Five customer success leaders share their wisdom on finding the right attitude, overcoming challenges, building a learning culture and much more.

June 16, 2020
June 26, 2023

You can’t really travel the road to customer success without encountering failure somewhere along the way, or at least a few challenging diversions. But those blips in the journey help you prepare a better route next time.

What if you could take a quick shortcut in the form of advice from customer success experts? Like any good passenger, they’re here to help navigate you, by sharing some of the lessons they’ve learnt on their own journey.

Dan Farley, Vice President, Customer Success at Seenit

Usage of your platform doesn’t necessarily equate to the value users are receiving. If there’s one tip that can help you manage ongoing customer relationships, it's this nugget that Dan shared from his experiences at Seenit.“Just because your customer is using your platform a large amount and is heavily adopted, that does not mean the value they are receiving equates to them getting additional budget and renewing their subscription.”

So, ensure that you are checking in with your customers, helping them get the most out of your platform, and giving yourself the best chance for renewal.

Emma Tiegan, Head Of Customer Success & Operations, SmarterQueue

It might seem obvious, but if you’re creating a learning culture in your team, curious minds can be the catalyst for this. So, it makes sense to keep that high on the list when you’re considering candidates. That’s how it works at SmarterQueue, as Emma Tiegan explains.“Being curious is something we heavily screen for during hiring.

Our Customer Success Team have naturally curious personalities, which makes maintaining a learning culture almost effortless. I can not recommend screening for curiosity highly enough.”

Lauren Cumming, Head of Customer Success at Fixflo

Lauren’s attitude towards failure is one that most people could benefit from adopting. She explains that: “...failing at something every now and then is inevitable and helps to build up one's resilience and overall professional backbone—you can’t always be top of your game or make the perfect decision”. It’s all about how you learn from your mistakes and sharing this with your team can help everyone grow, a method she applies at Fixlo.Lauren adds: “I can think of a recent example where an email I sent in response to a sensitive situation was not well received by a large customer.

After sending it, I knew it was not the right approach and I was very vocal with the team about why I did it (but shouldn’t have) and how I would handle it differently next time round so they could learn from my mistake too!”.

Troy Pratley, Head of Customer Success (EMEA) at Amplience

Should you listen to those gut feelings? There’s often doubts about whether following your instinct is the right way to go, but Troy’s perspective certainly helps put that at ease. Amplience's Head of Customer Success (EMEA) highlighted that it’s more a case of showing your passion and communicating that in an appropriate way.“

Trust your gut a little bit. Just because somebody’s older or has been doing something longer, doesn't mean it’s the right thing. From a CS perspective, the landscape changes quite quickly, and you should trust your gut in terms of what you know about your craft.“Try and push for it, don’t just stand by and if somebody says, ‘no that doesn’t work’, try and push the boundaries and see how far you can push it. Don’t be rude about it, but try to make your point, because even if you're not successful, they’ll see you’re passionate about something.”

Violaine Yziquel, EMEA Customer Success Management Team at Box

With our interview taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, Violaine’s lesson is very much focussed on leading during a crisis.

She explains that: “the biggest lesson would be that during those times you need to be even more focused and simple in the way you want to lead your team or operate your business.”She shared top-level tips from managing her team at Box during this crisis period, which are:

  • Make yourself available — more than before if possible — and sometimes just for a chit chat.
  • Monitor your key metrics and the way they are being impacted.
  • Do not review your entire strategy, it is not worth it.
  • Align with sales and marketing on the plays they are defining and see how you can apply the same talk track.
  • Be intentional in the way you engage with your customers.