There are certain situations where it just makes sense to assign an application engineer to work with a customer (vs handling all issues from the customer round-robin by anyone on the team). For example, we have a couple handfuls of customers we deem strategic in nature. We also have a couple handfuls of pre-sales customers where we know they will benefit from a more high-touch experience.
If you feel a customer should have an assigned application engineer, post in #customer-support. The CS leadership team will coordinate with the CE and Sales leadership team to vet the request. In order to provide optimal support for all customers, we can only have ~15 customers (post- and pre- / long-term and temporary) with an assigned application engineer.
Customers selected for application engineer assignment (whether post-sales strategic customers or pre-sales customers) and those assigned are listed in our customer exceptions page.
All customers with an assigned application engineer (whether internal in nature only or communicated to the customer), benefit from the following:
- The application engineer is always up to speed when an issue arises, no context building necessary
- The application engineer maintains emulation of customer’s environment for faster testing (that CE has access to and is accessible by other application engineers on the team if backup is needed); at the application engineer’s discretion if this is value-add.
- The application engineer attends regular and ad-hoc customer meetings to streamline communication (this should be discussed with CE for pre-sales assignments)
- The application engineer updates the technical design documentation when they learn of new information/changes (and informs the CE of the update)
- The application engineer has a recurring weekly check-in with the CE; some good standing questions:
- What is going well with the customer?
- What, if anything, is causing frustration for the customer?
- What are we currently trying to make happen with this customer (our goals)?
- What context would be useful to have for anything troubleshooting that may come up?
- The application engineer and CE get to work together to decide how they want to approach things. If anything comes up that seems like professional services work, then it is important that they check-in with leadership to weigh the pros/cons of what is best for Sourcegraph to say yes vs no.
There are two differences between post-sales strategic customers and pre-sales that allow us to offer this benefit and maintain flexibility where we need it:
- We do not communicate to pre-sales customers that they have an assigned application engineer; this is an internal assignment only. We do communicate to post-sales strategic customers that they have an assigned application engineer.
- Only post-sales strategic customers have an assigned back-up application engineer.
A few other details (mostly for CS):
- If anyone is assigned to a customer, they are not expected to work late, outside of their usual working hours, or handle more than the usual workload. If an application engineer becomes overloaded or has work that needs to be done outside of their usual hours, they simply need to let the team know via a post in #customer-support-internal so we can figure out how the team can help.
- An assignment is never permanent. An application engineer can ask for a transition for a variety of reasons – including they are stagnating, not being as exposed to different issue types. The best way to ensure an expedite transition is maintaining customer documentation.
- Being assigned doesn’t mean you are expected to know everything. Say you don’t know with confidence, follow-up quickly with confidence, and that will maintain trust with the customer.
- The CS team is welcome to adopt whatever practices we find valuable from being assigned to a wider customer audience. For example, if we see value in solving issues faster because of a certain kind of customer documentation, we can replicate that. Or, if we see value in a customer having an assigned application engineer that was not requested by CE or Sales, we can make that happen, too.