WHAT WE DOSuccessful, sustainable service organization change only happens when you deliberately lead transformation on six fronts.
We have developed core competencies that allow Cloud, Hosting & Managed Service Providers to transform their Customer Experience.
We help you define or refine a cohesive set of strategic choices that chart your strategic direction, establish your competitive position, set clear priorities and form the blueprint for the Service organization to successfully execute and win.
We design and implement Customer Experience that will deliver on your strategy– making sure the pieces fit together in a mutually reinforcing way.
We develop your Service leaders in the context of their current situation and the evolving business challenges ahead. We customize the approach in alignment with the specific organizational capabilities and individual competencies.
We drive education and engagement not only within Service organization but across internal and external stakeholders.
We Infuse client feedback into the analytics of complete customer experience. We uncover why customers stay and why they leave. We expose opportunities for early intervention and prevention.
We create a view into your current level of expertise across the entire Service organization against the ideal benchmark, identify the gaps, set the priorities and help to systematize employee continuous improvement path.
Amazon Web Services
Elya is an accomplished executive who gives her all to create organizational excellence supporting strong customer alignment and satisfaction. She was able to achieve a complete transformation of the support teams to not only develop better talent within the team but also win better customer relationships that translated into lower churn, better profitability, driving the opportunity for company growth. Elya lead her team as a business, measuring success focusing on the bottom line. I appreciate the opportunities Elya has give me, and the lessons she taught me. It is my pleasure to recommend Elya as an exceptional Customer Service leader, but also for her vision as a COO or CEO.
Appraiser Aide, Inc.
Elya is an extremely capable person. She has created from scratch a highly organized Customer Support department and manages a large and geographically disparate team of Systems Technicians. She is a student of process improvement and has identified, gathered, and reported on critical metrics that allow for appropriate decisions and direction. She is a voracious learner, always reading and seeking new information to improve herself and her department. She is highly intelligent and seems always prepared. She is adept and managing people, processes and projects. I recommend her in the highest way.
Director of Business Development
Bold Properties Inc.
I worked with Elya for over 9 years and her dedication, her enthusiasm and strong drive are just a few of the qualities she has as a professional, and the list is long. But if that wasnäó»t enough, she has also a human side that makes her a complete package. I consider myself lucky to have worked with Elya for all those years.
Canadian Scholarship Trust
Working with Elya is a rare privilege. We did work together at iWEB where she did undertake the mandate to build a true customer centric approach to support our clients. Right from the beginning she was able to establish her leadership by providing a clear vision and objectives to her team, creating efficient communication among the team and constantly measuring the progress toward those objective. The challenge was everything but easy. With her contagious energy, her rigor and dedication to achieve results; she was able in a short period of time to bring the client services to the next level. I do hope that our career path will cross again.
Chief Marketing Officer
Clownfish Digital Marketing
It was a pleasure working with Elya. She has extensive knowledge of web hosting industry and server technology. She also showed great management skill managing a big group of tech support people in several different locations. I would not hesitate to work with Elya again.
I had the pleasure to work with Elya since her first day at Superb Internet and see her career evolving in time.With her excellent management and communications skills, professionalism and dedication to her work, she achieved outstanding carrier goals in a record number of years and became a successful leader, one of the best leaders I have even known.
Elya developed and then implemented an integrated service delivery strategy for the provision of global technical support and customer service for a complex cloud service. The results have been impressive and Datacom is proud to be associated with Elya's program. Elya has proven herself to not only be capable of strategic planning but also has the ability to deliver.
Digital Seniors Canada
Elya is a very determined and passionate leader who dedicates time, energy and vision for her team. No goal is unachievable in her thinking and no obstacle stands a chance. Her extensive knowledge of the 'young' cloud and hosting industry and area of specialization is impressive and of course invaluable to whomever is lucky enough to have her on their management team.
Echo Storytelling Agency
I've worked with Elya on a number of occasions and she is fantastic! She is incredibly knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend her.
