It was 2:00 in the morning on March 10, 2010 when I received the call. The voices on the other end of the line were those of our two co-founders, who stated, "Jeff, we've been up all night restructuring the company, and we've decided that we need you to leave the Sales organization and lead the Customer Success organization." My stomach churned.
At that time in early 2010 our business was churning out customers at an alarming rate. Admittedly, solving that problem was not a job I wanted. I didn't know the first thing about customer turnover or customer service. I was a business development and sales guy for crying out loud! Yet I knew the company needed me, so I rolled up my sleeves, forgot myself, and got to work.
I was worried about having zero experience in the art and science of retaining and wowing customers. I didn't know where to begin, how to forecast, or how to prevent churn. In addition, I inherited a team that was disillusioned at best and who rarely responded back to customers due to being so overworked and under appreciated.
How would I change that culture?
I quickly became hopeful about the change I knew I could make. With the current circumstances so bleak, there was nowhere else but up, up, up to go. Mostly, I became hopeful about the lives I knew I could change (both inside our company and outside). Lastly, I was hopeful that I could learn what I needed to do to lead the team powerfully and effectively. I knew the learning would need to be a combination of book smarts and people smarts - so I set out on my quest to devour as much intel as I could.
The outcome was a thing of beauty. That disillusioned, under appreciated team bonded together and literally transformed lives. Disciplined and cheerful service became the norm. Discovering and improving the leading indicators was key, and tracking the indicators on a daily basis was king. And we had FUN doing it. Lowering churn and increasing customer delight became a game, a quest.
As a result of all this and so much more, customer turnover dropped from 8% to 1.5% in less than 18 months. This team literally turned the company around.
Though years have past, and many of us have assumed different responsibilities within the company, the members on that team remain my close friends today.
The beauty of where I "work" is that living the Rookie Smarts concepts is a must; a way of life. So my simplest answer to this question is anything – anything could be, and is, possible.
The key about the Rookie Experience I shared is that it was so profound that the principles I learned have stayed with me in every new role I've assumed since. I literally was transformed for good. I believe this is why I am so drawn to Rookie Smarts: it resonates so powerfully with who I want to become, day in and day out.
Do you have a great rookie story to share? We want to hear it!