Value pathways. Self-service communities. Real-time analytics. Pat Phelan is constantly refining how GoCardless approaches customer success and support. We asked the company’s Chief Customer Officer to share some of his insights and ideas.


Tell us about your role at GoCardless

As a customer success leader, I am responsible for making sure we deliver on our promises to our customers - from managing the onboarding process to providing ongoing support. I have a personal mantra: make sure no customer is left behind. GoCardless already helps 55,000 organisations simplify recurring payments - and that number is going to get even bigger as we expand internationally and sign up more partners and customers to our global bank debit network.


How will you scale customer success? 

We are building a number of value pathways - which are a bit like customer journeys on steroids! They enable us to dig down into the key engagement stages - from closing the deal and nurturing the relationship to renewing the contract and upselling.

With Service Cloud, we can capture data at each of these stages and ensure the customer seamlessly passes to the next pathway. It helps the team have visibility of what’s coming down the pipe.


Why is this visibility important?

Managing capacity is one of the biggest challenges facing customer success and support leaders. We need to be able to plan for busy periods like any other function but often don’t have this visibility.

With Salesforce, I get a real-time overview of the sales pipeline and can forecast what resources we are going to need. We can also get smarter at assigning those resources by using automated triggers and workflows. For example, a customer success manager is automatically appointed as soon as contract negotiations start, which means they can support the sales rep in closing the deal.


How did you make sure no customer got left behind during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Our overarching objective was to become part of our customers’ essential network during this period. We developed an engagement plan based solely on how  we could support our customers. The financial impact on some of our customers, such as independent gyms, has been huge.

By identifying the verticals most affected by the pandemic, we’ve been able to brief the customer success team on potential situations and queries, so they are ready to provide support when needed and, in many cases, reach out proactively.


How has the pandemic changed your approach to customer success? 

Our core strategy hasn’t really changed but it has shone a light on the need for data sophistication and accessibility. We’re embedding reports from Salesforce more into our day-to-day operations to make sure we are staying on track and that the team is prioritising high-impact activities, such as commercial negotiations and strategic workshops.

How we act during difficult times will influence how customers view us six months down the line. As a result, it’s really important to make sure your company values are reflected in your approach to customer support; it’s easy to say ‘we’re customer-centric’ but you’ve got to live it and prove it.

It’s also important to empower people to be themselves when customers are upset or stressed. Idon’t want the team to have to look at playbooks and guides to work out how to respond.


What’s next for customer success at GoCardless?

We want to get more collaborative with our customers on their success plans by using Quip. We’re also implementing a self-service customer hub, which is really exciting.

The hub will be like a front door into GoCardless and provide customers with visibility of previous interactions as well as content relevant to their journey and sector. It will enable us to provide a more personalised experience at scale and make sure no customer gets left behind as our business grows.

There are lots of other innovations and improvements on the radar and I want to make sure we don’t lose the agility we gained during the pandemic. I want to keep that muscle memory for when we tackle other challenges and opportunities in the future.


Simplifying payments with Salesforce.

By boosting visibility and agility, GoCardless will be able to keep enriching the experience for tens of thousands of customers. Find out more about how GoCardless is transforming not only customer support but also sales and marketing in this full customer story: GoCardless helps more businesses simplify recurring payments with Salesforce.