Dynamic Yield Leverages Retain to Scale Customer Success
How to employ data to ensure your CSMs serve as strategic advisors
Meet Dynamic Yield: An omnichannel platform to power individualized customer experiences
Dynamic Yield is an AI-powered Personalization platform that delivers individualized experiences across various customer touchpoints. Marketers, product managers, and engineers from more than 300 brands around the world, including Fendi, IKEA, Ocado, PacSun, and Sephora, use Dynamic Yield to power individualized experiences for more than 600 million users each month. Headquartered in New York, the company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of McDonald’s Corporation with more than 250 employees worldwide.
In addition to its personalization platform, a big value add for Dynamic Yield’s customer base is its Customer Success (CS) team. As Ben Malki, Director of Customer Success, Americas explains, “We pride ourselves in serving as strategic advisors to our clients – enabling them to establish personalization programs that drive incremental revenue and deliver long-term value.”
In 2018, Dynamic Yield’s business experienced explosive growth – doubling in a year’s time. And with time being the CS team’s most valuable asset, the organization was faced with the challenge of figuring out how to best scale for the future.
The Challenge: Measuring CSM activity to scale efficiently
Dynamic Yield realized fairly quickly that in order to effectively scale CS efforts, it needed a better understanding of how the Customer Success Managers (CSMs) were spending their time. Whatever method was to be implemented, Dynamic Yield was adamant it couldn’t be a manual process.
“Being a CSM at Dynamic Yield is a very intense position. The last thing I want is for my team to have to deal with a lot of manual tracking,” Ben details. “You typically can’t trust manual data, either – when you’re requiring people to self-report, it’s much harder to have a deep level of accuracy.”
Enter Retain: Measuring client interactions behind-the-scenes
Dynamic Yield was unsure how to solve this challenge until they serendipitously heard from Retain. Retain integrates with tools already used in the workplace, such as email, calendars, and CRM systems and pulls metadata from them to calculate the cost of servicing and supporting a company’s customers.
After seeing a demo of how Retain could track CSM activities without requiring any effort from individual CSMs, the team was sold and immediately began a pilot. Dynamic Yield connected Retain to:
Salesforce to pull in client data
The Dynamic Yield app to track time spent in customer accounts
Gmail to measure client correspondence
Google Docs to measure time spent on client campaign analysis
Google Calendar to account for client meetings and calls
Asana to track time spent on client programs
Strikedeck to measure time spent on client management
Client websites to see time spent on client work
Once Dynamic Yield connected Retain to these applications, it could see how much time was spent with each individual client and exactly what tasks the team was spending their time on – giving management the insights they needed to make sure everyone was working on strategic, value-add activities.
Dynamic Yield used the data Retain provided to compile three custom reports on account activity, tiered activity, and CSM activity. The account activity report allows Dynamic Yield to see the top 10 clients the team spends the most time working with – giving them the opportunity to course-correct if needed. When reviewing the tiered activity report, management looks at the different tiers clients fall into and checks to see if the team’s time is being distributed in the right proportions. The CSM activity report allows Dynamic Yield to determine whether the team is spending the right amount of time on the right activities, as well as analyze this across customer tiers.
After piloting Retain with the CSM team, Dynamic Yield has since rolled it out to its Customer Success Engineering, Support, and Strategy teams to get a comprehensive picture of its cost-to-serve.
The Results: Data to ensure focus on value-add tasks
Leveraging data to spend time wisely
When Dynamic Yield implemented Retain, it gave the team access to data they’ve never had before – and some of the results were eye opening. For instance, using the account activity report, the team discovered they were spending three times the amount of hours with one client compared to the next.
Ben elaborates, “Having this data gave us the insights we needed to ask, ‘Hey, why do we need to spend this much time here? What are the issues we’re working through? How can we best serve this client and bring value to them, while also potentially doing it in a more efficient way?’”
Retain also gives the team data they need to rationalize headcount based on the amount of time it takes to service Dynamic Yield’s clients. “Without Retain, it’s totally anecdotal,” Ben explains. “With numbers behind you, it changes the nature of the discussion.”
Focus on strategic activities
As the CS team continued to use Retain, the activities the team spent time on became more consistent – mainly due to access to the data management needed to coach CSMs in the right direction. For example, if Ben saw a CSM spending a disproportionate amount of time in the Dynamic Yield product admin, he knew they were troubleshooting instead of compiling and disseminating performance data to help advise their clients.
“When you work with a very technical product, it’s very easy to get stuck in the mud,” Ben shares. “This detracts from our ability to disseminate value – it’s one less call where we can give recommendations on how to optimize a client’s customer journey. It’s the difference between being a tactical versus a strategic advisor.”
The Upshot: Insights to impact renewals
After using Retain for just six months, Dynamic Yield was able to increase the amount of time CSMs spent with tier one clients from 41% to 67%, matching the percentage of ARR contribution from this customer segment. Another key result for the team was spending more time strategically advising clients by providing campaign analysis and recommendations. After using Retain, they saw this rise to 13% of total time, a 4% increase from the previous quarter.
“At the end of the day, we’re a SaaS business, which means that what keeps us up at night is renewals,” Ben shares. “And to be able to ensure we are driving an excellent renewal rate, I have to make sure my team is working effectively and that their time is spent in the right places – Retain is a huge part of that.
“Before Retain, we only had an anecdotal understanding of where our time was being spent. Having this data we can trust in one place has been massively helpful for us.”
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