Episode No:20

Customer Success at Tokeet ft.

Stefan Trbojevic

Head of Client Success, Tokeet

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Ep#20: Customer Success at Tokeet
ft. Stefan Trbojevic (Head of Client Success, Tokeet)
Ep#20: Customer Success at Tokeet ft. Stefan Trbojevic (Head of Client Success, Tokeet)
  • Ep#20: Customer Success at Tokeet ft. Stefan Trbojevic (Head of Client Success, Tokeet)

Episode Summary

Today on the show, we have Stefan Trbojevic, Head of Client Success at Tokeet, a cloud-based solution that streamlines vacation rental management from inquiry to checkout. In this episode, we talked about Stefan’s background and his decision to leave the corporate world and join a start-up. Stefan also gave us insights into their CS operations, the CS technologies they employ, and how they handle account management differently. He then discussed how they aim to get as much feedback as possible from their users while providing value to them.
  • NCR
  • Booking.com
  • Expedia
  • Agoda
  • AirBnb
  • Mixpanel
  • Segment
  • Hubspot
  • Amplitude
  • Slack
Key Takeaways Time
Stefan’s background and how he ended up in customer success 0:59
What does Tokeet do 2:50
Why did Stefan leave the corporate world and move into a start-up 4:16
What is required to be a CS team member at Tokeet 7:08
How they segment their customers 9:25
Tools they use for tracking user activity 12:47
How they manage accounts differently than other SaaS start-ups 16:37
What are the metrics they look out for when reaching out to an account 18:53
Onboarding process at Tokeet 22:12
How Tokeet brings value to its users 25:49
Taking feedback from their users 27:43

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Taylor Kenerson: Hi, everyone, it’s Taylor here with the Adil. And Stefan, we will be chatting about his platform. Hey, Stefan, nice to meet you. Stefan Trbojevic: Hey, guys, nice to meet you. Thanks for having me. Adil Saleh: Thanks for taking the time. Okay, so, Stefan, as we know that you are kind of software development firm for rental businesses, and you’re trying to penetrate in that market? Could you tell us a bit more about what is your, you know, your core values revolve around? And why did you choose this role in that business? You know, what made you What’s your why, and a bit about your background that can be connected with that, and then will will further deepen, go deep into your operations and how you have set up technology and everything. So please go ahead? Stefan Trbojevic: Yeah, so let me first start and tell a bit about myself. So my background is I started working in, in big corporation, it is called NCR, a lot of people might be familiar with it. They’re doing stuff about cash registers, ATMs and stuff like that. So I’ve been there for, let’s say, I believe it was four years, almost four years. And I reached the point where I was not learning anything new, everything was boring and dull, you know, I was repeating tasks every day, so nothing new to learn. And then I decided, you know, to move away from that safe environment that, you know, everybody chooses to stick with corporations. So I kind of risked, and went over for SaaS company, you know, startup, and, you know, it was, I think one of my best choices so far. And I’ve been enjoying it here. Simply because you, you get so much freedom to work, you know, your ideas are being listened to, you have, you know, whatever, you, you just don’t have to be shy. You just share your ideas and thoughts. And Adil Saleh: you can express yourself having your own idea being implemented by all of you. And then you build a team, you take the high level decisions, you go first. So that’s the real charm of being your own business, that entrepreneurial mindset. So tell us more about your startup, like, was it a core Saa S startup or tech startup? Or was it more of like, a service base? Product? solutions or something? Could you tell us more? Stefan Trbojevic: Yes, well, it is a service based solution. So tokeet, the software, the company that I’m working for, that is so called channel manager software, what it does it, it helps property managers or property owners to list their rentals, apartments, whatever it might be on OTAs online travel agencies. So with tokeet, you know, it makes it easy. And you you centralize everything you don’t have to visit Airbnb and booking.com, Expedia Agoda, all these channels, you do it from one place. So it’s, it’s kind of it is centralizing, and streamlining the process for our users. And we, we made it as a as a service, you know, with with a monthly subscriptions and everything. And we’ve been going, we’ve been going strong for six years now. I’ve been three, three years here with tokeet Adil Saleh: Wow it’s not as that’s not a small period. So Taylor Kenerson: Hold on Adil, before before we dive in, I want to just take a step back. Steven, you mentioned that you were in the corporate world first and then you decided to go into the startup world. You like what gave you the courage to do that? I know you weren’t you like we’re done being comfortable. But how did you take that leap? Stefan Trbojevic: I was fed up. You know, there’s a lot of procedures and a lot of steps that you have to follow, which make no sense and I just had enough of it. I wanted the freedom I wanted to express myself too. I know that I’m