Monday Guest Kateryna Gordienko-Y3-W12

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Get to know Kateryna Gordienko

By: Mohammed Alqaq   |  March 18, 2024   |  Year 3  –  Week 12/2024

Hi everyone! 👋 I’m Kate from the charming and brave city of Kyiv, Ukraine. 🇺🇦

I’m responsible for Customer Success at YouScan — an AI-powered social media listening platform with industry-leading image recognition capabilities. We help businesses analyze consumer opinions, discover actionable insights, and manage brand reputation.

12 years ago, I got acquainted with the philosophy of Customer Success and I felt that I was in the right place.


In Ukraine, the IT industry is developing at a frantic pace. I aim to spread the culture of Customer Success in my country. Last year I started a Ukrainian CS community and blog, became a mentor, and became a part of a committee for the 1st Ukrainian CX Excellence Award.

To keep my balance, help me organize the thoughts, and recharge the battery, I prefer different kinds of sports: gym, skiing, snowboarding, wakeboarding, and surfing. I’m a gastronomic adventurer and Kyiv is one of the best places that uncovered the gems of delectable cuisine and impeccable customer service. 🤩

Small tip: when working with clients, never deny yourself pleasure; then you will be kinder. 😄

I have become fascinated by the world of Formula 1, and the rich history of iconic car brands and I tried karting. I am impressed by the reaction, tactics, and decision-making of drivers, for them, at high speed, reality seems to slow down also, how car technologies are changing when it seemed that nothing new could be invented.

I’m always on the lookout for new avenues to explore, discover, and embrace.

We asked Kate 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  

Table of Contents

Tell us about your career path?

I started my career as a salesperson at a life insurance company, gaining valuable experience. Then, I got to work on some marketing research projects.

When I joined YouScan, it was a startup. I was the first Support Manager, and I basically created customer support from scratch. Later, I moved to Customer Success Manager, then became the Head of Customer Success and Support, and eventually landed the role of Vice President of Customer Success.

It’s crazy how time has flown by in this one company! The journey has been unforgettable, and it’s still going strong with new challenges and opportunities for growth.

How did you join Customer Success?

When I started working as a Support Manager, I realized that simply responding to incoming requests wasn’t enough. I observed that some customers faced issues with certain settings but didn’t reach out to us; they would silently disengage.

In collaboration with my CEO, we brainstormed and decided to proactively send daily settings recommendations to clients. I was excited about how clients reacted. This approach helps me to build strong relationships with them. It was in 2013 when I heard about Lincoln Murphy and Customer Success, I became intrigued by the idea of implementing this approach in our company.

How would you describe the ideal CSM candidate?

Proactive and curious individual.

    • Evaluate and offer various options for using your product;

    • Identify areas for improvement to enhance client satisfaction;

    • Research the client/conduct research on clients;

    • Demonstrate the ability to make non-standard decisions and go beyond the limits;

    • CSM goes the extra mile or gives 110% without having to be asked.

Can manage communication.

    • Ask the right questions to get the information that you need;

    • Understand and focus on customer needs;

    • To be able to express one’s opinion clearly and in a structured manner both orally and in writing;

    • Respond competently to feedback;

    • Conduct presentations to present the company’s products and services in a favorable light;

    • Conduct interviews;

    • Educate clients;

    • Share with clients best practices along with the success stories of other clients.


    • With other teams (Product, Sales)

    • Keep the balance between client interests and company interests.

What one piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out as a Customer Success Manager?
  • Don’t hesitate to ask! If you don’t understand something from the client, your colleagues, executives. Lack of knowledge is not a cause for shame; rather, the true regret lies in persisting down the wrong path.

  • Be curious and explore. It empowers you to connect with your customers on a profound and meaningful level, identifying their pain points, exploring untapped opportunities, and establishing your role as a trusted advisor.

  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, but learn and avoid repeating them.

  • Focus on what really matters.


Lack of knowledge is not a cause for shame; rather, the true regret lies in persisting down the wrong path.

Can you take us on a journey describing what your workday looks like?

My team is comprised of my clients, and my top priority is to lead them to success so that they can repeat the same with our clients. Therefore, every day, I have one or another meeting with someone from the team to help them answer clients’ questions and deal with clients’ issues. Currently, the team consists of 9 people.
Many of my tasks are operational. I closely monitor key metrics and numbers, consistently seeking opportunities to optimize or change our processes. I regularly write or update instructions, and playbooks to make it easier for the team to work.

Additionally, I actively participate in client meetings and review customer feedback. Interviewing clients and publishing their case studies is the favorite part of my job. Also, I coordinate CS Marketing activities (mailing, product announcements in various channels, conducting webinars, etc.), working with our Knowledge Base, instructions, and Academy. We prepare a content plan and events for our paying customers.

What makes you feel inspired or motivated?

First and foremost, my CS Team. They are extremely intelligent, proactive, and talented people. When I see their success and development, I feel very happy. Positive feedback from them serves as the best motivation.
Additionally, there is an amazing atmosphere in our company. And, of course, new challenges!

What’s one thing that people are generally surprised to find out about you?

I’ve been working at YouScan for 12 years. 😀
And the fact that I’m a fan of F1 .

Who do you look up to the most? 

Our founder, Oleksii Orap. I don’t know where he gets so much resilience and energy to still present his product with crazy enthusiasm. Especially today, when doing business in Ukraine is extremely challenging. I‘ve learned a lot from him. By the way, in a recent post-interview, Oleksiy tells how our business survived the last 2 years during the unstable situation in Ukraine.

What are your top 3 priorities now?

These are my top 3 priorities:

  • Improve our NRR. Find ways how we can boost revenue and maintain customer satisfaction. 

  • Encourage and develop my Team. 

  • Spread the value of the CS role in Ukraine.

What advice would you give to Customer Success Managers to grow and develop their careers?

My advice to CSMs is

  • Expand your CS community, have meetings with other professionals to share experiences and find answers to your questions.

  • Select newsletters, podcasts, videos and blogs related to CS, learn something new each week. But at the same time, it is important not to overwhelm yourself with information, choose which format and author you like best.

  • Try to apply new knowledge in practice.

What’s your favorite book, and why?

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition. Authors: Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, Al Switzler, Ron McMillan

The phrase “we need to talk” tends to make a lot of people uncomfortable.

This book helped me not to be afraid and not to avoid difficult dialogues, both in my professional and personal life.

» 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?

Yes, when we achieved positive NRR.
When we got 100% CSAT.
When I started my first CS networking in Kyiv.

What should I have asked you but didn’t? 
Where can people go to find out more about you?

I’d be happy to connect on Linkedin, feel free to reach out:

Thank you, Kate, 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?