Our partnership with Salesforce goes beyond technology. Both of our organisations are committed to improving the lives of our customers and ensuring that our teams do their best work.”

Joseph Lyons | Managing Director - Australia & Asia, Xero

Xero transforms to streamline its customer experience

Xero was founded in 2006 to change the game for small businesses by providing accounting tools, information, and connections that help them thrive. Today, the global small business platform is excelling in this goal and helping more than 3 million subscribers transform the way they do business.

The company now operates in 25 cities around the world with 4,000 staff and a thriving partner community of accountants and bookkeepers. Its app ecosystem has also expanded, with more than 1,000 apps now available that connect to the Xero platform.

Xero’s partnership with Salesforce has supported its goal to build a better experience for customers and employees. It has also supported Xero in helping customers and partners navigate the challenges created by the pandemic.

“Our purpose is to make life better for people in small businesses, including their advisors and communities around the world,” said Joseph Lyons, Managing Director, Australia & Asia, Xero. “Our partnership with Salesforce goes beyond technology. Both of our organisations are committed to improving the lives of our customers and ensuring that our teams do their best work.”

Partnering for customer success

Salesforce has played an instrumental role in scaling Xero’s support since 2016, when Xero adopted Salesforce Customer 360 for a single view of customers.

Up until that time, the sales team managed leads in spreadsheets and Customer Experience specialists had to navigate through multiple screen views while helping customers over phone and email. As the company looked to grow globally, it needed a more efficient way of working.

“When I joined in 2012, we had around 100,000 customers and I remember our CFO pulling me aside and saying that we’d have a million customers someday soon. It was planning for that growth that made us think quite differently about the customer experience we wanted to provide,” said Nigel Piper, Executive General Manager, Customer at Xero.

When it came to choosing a solution to build that experience, Xero had three key requirements. First, the solution had to enable an experience as beautifully simple as Xero’s own software. Second, it had to be designed for the future. And finally, it had to be easy to use and enable people to do their best work.

Natalie Screen, General Manager of Customer Success at Xero, shared why the company chose Salesforce: “We aimed to set a benchmark for what support looked like in a SaaS company and wanted to partner with a leader who could help define that experience.”

Sales Cloud was the first step in transforming the customer and employee experience. Sales Cloud was not only much more efficient, but made it easier to track opportunities from initial contact to close. It’s also provided a better understanding of customers and their goals.

“One of our values at Xero is ‘Human’ and intrinsic to that is really knowing our customers and partners,” said Sophie Jackson, Regional Sales Manager for Victoria and Tasmania, Xero. “Salesforce is critical for our sales teams. Whether they’re in the office or on the road, they can surface everything they need to know about our customers, including where they’re at in their Xero journey and how they’re using our products.”

The sales team uses these insights to grow relationships with customers and partners and to drive their success, whether by helping them increase efficiency or grow their service offering.

“No one Xero accounting and bookkeeping partner is the same, so we really try to find out what makes them tick and how we can make an impact in helping them achieve their goals,” said Jackson.

Increasing customer happiness

Xero has since extended its partnership with Salesforce to bring all customer interactions onto one platform. With Service Cloud, for example, the Customer Experience and Success teams have all the tools and information needed to manage customer service from one central screen. This includes Salesforce Knowledge which contains thousands of articles that help Customer Experience specialists quickly answer customers’ questions.

“Service Cloud has been amazing and saved our team four million mouse clicks in the first year. By helping us improve our back office, Salesforce has also allowed us to focus on proactive engagement and predicting what customers need next,” said Screen.

The team’s average speed to answer has improved 20% while customer happiness has increased by more than 20 points. Xero’s employee Net Promoter Score is also sitting high with employees equipped to do their best work.

Slack contributes to these outcomes by enabling faster and more transparent information sharing across teams. The secure channel-based messaging platform is a key internal communications tool for Xero and is one of the ways the business connects and collaborates as a global team. It also helps employees solve new challenges by tapping into the collective knowledge and experience of their colleagues—wherever they’re based.

“As we collaborate across regions and teams we’re able to achieve wonderful things and deliver better outcomes for our customers without constantly reinventing the wheel,” said Jackson.

Driving engagement

Experience Cloud and Marketing Cloud gives Xero a single view of its customers and helps engage with them.

One major element of this is Xero Central. Built on Experience Cloud and leveraging Coveo for AI-powered search, it helps customers and partners quickly find the support and answers they need instantly through content within minutes. This includes the same Knowledge articles available to Customer Experience specialists as well as videos and other education experiences

“In the past there were multiple places people could go to for support, but through Xero Central we have consolidated everything. There’s now one doorway through to a consistent library of contextually rich information that gets surfaced to our customers in real time, using the power of Coveo,” said Piper.

More than 96% of customers' questions are answered instantly through the content created by Xero while the rest can be immediately directed to the appropriate specialist.

“If we can serve up the right content for people to learn and resolve things on their own, that’s a win. At the same time, we have a team of Customer Experience specialists who can solve the more complex challenges faced by partners and customers,” adds Jackson.

Communicating through crisis

Throughout the pandemic, the Xero Central community has served as a gateway to news and other resources to help customers and partners manage through the crisis.

“When the pandemic began, our first priority was to provide all the information and insights our customers needed, particularly in terms of accessing stimulus packages and grants,” said Lyons. “As the situation unfolded, we found customers also wanted information on how to streamline processes and work from home.”

Xero decided to share relevant internal resources with customers too, including information related to wellbeing and resilience. As a result, Xero Central has become a trusted source of information for small businesses who don’t often have access to guidance and advice in the way that large businesses do.

Building for the future

Today Xero is focused on the future and how it can further improve the customer experience. The company is already using Marketing Cloud to orchestrate personalised customer journeys and interact with customers through social media and targeted advertising.

Xero has established a large team of Salesforce experts who are leading this work together with their business colleagues and the Salesforce Success Cloud team.


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