Focus on customer success, not satisfaction, says Rob Bernshteyn at TiECON 2020

Akshay Srikar-

Rob Bernshteyn, the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer at Coupa, is a self-made billionaire, who has taken a systematic approach in taking his company from a small start-up company to a multi-billion-dollar public organization driving measurable value for enterprises around the world.

On a discussion with Raj Mathai, an NBC TV Anchor, at the second day of the TiECON 2020 virtual conference, Bernshteyn said that he is inspired by two themes that have driven him all along, “innovate and lead” and “capitalism” has given him the idea that anything can be achieved when you work hard.

“When I came to this country, I first saw entrepreneurship in business I got excited about the fact that if you work harder and smarter you can achieve so much.”

“When I went to college, I knew I want to be a leader in business, and then I got involved in information technology. I saw the spark of innovation that’s possible through code, through encoding logic. And I set out to build a career with those two things in mind, becoming a strong leader, and one that wants to innovate and help change the world.”

For those who are looking to start of their own venture but are waiting for the ‘jump-off point’, he noted that entrepreneurs have to stay self-motivated and constantly curious, and mainly have the “desire to challenge and test themselves”.

“I was doing everything possible to increase the likelihood of potential success. I had the desire for challenge, the desire for testing myself, the desire for going into the unknown, and embracing the unknown. I was just really into that I wanted that experience I wanted to test myself,” said Bernshteyn.

According to Bernshteyn, it is vital for any company from the start, to have its core values unmovable and fixed. Coupa’s success is sticking to its core values.

“There’s a lot of ingredients there underneath our success. It’s about our people, our culture, and importantly it’s our commitment to our core values.”

“What binds us as a company is our values, we’re not bound by our four walls. We’re an organization bound by our core values. That is what makes us unique, we commit to certain principles of our work. If someone does not want to ascribe to those values, they should be free to walk out and stretch themselves to pursue their goals. But as long as they’re committed to our values, I think we can achieve any mission we undertake.”

He also said that entrepreneurs have to “relish complexity and challenges that others might not want to take”.

And he noted that companies have to take pride in their customers and their success.

“We take so much pride in seeing the customer get measurable success from working with us, and we take it, one customer, at a time, we celebrate every customer,” said Bernshteyn.

In his latest book ‘Smarter Together’, he says that “stop focusing on customer satisfaction instead focus on customer success”.

On elaborating on this point, Bernshteyn said that “If you look at the customer satisfaction dimension, it’s infinite. Why should I ever be satisfied? I want everything to be faster, better, cheaper.”

He added, “So why would you as a technology player that needs scale focus on satisfaction. You’re going to wind up having a host of different ways to deliver. Why not focus on measurable quantifiable customer success. I think measurable customer success should be the orientation, then satisfaction.”