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The Secrets to Stellar Customer Success

Styrmir Hafliðason, Senior Manager of Customer Success and Security, shares how customer success has been a part of the Verne Global's DNA since day one and lessons to be learned for other organisations.

Our customers are at the very heart of what we do. And, however ambitious their growth plans or demanding a customer’s service level, our onsite team is the lifeblood of Verne Global that makes it all happen. Working around the clock to deliver consistently outstanding customer service, the team follows three key principles to ensure each customer can effortlessly meet their high performance computing needs and objectives.

1)      Benchmark for success

We know that listening to the customer is key to delivering their success. And what our customers tell us is that Verne Global is the yardstick by which customers measure the service of other data center teams. To put this into quantifiable terms, on every support ticket raised, our customers have the option to rate the support they receive. We have regularly ended the year with an NPS score of 100, something that is almost unheard of in the IT industry.

We offer our customers round the clock onsite support, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, because we know just how important it is for our customers’ to have their data center services running optimally at all times. They also need to know that if they move their attention away from their data centre operations, nothing about those operations will change.

This has never been more important than when the pandemic hit. We had consistently been rated above 90 percent by our customers in our speed and efficiency of response before the pandemic, and we weren’t about to let that standard drop. Throughout lockdowns and periods of restrictions we have continued to make sure a dedicated technician is working on a customer task within minutes of a request being made, and are proud to have maintained the pre-pandemic levels of customer satisfaction in this area over the past year.

Plus, despite the inevitable increase in tickets over the past year as more customers have relied on our services, there has been no change in how our customers view our services and support. Over the past two years – both preceding and during the pandemic – we have consistently achieved 100 percent customer satisfaction on support tickets.

We see every interaction with a customer as an opportunity to grow their trust in our capability to work on their behalf. And what better advertisement is there for great customer service?

2)      Cultivating customer confidence

We see every interaction with a customer as an opportunity to grow their trust in our capability to work on their behalf. And what better advertisement is there for great customer service?

That’s not to say that maintaining our excellent level of customer support has been completely without its challenges during the pandemic. As a result of the restrictions, for example, our remote hands hours – the hours spent working onsite on behalf of customers – dramatically increased almost overnight. We consistently experienced record breaking months in terms of the number of remote hands hours worked throughout 2020, and overall saw a 3-fold increase when comparing January 2020 numbers with January 2021.

We needed to make sure our customers – while being physically cut off from the facility itself – never felt disconnected from their data center operations. Luckily, the strong foundations of trust we had built with those customers who we had worked on behalf of prior to 2020 meant we had an excellent track history to point to in terms of our customer service.

To make sure we maintained the highest levels of customer service and satisfaction, we hired more staff to keep up with the increased customer demands and worked consistently harder to make sure that each request for support was dealt with as fast as possible.

But although new staff had to be trained, the dynamics of great customer support along with tried and tested procedures were already in place and as a team we didn’t have to learn anything new. We already knew exactly what to do and how to do it in order to best serve Verne Global’s customers and ensure their services were running optimally. For us, the new normal was doing the same things we were doing before, just with more people and on a much larger scale while holding firm onto the personal one-on-one relationships that we had already built throughout the years.

3)      Steadfast commitment

Why are we so obsessed with delivering the best customer service in the business? That’s easy. Although our data center is located on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, most of our customers are located in the UK, US, Germany and central Europe. We know that the physical distance makes no difference to the optimal running of high density compute, but we also know we want to consistently deliver outstanding support wherever we might be based.

For this reason, the geographical location of our facility actually served to ensure that, from its foundation, offering customers round-the-clock onsite technical support was built into the very DNA of Verne Global.

Supercharging the old normal in Iceland

Organisations across the globe have had to become deft at maintaining communication and bridging the physical gap that has opened up between themselves and their customers during the past year. However, this is something that our onsite team has been well-practised at long before 2020 due to the strategic location of our data center.

When the pandemic hit, the strong foundations of trust and the personal relationships we had built meant we had an excellent track history to point to in terms of our customer service, and we’re immensely proud of the additional trust we’ve built during periods of travel restrictions. This reinforced confidence in the skill of our onsite team is demonstrated by the fact that the increase in demand of onsite support is showing no signs of slowing down or reverting to pre-pandemic ‘normality’ as we gradually start to emerge from lockdowns – in fact, March 2021 broke our onsite record for remote hands hours by 160 hours.

The very premise on which Verne Global’s sustainably-powered data center in Iceland was built – that it’s unnecessary to be located near your high density compute for it to run optimally and without issue – means ensuring customer success is woven into the ecosystem of the company.