In this edition of our Ask a CSM series, we're chatting with Erin Phelps, Senior Manager of Customer Success and Retention at Cvent.
What was your background prior to becoming a CSM? What attracted you to customer success?
I have a very unique professional background, that came to be because of my degree in Sport Management and Business. I started my career working in sales and account management for the NBA and NHL, supporting season and group ticket holders, before moving on to major corporate partnership and sponsorship support. I realized in those first few years out of college that I had a knack for relationship development and that’s what led me to Cvent, where I started as an Account Manager six years ago. Since then we’ve acquired multiple companies, announced our IPO, and now we’re in the midst of an acquisition and will once again become a private company. Any company would experience growing pains in the midst of such massive growth and change, and in working day to day as an AM, I realized that because of said growth, Cvent sorely needed a Customer Success and At-Risk Accounts program. I felt really passionate about this, so I made the business case for this new internal program and was able to secure the executive support needed to roll out this new department and program here at Cvent - all on my own!
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Having a customer thank me for solving a problem that no one else could. That and really helping our team of 150+ Account Managers, Project Managers, and CSMs. These are not easy jobs and the gratitude my colleagues have when we’re able to solve a customer’s problem and retain their business/secure the renewal makes every day worthwhile.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Prioritizing projects when my team’s to-do list is neverending. What can we do that will have the biggest, and most immediate impact? “Good today is better than perfect tomorrow” is a motto we live by, and I have to remind myself that short term small victories can be just as important as huge wins.
Which team (outside of your own) do you work with most closely, and why?
We work very closely with our Product Development team to help shape and drive our product roadmap. On any given day I am interacting with Product Managers across all of our products. Whether it be asking for roadmap updates, having them join calls with our larger customers, or sharing our big wins with the team - we try to maintain a constant flow of information between our two divisions, to ensure our mutual success.
What advice would you give someone who is just starting his/her career in customer success?
Actually listen to your customers and be willing to acknowledge when mistakes were made. In technology, there are always going to be bugs, and issues. It’s just a nature of the industry. It’s how you recover and react when issues occur that really determines customer perception. Listen. Apologize when appropriate. Learn from your past mistakes. Customers really appreciate transparency and candor.
In our Ask a CSM series, we're talking with some of the industry's leading Customer Success, Education and Training professionals about the ins and outs of their day-to-day. Stay tuned for new Q&As each month!
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