I had a pleasure to work with Elya while I was a Technical Support Specialist at Superb Internet.
She is a type of Director who keeps complex customer relations just perfect and at the same time with deep knowledge of the hosting industry helps to solve complex technical issues.
I was impressed by her extraordinary communication skills, she always knows to pick the right people to make the job done.
Technical Support Engineer |||
Elya has always been extremely reliable and conscientious. Her devotion to her company, customers and to service improvements comes through very clearly. As a customer, you would be in good hands with Elya.
Mentor and Advisor
Elya was a capable VP of Customer Care team, managing her department in the SoftCom Toronto as well as remote support staff overseas. Elya developed and executed ITIL based policy and procedures. She ensured QA and SLA metrics were met, introduced training and mentoring, built internal knowledge systems, upgraded CRM systems, introduced Professional Services. She is an inspirational and motivational leader and strives to identify each individualäó»s strengths to form a cohesive and effective team. Her works resulted in reduced customer churn and increased customer satisfaction that made a difference in top line. I would highly recommend her for any similar position
Turker Ugur Sokullu
CTO of Cloud
It is rare that people get the opportunity to work under a manager with actual drive and a passion for their work. With her exceptional care for customers and staff alike Elya is able to provide the brilliant leadership required to bring supervisors and staff together into a cohesive group with shared goals. Elya is never afraid to take on what might at first seem impossible yet bring it to completion. Elya earns my highest recommendation as a leader and mentor to anyone considering her for an executive position.
Lead Specialist, Abuse and Security Management
A real visionary, and true leader, a friend, and a great person to work with.
During the time I worked with Elya I was inspired by her ability to manage successfully large and complex teams and projects. Her communication skills were outstanding, keeping her team and the rest of the organization informed and aligned at all times.
Anyone who has the opportunity to work with Elya will be on the winning team. Her experience, attitude, personality, and the ability to motivate are all in strong balance to deliver large scale positive business results.
I will absolutely work with Elya again, If the opportunity presents itself.
Global CS Analyst & Project Manager
Jean E. Mitchell Consulting
It was a pleasure working with Elya, she is a dedicated professional and extremely committed to delivering an "excellence in customer experience " for her clients. She recognizes the areas of strength in her team, by providing quidance and leadership she ensures success for everyone working in client care at Softcom .
Jean E. Mitchell
SoftLayer, an IBM Company
Elya is a team player type manager, always looking out for the company, the employee, and the client. Her dedication makes her excell at anything she puts her mind too. She stays connected with her team to make sure that project goals and deadlines are always met on time, if not before.
Systems Administrator - Team Lead, Advanced Customer Services
Laidler Software Group
Elya applies herself to her work as a true professional. She has a genuine caring spirit and a passion to achieve the goals put in front of her.
Working with Elya was a real pleasure. Not only she has a good understanding of our enterprise customers pain points but she always come out with creative solutions.
As a very structured and organized person, she's been able to rapidly implement new process and overcome some of the challenges that the organization has been facing for years. I would gladly work with Elya again
Senior Account Executive
Elya is definitely one of the best managers I had the opportunity to work for. Her experience, knowledge, determination and hard work transformed the Customer Care department at Softcom to a whole new level. Together, we were able to build almost every system our department needed from ground up. She was very precise and effective in defining and executing these projects, however at the same time she was very open minded, and always had time to hear other opinions or ideas and take them into full consideration. In all the projects we were involved in, Elya demonstrated excellent project management skills, from planning to execution and testing, enabling her team to produce top notch results.
I feel that Elya has always been able to get the best out of everyone in her team, and that has been especially true for me. She made everything a manager could do to make me more productive and successful, and I owe a major part of my success to her.
