From SugarConnection Boston: How Four Leading Brands are Excelling at CX

At Sugar, we talk a lot about using technology to cultivate customers for life. But what does that look like in practice?

At SugarConnection Boston, attendees got to peek behind the curtain to see what’s happening in the trenches of several Sugar power users. Our mid-morning panel session was packed with best practices and valuable ideas from Cireson, The New York Times, Star2Star Communications and CE Power.

As the panelists spoke and heads were nodding in the audience, we decided to capture a few of the biggest highlights.

And so, without further ado, here’s how four leading brands are putting Sugar to great use.

Michelle Accardi, President and CRO, Star2Star Communications

For Star2Star Communications, configurations are key. 

The unified communications company wanted to get as much as possible out of its customer experience platform. Rather than being reactive, they wanted to get ahead of trends and make more data-based decisions.

So the team created configuration after configuration — first to gain a deeper understanding of critical internal processes, and eventually to address areas specific to the customer and partner experience.

“It’s the difference between fighting fires and having instant access to root cause analysis,” said President and CRO Michelle Accardi. 

After all, she explained, it’s natural for a customer service agent to want to be done with a call when the customer is irate. But what happens when that same representative is presented with data showing that the results of the call could impact a potential $3,000 opportunity? 

“When you’re able to surface data that’s usable, the employee experience will change and ride the customer experience wave,” she said. “That’s the beauty of what this solution can be.”

Joe Cora, Engineering Manager at The New York Times

When asked how one of the world’s most influential news sources leans on technology to meet customer needs, Engineering Manager Joe Cora took Accardi’s sentiments a step further:

“If you want to have a truly exceptional customer experience, you need to build your software,” he told the audience. “It’s unreasonable to assume you’ll just buy a solution off the shelf and have it do everything you want.”

The key, he said, is to first determine which technology will meet specific needs — and then build your experience around it. The New York Times has worked hard to enable its frontline employees to handle any customer need, at any given time, by creating and embedding as many workflows as possible.

“It’s how we’re empowering our agents to help customers before they even realize there’s an issue,” he said.

Julie Feller, Direct Marketing Manager, Cireson

And then there’s Cireson, the specialized IT services firm that uses Sugar specifically for its seamless connection between Sugar Market and Sugar Sell. 

“I live in Sugar Market all day, every day,” she told fellow SugarConnection attendees. 

The reason is simple: Every marketing activity that gets tracked in Sugar Market is another step toward getting the sales team exactly what it needs to be in the right place at the right time. 

“Any time someone comes with a problem, we’re there to solve it for them,” she says. “No matter who picks up the phone or answers an email, we want to make sure they have the full picture.”

It may sound overly simplistic, but the company’s previous marketing automation platform didn’t sync with its CRM and wasn’t able to give employees the same advantage. For Cireson, those integrations have been a game changer.

Christopher Campbell, President, CE Power

It all comes down to the day-to-day, added CE Power President Christopher Campbell. Are your sales and service agents able to overcommunicate as needed? Can you correlate business benefits to those conversations?

“If our sales people are exceeding capacity, we need that data to make sure we’re able to fully service the customer,” he said.

The way to achieve that? Yep, you guessed it: configurations.

Wondering what more you can do to build your ideal CX platform? You don’t have to be at SugarConnection to learn how to configure Sugar. Our free guide is packed with tips and takeaways from industry experts. Download it here: The Customer Experience Buyer’s Guide.

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About the Contributor
Heather Mueller
Heather Mueller Heather Mueller is a master storyteller and content creator helping companies cultivate customers for life — one blog article at a time.