How to raise a round of funding from your customers instead of VCs? You have to be much better than just being great at maintaining good relationships with customers. They are not only paying for your service but also investing extra money to own a part of your company.
eAgronom made it. The SaaS tool raised a round of €500k from 50 customers. What did they do? Stenver, COO at eAgronom, shared the secret with us.
Exceptionally Awesome Customer Relationship Team
When we asked about the major differentiation of eAgronom compared to their competitors, Stenver mentioned that it is how the team has been doing great taking care of their customers with human touches instead of cold robotic replies.
The team has been doing great taking care of their customers with human touches instead of cold robotic replies
At eAgronom, when farmers have questions or need help, they don’t need to waste time dealing with cold robots trying to reduce customer support cost by providing suggestions that sound off or even stupid. Instead, farmers can always reach a human representative from the customer relationship team easily to get their issues addressed. With the human touch, customers feel their voices are really valued by the team and are more willing to stay with (or even invest) them, which is irreplaceable by any automated systems.
How System Assists the Team Instead of Replacing Them
How eAgronom handles the growing customer base without having a bot to reduce questions then?
Building an internal knowledge sharing process is the key. Customer relationship team is always at a very tricky position that they have to help customers with whatever issues they are facing, but at the same time not having enough product knowledge especially with new product releases.
With the new questions from the customers, the customer relationship team usually needs to go to the product team and ask for more details. But the turnaround time could be critical if a customer is waiting on the other side.
In eAgronom, there’s a centralized team knowledge base that is accessible to every team member. As long as there’s a question, everyone would search in the knowledge base first (and usually find the answers) before distracting someone else in the team.
In general, the waiting time for an eAgronom customer to get a reply from a human being is under 10 minutes, which is exceptionally fast and it defines the happiness of customers.
Challenges to Keep Information Updated
With the growing product and the growing team size, the biggest challenge for eAgronom to manage the knowledge base is to keep the information updated and avoid new teammates getting wrong or outdated information.
eAgronom relies on managers to clean up the information regularly for now as it is the most effective way when most of the managers have been staying with the team for a long period, and thus are most knowledgeable about the product and the company. A process to further maintain the knowledge base might come in place when the team keeps growing down the road.
Instead of relying on robots to reduce the number of questions their customer relationship team has to handle, eAgronom uses an easy-to-access team knowledge base to help the team answer more questions in less time. It is how they keep the team efficiency high without hurting customer experience. If you are interested in joining the team and help more farmers, check out their openings.