I am Rovi Oblea, Head of CS at JP Morgan Chase based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
I was raised by strong women who rolled their sleeves to create beautiful things, had GRIT, and led with empathy. I spent the early years of my career in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry in the Philippines where if you do an excellent job, you can help generate jobs for others.
This became my north star as my parents worked abroad while I was growing up and with BPO growth, people found great job opportunities in the country. I was fortunate to be part of a company that grew from 1K employees to 20K+ employees in a few years and that forced me to learn fast, wear many hats, and lead thousands of employees in my mid-20s. This opened many doors for me globally.
Outside work, I am a mom to a wild toddler, and I love it. It’s like raising a caffeinated adorable monkey who is allergic to sleep but even with that, “mom” is still the best job title I ever had.
We asked Rovilyn 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?
My role as Head of Customer Success is the culmination of the many challenging yet rewarding roles, I’ve done over the past 20 years.
*For 3 years, I have led the Network of Chase Retail Branches in the SF Bay Area and was responsible for Branch Teams driving loans, deposits, and investments. The team drove results by being there for our clients and communities.
*In My first 6 years at JP Morgan, I managed servicing centers for Auto Finance, Retail, and Credit Card ( Captive and Vendor site) and was responsible for an organization of over 1,200 employees. I’ve learned how to stay customer-obsessed even at scale. Empowering my team was key to our success.
*Spent 6 years at TP (Teleperformance) and was responsible for geographically dispersed Account/Client Services and Operations Managers leading over 2,500 employees. I’ve learned that we grow when our clients grow. Before TP, I worked at another BPO organization for 5 years as Manager of Client Services Team.
How did you join Customer Success?
I was part of a Top Talent initiative at the firm where we participated in a project for a Non-Profit organization. During that assignment, I met an extraordinary leader who I wanted to learn more from and stay connected.
After a few years, I found out she was forming a GTM team for a new SaaS Product the bank was venturing. I have led Sales, Service, and Account Management teams previously and thought CS was a good fit. I also made sure that I was up to date on CS/SaaS trends and leveraged the amazing CS community.
For eight months, I spent nights and weekends sharpening my CS tools and when the opportunity surfaced, I was confident. However, learning never ends.
How would you describe the ideal CSM candidate?
My ideal CSM candidate would be someone who
– Takes initiative to add value ( both to clients and internal team)
– Strong Ownership and manages their Book of Business like a CEO
– Collaborative and Team Player. Understands that CS cannot be successful without a cross-functional team
– Understands the power of data and client stories to elevate things.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out as a Customer Success Manager?
– Earn the right to do business with clients. Treat each client like seeds that needs to be nurtured especially early on. We need to give them the right amount of care so that they can grow as strong trees for many seasons and harvests to come.
– Manage your book of business like you own the company
– Never stop learning. Leverage the awesome CS community
Manage your book of business like you own the company.
Can you take us on a journey describing what your workday looks like?
What makes my job exciting is that every day is different, but my routines are built around:
– Spending 60% of my time with clients or with our team discussing about making things better for clients and how can our team deliver impactful conversations and add value.
– 30% in projects especially that we are in Beta so this entails building processes/projects, tools, and initiatives with CS and cross-functional teams
– 5% measuring, reporting, and learning the stories data and qualitative feedback tells us
– 5% is learning more about SaaS trends and technology and understanding different Lines of Business within the bank.
What makes you feel inspired or motivated?
When I look at my toddler’s bright eyes, I want to dream a little bit more for us.
Also, knowing the possibility that one day, I will have to tell my story to a young person, I want that story to be about a borderless world, about how grit and hard work can be joyful, and about letting my purpose guide me.
What’s one thing that people are generally surprised to find out about you?
– That I love to paint ( I am not good at it) but I love the process J
– That I have led a network of retail bank branches without working in a retail bank previously.
– I have done helmet diving, white river rafting and some wild water sports without knowing how to swim.
Who do you look up to the most?
Too many. I have been so fortunate to work alongside mentors, leaders, and peers who gave it their all, purpose-driven, care deeply about their clients and teams, have radical candor, and enjoys laughing at themselves.
What are your top 3 priorities now?
– Continually build an excellent Customer Success Team who are seen as “Trusted Advisors” both by our clients and internal teams
– Build our client community. Allow them to connect and learn from each other.
– While in Beta, being prepared to scale through combination of Tech and CS touch.
What advice would you give to Customer Success Managers to grow and develop their careers?
Do hard things, tackle the most difficult client issues, and step out of your comfort zone. That’s the only way to learn and grow… 🙂
What’s your favorite book, and why?
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal. This has actionable steps for building products people love
Chief Customer Office 2.0 by Jeanne Bliss. It has great golden nuggets that will get you into action quickly to business transformation.
» 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?
So many beautiful moments I cherish. Times I’ve been selected to represent the Philippines team in global top talent projects, At 26, I was promoted to Operations Director responsible for more than a thousand employees, remembering how surreal I felt being in Taj Mahal, Napa Valley, Paris and thinking it was a dream turned reality.
I’m grateful for these moments to reflect that life is full of possibilities and that the best days are yet to come. 🙂
What should I have asked you but didn’t?
Nothing comes to mind 🙂
Where can people go to find out more about you?
Obviously on LinkedIn
Thank you, Rovilyn, 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?