Today, I am thrilled to officially announce the beginning of a new journey at Belly. I have, for the last 15 years of my professional life, focused on creating, structuring and providing value for businesses both big and small and I couldn’t be more excited to continue this work leading the Merchant Success team at Belly.
I will make it my mission to evangelize the underappreciated value of customer service and reinvent the role that retention plays in both startups and large companies alike. From my early days at Saleforce.com – working to shape the customer experience, to starting my own consulting firm focused on developing customer success plans – I have accumulated a wealth of knowledge, focusing first and foremost on the customer.
Why did I choose Belly?
It's nearly impossible to avoid the oversaturation of negative press centered around the startup ecosystem failing to focus on the importance of ‘customer experience’ and ‘merchant success.’
It’s tough for me to grasp that in 2014, companies have not sharpened their strategies to focus on retention. What I learned early on is that the philosophy of many startups was sell NOW and worry about retention LATER; as long as new businesses continue to sign-up, it didn’t matter how poorly they were treated. Look no further than the recent incident with media darling, Square, in which influencers condemn their customer service approach and lack of regard for the businesses they so heavily rely on.
It's certainly no secret that customer service, from just about every facet of commerce, is terribly broken and most may say its perfect cure may never see a finish line, but what has always been a Belly mantra, is make the impossible insanely possible. Be the exception.
The Merchant Success Team’s goal is simple: we will kill ourselves building contemporary tools that will help our businesses effortlessly retain customers. We exist only because our passion is to deem every merchant customer that’s ever walked through their doors as not only a partner but also a member of our massively expanding Belly family. “We care. We listen. We help you grow your business.”
In order for any size company to succeed, customer service and customer success must be the foundation the business stands on. If you haven’t recognized this yet, read the “The Thank You Economy” by Gary Vaynerchuk, “Behind the Cloud” by my former CEO, Marc Benioff and “A Board Member’s Guide to Churn (The Elephant in the Board Room)” by Gainsight, CEO Nick Mehta. If it’s still not resonating, let’s grab coffee. I’m happy to bend your ear about why retention needs to be a focus.
It was clear to me – that Belly possessed a customer-centric vision, and that it is inherently ingrained in their DNA. My job by metrics is churn. But by design it is to create referancable customers and delight our Merchants. This is not a one-woman job – it’s a culture. Creating a customer-centric organization starts from the top and touches everything: Sales, Training, Content Marketing, Strategy, Analytics, and Product. We will be constantly tweaking our model for success and striving to understand the key metrics and proxies for long-term merchant happiness.
There will be no ‘cutting corners’ in an attempt to scale and grow, nor will do this at the sacrifice of our current businesses – their happiness is our happiness. And we will continue to invest in our merchants, ultimately leading to higher NPS, lower churn and stronger LTV. In addition, my growing and amazing team of Merchant Success Managers – will be the facilitators of Small Business Marketing for Merchants, acting as consultants and providing best practices and data that will help them get customers back more often.
… off we go!