Meet the Team: Carlisle Connally

In our Meet the Team series, we get to know different members of the Koddi team through an informal Q&A session. This month, we sat down with one of Koddi’s newest executives, Carlisle Connally. As VP, Customer Success and Strategy, Carlisle leads and oversees Koddi’s efforts related to customer experience, specifically elevating the strategic value of Koddi services through the delivery of best in class travel and hospitality solutions.

Carlisle has more than 15 years of experience in the media and marketing space on both the client and agency side of the business and has served in senior leadership roles at Marriott, Choice Hotels, and Hilton. Prior to joining Koddi, she established and led Marriott International’s Global Paid Media team across all brands and the loyalty program.

Can you tell us about your background and what led you to your current position at Koddi?

I’ve probably spent 80% of my career in an industry that I absolutely love: hospitality. So, joining Koddi was a natural decision to make as a next move for me. Additionally, Koddi’s entrepreneurial mindset is really attractive to me, and I actually started my career in a startup environment and spent time at two different companies that were very small startups. For me, this feels like coming full circle after being at very large organizations, and I missed having that entrepreneurial mindset — working quickly and being a problem solver in an agile environment. I have a lot of respect for everything Koddi has done as an organization, and I’m excited to be a part of it.

As a consumer in this industry, can you tell us about some of your favorite travel destinations?

Oh, that’s hard. I think that’s why I can’t quit the industry, because travel is a passion of mine. I grew up in travel. My mom is a retired flight attendant for American Airlines. She flew for them for thirty-three years, so I was fortunate to jump on a plane any weekend or weekday when there was an empty seat and go somewhere. So, travel has always been a part of my DNA and my experiences growing up.

So, I would say, number one, jumping on a plane and heading anywhere in Mexico is always good for me. We’re fortunate to have a vacation property in Taos, New Mexico, so we like to spend time up there hitting the slopes when we can and enjoy as much time outdoors as possible. I’ve been to destinations all over the world, but there are so many hidden gems to discover in the U.S., from small towns to national parks, so I’ve been on a US-focused travel journey lately.

How do you measure customer satisfaction outside of the typical NPS score?

That’s a great question. So, we’re going to start with NPS and roll out the next version of it soon. When we get the NPS results back and distill the data, a focus of mine will be building action plans around these results. Outside of NPS, there are other things like customer journey analytics, which basically map out the customer’s journey and assign values to our clients’ interactions with each touchpoint. And a third way, and something we do in our day-to-day, is client feedback. We’re jumping in on quarterly business reviews and weekly status calls and getting the feedback. How do we organize this feedback better so that we can use it as valuable input to the action plans and other things we’re working on?

How does Koddi help increase customer success by focusing on customers’ overall goals?

Part of our job and function is to help plan and drive what the roadmap is for our customers. And when I say roadmap, I’m not talking about a product roadmap. I’m talking about helping our clients understand what success really is to them and what those true outcomes are. If we understand the customer’s plan, objectives, and priorities, we can deliver successful, measurable activities that support and directly drive their goals. When we achieve and succeed at these, we deliver customer success.

How does the philosophy of customer success help our customers take advantage of Koddi’s growing product line?

Sales is an area where this makes a lot of sense. Let’s use new client onboarding as an example. I see customer success playing a role with new clients as they are coming to the end of the sales cycle. We accomplish this by having customer success engage at the right point in time to start building a relationship organically as the sales team is closing across our product line and then transitioning to an onboarding team that consists of a variety of resources. As that onboarding is taking place, we have the account team or client services managers that are going to be working on the business long-term start organically building the relationship.

Drawing from your experience with hoteliers, in what areas have you seen the widest gap between customer expectations and software/service companies’ follow through?

Sometimes training and documentation accessibility and usability can be a gap. There are some companies that have done this really well, but in doing so, they’ve lost an important aspect of human interaction. To use Salesforce as an example, they’ve basically defined customer success as a function. You get assigned a partner, and they do a great job at customer training and have documentation for everything. They excel at balancing product to service, and that’s something we want to aspire to do as well. We’ll always have a human aspect to our business. Travel and hospitality are based on human relationships and experiences, and I don’t see that ever going away.

How do you make customer success a company-wide philosophy?

I think we already are, and the reason I say that is because Koddi is 100% customer-centric. One of my favorite quotes from J. Willard Marriott is: “Take care of associates and they’ll take care of your customer.” And that’s already the culture of Koddi — associate-facing and associate-led, and therefore, we take good care of our customers.

If I was to put on my hotel supplier hat and think about how our clients are considering customer-centricity, they may be looking at it from how they go to market. No longer do we have the traditional siloed marketing and media campaigns where you have one brand talking to a specific segment of people. Now, it’s putting the customer at the center, and deploying marketing activity around the customer, no matter where they are in their journey– if they’re booking travel, if they’re considering making a retail purchase, whatever and wherever it is. I think if we were to apply the same thinking here, then our client engagement process shouldn’t be any different.

In a single sentence, what does customer success mean to Koddi?

Make the customer successful.

Check out our case studies to see examples of customer success stories from our clients.