand’s (CSOD) best practices for Voice of Customer initiatives.  We could tell there was more to the story than time would permit, so we decided to follow up. What we found was a company unafraid to take risks by engaging with customers via “POP” culture and who has fun with Dr. Seuss along the way.
dr seuss graphic
Kindred to Waypoint, CSOD values the insight of all its customers, not just a small sample. To demonstrate this, they have their own online community forum called “Suggestion City” where all customers can login and– you guessed it–give suggestions but also vote on the ones they see as valuable, plainly seeing how their feedback goes into action. As a customer-centric company, CSOD has long established this forum with its customer base but continues to evolve it to meet their needs.
The latest idea in development: a point reward system for engaging in activities that are proven to foster a successful partnership while helping grow business and provide actionable insights to CSOD.   For example, offering rewards not just for participating in a reference call with a prospect, but also for completing a post-call evaluation form afterward about what was asked and how it went. This quarter, CSOD hopes to pilot a program where customers can accrue points for added value within the company or perhaps redeem for a charitable gift if your industry/company has a no-gift-policy. While we know that in a B2B setting, incentives don’t usually drive response rates, this is exactly the kind of tactical testing that CSOD has imbedded in the culture. It’s better to act now and iterate later than to overthink things; and it’s working. In fact, looking at trends for response rates, customers who were active on the Success Center forum, which houses Suggestion City, were more likely to recommend CSOD to a friend or colleague and had triple the response rate compared to customers who were not.
Another driver of engagement and increased response rates has been attributed to the influx of Customer Success Managers (CSMs) that CSOD hired this past year—from 4 to 40! In an effort to be more proactive than reactive, CSOD put this team in place to make sure customers did not feel abandoned after the implementation process. Often times, companies spend the bulk of time with clients during onboarding, only to experience this high-touch service model abruptly drop off once the account is live. Cornerstone wanted to make sure their CSMs were available to help strategize, ensure adoption, encourage system optimization and keep the relationship healthy.
In the same token, “POP” culture takes on a whole new meaning at CSOD, with the creation of the Proactive Outreach Program (POP). To further nurture customer needs, their newly created role of Client Experience Advocate will be a new channel for the voice of the customer, engaging with the Executive Sponsor periodically after the account is activated. Just as the name suggests, this initiative creates an opportunity for proactive problem solving rather than reactive backpedalling.
And how in the world does Dr. Seuss fit in, you ask? Well this company is so customer-centric that at its annual All Hands Anniversary meeting, Maldonado and her team kept the staff engaged by designing a Dr.Seuss-style VOC overview in rhyme, delivered as the Cat in the Hat, Thing 1 and Thing 2. Employees were even encouraged to ask their questions in rhyme, and they did!  We don’t want to give away all their secrets, but this playful approach to socializing customer feedback is exactly the way to inspire a culture of creative, inventive best practices. Kudos, Cornerstone OnDemand! To learn more about their company, visit