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While scrolling through Aiwyn's internal trainings, I quickly came across a thought leadership document on the importance of valuing our customers. Being a people-person myself, I had to learn more and dove quickly down a rabbit hole after I realized the good intentions and hard work that VP of Customer Success, Tanner Fritz, has put into building his dream team here at Aiwyn, along with with his dream customers.
At that point, it was clear that Tanner Fritz NEEDED to be our next "What's Your Why?" interview, and since he is experienced in public speaking and podcasting, I put him on the spot and RECORDED his genuine reactions to questions that he answered straight from the heart.
Why Customer Success? What journey brought you to leading a world-class Customer Success team?
“I was fortunate early on in my career to get thrown into some small companies where I got to play multiple roles. I ultimately landed on Product Marketing, where my affinity for technology and willingness to get involved in sales efforts showcased that I fit really well in the crosshairs of Customer Success. I also took on some leadership opportunities from a product technology perspective at a handful of software startups. I got experience as a CIO at a regional healthcare company, which was a little bit slower-paced than I was used to, but gave me experience at implementing enterprise software, gaining an entire new appreciation for Customer Success. Through all of this experience, I saw what great customer success looks like, and what it looks like when its lacking, not just with software, but the entire experience itself.
With Aiwyn, it was a great opportunity for me to lead the Customer Success side of things and bring my expertise to the table."
What is the story on how you became an actual Cofounder of Aiwyn and why did you decide to jump on board?
"The short version of the story is that I have known CEO, Justin Adams, and CRO, Pat Morrell, from previous companies that we've worked for. Learning about their success with Digitize made me want to jump into the ring even more. It was serendipitous timing for me because I had other opportunities come up and then fall away, while Aiwyn continued to be something right in front of me that I felt I should really focus on. I was really fortunate to sync up with our cofounding team almost two years ago, if you can believe it!"
What was your initial reaction to Aiwyn's solution, Intelligence-Based BillingTM?
"Looking back, I was the CIO at a healthcare group and got to see solutions available for healthcare technology to enhance the patient experience. When Aiwyn was first born, we looked into accounting client experience and back office tasks. I was shocked to see what was already out there in healthcare has not even been touched or leveraged yet in the accounting space. My eyes were opened to see this opportunity to truly change people's lives in their day-to-day back office tasks and the firms' client experience. It just became a great opportunity for us.
The idea of Intelligence-Based BillingTM came up after months and months of research where we identified trends and gaps that technology could fill. Short answer: There is a great opportunity to change people's lives by providing them better software to save time and delight their clients."
What were the first 3-6 months of Aiwyn like?
"It was exciting. During the first 3-6 months, we were trying to form the team and gel as a cofounding group. We first focused on the type of company and culture that we want to build. We determined our core values and our mission, which was really fun. Then we validated the need that we are identifying in this market by putting together initial beta groups for accounting firms. They told us what they would want if they had a magic wand and we made it happen.
Our cofounders all have great skillsets that really compliment each other and the business we have created. There was a lot of intentionality about time, challenging ourselves, and even things as simple as work/life balance."
As a previous basketball player, we've heard you talk about the similarities between the court and the customer, using the term "KYP." Tell us more!
"For those that don't know, I'm the shortest of siblings, standing tall at 6'3, and constantly rivaling against my family that I'm #1. KYP - a coach once told me that you've really got to 'know your personnel.' If you're passing the ball to 'Tyler,' you need to know his strengths and weaknesses.
Point being, if we want to have a high-performing team and culture, we really need to know each other well, both strengths and weaknesses. Oftentimes, that is overlooked. There is a classic interview question asking about strengths and weaknesses, and it so much more important than just answering it on the fly. We individually need to know our own strengths and weaknesses so that we can utilize our team and continue to grow.
From the court to the customer... The customer in Anduin's world is the HERO. In the sports analogy, Anduin is the shot coach/athletic conditioner, trying to get the team to be better and be the tool to help others achieve their goals. Our company's purpose is to enrich the lives of our customers. Their entire experience, including their client experience, is what makes our business possible. We want to be our customer's tool to help make them better, always here to help them, and provide them with plays for their playbook."
You and your team truly care about the experience that Anduin's customers have. What makes your team so passionate?
"First, we are really trying to hire the right people who already have this passion wired within them. Customer empathy is not something you can learn. You need to have a heart for people and empathize, so hiring people with those characteristics and are customer-advocates is priority. We put best practices in place, like going +1% more every time, never settling. Additionally, we value and encourage these behaviors that our A-Team already has, which keeps them passionate and motivated."
Your team's goal is to provide a world-class customer experience. This correlates directly with the priority that our firms have to deliver client experience. Tell us more how these services truly resonate.
"On the Aiwyn side, its really important because firms do not have to chose us, they can choose someone else. Life is too short to use bad software. Our customers, the accounting firms themselves, are trying to be known for providing their clients with excellent experiences, so our customer success experience can promote that for them and its a competitive differentiator for us too."
As you typically ask, "if you had a magic wand," would you change anything in your career?
"No - I love the people that I have gotten to work with and the experiences that I've had.
Although, one thing I may have done differently is possibly take a risk earlier on in life on a startup. I advise anyone to find a mentor who can help you hold yourself accountable to the goals that you are after. For me, I might have started this adventure earlier on in life and utilize someone's experience and perspective. Fortunately, I'm around a handful of folks who mentor me with that experience."
You're busy. You're a cofounder, VP of Customer Success, you have a family, a wife, three young children, and a dog. You have customers who are so grateful that you take the time to jump on planes and go visit them, to ensure that they feel valued, even if just for a quick meal to check in.
"My family is crazy (Tanner says with a smirk). It's heightened Covid time and we are going through logistics of that - quarantining currently as we interview! I have the young kids who haven't broken into this interview just yet, as I expected they would. The life stage doesn't really matter - we all have a ton of things going on with home, life, work, church... all of it.
Coming into Aiwyn, two months after Covid picked up, we continuously talked about how important it is for us to see our customers face-to-face. I believe that you can break bread with someone and just learn their story more - making connections. I believe that is what life is about and am passionate about that. The in-person meetings are so much more valuable, pulling up reports, talking through scenarios, collaborating together. My wife works too, so each night we pull up our calendars and figure the logistics out. It's something we're committed to together. The in-person time with customers is invaluable."
Where do you see Accounting Technology 10 years into the future?
"First, I see technologies in the marketplace focused on analytics and AI. I think we're going to see more and more solutions out there that automate tasks and streamline tedious processes existing today.
Secondly, I met with a firm last week and had a great conversation about the firms who adapted to technology and how they've grown so significantly into the future. I think we're going to see more firms adapt to technology and continue to thrive."
WHAT'S YOUR WHY?
"At a high level, for me, my story is faith-centric. I've been given grace in my life and I come back to living a life where I'm giving myself away, whether its time to others or providing excellent work to grow a company. I continue to strive to do this, and fail at it a lot. My goal is to live a very generous life to give my time and resources away for the better."
What do you want to make sure that our current and future customers know?
"Our purpose and our goal is to enrich their lives. We want to be the solution that they cannot live without - critical to workflows, enhancing processes - we want to celebrate when that happens and continually measure it to improve and provide that goal."
And there you have it, folks. Tanner Fritz just gave us a little bit of the purpose and intention behind his amazing career and its impact on Aiwyn and our customers. I know many readers are thankful for Tanner's contributions behind elevating Customer Success to new levels and providing a solution for accounting firms that is truly one-of-a-kind.
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Schedule a demo with the man, the myth, the legend, Tanner Fritz, now!