Seattle, WA (HQ)
Customer Experience, VoC
Lauren Franklin has a unique role. As a Senior Customer Engagement Manager at Uplevel, a SaaS tool that uses machine learning to improve engineering team effectiveness, Lauren’s main focus is understanding and communicating internally what her users need most from the Uplevel product. It’s a critical position that straddles both Customer Success and Product Management, and it’s north star is simple: keep customers and end users satisfied and successful by deeply understanding and addressing their product needs.
“My role is focused on understanding what our users love, what they don’t love, and being the person that translates that back to our teams. It’s really all about making both the customer – that main point of contact – and the end users happy. Feedback is a really key piece in that. Gathering that feedback is certainly possible, but – even as a smaller company – organizing, analyzing, and communicating those needs back to the team is a surprisingly big feat.”
Senior Customer Engagement Manager
In order to create the best experience possible for Uplevel’s users, Lauren knew she needed feedback (and lots of it). But she quickly realized that collecting feedback was actually the easy part; it was what happened after all of that feedback had been collected that seemed insurmountable. Uplevel didn’t have a central repository for storing customer feedback and needs, so information was getting left all over the place. From Excel sheets and Slack channels to random Sticky Notes with learnings from sales calls, important insights were being collected, stashed somewhere, and quickly forgotten about. Because of this, Lauren found herself struggling to make compelling business cases to her Product team for why customers’ needs were worth addressing. Very quickly, communication and trust between the Customer and Product team started to deteriorate.
“We were collecting feedback before Parlor in a lot of different places. There were a lot of customer needs sitting in tools, but we also just had people jotting down notes during sales calls and interviews that would get thrown into random Excel sheets. Either way, nothing would come of it. So feedback was stored all over the place with the best intent, but there was no hard and fast process for making it actionable on behalf of our customers.”
Ultimately, Lauren’s Customer Engagement team and the Product team share the same goal: continually prioritize the most impactful work to the business. For Lauren, though, the challenge was always making a business case on behalf of her customers when their needs were the most impactful to the business. So, outstanding customer needs only sporadically floated to the top of the priority list. This left Uplevel’s customer-facing teams to deal with the frustration from users who increasingly felt that their needs weren’t being listened to or prioritized.
“We weren’t prioritizing customer needs in any kind of systematic way. Sometimes I would post something important that I heard or share an interview I had, and there would be a bunch of people who would comment back. It may even get referenced at a later point, but because there was no true systematic process, nothing would ultimately come of it. Eventually, we decided that listening to users and aligning our priorities with their needs should be our main goal.”
Uplevel adopted Parlor’s URM to solve this problem and ensure better customer satisfaction and retention in the process. Parlor helped Uplevel not only collect more uniform and actionable feedback, but it also consolidated their entire post-feedback collection process into one single system of record. With Parlor’s URM, Lauren and her other teams are now able to access the same source of truth to understand the most important customer needs, ground those in measurable business impact, and provide transparency to both internal coworkers and external users. This has resulted in more than a process change; it has resulted in a cultural change. Uplevel’s teams now work together with a shared understanding of the definitive business case for each and every customer need, ensuring that nothing and no one gets left behind.
“We see Parlor as a collaboration tool that everybody at Uplevel –regardless of their team or expertise – can use. It acts as the glue. It opens up communication channels between teams that weren’t there before, which is what truly makes it valuable.”