Lorna Mendis is one of our senior Customer Success Managers who has been with Zuora since August 2015. Her passion is to advocate for her clients’ needs and best interests by developing deep relationships with them. One way for Lorna to connect with her customers is through the Zuora Community as she explains below:
Ideas - “Something I Absolutely Adore!”
One area of the Community I find most valuable is Ideas which is where we can talk about the future with our customers. When we sell Zuora to businesses, the perceived value is from one point in time so it’s the CSM’s job to continue to present Zuora’s ongoing value as an innovative investment for their business’ ongoing success. The direct communication with Product Management and senior stakeholders via Ideas shows, as our customers transition their businesses, we still understand their business priorities and we’re always working to deliver the best solution to achieve their business outcomes. This also reduces the likelihood for a competitor to position themselves as a suitable alternative. I want my customers to be actively engaged with the Ideas forum so that they feel like they’re being heard, which is very important to maintaining a strong relationship.
The Power of Discussions
It’s really powerful that customers can go to the Community with so many different viewpoints and share their ideas for their concern. The forums gives us the power to say “You not only have a CSM, but you also have a whole Community of people going through the same thing”. The subscription economy is new for some people, but if customers hear from 5-6 highly ranked people in the Community, it gives them more confidence to take a more steps in the right direction.
Stopping the Negative Rot by Leading Customers Towards the Positive
I get notified whenever my customers file a support ticket. However, not all of their issues can be resolved within the ticket. That’s when I introduce them to the Community. This prevents the “dead-end feeling” when they hear that the platform can’t do something they consider important. When this happens, I take it as an opportunity to reach out and remind them of the Community as another channel to directly voice their opinions and open up alternatives for resolution. With the Community, I’m able to stop that negativity and lead them towards something positive. I make sure their posts are responded to by the wider group and encourage them to get others in their organisation to participate. It only takes a few push backs before a company starts to devalue the Zuora experience and begin looking elsewhere. I call this the ‘rot’ and my job is to stop the rot from flourishing to get clients re-engaged and give them a positive outlook for the future.
Making a Difference via the Community
My customers’ feedback has been positive and I can see them engaging more as we get more involvement from other Zuora teams. There are a lot of exciting things going on with the platform and it’s exciting for customers to see that they’re being heard and are making a difference via the Community!
Get to know Lorna Mendis a little better with our Community Spotlight Q&A:
1. What was the career path that led you to Zuora?
I was changing careers and looking for the right culture. I was struck by Zuora's focus on customer success, and read about the importance to the customer journey in the academy and the 9 keys - I was hooked!
2. What do you love about your job here at Zuora?
I love the focus on customer success. Our team is deeply involved in all aspects of the customer journey. Because of the way we are measured, we are true advocates, which customers appreciate. CSMs at Zuora have a direct impact on customer lifetime value, which is essential for strong SAAS businesses.
3. What's your favorite thing about working at Zuora? Do you have a favorite Zuora memory?
My first week, I started at the time of our team offsite. I was so taken aback by how engaged everyone was, so passionate in discussions, workshops, and even during the lunch breaks! We were swapping tips and discussing strategies.
4. What is your average day like at Zuora?
My day always starts with the success plan which is the place I focus most of my time. In my case, I always think "What can I do today to move this forward?". I relate every task, meeting or activity I am involved in, back to a specific business outcome. Outcomes are continuously refined to ensure success and have a high value to both the customer and Zuora stakeholders.
5. How is Zuora's Customer Success team different than other teams you've worked with?
The Customer Success team very good at sharing and learning from one another. The commitments shown by each team member for continuous education is in my experience, a first. We work in complex technical, commercial and strategic situations - Customer Success is not an island, as such, and that commitment to inclusion is key to our success.
Fun Facts about Lorna (AKA "The Mendis"):
A little about me:
- Ive been best friends with the same person for 28 years (that's a wig, by the way)
- I'm one of 5 children, and my parents are still happily married
- I'm a secret fan of Bingo, I just love the banter!
Halloween with my best friend of 28 years! (that's a wig, by the way)
When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A dancer, but I was bitten by the study bug and opted for a Business Degree instead
Do you have any hidden talents?
I have a knack for remembering song lyrics...I dont know why.
What’s one thing that you’ve always wanted to try?
Jousting, it looks like fun
What are you most passionate about?
My cat pepper, she's the boss!
If you could do another job for one day, what would it be?
What advice would you give to someone just getting started in a new career? OR Share some words of wisdom/life motto
To be grateful for what you have, try to be patient and to keep on going, regardless.
If your life was turned into a movie, what would its title be and who would you select to star as you?
Jennifer Hudson, it would be called ' Be Yourself = Be Happy'
How do you spend your time outside of Zuora?
I love visiting Castles in the UK, going for long walks by the sea, most weekends you'll find me on some trek or feeding the birds!
What do you love about the Zuora Community? Is there anything that we can do better? Let us know in the comments below!
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