Welcome to what feels like month 37 of 2020! Here at LinkedIn, we are kicking off the beginning of our fiscal year. Typically, this involves account planning meetings, bringing the sales organization together for our annual kickoff, reflecting on the past year and our goals for the future. Honestly, it’s the kind of mid-year refresh I look forward to, but with COVID still impacting the work environments and a lot of areas seeing a spike and shutting down what we just reopened, this year feels…different. How am I going to adjust and bring that same new year energy I have brought to my clients in the past? That’s when I saw the quote.
The quote was part of a meme with a sort of Rosie the Riveter character, from a Customer Success Leader at LinkedIn posted on LinkedIn. Around her it read, in all caps: I DON’T STOP WHEN I’M TIRED I STOP WHEN I’M DONE. I’M A DIRECTOR OF CUSTOMER SUCCESS. Now, I am not a director of customer success, but the rest of this resonated with me. I want to break this quote down and, hopefully by the end, you will get just as much inspiration from the quote as I did:
I DON’T STOP WHEN I’M TIRED
Of course, there are very logical reasons not to stop doing what you’re doing regarding your job. Stopping your work most likely would result in stopping your employment, stopping your paycheck, and stopping your way of life. But if we take this even further and bring it to our relationships with our clients, I take this as not stopping the relationship you have built and progress you are making to their successes. It’s funny to me when we learn about a business we are working with, we spend the early part of the partnership getting to know, but then tend to focus on optimization. Can you imagine if we did this to personal relationships? I have been married to my wife for 6 years this August, relationship for 10+ years, and we are both incredibly different people from the beginning. We grow from the world, our environments, and others we interact with. It is a necessity to continue to learn who we are and grow our relationship to adapt to the current state. Don’t stop to me is about always asking questions, always getting to understand someone’s needs and perspectives, then continuing, or not stopping, the level of service you provide. Especially, in the current environment, when it is so hard to imagine what the future will hold. Every day things are changing, new challenges arise, and we all must pivot.
I STOP WHEN I’M DONE
I thought about this part a lot, especially in the CS world. Initially, it brought one big question: are we ever done? Short answer: yes and no.
Yes: If you have built a relationship with a client based around specific goals, tying them to actionable strategies, and able to back it up with metrics to track the progress of said goals, there will be a time where you could be done. You and the client have achieved what they wanted. If that is the case: celebrate together, however, keep in mind the answer is also…
No: For the majority of businesses I know with Customer Success organizations, the idea is not to help them accomplish X goal and be finished with them. This is the opportunity to tap into the knowledge you have gained from the relationship and use your expertise in your field to up level their success. What are the top competitors in the industry doing? What are other areas of focus that we can help impact. I work with Talent Acquisition within businesses, and once we have helped them with specific hiring goals, we look to the future, or in a time like this where the future is uncertain, understand what other parts of the business are focused on and where we can plug in. This not only continues to build on the partnership, but establishes you, the Customer Success contact, as a trusted advisor who is truly invested in your customer’s business.
Customer Success as a function is a wonderful wheel of constant growth and learning. There are times, sometimes often, when it is exhausting. You will be tired. There are times that you will feel the highest of highs, learning the months or years of work you are doing is impacting customer’s businesses and lives. Those are the moments we get to stop, enjoy, then go deeper. Because it is vital to the success of your work, your partners, and your mutual successes.
Colin Espinales is one of the co-founders of the Chicago Customer Success Podcast. He is currently a Senior Customer Success Manager for Global Accounts and the North American Regional Lead for the Hispanics of LinkedIn Alliance (HOLA) at LinkedIn.