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Cisco Global Customer Success Engineering (GCSE) - Support Team of the Year

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Company: Cisco, San Jose, CA, USA
Company Description: Cisco Systems, Inc. is an American multinational technology conglomerate headquartered in San Jose, California, in the center of Silicon Valley, that develops, manufactures and sells networking hardware, telecommunications equipment and other high-technology services and products.
Nomination Category: Support Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Support Team of the Year

Nomination Title: Cisco Global Customer Success Engineering (GCSE)

Tell the story about what this nominated team has achieved since January 1 2017 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms.

Launched in 2017, Cisco’s Global Customer Success Engineering (GCSE) Team was formed to support Cisco Global Customer Success (GCS) as they enable customers to overcome adoption barriers encountered with various Cisco products. The GCS team is responsible for helping customers achieve desired outcomes with Cisco’s products, but the solutions themselves can often be complex and require a high degree of technical knowledge. Rather than keeping GCS bogged down with technical conversations, GCSE partners with the Customer Success community as primary point of contact for technical expertise, thus allowing Customer Success Managers to remain focused on adoption conversations and relationship-building, without the need to stay current on the rapidly changing landscape of Cisco technologies.

Building a scalable engagement model for field and customer support that not only encompasses numerous products and product architectures, but also provides global coverage and spans every time zone, was no easy task. The GCSE team started as a pilot in January of 2017, when Cisco’s Global Virtual Engineering (GVE) team identified a small group of highly-skilled engineers to prove out the concept. They took on these adoption activities in addition to their normal responsibilities of supporting Cisco sellers and partners with pre-sales support.

Within a few short months, senior leadership at Cisco saw the potential and value of this team, and by June of 2017, funding was in place to build out a formal program for dedicated GCS support. Over the next six months, the team recruited, hired, and trained aggressively. Fully staffed, the GCSE team consists of 3 Systems Engineering Managers, 3 Technical Leads, 24 Virtual Systems Engineers (VSEs), and 1 Strategy and Planning resource, all lead by the Director of Customer Success Engineering.

This expert team of 31 supports 350+ Virtual and High Touch Customer Success Managers (CSMs), in addition to Digital Customer Success Managers, Partner Success Managers, and Customer Success Managers employed by our partners. With a 15:1 ratio of CSMs to Virtual Systems Engineers (VSEs), having the right engineering resources in place is imperative. Our VSEs need to be highly technical and knowledgeable about our Security, Enterprise Networking, Data Center, and Collaboration software, while at the same time possessing a customer-centric mentality and a high-degree of business acumen. The creation of this team provided career advancement opportunities for many talented engineers, coming from various organizations within Cisco, and it’s allowed our engineers to undertake a challenge that fosters new skills and expertise from working in collaboration with GCS.

Since its inception, the GCSE team has engaged more than 75% of the Customer Success team on a one-on-one basis to help customers overcome any technical adoption barriers they may be facing. To scale the team as much as possible, the VSEs also conduct technical workshops and live trainings with GCS, which are all recorded and provided on-demand for future use. Not only does GCSE conduct these workshops with GCS, but we also conduct workshops and webinars with end-customers to walk through live demos and trainings on how to achieve specific outcomes with our products. Each event has time provided for Q&A to help address our customers’ needs, and hundreds of end-customers have joined these virtual events, helping us to maintain a scalable support model.

In addition to customer and field-facing activities, GCSE also acts as the voice of the customer, bringing valuable product feedback and enhancement requests to our product management teams. A strong interlock between GCSE and the various business entities within Cisco ensures that the customer voice is heard and considered in product development, thus fostering an environment of continuous improvement, and creating a closed loop of information and findings that can be brought back to GCS and our customers, benefitting everyone.

In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) accomplishments of the nominated team since the beginning of 2017 (up to 150 words).

-Managed to transform a pilot initiative with limited resources to a full production team of 31 in less than 12 months
-Launched pilot with 4 different product offers supported, and grew the number supported to 17 by early 2018
-Grew health scores of the customers we engaged with by an average of 14%, quarter over quarter
-Built a global team of 31 people, across all time zones, to support 350+ Customer Success Managers, spanning multiple routes to engagement (virtual, high-touch, digital and partner)
-Handled 3000+ adoption barriers in our first year of support
-Delivered 40+ technical training programs to Customer Success Managers globally
-Launched First Friday Workshops to provide 1:many support to end-users
-Field Satisfaction Score of 4.94/5, and Net Promoter Score of 98/100
-Supported 2K unique customers in first year
-Launched a virtual Customer Success support model for 143 Cisco partners world-wide