creative and I can be more valuable to the company that I’m working for. But you know, in corporate environment, you’re just a number so I kind of didn’t feel that I was a part of that. And that’s it. But yeah, you do you do need courage to make steps like that, especially if you if you’re in that environment for a long time. Adil Saleh: Yeah, You’re so strong be comfortable. Okay, great. So tell us more on your team right now, how big is your team? And what kind of post sales operations do you have you have set up? As of now, what how many customers do you have in the past six years in the market? Stefan Trbojevic: Yes, well, we have around 3000 active users, it varies from month to month, we are trying to grow, we are now in the growth stage. And when we, when we entered the growth stage, we, we just decided that we need customer success. You know, if we want larger clients, we need, we need customer success team. So, with that being said, we formed a team just recently, I believe, six, seven months ago, but we were kind of doing it but not officially. So we made it official role we, we hired new people, currently, I’m ahead of success team, and I have four more team members that are, you know, sharing these tasks with me. And so far, it’s been really, really great. We already seen good results, we are getting good feedback, feedback from our users. And, you know, it’s just, it just good Adil Saleh: Interesting, interesting. So you got around four people, 3000 customers? So how, what is the criteria for you as a, as a leader setting up a team to segregate customers or book businesses across four different people? And what kind of how much is it so much sensitive towards the skill set of that individual? So could you tell us more about it, because it’s something to learn from us from from this experience, because you recently build them, you might, you might have faced some challenges to? Stefan Trbojevic: Well, when I said we hired, we didn’t actually hire, rehired the previous person that already knew our software. So we didn’t have to do any training or anything like that. But the first, the first thing about customer success member is to know the product extremely well, to know, every tiny bit of any setting that could possibly be there and configure it for the user. So we did extensive training, in that regard to help them learn more advanced things. And the the criteria for for us to get involved in some case, or to offer Success Services to someone, if they’re a larger client, or if they want to do let’s say, one off onboarding session or, or anything of that sort. And the skill set of the people would be at first place, it would be to know our app extremely well to know the market extremely well, all these channels, and what are the needs to to list rentals on these channels, you know, what are the requirements, so they have to have everything, they have to know all about that. And then we can call it Success Manager. Without that knowledge, it is really hard to dive in and help our users. Of course, in every success, model, success doesn’t know everything like they, they go to developers, they go to support team, they go, they’re not going out all doors, but in our case, we wanted to establish a firmly strong success team that will know everything right? Right. Right, right away. Adil Saleh: All right. Before they’re asked another question, I wanted to have a touch more details on segmentation, like you said that not all of these customers, I assume that are paid customers, not all active customers are paid customers, right? And and the paid customers are being divided into. Some of them are highly like you can call them enterprise or high ticket customers that you need to really take care of and you need to have the best people behind and most of the times and best technology and everything so Can Can you tell us more about this customer segmentation side of it, and how Stefan Trbojevic: segmentation is really easy because we we are we see our clients, we divide them by the number of rentals that they manage. So if someone is managing 10 rentals, he may not remain may need success team, right? But if someone manages 100 rentals or two or 500, they’re like agencies out there. Companies with 20 plus employees that are managing their properties, with tokeet and they really need help they need training for their new hires. So we are at the top pans of, you know, that rental count number. And we are trying our best to hit every larger customer and offer our services to them, even if they don’t ask for it, or they don’t need help we, we reach out frequently to offer help. Taylor Kenerson: That’s kind of that’s where I was gonna, I was gonna kind of dive into a little bit, your you know, you give your customer success team the knowledge of you know, making them dive into like the product, being super aware of what what’s going on on that end. But then how do you prioritize or translate what to prioritize for your customer success team? Like, it’s, especially because they’re cross functional, and there’s so much going on with a small team? How how do you prioritize those? Stefan Trbojevic: That’s a great question. Well, it’s, it’s case by case scenario, right? You cannot make a good choice every time or good decision. So we we go each day, look at cases that, you know, need to be worked on. And we decide