How Can Putting the Customer First Drive Excellence and Innovation?
Take care of the customer and build great products. That has been our motto at InterSystems since our inception in 1978. Fast forward 40 years, and that still drives our mission. It is, always has been, and always will be, part of the InterSystems DNA.
The key to the success of our customer-first approach, is a philosophy of excellence and continuous improvement. That’s why over the past three years we’ve been actively involved with Gartner and its Peer Insights program, which solicits feedback and ratings by end users. We’ve been named Customers’ Choice – as one of the most highly rated vendors in our category on Peer Insights – for Operational Database Management Systems category two years in a row.
But there’s more. Gartner has now introduced the Gartner Customer First badge, which acknowledges that we offer our clients an environment to share honest, unbiased feedback that informs how we improve our products and services to best meet their evolving needs. In short, we don’t put our thumb on the scale to bias our customers’ reviews on the site. This echoes commitment to our customers and the importance of open lines of communication. We are so proud that our InterSystems IRIS® data platform is the only product in the new Cloud Database Management Systems Magic Quadrant to receive this badge.
The Customer-Centric InterSystems DNA
Before ever joining the InterSystems team, I experienced its customer-first mentality as an IT guy at a medical lab. At the time, we also worked with another vendor and their support experience was less than ideal – time spent on hold, the need to repeat the issue to multiple people who couldn’t solve the issue, and constant identity verification. The experience was more draining than it was helpful, and I never felt they had my best interest at heart.
With InterSystems, the difference in customer experience was night and day. The first time I had an issue and needed to call InterSystems support, a fellow named Terry answered the phone immediately. He didn’t ask me to verify my identity, he simply asked me to explain the problem and he stayed on the line with me until it was resolved. Little did I know, Terry was, and still is, the founder and CEO of InterSystems. The most important thing is to solve the problem to the customer’s satisfaction – that was clear. And although much has changed – we’ve got different personnel minding the support requests now – we still follow that approach today.
Every Monday morning, the InterSystems senior management team meets, not to talk about quotas or revenue, but to focus on how to improve the customer’s success through product improvements, business model improvements, and support. At least half of the meeting covers customer support experiences – who came to us with a problem, how we solved it, and whether the customer is happy.
We view support as a main selling point, because it demonstrates our passion for customer success. If we can help our customers succeed at their goals, that’s more important than signing a big deal. It cultivates customer trust that can’t be replicated. And with our customer retention rate around 99+%, the results speak for themselves.
“If it’s not clear whether you should help the customer or help the company, help the customer.” – Terry Ragon, CEO, InterSystems
The way forward
We’re extremely proud to be recognized by Gartner with the Customer First badge. For us, it’s not just another seal of approval, it’s a signal that we’re on the right track to deliver exceptional customer service and let the results (and customers) speak for themselves.
With the help of Gartner, we’re hoping to continue working towards the best possible customer support, and our staff reflects that goal. We empower our support team with the same level of importance as our engineers and developers so that they can make key decisions for customers without the unnecessary back and forth. For us, this is not just the way forward for customer support, it’s the way forward for providing the best products and services.
The Gartner Peer Insights Customer First program constitutes an organization’s commitment to solicit reviews from its customers using programmatic sourcing strategies and best practices. They neither represent the views of, nor constitute an endorsement by, Gartner or its affiliates.
John Paladino directs the activities of the InterSystems support, quality assurance, internal computer operations, and customer education groups. Since joining InterSystems in 1984, he has been instrumental in developing an automated support tracking system, customer training programs for all InterSystems software products, creation and implementation of service standards designed to improve responsiveness and increase customer satisfaction, and multiple domestic and international team-building initiatives.
He came to InterSystems after a three-year stint as the Manager of Systems Engineering with New England Pathology, where he was responsible for acquiring, implementing, and managing a variety of information technologies. Paladino studied Electrical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the University of Lowell.