I’m Bodin, the Customer Success Lead and Strategist at VideoMyJob. I help our customers create authentic employee video content to attract and retain the best talent. I’m also a failed actor, which might explain my choice of work!
My Customer Success experience is based on 8 years of uninterrupted low churn revenue growth at a large Enterprise SaaS business, followed by 5 years in Startups, so I’ve been in teams as small as 1 and as large as 16 and managed revenue as small as zero and as large as 8 figures.
Three defining characteristics that have sustained me are: I’m usually one of the first to “read the room”, I can talk to virtually anyone on their level, and I’m good at hiring people MUCH smarter than me and helping them get the best out of themselves.
We asked Bodin to take us through a journey telling us about his career path, how he spends his workday, what advice he can share with someone starting as a customer success manager, and many other questions.
Enjoy reading this interview
Tell us about your career path?
My career path has been a bit of a wild ride. I’ve worked as a dishwasher, kebab maker, fast food worker, industrial cleaner, rock climbing instructor, bank teller, and call center agent. But it was my first job on an IT Helpdesk that indirectly led me into Customer Success.
How did you join Customer Success?
I fell into CS by accident. From IT Support, I went into IT Project Management, then I took a job that was billed as “Program Manager.” Turns out it was a Customer Success Management role! I knew the people who ran the company very well, so I jumped in blind and have loved CS ever since.
How would you describe the ideal CSM candidate?
The best CSMs are great illustrators. They can build a story about a customer’s journey and link it with your product or service in a way that’s both engaging and related to a specific value that the customer understands and needs. The rest of it is just mechanics – the illustration is the bit that’s hard to teach.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out as a Customer Success Manager?
Everyone is always time-poor, so don’t become part of the customer’s problem. Instead, lead your actions with deep customer research, get to the point quickly, and deliver proactive Customer Success – bring what you’ve learned about what the customer needs and show what you’re doing about it. Don’t kid yourself: relationships are built on measurable actions and outcomes, not check-ins.
“Relationships are built on measurable actions and outcomes, not check-ins”.
Can you take us on a journey describing what your workday looks like?
I cover multiple time zones, so my workday is a little unconventional. I start early in the morning by focusing on the US, then move on to APAC and internal matters during the day, and finish with EMEA in the late evenings. I add in long breaks throughout the day to exercise and spend time with my family. I prefer working in multiple 2-3 hour focus blocks spread over a whole day instead of trying to “be productive” for 8 consecutive hours.
What makes you feel inspired or motivated?
I’m most inspired when I get unexpected time back. It’s a rare gift, but it’s often when I do my best work. I’m learning to have the courage to ask: “Does this need to be a meeting, or has the decision already been made / event happened and only needs to be communicated?”
What’s one thing that people are generally surprised to find out about you?
I’m a failed actor. I even went to TV and Film acting school! I loved it and desperately wanted to be good, but I couldn’t keep my mind quiet long enough to stay in character. I got relegated to being one of the pretend trees on the side of the stage. I was crushed, but I found a way to move on with my life.
(Bonus surprise: I spent 5 days riding a bicycle across a large desert not long after I learned that pretending to be a tree is boring.)
Who do you look up to the most?
My small group of lifelong friends and my wife, who’ve seen me at my lowest and been there to pick me up, dust me off, and get me back on track. The world would be a better place if more people (including me!) could be like them. I love them all very much and view them as my heroes.
What are your top 3 priorities now?
– Bringing Customer Led Growth to life in my current role. It’s a hill I’ll happily die on.
– Expanding my professional network to keep learning what works (and what doesn’t) from the best minds in the industry.
– Health: my customers, my family, myself. It’s where good outcomes start.
What advice would you give to Customer Success Managers to grow and develop their careers?
Controversial opinion: learn from Sales. Sales people mostly live and die by making commissions, so they rapidly learn the difference between high value and low value activities. Sales people also live or die by deep networking (multi-threading) and learning how not to burn bridges. They also know how to pitch and close a deal (i.e. negotiate). These are all ESSENTIAL skills in CS. Be open to learning from everyone, especially your colleagues in other departments.
Bonus tip: be an eternal optimist. Even if you don’t have specific solutions. Just by being the one that keeps everyone else’s chins up, you sometimes become the solution.
What’s your favorite book, and why?
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad – it’s the book that was adapted into the film Apocalypse Now, which is also my favorite film. I’m a sucker for in-depth, transformative journeys, which is probably why I love Customer Success.
When it comes to CS literature, search for anything by Nick Mehta. There are so many great CS leaders in the world now, but Nick’s been consistently good value over a very long period of time.
» 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?
No, and I don’t think I ever will, but my gut tells me that 2024 will be a transformative year. Since 2000, I’ve tended to have great years every 8 years, so fingers crossed the cycle continues for me in 2024. We have big innovations coming at VideoMyJob!
What should I have asked you but didn’t?
What’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever done at work? It’s the time I was a call center agent, was wrapping up a call with a customer, couldn’t decide whether to say “That’s my pleasure” or “That’s no problem” and accidentally said, “That’s no pleasure.” 😱
Where can people go to find out more about you?
LinkedIn is a good place to start. I make a lot of videos and I don’t like being serious, so you get to see the real me.
Thank you, Bodin, 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?