In part two of our new “Dedication to Customer Success” series – part one featuring Craig Walford can be found here – we sat down with Paul Kleinknecht, Desire2Learn’s new Director of Account Management.
Kleinknecht has a proven record of delivering on client success, with experience in high-level management roles at several award-winning companies including Research In Motion (RIM) and Henry Schein Arcona. While at RIM, Paul held various customer-facing roles including Director of Sales for Latin America.
Learning Insights: How would you describe your role at Desire2Learn?
Paul: As Desire2Learn’s Director of Account Management, my job is to engage in ongoing dialogue with our clients to better understand their needs and to help them achieve results. Part of what compelled me to join Desire2Learn was the way the company really listens to its clients – the products are very much based on what educators have told us they need. This is how I’ve done business my whole career – making sure that the customer’s voice is never lost. I will continue these conversations with Desire2Learn clients to make sure they have the tools they need to be successful.
Learning Insights: What would you say is your key to success as an account manager?
Paul: I have instilled in myself, and my employees, a commitment to enabling client achievement. This goes well beyond regular phone calls – it entails immersing yourself in the customers’ world, so you understand what success means to them and how you can help them get there. I’ve found if you are sincere in your goal, that a lasting partnership is often created, transcending the traditional vendor/customer relationship.
As an example, when I was heading up Latin American Sales at RIM, the vast majority of the LATAM cell phone market was consumers with pre-paid plans. As Blackberry’s were only available with post-paid plans at that time, we identified the importance of this missed opportunity, worked directly with our partners to address the issue, and improved their business as a result. This was possible because we had developed a strong relationship with our customers and knew the market.
Learning Insights: How do you plan on integrating your personal philosophy into Desire2Learn’s account management team?
Paul: There’s such a strong base of customer support that already exists within the team and across the company that I would say my job has been mostly done already!
But to fully integrate my personal philosophy I will focus on the following:
- Making sure that as Desire2Learn continues to grow the customer centric approach is a constant in everything we do.
- Clearly articulate the account manager’s role in the customer’s deployment. We focus on proactive customer communication rather than only calling when there is a problem – constant communication is key.
- Empowering account managers with an entrepreneurial spirit that allows them to fully immerse themselves within their customers’ learning environment.
- Continuing to educate clients about the array of tools at their disposal with the Desire2Learn Learning Suite. We will work on keeping them informed of new (or existing) features and use cases to improve the experience for educators and learners.
- Working closely with our customers to provide them with best practices, share success stories from their peers, and provide them with other sources to ensure Desire2Learn’s customers are getting the most from their deployment.