An interview with Mark Shell, Cherwell Software’s Director of Services.
What kind of ethos do you instil within Cherwell’s global professional services team? How does this differ from other ITSM vendors?
Before I joined Cherwell, when Vance Brown and I first talked about what the Professional Services team should be and how we would measure its performance, we talked about P&Ls, consultant utilization, and a number of other factors typically used to measure a Professional Services practice. What we very quickly came to agree on is that it’s really all about customer satisfaction. We work incredibly hard to make sure every engagement is a success. No organization or product is perfect, but if we don’t get it right the first time, we’ll work hard to make it right. Our customers appreciate that.
Tweet this: It’s ALL about customer satisfaction.
We survey our customers when they take a class, when we provide tech support, at the end of an incident, and at the end of an engagement. That all gets reported up into a dashboard so we can measure how we’re doing, make decisions, and take action based on data. That’s powerful.
One Cherwell consultant told me that he spends half his time training customers so they don’t get ‘stuck’ once the implementation is complete. Why is this important?
We have a “teach you to fish” philosophy with our Professional Services engagements. We encourage customers to dedicate team members to work alongside our consultants so they get on-the-job training as we implement their system. Customers are often able to do some of the work, like building dashboards, reports, or specifics screens while we’re there to help. Then, when we leave, they know what we’ve built and how we built it. They are empowered to own and enhance their system. Just look at some of the amazing dashboards and other functionality customers showed off at last year’s global conference. When we take the time to help our customers understand how their system works and how configuration is done, there’s no limit to what they can do with Cherwell Service Management®.
Many consultants work with a ‘you paid for this amount of time so that’s all we’ll provide’ motto, but Cherwell doesn’t. What’s the thought behind this?
This is more about the guiding principles of the organization than the individual consultant. We aim to hire the best people who truly believe and embrace our customers-first culture, and we reinforce that culture every day in the way we conduct ourselves and communicate with customers. Our philosophy hasn’t changed since my first conversations with Vance. We always try to make everything right by the customer. Sometimes that means going above and beyond the amount of hours paid for by a customer.
Tweet this: Always try to make everything right by your customer, especially when it requires going above & beyond.
How do you get Cherwell consultants to work with customers rather than work for customers?
Well, you have to lead by example. It really begins with the interview process. How we work with and treat customers is a huge part of the Cherwell culture that sets us apart from other software vendors. It’s our secret sauce, and every hiring manager or person who serves on an interview committee is directly responsible for preserving that culture. By selecting and hiring people with this trait at their core, we protect and enhance our culture. We reinforce it by walking the walk, every day, and letting our team members see how we handle customers, especially in difficult situations. Doing the right thing is easy when everything’s going right. The real test is what you do when the chips are down.
Can you provide us with some examples of great lessons learned that have helped your team provide great service?
Once, we had one particularly difficult implementation. It seemed that every time we thought we had it all working, we’d find something new. At one point, I thought to myself, “What have I gotten myself into? We’re never going to get this to work.” To make a long story short, we did get it to work. A few months later, one of our sales people ran into this company’s CIO. I started to cringe when this person first started to tell me what the CIO said. He said that while we did have issues we had to resolve to get them live, he and his company worked with a lot of software vendors and we stood out because not very many software companies hang in there and work until it’s done. To me, that’s what Cherwell is all about.
What are the Cherwell Service Management (CSM) capabilities that excite you the most?
I hear this from customers all the time: time to value. A customer comes up with a need, and they can design it and build it in CSM in a couple of hours, not days or weeks. So, the cool thing I’ve always thought about CSM is how quickly you can go from, “I have an idea,” or “I have a need,” to “Hey, I have a solution!”
Tweet this: How quickly can you go from ‘I have an idea’ to ‘Hey, I have a solution!’ with your ITSM tool?
What is it about Cherwell that gets you up in the morning and gets you into the office?
I love the people, and I love the challenge. Every day we juggle competing priorities and schedules to make sure we have the best resource available for every customer project. It’s not easy managing all the moving parts, but it’s very rewarding.
Interested in working for a company with this kind of culture!? Check out our opportunities here.