Career progression with Customer Success: Why all your employees should start here

Last Updated November 9th, 2018

 

We spoke with four of our employees who began their careers at BombBomb in Customer Success and have since taken their knowledge to other areas of our business. Check out the reasons all of your employees should start in Customer Success:

 

They will gain thorough product knowledge, which will come in handy later.

At any company you work for, everyone will tell you that it’s important to know the product and know what it can do before anything else. This is one of the most fundamental pieces of working for any business, and Customer Success is the best place to start this journey.

Ryan Hill, a Front End Developer here at BombBomb, knows a thing or two about knowing a thing or two. Having started his career at BombBomb as a Customer Care Associate in our Customer Success department, he has since blown through becoming a Customer Trainer, Marketing Website Manager, and now serves as a critical resource to our Product department in building our application.

Ryan has a loaded perception of how learning about the product in Customer Success was useful. “Being in Customer Success developed an empathy for the issues, specifically software related and user experience related issues, that our customers face day to day,” he says. “You become intimately familiar with the software…you know the software better than the developer who made it. You’re the one who sees it, troubleshoots it. You have to understand how to work around issues and help identify the biggest pain-points of the customer.”

After gaining some serious product knowledge and growing to understand BombBomb inside out, Ryan began to realize where he could thrive with this information and passion. “I ended up in Product because fundamentally, I fit so well with the very concept of why a Product team exists. To advocate for the customer, taking all of the business input from all the teams and filtering it through the question, ‘Does this benefit our customer?’ And that whole paradigm is something I really agree with and something that I come to work for every day. I believe in that.”

They will understand the customer base and be able to customize their interactions.

To take care of your customer’s needs, you need to know what they are. But you’ll never know what their needs are if you don’t talk to them and don’t listen. Fortunately, Customer Success allows people to speak and interact directly with customers so their requirements, desires, and successes are met.

Known at BombBomb as one of our top salespeople ever, Shane Ryan takes great pride in understanding our customers and catering to their needs. Shane also held several roles within BombBomb — he has moved through being a Customer Care Associate in Customer Success, a Customer Care lead, a Business Development Representative (BDR), and an Inside Sales Representative (ISR). From there, he moved to Senior ISR, Mid-market Account Executive (AE), and is now an Enterprise AE.

On how Customer Success helped him understand customers, Shane says it taught him to get things done. “Needing to get creative and think outside the box to make our system work for what they do. When you’re in Customer Success, you see every client that they represent.” And dealing with technical problems? “It’s taking people, whatever their issue is, and it’s validating what they’re saying, helping them fix it. It’s finding a solution and making them feel like they can rant instead of shutting down. And then taking that and finding out what the actual problem is. It allowed me, as a support person, to figure out — can we make this work or not?”

Shane is a strong believer that every person, regardless of department, should begin in their company’s Customer Success department. “I think that salespeople in general should spend time with the clients that they serve because many times they sell things and they don’t understand the outcome Customer Care has to deal with. They don’t get creative enough. They don’t think outside of the box. Any salesperson should know their product enough to create things out of nothing to help serve the client.”

They will build confidence in their abilities, the product, and advancing in the company.

It’s common knowledge that the purpose of Customer Success is exactly how it sounds — to set customers up for success. What isn’t discussed as much is how starting a career in Customer Success actually sets the employee up for success, too — now and later.

Brandie Coley has made some unique moves here at BombBomb and has learned a lot about the company (and the product!) as a result. She started as a Customer Care Associate in Customer Success and then exercised her creative talent as an Email Designer. Wanting more of a challenge, she’s now getting just that as our Project Coordinator, responsible for scheduling and maintaining our Prompt sends and schedules.

Starting off in Customer Success provided Brandie with the abilities and product knowledge she needed to help customers — and employees. “When you just go straight into sales and your focus is sales, you don’t know how to help a customer when they have a question,” she says. “By learning the ins and outs in Customer Success, I was able to move to other departments and help them learn different parts of our products, too.”

Brandie even attributes her preparation for other roles to her Customer Success experience. “That helped me move to the Project Coordinator side, because not only did I know the ins and outs from being on support, I also learned our design side and what we like our website and branding to look like. So now as a Project Coordinator, I’m able to use both of those sides that I’ve learned to enhance my current position.” Advancing to her current role was easier, too. “I felt that it made the progression easier because I really knew what was going on with the product. But I also felt more confident because I was able to pick up a role faster — so I didn’t have to learn everything all over again.”

They will take the concept of Customer Success with them wherever they go.

Customer Success has a tendency to stick to you. You suddenly find yourself advocating for the customer in other spaces, thinking about how things will affect the person who will use the product, musing over what problems the customer has that you can solve. Customer Success is something you can take, and willingly bring, with you in the future.

Jonathan Bolton knows that once you’re a Customer Success professional, you always will be. Starting as a Customer Care Associate here at BombBomb, he was promoted to VP of Client Services and pioneered the change of switching “Client Services” to “Customer Success.” Now as our SVP of Operations, he still holds onto the passion of focusing on the customer.

“There’s all this human nuance that makes the focus on the customer really appealing,” he says. “Because we believe, fundamentally, that humans are the differentiator. That’s why when our employees ask, ‘What’s the future of the company?’ It’s like — you are. Our people…it’s about our people here.” Jonathan also recognizes the importance of Customer Success to business operations. “Anybody can go out and start a business and deliver a competitive product — then the customer has a choice in the matter. In that sort of an environment, understanding intimately what problem you’re solving for the customer — what they’re trying to achieve, roadblocks, etc. — is critical to the success of your business. That’s what I love about the skill set is that it will help you for the rest of your professional life. Everything you’re thinking about — the pain, the problem you’re solving, the value you’re adding — this relentless customer focus will be critical for any business to thrive.”

Jonathan feels the nature of Customer Success helps interdepartmentally. “You have this broad scope or lens that you’re looking at the business from — cost, product, experiences. You end up getting to be a part of a lot of conversations, which is why I like my role today.” And just why is it important that Customer Success professionals disperse across business units? “These perspectives are just powerful,” he insists. “It gives me great confidence to know there’s not this disconnect between our customer and their desired outcome and the way that we’re building software, testing it, prioritizing the feature set, looking at our sales and marketing process…it keeps things connected, breaks down the silos, and gives people perspective.”

Though anyone can (and should) serve as a customer advocate in a business, Customer Success professionals are among the most qualified to do so. These people have a thorough understanding of the customer and the product that cannot be achieved through any other department. Empowering and helping customers is what brings us to life, and we’ll do it in any way we can — even if it means operating in other capacities while doing so. In the SaaS industry, Customer Success is neither king or queen — but rather the crown.

Are you interested in learning about Customer Success? Check out these other helpful articles to read more.

Donna Kelly | About The Author

Customer success, content strategy, and thought leadership. Writer, editor, content creator. Level 97 vegan and dog mom. Lover of the written word, helping customers succeed, and food. Background in military, SaaS, communication, marketing, and PR. Customer Success Writer, BombBomb. BA, Ashford University. MA, Johns Hopkins University.