We had the opportunity recently to talk to Nishad Shevde from Exterro. As a Managing Director for Client Operations, we asked him a series of questions related to what it takes to build client relationships. You can view the full video or read a condensed version in the transcript below. 


Nishad Shevde: I started in the electronic discovery industry in 2005. And really, when I got into it in the first place, I didn’t actually know what I was signing up for. I got put on a critical project, which was one of the biggest active litigations in the world at the time. We not only were providing services to our clients, but we were a software company, so we built our own products and built our own solutions to provide services around those products. From day one I had direct access to developers and leaders; everyone from our CEO down to the QA team. And I had an expectation that I would have to interface with all of those people to solve problems, particularly things that we didn’t have out of box solutions for.


NS: I think for companies that build products that solve problems for clients, they need to have a connectivity to the market that extends beyond only their in-house product development and engineering teams. I see myself in a critical role, where working with our clients to figure out what problems they have and how to solve them, and then looking internally and saying, you’re the expert on building solutions; how do we merge those two things? It’s really important.

And I think it works in both directions. We get to inform our products on the experiences of clients who are facing some of the most challenging problems in the industry and on the flip side we get to to leverage the ingenuity, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit of engineers and product developers to go back to clients and say, here are solutions we’re thinking of. How can you leverage them? How can we make them better? What are the ways they can help solve your problems?


NS: We’re measuring things when we talk to our clients and we look at our clients in aggregate or individually to see what’s their usage like, are they doing things that we intend them to do or were hoping they were doing.  And we talk them, and say are we solving problems for you, how are you using the systems, and what are the benefits that you’re getting out of it? Are you telling a story internally about the benefits you’re getting with your program and putting Exterro in the middle of that program?

Some of these stories are told in a more anecdotal level through a combination of the software we provide, the services and the interaction with our clients, which solved a problem for them that they didn’t think was possible or they were concerned about the challenges of it or the amount of time they would have to spend it.

We have a whole spectrum of different ways we measure success and on aggregate, it allows us to look internally and say, are we going to continue to be on the right track?


NS: The scenarios where things have not worked out generally fall under a couple of themes. One is that we get away from recognizing that our ultimate job is to provide solutions to clients, not to sell a product that we’ve built. Our products are only useful if they help our clients do their jobs more effectively. That usually means that we aren’t asking enough questions or pushing hard enough on understanding what their usage is and the process becomes too passive. So we try to remind ourselves to be active participants in our client’s journey, or implementation, or usage story because it helps us understand if we’re continuing to solve those problems.

Our products are only useful if they help our clients do their jobs more effectively.


NS: The process can’t be about taking what you’ve built and what your process is, and saying this is the way you need to do things. It sometimes can take time to understand that the organization may have a way they do things and are looking to improve what they’re doing, both on an incremental level and maybe over time, a large scale level. And we try to identify where they fit on that spectrum and implement our software and our processes, that’s respectful and achieves whatever their goals are.


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