A Service Industry Veteran Joins Salesforce to Help Build the Future of Support
January 3, 2022
When Judi Platz was approached by a Salesforce recruiter, she wasn’t looking for a job. She was working for an industry association and loving it.
“I was the thought leader for support services for an entire industry. I started a customer success practice and worked with MuleSoft and Salesforce. They were my members, and so were Microsoft, Google, SAP, etc.”
Judi was the person who always told recruiters, ‘I’m not interested but I can give you the names of people I know who are looking.’ Nevertheless, the recruiter was persistent. She kept talking to Judi, fanning the spark of a growing interest.
“When I finally gave it some consideration, I thought, ‘Wait a minute, I'm out here telling hundreds of companies how they should be operationalizing their service lines and transforming. But what if I'm wrong? I should get back in and practice what I preach for a little while and see if my message is on cue.’”
Judi also knew people who had worked at Salesforce and praised its culture, energy, passion, and enthusiasm. Soon she was Vice President, Global Support, MuleSoft.
The Freedom to be Right and Wrong
Judi loved the process of figuring out whether the guidance she’d been dispensing was on target. She discovered it was — with some caveats.
“I was right and wrong. I knew the criteria and capabilities I was telling organizations would be effective for their employees and their customers were correct. But not during COVID.”
Judi created a map for purposeful support transformation. Everything had its own bucket. The dominoes were going to fall in order: first, second, third. Yet she knew her workforce was under extreme pressure professionally and personally.
“I had to say, ‘Wait, Judi, you have a lot to change, but you have this workforce that's tender and on the edge. How much can you put on them without hurting them more than they're already hurting?’”
Within Judi’s team were people who’d lost family members, people locked down in apartments by themselves, while dealing with angry customers. Parents with young children who couldn’t even escape to the store for a gallon of milk.
“We kept to our original plan, but the priorities shifted. We tailored the changes we made to ones that would benefit employees and customers the most. And then we executed flawlessly in our communication about why we were doing these things.”
Creating the Future of Support
In July of 2021 Judi took on a new role at Salesforce: SVP, Service Cloud Customer Support. She describes the role as the best of both worlds.
“I think of all the work I’ve done with support executives. It's those support executives who use Service Cloud to run their support organizations or those that are thinking about it that I now interact with. So, I get to run support and still be a thought leader, because now I'm representing the best product on the planet for a business organization (Support) that I am so passionate about.”
Judi points out that support used to be a cost center — funded and staffed at the minimum levels.
“It was short-term investment for short-term gain. Just make the noise go away. Make the escalations stop. But because of digital transformation driven by COVID, people are seeing what support is truly capable of.”
The new support paradigm is not reactive; it's not waiting for customers to run into issues. It's finding issues before customers encounter them. And it's making sure the feedback loop to the product team is there.
The Support organization is the first point of contact for customers experiencing technical challenges. The team comprises highly skilled technical engineers who have a passion for making customers successful. Support Engineers pride themselves on delivering an unparalleled premium customer experience that leaves customers wanting to come back for more.
“We're sitting on millions of threads of data, and very few support organizations use that data correctly. Product never sees many of the issues customers face because support resolved them. We need to get this data to the product team. Otherwise they have no idea these issues exist. And support can’t measure themselves correctly.” The same goes for getting the data to Sales, Customer Success, Services, and so on. Think of how much more efficient the entire business can be when we are truly sharing the data vs. having it sit in a silo.
So, in a nutshell, what’s the goal of a transformed support organization?
“Make it easy to be your customer. Get to the root of the problem quickly and be easy to work with. Reduce the customer's 'stress footprint.’ And there needs to be beautiful cooperation between support and customer success.”
Embracing a Culture of Trust
When Judi signed on with MuleSoft in 2020, it was like working for a high-growth startup within another company.
“MuleSoft was still standalone. But the Salesforce culture was there. The warmth, openness, and courageous conversations were there. You knew if you went into a meeting, it was okay to say the hard stuff. I was expecting it to be good, but it was better.”
She had been in companies where that was not the case.
“I’d look around, trying to figure out, who has the most clout, but it wasn't like that here. People here really do embody trust. I took this big sigh of relief when I realized people here are willing to engage and help.”
At MuleSoft, Judi co-led the support and services diversity and inclusion council. She’s looking to recreate that group within Salesforce support. She was also the executive advisor for women at MuleSoft and will is hoping to actively engage with the women-oriented groups on the Salesforce side.
“It's important to support work that promotes equality, diversity, and inclusion — for the various underrepresented communities, and for the benefit of the workplace as a whole.”
When she needs a break, Judi heads to the beach, listens to music, or opens a good book. She also has two Briards — French sheep dogs.
“They’re friendship dogs. Their tagline is ‘rugs that hug.’ They’re each 120 lbs., and they don’t know they grew up.”
For someone who’s focused on helping customers reduce their stress footprint, a rug that hugs seems like a good thing to have.