Meet Katie Snead. Katie has worked in Customer Success for over 3 years and is currently the Director of Client Success at Linqto. We asked Katie a few questions about her experience in the Customer Success field and a few questions about her as a person.
How long have you been in the Customer Success field?
'Official CS': 3 years
Can you tell me a bit about your journey to Customer Success? Did your education/life experience play a part in that?
I've been working since I was first able to at 16 y/o & got a job at a fast food spot at the mall. I popped around a bit but stayed in the mall environment working retail for many years. I quickly learned that I not only enjoyed the fast-paced environment that comes from retail but also that I considered myself as being successful when those around me were successful through my help (both internal and external customers). I was a Pharmacy major while working full-time as a Store Manager but started to feel apprehensive about entering a career where I would be away from the same high energy that retail brings. I ended up switching majors to Human Communications and continuing down that path. Once I saw the overall health of brick & mortar failing with the rise of ecomm, I transitioned into tech & was able to find the same customer-centric atmosphere that I loved. I worked as a 'consultative' Account Executive, where the focus was truly on making sure the customers were set up in a way that made them realize if they spent more, they'd get more value, which is how I even learned what Customer Success was. It was always more important to me that my customers were achieving value from our services rather than strictly focusing on how much they were spending, yet I was always a top performer. The rush of joy I would get when someone would confirm that they see me as a trusted advisor was second to none.
What is one important lesson you've learned from your time in Customer Success?
CS does not have a 'one size fits all' model. The general concept is always the same, but how to achieve that is unique to each company. It's important to get it right, but that doesn't mean you have to get it right immediately. Young companies, or young CS orgs, need to spend time listening to their customers and working to figure out what the best model is specific to them. ** What advice/tips would you give someone trying to break into Customer Success?**
Customer Success is a mindset, so don't feel as though you have no experience in it. Virtually every role in a company plays a part in Customer Success, so extract those learnings and be able to speak to them when looking for jobs. Also, get involved in the community! The CS community is so strong and accepting; there are tons of free webinars, meet-ups, and social hours to allow you to truly engulf yourself in all things CS.
Is there anything about the Customer Success industry that you'd like to see change?
I'm starting to see this trend with Sales leaders and I love it... publicizing case studies of their 'failures'. What lead up to it and what they learned from it. It is super powerful & impactful, and something the CS industry can do as well. Many speak only about what went right, what perfectly works for their company, etc but for every success, there are many failures that lead up to it. Community learning should be for both the positives and the negatives!
Human spotlight: In this section, we will learn more about Katie the person, not the CSM.
What are you passionate about aside from Customer Success?
I love experiencing new places! Whether that is a whole new city, a new hiking trail or simply a new restaurant/bar. Also, I'm a sucker for a great plant. Currently working on turning my home into a jungle 🪴
What is your favorite quote/saying?
"Any problem to overcome is merely a set of smaller problems to overcome in a sequence" - Rhythm of War (book) by Brandon Sanderson
How do you stay motivated when things get hard? To me, the best way to truly learn is when things are hard... so I remind myself that I'm going through this experience to come out the other side more prepared for the future. Imagine going for a relatively dangerous hike and your friend talks you through all the do's and don'ts... you actively listen and try your hardest to prepare yourself, but it isn't until you accidentally sit on a cactus sliding downhill that you absorb the valuable lesson to ensure you never get spines in your bum ever again (yes, that definitely happened)
Big thank you to Katie for being the first in the spotlight.
You can connect with Katie on LinkedIn here
If you're in the Customer Success field and would like to be in the spotlight, feel free to fill out this form