Customer Success at its Best: A Q&A with Lily AI’s Catherine O’Keefe

A Q&A that explores the role of a CSM with Lily AI’s own Catherine O’Keefe, Senior Customer Success Manager, who works directly with some of Lily’s most prestigious customers and understands what goes into truly nurturing customer relationships.

After the Lily AI sales team cements an agreement with a new client, the automations are run, and the products are tagged – what should our clients expect next? We’re very much of the mind that a continuing partnership, cultivated by a caring team of in-house customer success managers, is paramount to our clients’ success. Their job is to seek out the best solutions for your company and to ensure tailored, quality experiences through the adoption and full lifecycle of Lily’s platform and services.

In this Q&A we explore the role of a Customer Success Manager (CSM) with Lily AI’s own Catherine O’Keefe, Senior CSM, who works directly with some of Lily’s most prestigious customers and understands what goes into truly nurturing customer relationships.

‍What are some strategies that you use to optimize relationships with some of our current clients?

As a new client comes in, I spend a healthy amount of time doing my homework on their target customer. We’re not a one-size-fits-all solution, and the recommendations and optimizations we make to brands and their ecommerce websites are custom-tailored to the target audience. In order to do that, I really need to understand who their customer is, and how we can get that customer to the products they’re looking for as easily as possible.

I also love knowing what other tools and solutions the client is utilizing. What services are they using for their newsletter and marketing follow-up; to run A/B tests; heatmaps; and to recover abandoned carts? This tells me a lot about what type of data they have available and what type of tools we can leverage. Lily CSMs really strive to understand every inch of the client’s website and their business plan as a whole.

What are some ways that you continue to build relationships with our clients?

As business-focused as I am, we are a people-first company! I love connecting with my clients on a personal level. I love asking about their weekends, and learning about their families and hobbies. I once received an email from a customer that had a pretty funny typo in it. Instead of “pixel” they had written “pizza.” To which I responded, “I love the idea, let’s move forward with the pizza!”

After we had a laugh about it, I quickly researched some pizza-shops close to their office and sent the entire team pizza for lunch that day. They were so surprised and really appreciated the gesture. It goes a long way in building not only a business relationship, but a genuine friendship with clients.

From your experience, what are some key differentiators that our customers are saying about us that set us apart from competitors?

That the Lily Customer Success Managers are truly proactive leaders in the fashion and ecommerce space. Often, CSMs are on the front lines of customer issues and play a very reactive role. I’m really proud of how the Lily CSM team is actively involved in crafting solutions to problems the client doesn’t even know they have. I’m constantly on our clients’ sites, shopping through the lens of their customers, and finding ways that Lily can optimize the shopping experience. Our team is full of fashion and tech industry experts and we really bring that experience to each one of our clients.

What are examples of unique challenges that Lily AI customers might have that you typically work with them to solve?

Fast-fashion has really impacted how quickly trends can change. With Lily, we’re easily able to programmatically improve search results to incorporate ever-changing trends so that customers can find the items they’re looking for. We not only support trending terms, but we offer demand forecasting, which helps brands get the right products into the right doors, at the right time. Similar to merchandising a sales floor, I work to curate a search experience that resonates with the customers to drive sales.

Recently while working with a major retailer, I saw a large opportunity to improve their search results for “New Year’s Eve dress.” I collaborated with our styling and engineering teams to pull in sparkly, glamorous dresses – perfect for a night out. The outcome led to completely improved search results that were specific to that occasion.

Aside from cutting-edge trends, we also specialize in improving discoverability of products through filters and facets. I was recently on a popular denim website and noticed they had maternity jeans in their inventory, however, the only way to view them was to use the search bar. There was no navigation nor filter option informing the customer that maternity was even available on their site. We really obsess over our customer’s websites and drive value through our industry experience!

How is Customer Success different in the retail ecommerce software world vs. that of roles you’ve had in the past?

It’s not! At the end of the day I’m working to make the customer feel great about what they’re buying and getting them excited to use it. Before ecommerce, I was a personal stylist for Nordstrom and managed various retail teams up and down the East Coast. Whether I’m working in the fitting room or on a Zoom call, I’m actively listening to what my customer is looking to accomplish and asking questions so I can learn more about their needs and larger goals – really committing to using my expertise to get them the best solution. I want that customer to leave our interaction feeling confident and excited to be working together.

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