Tuesday, October 26, 2010

NACCM 2010: Netezza’s High Touch Customer Strategy

Presentation from Trish Cotter – SVP Worldwide Service Operations (Owns Manufacturing & Support) — NACCM, 2010

“You can’t do everything, so make sure the things you do are done right. Small things add up.”

Netezza is a provider of an Analytics Appliance, a highly technical product combining hardware and software. With 300 customers, 400 employees, and $250MM in sales, Netezza focuses on being very easy to do business with. Trish’s advice is to start with a great product, be innovative, and then make everything easy starting with simple pricing and contracts, and then regular and consistent personalized outreach to their customers.

The first opportunity to create loyalty is through the product delivery and installation experience. But then it is critical to invest in getting customers up to speed so they will be more productive, less costly to serve, and more loyal. Some practices that Netezza employs include:

  • -Turnkey installs – make the data center installation process very easy. Make sure everything is ready before arriving to do the installation, and then get in and out within one day.
  • -Once installed you have the opportunity to wow the next group of people (beyond the data center personnel in their case). Netezza provides a customer health check, which periodically ensures everything is running right. They also proactively reach out to low-utilization customers to make sure everything is ok. These practices improve cost of service for Netezza and also provide good-will for the customer.
  • -A new program called NZ Launch has significantly reduced call volume, saving over $1M. The account teams proactively reach out to deliver best practices to individual customers, providing customers with not only good information but also enabling the customer to have a point of contact that welcomes the customer.
  • -Technical account managers form individual relationships with the customer. Expensive? Yes. But imagine the cost without it. Huge differentiator.

While these areas are customer-facing, there are also several areas of Netezza’s operations that are critical to making it all work:

  • -A team-oriented culture is critical. The account team that services the customer overall has to hit 4.0 out of 5 in order to achieve minimum bonus, and can receive a quarterly additional bonus for exceeding targets. Their focus is on the quarter – not annual – to make it more real and more focused on individual customers, not aggregated data.
  • -New Product Introduction process: The Support organization works closely with the product engineering teams to make sure things work better for the customer. Using technology wisely, they can now easily search all support tickets, and aggregate them together for the engineering team to be able to easily help the product improve. It is critical that they work well with Engineering to eliminate duplicate issues and provide as much information as possible to improve.
  • -Employees are critical. Attrition is very low and they make it easy for people to move around within the company. One interesting area on Netezza’s employee survey is that they make sure to find out if the employees think the company can get to the next major revenue milestone ($500M). In Netezza’s case employees believe. And their growth rate is projected at 30-40% for next year.

Netezza calls their strategy, “Look Left, Move Right.” Keep moving forward. They know they can’t do everything, so they have decided that it is better to choose the things that they will do, do them very well, and communicate the right expectations to the customer.

Bottom line: Focus on items that increase your footprint and raise renewals. Don’t try to actively sell 2 weeks before renewal: this is an ongoing experience, and customers do come back for more of what they enjoy.

This blog was written by Steve Bernstein and is co-posted with the Customer Insight = Revenue blog.

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