6 ways to ROCK at being the first Customer Success hire at your startup

Betty Chung
Sep 26, 2016 · 2 min read

Hello! This is our inaugural post! Thank you for reading. We’re Betty and Bernadette, and we are both the first Customer Success hires at our early stage startups. We’ve been in our roles for almost a year, and have SO MUCH TO SHARE.

If you’ve taken a role as the first CS hire at a company, here are 6 tactics that have worked for us so far.

  1. Don’t take “I don’t know” for an answer. When it comes to your first clients, you need to do whatever it takes to get your accounts live. If you know something is crucial to the success of your client, keep pushing for an answer! Keep the conversation open with your team, brainstorm ideas, and don’t be afraid to try different things.
  2. Try not to let them see you sweat. In the beginning, you’ll be trying several different processes and tactics to see what resonates best with your clients. This might be a little hectic, but totally worthwhile once you start seeing results. Automation will come once you’ve nailed down the right course of action. Keep your cool and keep going!
  3. You’ll take on many different roles. You’ll have a job description, but a lot of what you do will be outside of it. We’ve been a part of: marketing, sales, product development, QA, market research, competitive analysis, user testing, billing and invoicing. Not all organizations are the same, but we’ve been involved projects in these areas, in addition to our customer success roles — onboarding, training, engagement, and support. The cool thing is that you’ll learn a lot about your business, improve the customer experience, and work better with those teams as the company grows.
  4. Prioritize! Resources are limited at early stage startups — so you’ll have to assess what will have the most impact and make some tough choices. Use internally agreed upon objectives to guide your decisions. You can’t do everything, but your customers can never know. They should always feel like your first priority!
  5. Learn to say no. Client insight is extremely important when building a new solution. However, don’t let all their feedback cloud your company and product’s vision. With SaaS, there is a standard implementation that supports the best use case in the market today. You know what your client’s end goal is — it’s up to you to keep them focused.
  6. Always be iterating. Your solution is new to market, and the more clients you interact with, the more insight you’ll have to provide the best experience possible. What works today in your process and product may not work 3 months from now, and it serves you and your team best to stay flexible and change as needed.

We are excited to take this journey with our companies, and share with you what we’re learning on the front lines. We hope you’ll follow us and share your experiences as well.

Add your thoughts and questions in the comments!

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