Justine Dennis always approaches customer success by focusing on the bigger picture. No matter who the client is, her number one goal is to always make sure customers are empowered by using the Fusebill platform.
“If they’re successful, then I’m successful and the company is successful,” says Justine.
Born and raised in Munster, a rural hamlet not far outside of Ottawa, Canada, Justine always worked in jobs that involved some element of customer service. She never imagined that her experience in retail, serving in restaurants, and even working at a local farm during her teen years would lead to her current role as Fusebill’s Customer Success Manager.
After graduating from high school, Justine majored in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Ottawa, with a minor in Sociology.
“I picked my major because it was an interesting subject to me and I did well in it in high school, so I figured that was a good place to start,” says Justine. “I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do long-term.”
She graduated with her BA, and after taking her courses in French and studying for a year in the South of France, just north of Marseilles, she also earned a bilingualism certificate in French.
These French language skills would later help her break into the SaaS world.
Upon graduating from college, Justine received a call from a friend from high school who had been working in the marketing department of a SaaS startup in Ottawa. He informed her that the company was looking to hire someone who could speak French to work with some of their government clients. Justine fit the bill perfectly.
After working with the company throughout several re-brands and an acquisition, Justine eventually left and joined the Fusebill team in late 2017. She started off as an Implementation Manager where she would see customers through the onboarding process and help them get set up with Fusebill’s subscription management and recurring billing platform.
The opportunity to join a company that was growing rapidly was appealing to her, and as a mother to a now two-year-old son, she also appreciated Fusebill’s flexible working hours.
Today she feels that this drives all employees to work as hard as they do.
“It makes me feel like I have a really good work-life balance,” Justine says.
The all smiles team: Justine with Lincoln, and Matt
What surprised Justine the most about Fusebill was how collaborative and customer-centric all the different departments were.
“Every department is driven toward the same goal,” she explains.
“Whether it’s marketing, sales, or product and development, everyone is customer oriented. We’re all on the same page and we all want the same things for our customers at the end of the day.”
Transitioning into a customer-centric role
After less than a year of working in implementation, Fusebill introduced Justine to the Customer Experience department and Justine transitioned into her current role as CSM.
Navigating the waters of this brand-new role took some time, but it was exciting, nonetheless.
“It was really cool being on the ground level of that and trying to shape what that department looks like,” says Justine.
The move into the new role wasn’t immediate, as Justine still had customers in the middle of the onboarding process and didn’t want to hand them off to a different Implementation Manager. To ensure that these customers continued to have a successful experience, Justine carried out both implementation and CSM roles until all her customers had gone live with the Fusebill system. This made for a seamless transition.
When looking back on her days working on the implementation side, Justine considers the experience a huge asset to the work that she is doing now.
“It really gave me first-hand knowledge of the pain points that our customers experience and the process that they go through before they get to the CSM process,” Justine explains. “If I had started in CSM, I wouldn’t have had as much background on that aspect.”
A Customer Success Manager in the SaaS world
Now working solely as a CSM, Justine’s days never quite look the same. They often vary based on the volume of customers and the amount of time she has to allocate toward proactive outreach. However, she says that one of the biggest big parts of her day typically involves escalations.
Justine is the go-to person to help customers solve any issues they might be having before they escalate. When this happens, she develops a plan of action and determines which parties can be brought on board to help solve the issue as efficiently as possible. Oftentimes, she turns to the product and development departments to help her troubleshoot, problem solve and think up creative solutions.
Justine also does training sessions with customers who need help navigating the Fusebill system.
Overall, though, the one aspect of being a CSM that Justine enjoys the most is simply interacting with customers and helping them find solutions to their problems.
“I really love working with customers. I love spending my days on the phone,” she says. “I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I absolutely love connecting with our customers, seeing how they’re using the platform, and trying to help them out with any issues or inquiries that they may have.”
And of course, getting positive feedback from customers is also big morale boost.
“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t great getting positive feedback,” says Justine. “It doesn’t have to be posted somewhere or sent off to my manager. Just the fact that they want to tell me how great the experience was really what motivates me to do my job better.”
Justine recalls one customer experience that was particularly humbling.
She explains that a customer had been approaching the end of the implementation process but had yet to import their subscriptions into Fusebill. Suddenly, the customer began having doubts about the process and expressed their concerns about moving forward.
The customer was transferred over to Justine, who quickly responded to their concerns and determined that the situation was the result of an unrelated misunderstanding.
All their doubts quickly disappeared as Justine reassured the customer of her extensive experience with importing subscriptions. She then did a test run with them, which made the customer feel comfortable with the data they were receiving. Since they were a bit behind on their implementation timeline, Justine continued working with the customer outside of office hours to ensure they would meet their goal.
“It all comes back to making sure they’re seeing value and growth–that they’re happy with their decision to purchase and use Fusebill,” she says.
By the end of the process, the customer was incredibly grateful and thanked Justine for making their experience so positive.
Key components of a successful customer experience
With every customer, Justine’s objective is making sure that they find success with the Fusebill platform.
“The whole point of Fusebill is to help make lives easier,” she says. “We want to do a lot of automation, we want to make a lot of their reporting more accessible and make sure they’re not having to carry out tedious invoicing. At the end of the day, they’re going to be able to put more effort into other areas of their business in order to grow their business.”
However, achieving this goal requires two key elements:
- Making sure the customer is properly set up and using the platform. This means they have been through the implemention process, are comfortable using the Fusebill system, and fully understands how it works.
Justine believes that the training she does with customers is a major factor in this. She explains that customer training is the first step toward being able to work on their own and empowers businesses to make their own changes within the system and add new product offerings.
“We can set their system up for them and get them up and running and that’s all well and good. But to really empower someone would be to make sure that they fully understand the platform and are comfortable using it,” Justine says.
- The other component of a successful customer experience is ensuring that customers see the full value of the Fusebill system. This entails making sure they are using certain features properly, or are aware of new features that might not have been available when they first became a customer.
“It’s really important to make sure we are identifying the gaps in what they are and are not using,” says Justine.
Department growth creates exciting possibilities for the future
Considering the potential of the Customer Success department to make a difference to the customer experience, Justine is excited about the future and the opportunity to expand the team. This includes the addition of Fusebill’s new Director of Customer Experience, Natalie Roy, who brought her considerable leadership experience as a Customer Success professional to the department in December 2018.
Justine is particularly looking forward to working with Natalie on developing processes and shaping how the department operates. Justine is sure that Natalie’s expertise in the customer success process will empower her to “really make sure our customers are having the best possible experience and figure out a strategy to keep doing better.”