which one should we prioritize, we usually prioritize those that have waited a little bit longer, or they reported some bug or something, something’s not functioning well, we want to get that, you know, to get the fix to get done. And that is pretty much how we prioritize things. Super, super easy. But yeah, case by case. Taylor Kenerson: Do you use any software’s to do that? Or is it kind of just like a discussion at the table? Or do you like view Google ever see Adil Saleh: a lot of customer success teams, they use maybe as little as a centralized dashboard that collects all the data and put it to the customer facing team. So they can translate and take action? well ahead of time, so they can, you know, forecast the journey, entire journey of the customer, and they can take right actions at the right time. And also, you know, consistently monitoring the, you know, usage and you know, your kind of usage based model, like you want more people to, you know, unless their property like more people, rentals, like you, you need more of your customers to have more rentals. So, the more rentals they have, the more they’re going to pay you, the more expansion opportunities will be. So how you’re trying kind of identifying, identifying the health, health of the customer, like its expansion opportunities, and what technology is involved in terms of data. Stefan Trbojevic: Right, right. To keep this a bit specific, since maybe, maybe we have a model similar to HubSpot, where we have all these upgrades that you can unlock, paid upgrades, of course. So we are tracking activity of the user, in amplitude, for example, where we can see what is the most used feature? How is the new feature being adopted, we try to find a pattern, how our users are using and, and see where we can improve. But not it’s not just for improvement that we can see when when active when account is inactive, or when they really need help, because we measure a lot of things. Right? So before they join, join us or subscribe, they tell us what is the number of rentals they’re managing, right? So if it’s 100 100, and they only onboarded five rentals, we know that something’s not right. That’s That’s the call to action for us where we reach out to answer. Adil Saleh: You’re looking up to at all times. Okay? Stefan Trbojevic: Yes, yes. And we, we kind of have this form on registration, where we ask them what, what they’re interested in, are they interested in just managing their rentals or managing their pricing as well as automating tasks, a lot of things so that that is kind of a guidance for us? What we should do next we have yeah, as you said, we have dashboards where we can look at and figure out Adil Saleh: that’s so interesting that you guys are using on the product side, like on the product usage data side you’re using segment not a lot of small businesses are using prefer Mixpanel and, you know, segment and that is not even well translated to the customer facing team. They sometimes the most times they don’t even understand that data points. So there has to be some sort of, you know, metrics that are, you know, easy to understand to the customer facing team, which in your case might not be that relevant because you’re giving your trainings, product trainings to your customer facing team. So let me ask you this, all the data that stays in segment, how does it translate and transformed into the customer facing team or your customer facing manager, let’s say if I’m your customer facing manager, let’s say Account Manager account executive, I have 10 customers to look at every day. And I need to stay on top of all the product user data is very critical that defines adoption that defines Retention and Expansion opportunities in more than 90% of the cases. So I need to stay on top of all the activities these 10 accounts are doing inside the platform. So do I have to look back to the segment every now and then, you know, moving back and forth? Or would I have anything populated on my dashboard or sort of any integrations on Slack or something? How does that process takes place? In your operations? Stefan Trbojevic: Yeah, so to correct you, sorry, it is amplitude, not segments that we use. Adil Saleh: Every This is what a lot of businesses using Mixpanel or segment instead you’re using Amplitude. So amplitude is a touch less complicated, compared to Mixpanel, in terms of configuration integration, for product managers, but for customer facing team is always complicated. So how does that data translate and transformed in the form, shape or form that, you know, these people understand and take action? Stefan Trbojevic: Yes, so it would be a general picture of what’s going on, we don’t have it set up in a way where we have a dashboard for 10 accounts and success manager can go and take a look how the his clients are performing. So we have it a bit differently, we don’t have it set up that way. Instead, what we have, we have option where we can, we can visit each account and check activity on our back end, it’s a self made, I mean, cooked in house software that we use. So that’s not anything that anyone could, you know, take a hold of, but we decided to go down that route. Because it turned out to be pretty, pretty hard to get to get all these software’s to work, right, it is hard to get amplitude to work than to get Mixpanel or any other data platform, right? It