Senior Software Engineer
Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton
Elya came to iWeb in February, 2013 and was handed the very challenging task of quickly restructuring our customer service group to create an even more sustainable and scalable organization. The first thing I noticed about Elya was the incredible level of energy and enthusiasm which she brought to every discussion. This is someone who loves what she does, and is dedicated to building teams that can provide the absolute best possible level of customer service.
With Elya at the helm, the customer service group was re-energized, re-organized and re-focused by combining a metrics driven approach with a strong drive to develop her teams knowledge, capabilities and capacities through continuous learning and development initiatives.
Elya is a great team player, a strategic thinker and a pleasure to work with. I would recommend her without the slightest hesitation and I hope to work with her again one day.
Manager, Business Intelligence, Data Warehousing and Reporting
Words That Work
Elya McCleave is an undeniable business asset. Her supportive style and acute sensitivity to office dynamics enable her to nip potential trouble in the bud. She offers her staff the professional resources they need to develop their skills into outstanding competencies: including written procedures, clear lines of communication, streamlined training modules, and ongoing recognition and promotions. Thanks to Elya's integrity, "equal opportunity" is a verifiable fact for those lucky enough to report to her. I know she will succeed, and create success, wherever she chooses to employ her professional talents.
Teaching Strategies, LLC
Elya has been an invaluable resource over the past four years as a manager, mentor, and advocate. She maintains a professional, positive approach and an open door policy despite the demanding role of managing a global team. With a thorough understanding of the technical aspects of the web hosting industry and a constant commitment to exceeding customer expectations she is an exemplary leader.
Elya is a methodical, effective, hard working leader who not only puts her mind but also her heart into what she does. Her extensive experience in technical support and customer service domains coupled with her skills in process improvement, strategic planning and team building makes her a great asset to any organization.
Elya has successfully led the efforts to take SoftCom's Customer Care Department to the next level while improving and rebuilding Technical Support and Customer Services, Professional Services and Vendor Management functions.
With her never-ending energy, work ethics and affection for her team and customers, it is a privilege to work with Elya.
Chief Operating Officer
Working with Elya for the past two years was rewarding as she was able to implement training standards, quality standards, and uplift our support team. She provided many opportunities for all of the staff to be the best they could be and do the best at what they wanted to be it Project Management, Training, or enhance technical skill level. It was an absolute pleasure working with Elya and I have no doubt with her work ethics she will continue to achieve more and more.
During my time as the CRM Supervisor I was reporting to Elya as the VP of Customer Care at Softcom. She has revised and restructured our Customer Support workflow and uplifted the entire department. Upon her arrival to Softcom Inc. one of the first changes to the Customer Support team was to focus on the Customer Relations Management department. With her leadership, we have created the tools needed to locate customer trends and churn.
Her leadership skills have influenced and inspired the CS team, she has implemented many policies and procedures that provided us the direction needed to sustain and grow the department. Each interaction and project completed with Elya was a learning experience on both a professional and personal level. She has been a pleasure to report to and the work ethics are one to be looked up to. I'm confident that the sky is the limit for what she capable of achieving for any company that is lucky enough to have her as an asset to their team.
