FY 2012 is Coming: CEOs, Service Your Customers Like BMW

November 23, 2011

OpenView Partners believes that building great software companies is not about the growth capital we invest but about how the CEO and management team leverage the capital to improve their operational execution. This will allow them to scale the business rapidly to dominate the market segment they target.

As operationally experienced venture partners, we don’t just attend board meetings, but encourage all the portfolio companies to hold quarterly operational reviews with their teams. As advisers to the portfolio companies, we attend these operational reviews to work with the CEOs and management teams around removing impediments and improving execution.

One of the great byproducts of these reviews is learning about innovative ways in which the portfolio companies address and solve business challenges. In one of the operational reviews with a company this quarter I learned about an approach they are taking to servicing their clients.

They are a cloud company that has access to real time data about their customers usage of their SaaS service. Their customer service team noticed that they could identify when the customers had failed operations, so they instituted proactive service similar to BMW’s Teleservice. BMW has a technology service where the car will notify BMW when there is a service need with the car, and then BMW calls the owner to discuss the issue and schedule the necessary service.

The portfolio company had their customer service team call the clients directly to notify them of the failed operation before the customer was aware of the challenge. After launching this as a “pilot” program, the company was able to reduce the operational failures their clients were experiencing by over 30% over a 10-week period. This is now a permanent program within the company. Their clients are more successful, they are building on their reputation as a vendor with phenomenal support in their target market segment. There is no doubt that their contract renewals will increase and churn, allowing them to increase their growth in bookings and revenue… something every CEO is looking for.

All the best!


Venture Partner

<strong>George Roberts</strong> is a Venture Partner at OpenView. He enjoys partnering with companies and helping them achieve their goals through strategy, focus and operational execution. From 1990 to 2003, George spent 13 years at Oracle Corporation, most recently having served as Executive Vice President of North American Sales. While at Oracle, George was responsible for over $1 billion in revenue and more than 2,000 employees, reporting directly to the company’s CEO and Chairman, Larry Ellison.