One of the biggest compliments that any business can get is a vote of confidence from its customers. Appian (APPN 0.19%), which provides a low-code software platform for enterprise clients, has achieved a remarkable 99% customer retention rate over the last year.

In this Motley Fool Backstage interview, which aired on Nov. 24, Appian CEO Matt Calkins explains how his company earns such high approval from its customers.

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Jeremy Bowman: I know you guys recently held your first Investor Day conference, and I was surprised that there are a lot of different companies that use Appian, a pretty wide range from government to life services, financial services. I know you guys just landed a pretty big restaurant, it sounds like. Maybe you could give us one or two of your favorite use cases that you've seen from some of your clients.

Matt Calkins: We're fortunate to have some really wonderful clients. First of all, let me echo that. I'm glad you got to meet them and hear about them. We have long been a leader in financial services, and so we've got, I think six of the top 10 banks in the world. We're also a leader in government, and we have maybe 50 different agencies in the U.S. government as clients of Appian. We're a leader in pharmaceuticals, and we have probably most of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies as well.

Now, we've been branching out, and I think that's because of the realization across the board that change is everybody's business. It's not just a few industries who used to have a lot of money riding on change. It's everybody, because change is a universal problem these days. We've all got to handle it. We've seen emerging cases like a restaurant chain or a key airport or a key energy provider. We've seen major accounts come out of other industries recently as change becomes a universal requirement.

One of my favorite stories is with an insurer in the U.K. that had grown by acquisition. They'd added systems as they added subsidiaries, and in the end, they had so many systems that they had to touch when a customer would call in, they had to touch more than 20 systems just to make a simple change like changing the address of a customer. It's a good problem to have -- it's because they've been so successful. But then the call center was really slow and inefficient, and it was taking three calls to figure out the answer to a problem.

We combine that all. All those 20-odd systems were replaced by Appian, just Appian. Three calls on average went down to one call on average. Customer happiness went up, customer satisfaction or employee satisfaction went up. Solved a lot of problems, and it cut more than 90% of the budget out of that function. That's one classic example of the way you can consolidate and streamline using Appian.

Appian is terrific also for times when you need to discover what new processes you should address. We often hit the ground running with a new customer by using our famous Appian guarantee, which says we're going to have your first application implemented in eight weeks. They're not expecting that. That's a lot faster than most applications roll out. Then once we've landed with that guarantee, then doors open in all directions, and we can grow in so many different ways.

For example, at one of the world's top banks, we never stopped growing. We came in once when they were rolling out a new unit, and we were the case management layer for that unit. But then the next year, they wanted to open up a call center, so you had a couple of more thousand people. And then every few quarters, there's a new application that we can bring on. One of the best things about Appian is the impression we make on our customers. We have really happy customers. A poll came out earlier this year -- it's that Gartner survey, actually -- and they evaluated our industry, and Appian came out a clear No. 1 in terms of customer satisfaction. In fact, we were literally the only leader for customers of our industry that were greater than $10 billion annually in revenue, or that were in financial services, or for that matter, that were even in North America. We're listed as the only leader. So we do really well on the customer side.

It's our job now to raise our profile and be sure that what the customers who buy Appian know is known to other potential customers. That's our next big job.