We sat down with Claire Skelton, ARKK’s Services Delivery Manager, to discuss how the Services team operate and why the function is so vital to ARKK’s continued success.
Can you give a brief description of what the services team do and why it’s important to ARKK?
The Services team are there to support customers from the initial point of signing their contract all the way up to when they migrate to BAU support once their for:sight implementation is complete. It all begins with a preliminary call where we introduce ourselves and explain the implementation process and what to expect. Through speaking with the customer, we want to uncover their current process and why they signed with ARKK in the first place. This is to make sure they get the most value possible from while onboarding.
During these initial discussions and while talking to the customer, we investigate their current processes to see where we can make improvements. Either by automating workflows to improve efficiency or producing custom reports to allow more insightful data analysis, we’ve moved way beyond MTD compliance and are looking for ways for finance teams to add strategic value to their business.
Once the design phase is complete we help the customer to test their bespoke for:sight configuration and then work extremely closely with them on their first submission. After their first filing is complete it’s time to migrate over to the Support team which is fully explained during the handover process.
The Services team is crucial to ARKK as we ensure that for:sight is built to the correct specification for our customers’ needs. We also work closely with team Customer, which includes Product Support and Customer Success, for more technical issues or change requests. Additionally, as we’re in regular communication with the customer, we’re in a great position to provide feedback to ARKK’s internal teams.
Can you explain how the services team are structured to provide the best support for customers?
I’m essentially a Project Manager, even though my job title is Services Delivery Manager. I’ll join many of the calls that we have with customers and although I’m not extremely technical I can communicate particular technical aspects back to the customer in an easily digestible format so they can better understand the requests the team make.
As the Services Delivery Manager I focus on monitoring and reporting on project metrics and timelines. A fundamental part of the role is to ensure that deadlines are being hit so that the implementation phase isn’t delayed and customers are set up on the platform in adequate time. What we normally try to avoid are busy periods or extended holidays as this can affect project timescales.
The rest of the Services team are involved in a range of other activities from pre-sales to overseeing customers first submissions, making sure that everything goes smoothly. Due to their technical expertise, they’ll review the data that has been provided and assess it against their current processes to make sure that the data ties back to the numbers or provide training to customers on how the platform works. The Services team are structured in such a way that we leverage each person’s knowledge to provide the best service possible to our customers and also uncover issues in their current process that they may not even be aware of.
What does a typical day in services look like?
No two days within the Services team look the same. It’s an extremely changeable role as it covers such a wide breadth of the customers experience with ARKK. The Services team work to provide bespoke platform demonstrations to new potential clients. Some of the team’s time is also spent speaking with Development and Product about new functionality based on feedback from customers during projects.
What’s a common challenge within the role that you have to overcome?
Something that used to frequently occur, which we completely appreciate, is that new customers might not understand exactly what is required from them in terms of data points. Often customer’s processes are part of the team’s current way of working, however, there’s usually little to no documentation to transfer this knowledge to a third party. It’s our job to extract all of the information and understanding from customers so that we have all the data we need to create a system, which at times has its difficulties.
To help alleviate this issue, this quarter we have created a governance pack to hopefully speed up the process. It contains a check list of questions and examples of each datapoint we are likely to ask customers for enabling them to fully prepare before the initial call that they have with the Services team.
What would you say are some highlights of the role?
It’s a great feeling when the user begins to see the system working with their data, you hear things like “oh that’s so easy, straightforward and much easier than I expected”. Although they’ve previously seen how the platform works, you can almost sense their relief when they see how intuitive for:sight is to use and that it’s going to make their lives so much easier.
Also, while working on larger more complex builds you really get to build a strong relationship over time with everyone involved on the customer’s side. You get to hear about aspects of their personal life and build a rapport, it’s also in some way been helped by us all working from home during the pandemic.
When it comes to the end of the project, it’s time to say goodbye and hand the customer over to Support. It’s a bit sad as you’ve spent time getting to know them but also exciting as you’ll have a brand-new project and customer team to work with. The ability to constantly meet new people and tackle different challenges is definitely a highlight.