Choosing software

We’re talking to Wolters Kluwer’s ELM Solutions employees who work directly with customers during each phase of the Customer Value Lifecycle. In this post on the Collaborate phase, Karen McCracken, Senior Manager of Global Customer Experience, tells us about the ways ELM Solutions creates valuable customer events and works side-by-side with customers to improve their experience with our solutions.

What is your role in customer collaboration and why is it important?

Collaboration with our customers is an important part of my job because I develop programs and events specifically for them, and I use their input to make sure we’re giving them what they need. Among my key responsibilities are our annual user conference, solution user groups, and industry focus groups, all of which are designed to help users get the most out of their legal technology investment.

Our user conference is a great example of the importance of collaboration. Once a year, we meet in person with our customers, and they network with each other. Every single time, they tell us that the face-to-face time with our employees and other users is one of the most important things about that event. They love the training, panel discussions, and other informational sessions, but the opportunity to learn from other users is what really makes the conference special.

I’m always pleasantly surprised by how many people are eager and willing to show up and give us their feedback. And what’s important is that they don’t just collaborate with us – they really form connections with each other. They forge relationships that are valuable, and they continue the conversation beyond the few days of the event.

Can you talk more about the value of the user conference?

Since we started hosting a user conference in 2015, attendance has doubled, which is reflective of the value it has to our users. We ask customers to tell us what they want from the conference, and we build the agenda around that. They really co-create the conference with us, which makes for a better experience for everyone. In a very real sense, the user conference is their event.

An attendee at ELM18, our most recent user conference, told me that the networking at this event was unlike anything she experienced at any other conference. She said that during breaks and lunch, people weren’t going back to their rooms or staring at their phones like they do at so many events. Instead, they stayed and talked to one another, getting insight from other users and gathering information to take back to their colleagues at home.

You mentioned user groups and focus groups – what are they?

User groups are monthly sessions where customers who use a particular solution – Passport® or TyMetrix® 360° – have a chance to hear about upcoming product plans and talk to us and each other about best practices. We preview plans for additions and enhancements to our solutions and ask customers to vote on priorities to ensure that we address their most pressing needs first. Focus groups also provide the opportunity for customers to hear from each other about how to optimize legal operations, but they are broken out by specific industries. They are a great way of keeping up on industry trends and sharing methods for improving many aspects of legal operations.

In the last few years, we’ve seen our user and focus group attendance more than double. We also doubled the number of user group events we host. We now host about 35 user and focus group events each year.

Do you consider customer collaboration to be an important part of the ELM Solutions mission?

Absolutely. Collaboration is the glue that holds the whole thing together – it keeps us up-to-date and gives clients the information they need to be their best. The power of collaboration in this industry comes from the fact that it is ever-changing and complex, which means that everyone does things a little differently. So, when they get together and learn new ways to do things based on what their counterparts are doing at another company, it’s invaluable.

Our clients tell us that they know they are heard, not just in terms of having an opportunity to meet and talk with our internal staff, but also when they see enhancements rolled out into their solutions or they attend an event that we’ve tailored based on their feedback. They know that we are listening and that we’re all working together.

Read more about the Customer Value Lifecycle and our Training Services.

About The Author

Karen McCracken

With over 25 years in the software industry, Karen is responsible for defining and overseeing the execution of programs designed to provide clients with a world-class experience. She has helped drive customer satisfaction and retention by building an exceptional client advocacy program. One of Karen's main areas of focus at ELM Solutions is managing the must-attend annual user conference that is the centerpiece of our client experience.

Prior to joining Wolters Kluwer, Karen spent 21 years at IBM with a variety of senior marketing positions that always revolved around the client experience and helped make clients “raving fans.” Karen has a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies from Michigan State University.