CSM Spotlight: Irene Phelps
Meet Irene Phelps.
Irene has worked in Customer Success for over 7 years and is currently a Customer Success Manager at Ring.io
We asked Irene a few questions about her experience in the Customer Success field and a few questions about her as a person.
Which company do you/did you most recently work for?
How long have you been in the Customer Success field?
About 7+ years .... wow
Can you tell me a bit about your journey to Customer Success? Did your education/life experience play a part in that?
Great question! Growing up, this was not a profession I did not even consider. It might not have existed at the time. I mean, as in the current form. Most of us in Customer Success have a different story, which is always interesting. In my case, it was an evolution. I started my professional career working at a Japanese trading company handling logistics which requires a lot of skills that, now looking back, are comparable to CS—problem-solving, adaptability, project management, and of course, interpersonal skills. My journey transitioned to the tech startup world. My first startup was a Saas SEO platform. And in true startup fashion, I wore many hats: customer Support, Sales, and Marketing. Many of you know how that goes. My day-to-day was heavily focused on interacting with customers and prospects. I loved hearing from customers about the difference the tool made in their job and how excited they were. You know how that is, right? It is priceless, such a great feeling. That is when the concept of Customer Success started to come up, and I realized that is what I wanted to do. Interesting move from an introvert! The rest just started to fall into place. I got my first whole CS gig at another startup, this time in the productivity space, before landing at Ring.io, where I also work in Customer Success.
What is one important lesson you've learned from your time in Customer Success?
Learning from trial and error. What works for someone might not work for you. Patience (lots of it). Expect to wait to get results. Relationships matter, spend the time to build them.
What advice/tips would you give someone trying to break into Customer Success?
Educate yourself. There are a ton of resources out there. And feel free to reach out to anyone in the field to ask questions or gain more insights. By the way, while you are the champion for your customer, know that Customer Success is everyone. Every single role within a company is a massive contributor to a customer's success. You are not alone! Have fun ... and enjoy the ride.
Is there anything about the Customer Success industry that you'd like to see change?
Despite the increase of blogs, articles, books, and communities, the role and function of Customer Success still need to be clarified and seen as an extension of other departments within the organization. That being Sales, Support, or even Marketing. Suppose you ask anyone to define a Sales or Customer Support role; they would describe it without hesitation. This is not necessarily an industry-related matter, and as the industry grows, it will likely be much clearer for those outside who are unfamiliar with Customer Success. It is on each of us to make that shift.
In this section, we want to learn about you the person, not the CSM.
What are passionate about aside from Customer Success?
I am a dog lover. Last year I started fostering for my local humane association. And that is how I ended up with a second dog—Foster failure. Enjoy traveling and learning new languages. I have been learning Italian through Duolingo and hold a 520+ strike. Also, I am a knitter. Talk to me about yarn and patterns, and I will be excited to nerd out.
What is your favorite quote/saying?
When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
How do you stay motivated when things get hard?
The most important, but not the easiest, is staying positive and moving forward. When you are in the thick of it, it seems impossible that the sun will shine on the other side. But it does, and it is awesome.
Thank you to Irene for giving us. some of her time.
You can connect with Irene 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