How It All Started
My journey in Customer Success began when I chose to undertake a Professional Marketing Diploma with the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Since then I have had a passion and fascination for everything that truly gives the best customer experience, whether that’s through great branding or smooth and consistent timely customer communications.
My professional journey started as a Marketing Communications Manager in London for the World’s First YMCA. I managed a great variety of marketing elements from window displays and monthly campaigns for new business, retention campaigns for members, events and the online presence. I led a sensitive communications and retention plan with the members through a refurbishment project over an 18 month period. Completing the refurbishment phase with a ‘Leg Warmers & Lycra’ mass event in association with Time Out Magazine.
An Asia Pacific Perspective
In 2010 I moved to Sydney, Australia to work for Sydney YMCA. In 2011 I became an Account Manager with a publicly traded company called Blackaud Inc. For 14 months I managed the growth of my customer base, doubling the number of customers and raising the ARR from $400k to over $1m AUD.
On returning to the UK, I worked for a year in a pure sales role. I went on to acheive 152% of target, putting me into the exclusive company ‘President’s Club’.
Giving The Customers a Better Experience
Eventually, seeing that there was room for improvement in providing a better customer experience post sales, I pushed for more to be done and I was promoted to a Customer Experience Manager to resolve the issues. I quickly went about optimising the customer journey and improving retention (which at that point was in the low 80% range). It was a new product in the European market and had lots of potential for growth if done right. The customer base had risen to the 200 mark and continued to grow.
Falling in Love with Data
It was at this point I started my journey with Gainsight and I fell in love with using data to maximise the relationship with our customers, segmenting messages on a growing customer base of around 400 and mitigating risk using leading indicators such as low levels of product adoption.
It was at that point the world of Customer Success really started to expand and I was promoted to Head of Customer Success, overseeing the main two SaaS products and revenue generators for the EMEA business. I expanded the team over the next few years, introducing more structure and process to the CSM role for scale and finding more use cases for Gainsight. I had lots of scope for experimentation and colleagues in the US business provided great support and encouragement along the way. Data continued to play heavily into my decision making and testing of practices and techniques. Results became easier to forecast and customer feedback became more positive as the approach evolved.
Managing on Scale with Complexities
In 2018 I moved into a Global Director role for our US based business managing the tech touch and Emerging Market customer base, with circa 17k global customers. Utilising data and analysing trends became even more heightened, the use of Gainsight was fundamental to everyday decisions and discussions within the team. Risk management featured heavily as part of the strategy and with a small team we delivered one to many communications that impacted the customer base immediately. Customers were interested in what we had to offer and virtual user groups and on demand resources were consumed like never before.
In January 2019 I added Customer Success Operations to my responsbilies which included the function of Onboarding and Adoption which serviced a portfolio of +35k customers, small tech touch companies all the way up to Enterprise customers.
The Other End of the Spectrum
In October 2019 I started working in a start up called Xeneta, setting up a best in class Customer Success discipline, it’s was a rapid transformation towards customer centricity. I brought in structure, processes and technology and COVID has provided the most exilarating challenge of my Customer Success career to date. I’ll share more about that in my first blog post, the one that has inspired me to start this blog. Read that here:
The 7 Things to Learn About Risk Management From COVID-19
As of July 2021 my energy and adventure is with OpenBlend as a Chief Customer Officer.