What Does Client Success Mean at CAPE Analytics?
CAPE Analytics has taken a unique and effective approach to working side-by-side with clients at every stage of their data journey. Kevin Van Leer, Sr. Director of Client Success, walks through how an organization-wide shift in thinking, from product development to regulatory affairs, has helped clients realize more value.
Q: CAPE made the switch from “Customer” Success to “Client” Success. What was the thinking behind that change?
A: The shift from “customer” to “client” terminology may seem insignificant, but it was a very conscious decision that stemmed from the type of company we wanted CAPE to be and the overarching philosophy to which we wanted to subscribe. We don’t see CAPE as a company that just delivers data to clients and lets them figure it out. We view ourselves as much more than that—a partner.
Yes, CAPE’s primary product is data—companies are subscribing to the data source—but they’re also getting the expertise that we’ve built up by listening to our existing client base and building a team of insurance or real estate experts. This market knowledge allows us to not only describe the data but to also show our clients how they can maximize the value they receive from it.
One of my colleagues, Christine Wallinger, Sr. Manager of Client Success, recently described it this way: customers ask for lumber, but clients ask for blueprints. So, as clients are building their workflows and potentially building ways in which they are revolutionizing the way they do business, they’re looking for guidance—whether that’s regulatory guidance, workflow guidance, or ways to truly evolve their existing workflow. We don’t transact with our clients, we serve them.
Customers ask for lumber, but clients ask for blueprints.
As an example, we could deliver a roof condition data point and tell the client how the machine learning model works. What we do, in reality, is dig into a specific business decision that we can support and the resulting impact we can have. This takes significant effort.
At its core, this approach requires a lot of listening. What is the client’s current situation and history? What are their desired outcomes? Where do they want to be and on what timeline? What does success look like? If you don’t know why the client is talking to you, then you don’t really know much about their objectives.
Q: How has CAPE made client success a priority within the organization?
A: One way we’ve approached this, is from a team structure standpoint. We’ve developed strong inter-organizational partnerships across CAPE’s sales, business intelligence, and client success functions.
In addition, our market-facing team doesn’t consist of one person wearing a sales hat that provides CAPE data and tells you what they think you could do with it. Instead, we have Solutions Engineers who proactively seek to learn about what a potential client is doing today and how they want to evolve their business—regardless of whether or not that includes becoming a CAPE client. Are they looking to grow their portfolio? Are they looking to shrink to profitability? Are they looking to evolve the way that they determine when to inspect? If we can listen and understand those things, we can think about how to present a workflow that’s really going to be advantageous to that particular set of needs.
It’s a wholesale, cross-functional philosophy of client success at CAPE that is driven by the people that have experience working with carriers or real estate companies in the past and have helped develop these solutions.
As a company becomes a client, our Client Success Managers step in. Their primary focus is to understand the client’s journey and lead them on their way to achieving those goals. Their objective is to map how to get from point A to point B from the client’s perspective—not from CAPE’s perspective. If our clients are successful, that’s going to make us successful.
Another critical aspect of our approach is that it must go beyond the client success team to include engineering and product teams as well. It’s a wholesale, cross-functional philosophy of client success at CAPE that is driven by the people that have experience working with carriers or real estate companies in the past and have helped develop these solutions. Our entire team has to live and breathe insurance or real estate in order to understand our client’s perspective.
Q: How do you think about client success at each stage of the relationship, and how does CAPE deliver success over the long run?
A: Again, it’s all about approaching it from the client’s perspective and understanding what questions they need answered at each stage of engagement.
In the early evaluation stage, we want to see if the goals of that client align with what CAPE can deliver. Can CAPE scale with them and their volume needs, or are we solving a particular need? For example, they might be trying to revamp their inspection model. Do we provide lift in some way that would help them make a better decision? Doing discovery and listening at this point helps us provide a better solution to them in the long run.
At the onboarding stage, where a client might be thinking about how they’re first plugging in the solution, it’s all about the time to value. How can they get value out of this as fast as possible? How do I get my users trained? What does the typical implementation look like? What timeline should I have in mind to get from where I am today to full production? It’s important for us to set clear expectations together because onboarding is the most critical point of a relationship between a client and CAPE.
It’s all about approaching it from the client’s perspective and understanding what questions they need answered at each stage of engagement.
As you get into the execution phase, it transitions from how the client is going to use CAPE to how they are going to extract the most value out of our data. From the client’s perspective, the questions they would ask are: how am I comparing against my peers that are using the same solution? Am I doing something that they’re not? Are they doing something that I’m not from an underwriting or an inspection perspective? How many of the possible use cases am I actually pursuing? When can I pursue them if I’m not doing so today? Is this important to my desired workflow?
Finally, there is the last step of growth. The client knows that they’re getting value, but we should be there quantifying the value of what we have achieved together. We want to continue to grow together. If the client has an idea on how they want to change their business, we want to hear about it. There are new, exciting ideas that CAPE is always developing in the lab, and we want to be a trusted collaborator in developing new products and thinking about new ways to leverage property intelligence.
Q: How does CAPE help clients navigate the changing regulatory space, particularly in insurance?
A: We’ve invested in keeping track of what’s going on in the regulatory space and establishing a bench of regulatory experts within CAPE. We want to be part of the conversation around how the regulatory environment is going to tackle the use of AI for wildfire risk, AI in general, AI in appraisals and valuation for real estate, and the use of AI across rating plans and underwriting guidelines. Just like our focus on client success, we’ve also put a focus on understanding the regulatory aspects of our environment and the market around us.
Just like our focus on client success, we’ve also put a focus on understanding the regulatory aspects of our environment and the market around us.
Our clients don’t always have someone in-house like CAPE does to follow every single bill and piece of legislation in every single state, particularly in major property states like California, New York, or Florida. We can let them know what we’re seeing and hearing, whether it’s at the national level with the NAIC or through our individual conversations with DOIs, or with the FHFA and appraisal modernization. We want clients to be able to look to us as a resource. Just like we can help them with their workflows and how to plug in the data, we can help them navigate AI concerns in the regulatory environment.
We’re always going to be there to assist our clients—developing new programs, going through the rate filing process, getting on calls with the DOIs to support them in a trilateral way, or spearheading filings of our own attributes in states where we’re allowed to do so. We are proud to be a trusted resource for our clients on regulatory issues and will continue to support them as the landscape evolves.
Want to learn more about how partnering with CAPE can take your business to next level? Reach out to our team here.