Interview: Pyramid Analytics’ Hayley Munro on unifying management of the customer experience

PCR speaks with Pyramid Analytics’ vice president of global customer success, Hayley Munro, about taking on the newly created role of unifying company-wide management of the customer experience.

Can you tell us a bit more about yourself and your professional background within the channel?

Before my appointment at Pyramid Analytics, I had significant exposure to working effectively within the channel, which has nurtured the successful strategies I use at Pyramid. My most notable roles were as FICO’s managing director and vice president of global customer success and as Medallia’s senior vice president for EMEA, a provider of a SaaS platform for customer, employee, citizen, and patient experience management. These experiences have developed my technical knowledge and ability to create mutually productive relationships with channel customers. In addition, part of my professional success can be owed to my personal adventures away from the office desk.

Alongside my work, I have travelled extensively, meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds. These cross-cultural encounters are not only personally rewarding but help me to build high-performing teams globally, thereby deepening my understanding of how diverse stakeholders function in day-to-day activities and how to create inclusive working environments for all. My professional and personal experience will aid in the drive to put the customer at the heart of Pyramid.

 As the new vice president of global customer success, how do you plan to drive the business forward?

Right now, Pyramid Analytics is in its growth period, a time when customer success is incredibly vital and expansion of the customer base is front of mind. Yet, this aim and my appointment come at a challenging time given the economic strains many customers and businesses face. Many customers will be reviewing their cost bases, so the customer success team at Pyramid makes every effort to show it is adding value to each customer relationship.

Pyramid Analytics tries to add value to every inch of the customers’ journeys, whether new or existing. For both types of customers, it is about sitting down and having those strategic conversations with them, showing customers use cases of the platform, and working with them to understand what their priorities are and how they are changing. By really understanding what our customer needs, Pyramid can personalise every encounter and every journey.

What was the catalyst for this creating this role? 

Often, it’s hard to pinpoint an exact catalyst for an appointment. But I genuinely believe that this role was created to establish unified, company-wide management of this critical function and to focus on expanding our existing customer relationships. Customers need smooth sailing and a personalised journey with Pyramid, so creating a cohesive customer success team with a shared purpose is vital.

This requires improving collaboration across internal functions and workforces. Take, for example, sales and customer success teams working closely together, especially during customer onboarding periods. To ensure that these separate teams are working effectively, it’s important to identify each team’s aims and how to work together. This role will help to establish a well-oiled machine across the Pyramid Analytics teams and time zones, ensuring customers have the best experience no matter where they are located.

 What’s the key to successful customer operations? 

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to successful customer operations. Each organisation has different aims for its customer success teams. For example, is the strategy to focus on keeping current customers happy or expanding the customer base? These different emphases dictate what the key is to successful customer operations.

For Pyramid right now, a key goal is to expand our existing customer base. Therefore, the customer success team is looking to work on strengthening our relationships and deepening our engagement at all stages of the customer life cycle, with a view to helping our customers identify additional uses of Pyramid and helping our customers build their Pyramid user communities. We are looking at our onboarding process, aiming to make it as easy as possible for as many of our customers’ users to be up and running with Pyramid as quickly as possible.

Can you tell us more about the company’s next step in a series of business development initiatives to support global customer success and continue to scale the company worldwide? 

Customers are incredibly important to Pyramid Analytics. Yet, to deliver the best service and experience across different geographies, the inner workings of the business should continue to improve. This will require changes in the form of better join-up and alignment across teams on a grander scale. To do this, Pyramid currently uses the Pyramid Decision Intelligence Platform, which has created a data-sharing culture and given every team a 360 view of the business to ensure strategies and decisions are well-informed.

In the coming months, though, Pyramid Analytics is heading for better team alignment throughout every department to ensure that customer success strategies are optimised across regions. Additionally, Pyramid Analytics is looking to expand its customer bases and partnerships across the retail and supply chain sectors. In turn, this opens up a fairly untapped customer base across DACH, EMEA and NA, meaning the customer success team will focus on and establish personalised processes for each customer across those verticals.

How do you plan to build out a successful customer success program? 

Currently, the customer success team at Pyramid Analytics hasn’t adopted AI technologies to the extent it could. With customers’ forward-looking stance where technology is taking a more significant role in day-to-day business, they require increasingly more attention from organisations than ever before. Customer success teams must keep up with shifting demands and roll out AI technologies to predict which customers wish to expand their relationship and which customers have issues preventing expansions.

Leveraging AI will help customer success teams globally have a complete view of the customer’s journey and their level of engagement. From onboarding to ongoing services, AI can focus on the granular aspects of every customer relationship to build better connections. Integrating AI into customer success will also automate critical processes and personalise product development for every client, helping to remove any blockers to customer success growth. Adopting AI is crucial for a better customer success story.

What is the primary mission of the team? 

The primary mission of the customer success team at Pyramid depends on the stage of the customer journey. The Pyramid Analytics’ customer success team aims to add value to every partnership by delivering on time and within budget in the adoption phase. This requires working across the sales and customer success teams in unison to ensure timelines are clear and that adoption phase strategies are put in place so that they can be repeated when bringing on more customers.

Beyond the adoption phase, the central mission of the team shifts to building better and stronger relationships with customers to support adoption. This is the primary mission as, once onboarded, it is important to avoid leaving customers high and dry. To make sure customers are using the platform effectively, the Pyramid team connects with customers to work towards them receiving the relevant training and certification. This ensures that customers’ initial use cases are fulfilled, and they are able to identify new areas where the platform can be deployed at any stage of their journey with us.

What makes a successful customer journey and how do you drive customer satisfaction?

From the point of sale and the onboarding period every team must be tied together. Across professional services, support teams and customer success teams, there must be consistent collaboration to ensure it all joins up. Doing so will benefit the customer. Knowing the customers’ experiences on all fronts of the business is vital to understanding problems and how to overcome them in the best way possible.

Not only does successful join-up make for a successful customer journey, but metrics are also key. Customer success is sometimes of secondary importance in an evolving digital world but in reality, metrics and data should be leveraged at every point of a customer’s journey. Hiccups and problems on a more granular level will be identified quickly and can be remedied in good time. This will make for a better customer journey which may not always be smooth, but when issues arise, customer success teams are able to respond.

Can you tell us what will be the next major innovation in analytics and why? 

Data analytics is often viewed as an exclusive space where data analysts are the only ones allowed in. Yet, this really can’t continue with more businesses placing a greater need on data-backed decisions. With this in mind, the next innovation will be Decision Intelligence which applies AI across Data Prep, Business Analytics, and Data Science. These functions get rid of the desertification of senior decision-makers and non-technical users when it comes to analytics and in turn help to create a business based on data and informed decisions.

There will be a move away from traditional business intelligence tools such as Qlik and Tableau and a move towards Decision Intelligence so that businesses can get the most out of their data. Decision Intelligence is a business discipline that combines augmented analytics, AI and machine learning, and data exploration in order to simplify complex problems and guide and accelerate decision-making. Decision Intelligence allows for better and faster decisions across companies, which are needed more than ever. The transformational potential it delivers is incredibly captivating, as any user with any ability will be able to access data-driven insights.

One of the biggest shifts will be in the application of Decision Intelligence to SAP, helping users overcome the difficulties of carrying out analytics in SAP. The capabilities of Decision Intelligence mark a turning point in analytics and that is why I believe it will be the next innovation in analytics.

This article and more can be found in PCR’s March 2023 issue:

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