Global Customer Experience Manager
Most companies have good intentions when it comes to employee development and service transformation, but it is both complex and challenging to get it right. Through the introduction of core competencies and realignment of the service organization, we provide practical and powerful solutions to enable you to turn good intentions into positive actions – that drives results. You will have unprecedented outcomes and strengthened capabilities in areas such as:
News and Blog
To Charge or Not to Charge2019-05-28 15:05:15Based on my experience leading Service Organizations worldwide and for the past three years advising to various Tech companies on Service Strategy and Customer Success, the common challenge facing business leaders today is still confusion over the role and definition of Customer Success. Questions like “What do Customer Success people do?” and “To charge or not to charge for Customer Success?” are still being asked often. The pressure is on to make XaaS (meaning Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, etc.… subscription companies) business models more profitable. Most organizations are working on connecting Customer Success to revenue. Even if you never charged for Customer Success, it is essential to be able to prove a real, measurable increase in profitability to your clients and your organization. What do Customer Success people do? Love the work of Lincoln Murphy on Customer Success, and he described the mission of CS the best - "Customer Success is when customers achieve their Desired Outcome through their interactions with your company". Looking at the customer it means you identify the opportunities for increasing their profits, their productivity and you work with them directly to attain those goals Support Services is all about break/fix – if something breaks, you fix it. Customer Success is all about looking at where the clients are, identifying where they want to be, developing Customer Success plans to take them there and stepping in as a right strategic advisor to the clients. The difference between Customer Success and Sales is quite straight forward. Salespeople hunt, they want to be in front of the prospects making a new sale. As they say, fighter pilot and the salesman have a lot in common. Customer Success people can work very effectively with Sales if you do a controller for a fighter operation. You share what the target looks like; the questions prospects might ask, the benefits they want to receive, ideal customer profile, the way to recognize those customers and to talk to them. So, the salespeople go out, and they close, and at this point, Customer Success takes over. In some companies, Customer Success groups are getting involved much earlier in the process. I’ve seen CS working as Sales Engineers, and it is an exciting model to consider as it allows access to all the relevant information and documents on everything that happened during the sales cycle. The customer transition, on-boarding, and Success Plans development go much smoother as a result. To charge or not to charge for Customer Success? Customer Success in many companies starts as ad-hoc churn fighting group, so you’ve got a lot of history and people who think they know what is expected. It comes as a surprise when they are told we’re doing more than that. The key is to have data. Robust analytics capability is crucial; you need to have a clear view of who the clients are and where the time is going. Look to establish your basic cost structure of what your utilization of your Customer Success Managers is, in other words, what the billing rate is. You can then dig deeper into data on profitability per client, ROI per project, and develop mutually beneficial offerings. The key is selling value. Many companies are hesitant to charge for Customer Success. It is especially prevailing in SaaS, where the plans were to make it quick and easy. We’ll flip a few buttons and get running. But don’t forget about full implementation and effective adoption of the product, to roll it out throughout the entire organization, it takes guidance, and that guidance has a lot of value. Why not break off pieces of implementation aligned with adoption life-cycle and offer specialized training at cost. Consider:
- Up-sell: Additional seats, usage, etc.
- Cross-Sells of Support, Training,
- Renewal income
- Paid On-boarding
- Professional Services/Customization
Against the Odds: Women in Tech2019-05-16 12:36:42A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of joining a fantastic group of female leaders at Women In Tech Panel presented by infra//STRUCTURE Summit. We were asked to share our personal experiences of gender biases in the workplace and the best way for businesses to address them. I decided to blog and expand on the subject a bit further. Hi, my name is Elya McCleave, and I’m a woman who spent her entire career of 17+ years in tech and let me tell you – it is very challenging to stay in the industry and keep moving forward. Tenacity no doubt is your best friend, but it also can wear out if you don’t build the right support structure around yourself. Lesson 1: Surround yourself with the right people, people that genuinely believe in you and support you. My first experience of gender bias in the workplace surprisingly came from the clients. I was working as a Level 1 Support Engineer, where I spent much time answering calls and tickets. Quite often, if it were a male customer calling, even though he'd already pressed 2 for Tech Support, I would get asked if it was, in fact, Tech Support. When I politely would say “yes”, the client would share how complicated the problem was, suggesting to get him transferred to my male counter-part. Over time, I learned how to make the best out of the conversations like this, put clients