is hard to get all these puzzles together. So we we kind of built something in our own house. Adil Saleh: Okay, I appreciate that. And how does that look like? Like, is there any sort of customization, what I’m trying to figure out here is the friction, let’s say, if I’m managing 10 accounts, I need to be efficient, I need to be organized, I need to have all of these things in one place. If I let’s say, these are like 10 large customers, but some of the customers that can be large accounts in two years, or maybe one year, do you need to look out for them at some times, and you have like more than 2000. And, you know, some are paying some are not. So of course you need to, you know, put systems or people in place that will look after them and see expansion opportunities. So if someone that goes inside amplitude, you know, like 10 times a day or 15 times a day or go post inside customer account, look out all these metrics and activities. Don’t you think it’s gonna be hard and very much time consuming? And something that that, you know, you should think about? Or you’re already thinking about? Stefan Trbojevic: Yes, yes, it’s hard. But the way we have it, we go, as we are a new team, we go case by case. We don’t have everything in place right now. So our main main metrics for a person to be reached out is they’re not, they’re not utilizing it to the fullest. They’re not utilizing all capabilities. They’re not connecting all the channels that they should be. There is really a lot of things that we can look at and say, We should reach out to this account. It doesn’t have to be 10 accounts, as you said, for one success person, we will have a pool where we pick something out that pool and work on it together. Not necessarily. But yeah, we do. QBRs if that’s what you’re asking. That’s how we learn a lot about our users and yes, we’re We want to want to get the feedback, we want to understand how big they are, if they’re planning to grow in the future, and that’s when we decide on each meeting, we sit and we go through these QBR that we had, and we decide to whom should we devote the most attention to? Adil Saleh: Okay. Okay, I was just trying to I’m sorry, I was just trying to be a critical thing. And I’m thinking of a scalable model, because, of course, you’re not thinking just about these 3000 customers, you’re thinking about the customer that you have not yet untapped. And you need to have people everything in place ahead of time. So that in that regard, I was thinking that, you know, there has to be some sort of maybe, we talked to a lot of CS team, and big, small, you know, unicorns, all of these. So it depends, like you said, it depends case to case, like you’re just taking initial decisions and setting things up little by little bits and pieces, and then you scale it, but this is something that you will definitely look at, like having something that can centralize and, you know, that can not only centralize streamlines, but also gives the data at the right time. So people can take action and see the expansion opportunities, even see risks or risks, you cannot define this for like, you know, one CSM or count manager cannot do it for 1000s people. It’s not humanly possible. So this is something, this is just my suggestion that you will be looking forward to. And I love that you’re using amplitude instead, segment and Mixpanel to get a lot of, you know, small startups, like we haven’t find one as yet. Maybe a couple. So that is something which are now picking on your journey of your customers. Like, could you tell us more about how the journey starts, like from, let’s say, handed over from the sales team posted opposite started onboarding? Is that sort of a kick kickoff call that your onboarding manager or your account manager does? Or is that automated somehow? Or is that so technical that you need to? You know, get someone dedicated for your enterprise customers? Some of the customers that are paying well, how does that work on it? Let’s talk about first onboarding, and then we’ll push forward. Stefan Trbojevic: Okay, yes. So, all that starts after sales, of course, we are really tightly connected with our sales team. And they are passing the leads to us. And we try to onboard them as soon as possible, as we so that conversion rate is the best when you onboard them. And it is difficult to switch channel managers or any type of software really, so we tend to onboard them. Of course, it could be paid or free. But the thing what we what we learned is, once you get them on boarded and trained, it is much easier to build a relationship with them. When they start things on their on their own. It is hard to see where did they made a mistake? What did they miss. And even even if you try to learn about all these mistakes, they won’t be so open to you to tell you about what they missed, or you know, so we learned that onboarding is is a crucial thing. So I believe this could apply to any software out there. Onboarding is, is one of the biggest steps that you can do for your users. Adil Saleh: It defines a customer, it’s just like you just knocked the door in the first person that you see on the other side. Okay, so I need to know more about your onboarding are a little confused. I’m sorry about it. Onboarding is you said it’s technical. You have, let’s say, active users or newly coming users. Take them around 200 or $300. You said, if some free users comes in, and of course that needs to be on boarded to so who does that? Is there any kind of automated training or knowledge base system or any kind of directions that you give to try out, you know, if that can be censored, because you have loads of them, like loads of customers and your team that is smaller, and it’s building up? So how does that be wrong? Stefan Trbojevic: So we do have a help of support team. There. They are. They’re taking care of smaller accounts. And they they will just do onboarding session where they would show them the example how it is done, and then they would pick up from there. They don’t fully on board and so that will be a live version of for onboarding. And it is something that that we have to have help on. You know, a small team like mine couldn’t do All these things, but we have to collaborate with other team Adil Saleh: in that way like you first for a smaller customer you’re supporting can act as you know, you know, a sort of a team that actually identifies the expansion opportunity to pass it over, back to the customer success team once the customer adapts to the platform big or small. So that is a good strategy, you know, seeing the situation you put in place. That’s great. So now, when it comes to value realization, like, let me ask you a simple question, what value if I asked what value does your platform brings to the customer? What’s the top to your value? If somebody hears the name of your product? What is that customer think about the first thing Stefan Trbojevic: it means time, it means time for our users. And it increases their revenue tremendously, if they use one of our other solutions that we have built in. So that is the number one value. And it has been recognized instantly when we have experienced that channel manager channel, sorry, property managers using our platform, and that is really the value. And when I had these calls, I would usually get people that they go straight ahead and tell me hey, I need something that will save me time. If this is not saving me time, I don’t want to you know, move forward. So yeah, like every every SaaS or every other software out there, we try to be in time for our users, do repetitive tasks for them. That’s right. So that’s pretty much it when it comes to value, and it turns out to be like that, when I when I get feedback from our users. Adil Saleh: Cool. Cool. So are you this is the last question and time is pretty much up. So are you consistently on not just the onboarding stage, it’s hard to take feedback on onboarding stage. And oftentimes, it’s not the right feedback. You it may take, take your product or your entire journey of the customer the wrong direction. So you need to make it for the adopted platform to realize the value. And then once they return, you take feedback once they fully, potentially use the platform. So how long does it take on average for your team to reach out, knock the door and take the feedback to improve the product or shape the product experience in any way, and take that information and send it back to the product team engineers? Stefan Trbojevic: Yeah, so we don’t have any, like Standard Time or timeframe, when we would reach out to them, we use every opportunity to ask for feedback, be it demo or training or, or live chat for support, we try to collect feedback on as many ways as we can. And it turns out to be a better approach than having someone to test the app for six months and then and then swamp us with with the list of bugs or improvements that they want. So we we try and collect it as soon as possible. And we, of course try to communicate that to product team. And if we see value in it, we go for it. But it turns out that you will get good feedback even from a new user, so I wouldn’t leave them out. Because they can see some Adil Saleh: beginner is very important too sometimes. Yeah, you need to have an hour eye out for people that are just seeing it as a first impression and in the experience side of the product that helps a lot. Great. Loved it it was real nice conversation with you and highly valuable and we’ll definitely find these tech businesses has been in the your industry, maybe so possible that we can find it in the Europe as well. We already building on on a industry report. And we’ll reach out to you in a in a month or two with all that your feedback that you know people maybe SAS businesses or Head of Customer Success or CCO the VPS what kind of experiences they have shared, come up, coming up on on here. And then we’ll circle back maybe in a month or two. Taylor Kenerson: Right here. We’ll talk soon really appreciate you so much. Thank you guys have a beautiful day, everyone. Incredible, yeah. Adil Saleh: You’re working really really hard hands on with the team. I love that. You know, this is this is one one thing that nobody can take away, which is hustle. So that’s why this this product is and this podcast has started you’re looking for hustlers that can really be, you know, achieved greatness for other people that are sitting back and you know, you’re sleeping on things, and they’re not making the first step. So you being an inspiration today, thank you very much for taking the time. See you very soon, Stefan Trbojevic: of course. Thanks, guys. Have a great Day. Bye Bye

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