“We like to be a partner in making companies successful”

Marcel van de Sandt on Customer Success at Exact

Marcel van de Sandt, Exact’s Chief Customer Success Officer, on the art of customer satisfaction

Marcel van de Sandt is Exact’s Chief Customer Success Officer. That means he is driven to achieve customer satisfaction and within the organisation, his team is the voice of the customer. How does his team do this, and what do customers make of his efforts? We had a talk with Marcel, who provided insight into his department and his team’s activities to ensure that customers receive optimal service at every stage of their customer journey.

Exact develops cloud software for small and medium-sized enterprises and their accountants. The products automate business processes in areas such as Finance and HR and provide specific ERP solutions for wholesale, manufacturing, projects and construction. More than 675,000 enterprises primarily in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany already rely on their software. “Exact wants to ensure that our customers get the most out of the software. Our Customer Success department is busy helping customers all day long, both proactively and reactively,” explains Marcel. “I’ve been working at Exact for 30 years and every day, my team and I work on the same issue: how to best serve our software’s users and ensure optimal customer satisfaction. To achieve that, Exact takes a customer-centric approach.”

Proactively getting new customers off to a good start

When you say Customer Success, people often just think of Support, or even more passively: customer service. Exact’s customer approach is not at all passive and goes far beyond just providing customer support. Marcel continues: “We have three teams: Customer Support, Engagement and Consultancy, for tailored service provision. We emphasise a relevant, proactive attitude towards our customers. For example, we approach new customers ourselves to ensure that they get off to a good start. This is handled by our colleagues on the Engagement team”.

Such a proactive way of working is only possible thanks to proper use of data. “We segment our customers based on relevant data. This allows us to provide them with the right information at the right time for them, personally. For example, we can tell if a customer has not yet started using a product a few weeks after purchasing it from us. Our colleagues at Engagement will then contact that customer to help them with the onboarding.”

Being proactive also means that Customer Support treats every contact as a new opportunity. “When a new customer contacts us, for example, our colleague may receive a notification that this customer has not yet activated their automated bank feed. The colleague can then point this out to the customer and if possible, guide them through the entire pairing process right there and then. This is an example of a proactive attitude that helps customers get the most out of our products.”
“At Customer Success, we aim to be proactive in a relevant way”
Marcel van de Sandt | Chief Customer Success Officer | Exact
As Exact’s software is constantly evolving, there are always new things to be communicated to all their customers. One way this is achieved is through in-product notifications. “These are fully tailored to the individual customer. We use them to point out new, relevant features, or existing functionalities that the customer has not used yet.” As an Exact customer, this ensures that you receive as much relevant product information as possible, based on your specific needs.

Customer Success in the driver’s seat at Exact

The customer-centric approach involves the Customer Success department at every stage of the customer journey: from new customers encountering the department for the first time, to experienced customers who have been working with Exact products for years.

If you’re an Exact customer, you are sure to have interacted with the team at some point. That means it is not so surprising that this department is seen as being the voice of the customer, even occupying the driver’s seat at the company. This description may sound exaggerated, but that is not the case. Thanks to the role that Customer Success plays, it interfaces with countless other departments such as Sales and Marketing, or Product and Technology.

Of course, to represent the voice of the customer well within the organisation, you must also listen to those customers. Customer Success does that in all kinds of ways. “We carry out customer surveys regularly. Besides considering the overall satisfaction rating, we also pay attention to the feedback and comments, which are priceless. Another way we listen to customers is by incorporating the ideas for products that come in through our suggestion box. Every quarter, we implement the most suitable and relevant ideas in our products. This allows our customers to truly participate in the development of our products.”

Thanks to this combined approach – being proactive and relevant, but also truly listening – Exact isn’t only a supplier. Marcel says, “I dare say we are more than that: we want to help to make companies successful in partnership. Combined with our customer focus and helpfulness, this is what distinguishes our service. At Exact, we want to support customers in their growth and help them be successful – that’s why our department is called Customer Success.”
“We like to be a partner in making companies successful”
Marcel van de Sandt | Chief Customer Success Officer | Exact

Our basis for success: satisfied colleagues, satisfied customers

The success of the Customer Success department depends on its team. Motivated colleagues are an important part of customer satisfaction. “This is a knowledge-intensive company and what one person knows, another may not. We really do our best to use our knowledge to help each other and to work as a team – we are helpful people. At Exact, that’s in our roots: we have fun together and enjoy working with each other. Our corporate culture is based on six values, which together are the crucial ingredients of our formula for success. If colleagues are satisfied and driven, and take pleasure in their work, that benefits the customers too. And that’s really what it’s all about.”

Interested in working at Exact, perhaps even in the Customer Success department? Check out the available vacancies and apply!
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