at ease and announce the name of the functional unit “Tech Support” as soon as I picked up the phone. Lesson 2: Work hard, upkeep your education, and stay relevant. It’s ok if people don’t take you seriously right away, surprise them and they will pay you back with gratitude and loyalty. As the years went by, and I grew through the leadership ranks, I still struggled to find my true communication style. In certain situations, when I stood my ground, I would get called direct, bold, or borderline masculine. However, when I was nurturing and emphatic, I would get called a “mother,” and my direct reports “dragons.” You know it would be funny if it weren’t so sad. Lesson 3: Not everyone will like you, and it is ok. Remember this is not a popularity contest. Drive positive impact and let your work speak for itself. You might think that I’m discouraged from having gone through all these experiences, but I must say it is quite the opposite - I’m grateful for the journey and people I worked with. I grew stronger and as a result, started a business of my own. It also helped me understand what it meant to treat your staff right and how much support women required in the workplace. Here are things businesses can do to help women strive and succeed in a workplace: - Hire more women for your front-line technical roles - Introduce voluntary “Gender Diversity and Inclusion Program." - Introduce “Executive Sponsorship Program.” This is especially important for women at mid-management level going up. Statistics show that a senior sponsor could make a world of a difference - Introduce “Leadership Development Training” specifically for women in leadership roles - Be transparent – know your numbers and share them with the rest of the company regularly. It has to start at the top. “We need to resist the tyranny of low expectations. We need to open our eyes to the inequality that remains. We won’t unlock the full potential of the workplace until we see how far from equality we really are.” — Sheryl Sandberg
Bringing Sales and Services together: Why is it important?2018-10-19 07:26:48My quick LinkedIn post on Customer Success vs. Customer Support drew thousands of views within a matter of couple days. The subject of blending Sales and Services is indeed fascinating, so I decided to expand on it a bit further. Many argue that the concept of Sales & Services in modern technology was pioneered by IBM in the 1960s when they came up with the first enterprise-grade computers. And from the 1960s all the way to 1990s Service was typically part of a Sales organization, ran by regional managers. In the 1990s we went through a process of separating Services from Sales; Support became a global function, Professional Services became a global function, and it lasted all the way to 2017. And now we are looking to bring Sales and Services back together again - build a United customer growth engine. My career in IT started in the late 1990s. As a result, I experienced services being regionally managed. At the time services were unprofitable, of low quality, inconsistent and post-sale resources were pulled continuously to pre-sale activities. The model was unsustainable and drove poor Customer Experience. As a result, most companies started segregating service resources into stand-alone independent functional units, pulling them from the regions. The process of globalization and centralization of services has begun in the early 2000s. I spent many years helping technology companies to centralize and globalize their service organizations. Some great things have been achieved in the process of services being separated from sales - services became more profitable, globally consistent and of much higher quality. The only problem we were not able to address was an extremely disjointed Customer Experience (CX). Sales would take the clients up to a certain point, handoff to Professional Services, handoff to Education Services, handoff to Support Services, etc. The clients felt like they were dealing with multiple different companies. And don't forget about the "turf wars" between Sales and Services that made Customer Experience (CX) even worst. And now in 2018 we came a full circle with most companies out there already working on bringing Sales and Services back together, but on what terms? And why they are doing that, you might ask? The economics of our business models are changing. The ability of a company to drive Adoption, Expansion, Renewal is essential to business success. In the context of Cloud Service Providers (CSPs), I can see the traditionally stand-alone service organizations introducing Adoption Charters of Customer Success and developing a robust Adoption framework as the very first step growing closer together with Sales. If Adoption is done, right Renewal responsibilities will come naturally. As per TSIA research, Sales and Services organizations in the future will still run as two separate entities, but they will come together near the top rolling up to a Chief Revenue Officer or a Chief Customer Officer. Sales will continue being regionally managed, while Services and Success will be highly converged. Services, including Success, will be monetized. Clients will be requesting to talk to people that are responsible for delivering the outcomes before they sign the contracts. As a result, we will see more services experts involved in pre-sale environments. Services will begin to be rewarded and measured on the ability making the company LAER-efficient (Land-Adopt-Expand-Renew), including improving the Land function. Everyone in the company is going to come together in their compensation around a unified set of Customer Health and Growth metrics. I must say I'm super excited about the next stage of service evolution, and seeing Sales and Services working together as real partners.