Hey guys! I’m so excited for this interview to be published, so let me introduce myself.
My name is Alexandra, I’m 30 y.o, and I’m from Ukraine. Due to the war, I live in Romania now, but I miss my home, and I believe that soon I will be able to return.
I have been working in Customer-Facing roles for 9 years already. I started right after university in 2015 as an Account Management Intern. In 2018 I switched to Customer Success, which was one of the best decisions.
Last year I joined PeopleForce as a Customer Success Director.
Also, I’ve been a mentor for the past 2 years, and one of my goals is to introduce customer-facing jobs to all people in Eastern Europe who want to start working in tech.
We asked Alexandra to take us through a journey telling us about her career path, how she spends her workday, what advice she can share with someone starting as a customer success manager, and many other questions.
Enjoy reading this interview
Tell us about your career path?
Usually, I joke that my career path before IT was uncertain, but at the same time, all factors were aligned for me to become CSM.
During university, I have been doing different stuff: I had my own social media, I worked as a copywriter, English-Russian speaking interpreter, I was the makeup artist, and much more.
I always had a lot of friends and people around me, as naturally, I’m an extrovert. The story about how did I get into IT is funny, actually, it was a bet with my friend at that time. My friends were concerned that I did a lot of stuff, but none of that was a “real adult job”, so we bet that either I should receive a job offer by the end of the day or I’m moving to another country to start my whole life from scratch.
I found my first job in IT two days later, and in a week, I started working as an Account Management Intern at an IT company in my hometown.
How did you join Customer Success?
In 2017 I understood that I needed some change and wanted to look for something new, but I didn’t want to switch to another profession completely. So I explored the market and found one of the innovative Ukrainian startups, they had an open position for CSM, and I got the job. I was very happy. Even now, I’m still grateful to these people for having me. It was a fantastic experience.
How would you describe the ideal CSM candidate?
Someone who likes to communicate with people has strategic mindset and can take ownership.😊
What one piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out as a Customer Success Manager?
Ohh… I think it’s so hard! There are so many I want to give. Okay, if I choose only one, let it be this:
Be your authentic self always, because this is how the best deals are signed.🙂
Be your authentic self always, because this is how the best deals are signed..
Can you take us on a journey describing what your workday looks like?
My day is the most chaotic, especially since I have been responsible for Director responsibilities. But I don’t want to scare people. So okay:
1) Monitoring: customers on the onboarding, payments, upsells, churn, Intercom chats
2) Going through my email and prioritize
3) Lots of meetings
4) Assigning tasks and understanding what’s on me and what I can delegate
5) Doing my work
6) Checking all stuff that had been done during the day, understanding where my employees need me the most
What makes you feel inspired or motivated?
The life itself, I love life, I love our world, I love where I am, and just the feeling of what I can do and how impactful in a good way it can be for society.
What’s one thing that people are generally surprised to find out about you?
I’m very ambitious, but I hide it under the surface. And that I’m very very, very kind, and my kindness doesn’t have borders.
Who do you look up to the most?
1) My parents in the top two people for me. Both are inspirational in their way
2) Marie Skłodowska–Curie – for me, she is a top feminist, creator, businesswoman, and just a great person
3) Michelangelo – Italian sculptor, because he is THE greatest, and it’s a reminder for all of us, that we can create beautiful things. Each of us.
What are your top 3 priorities now?
My mental and physical health
What advice would you give to Customer Success Managers to grow and develop their careers?
You need to build your network, the best thing to do this is to add your customers and other CSMs. 🙂
What’s your favorite book, and why?
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Because I love Victorian England, and because of the plot. Pip grows up in a poor state and rises to the real gentleman and his overall journey to self-discovery about his hopes, expectations, and views is so well-written
» Check out the 10 Books a CSM should read to advance and improve their skills.
Have you had your “I’ve made it” moment yet?
I had many of them, I’m lucky! And I think in each stage of your life you had this moment, I don’t want to limit myself to only one! 🙂
What should I have asked you but didn’t?
Will AI and ChatGPT replace all non-tech jobs? 🙂 Quick answer “no”, but I think it’s a topic for a podcast for sure!
Where can people go to find out more about you?
On my LinkedIn of course:
Please subscribe, and don’t forget to book a mentorship session with me, I’m eager to help people to get their job in CS!
Thank you, Alexandra, for sharing your knowledge and for the opportunity to know you more.
Do you have a Customer Success Leader, Expert, or Influencer you would like to know more about?