Get to know Mike, a London-based Senior CSM who probably has more interesting hobbies than you do.
What’s your role at CB4 and what does your day-to-day look like (including your interactions with other teams at CB4)?
I’m a Senior Customer Success Manager based in London. A typical day for me starts with a sync with my EMEA colleagues where we will catch up on the news of the day, and discuss any upcoming meetings we have. Then it’s time to start preparing for my customer calls.
We try and have a contact point with each of our customers once every one or two weeks where we review their KPIs- how is our Hit Rate and Response Rate trending, are there any store managers that could use our assistance, or are there any technical items that need our attention. These calls are a joint effort between the CSM, our Customer Insight Managers, and the Account Executive where we all pull together to make sure we are on track to meet the Success Criteria that we set out to achieve with our customers.
A key focus area for us in the CSM team right now is the new customer journey, so when I have time outside of working with our customers I’ll be collaborating with my colleagues in the CS and Professional Services team to define what that looks like, and with Marketing to put those ideas into a presentable format!
Can you talk a little bit about the path that led you to CB4?
Like many people in the role, I’ve had a rather circuitous route to becoming a CSM. About 8 years ago I made a career change and started fresh at a small company that produces a content management system for book publishers. I’ve been a lifelong reader, so getting to work on website rebuilds for publishers and making their content easier to access online was immensely rewarding for me. I wore many hats whilst there and eventually found myself building and managing their support desk alongside working on various projects.
After a while, I felt it was time for a change, which was when I moved to JRNI, an Enterprise Scheduling software company. Initially, I joined the project management team and had some really great experiences working with some fantastic retail brands, but I found that I missed the long term relationships that I had been able to build with my previous customers and reached out to CB4’s very own Dan Taylor, who had recently built JRNI’s CSM team, to ask if I could join them.
This was to be the beginning of a beautiful partnership! Eventually, however events conspired to force us apart but we stayed in touch and, not to be separated for long, Dan reached out to me late last year to ask if I would like to join him at CB4. I was immediately impressed with the ease of use of the system, along with the fast and measurable return on investment that it can have for retailers. Having worked with highly technical systems that have a long time to value for my career thus far I jumped at the chance and have loved every day of it since.
What’s one new fact/skill/thing you’ve learned while working at CB4?
CB4 has given me a much deeper appreciation and understanding of the operational pressures that occur inside the retail environment. Getting to hear first hand about the bewildering array of issues that store managers face on a daily basis has been a real eye opener for me, and this, in turn, has given me a deep appreciation for how CB4 is able to help distill this noise down to actionable signals with our recommendations.
Of CB4’s company values, which speaks to you most and why?
Be Human, or as Bill & Ted would put it, “Be excellent to each other”. Of all the values at CB4 and at previous companies I have worked for this one speaks to me and, I think, to what it means to be a Customer Success Manager the most. One of the most important skills we can have when working with customers is empathy. By having an empathetic understanding of the needs and challenges the people we work with face we will be much better equipped to connect with them, and that for me is the core of Customer Success.
What are you into doing outside of work?
My wife and I are keen concert-goers and both share the same taste in music and managed to cram in four gigs within a month of each other in late 2019. Our most recent and one of my favourite all-time performances was Devin Townsend at the Roundhouse, a venue that we adore and can’t wait to go back to when it reopens.
On weekends we can be found taking walks with our parrot, Achie (short for Archimedes), to the local farmers market where he’s something of a celebrity.
Which retailer(s) have earned your loyalty?
I had the opportunity to work with Selfridges on the launch of their in-store appointment bookings, and seeing their dedication to quality was a real inspiration. It’s great to see a retailer have such a laser focus on delighting their customers, and I was glad to see they are continuing to evolve this offering to the present day by using it to offer virtualized shopping experiences.
What is a non-work-related talent you have that most people don’t know about?
I’ve been keeping myself busy during lockdown by diving headfirst into painting miniatures, or “hobbying” as it’s also known. There is an enormous community of extraordinarily talented people that has built up online over recent years, and the number of techniques and styles that can be readily explored via youtube tutorials or Patreon blogs has meant that after three years of this endeavour I still feel like I’m only scratching the surface!
What’s the best decision CB4 has made in the last year?
Besides the obvious answer of hiring me I would have to say the decision to hone our efforts in the Grocery and Convenience Store space has time and again proven its value as the retail environment in EMEA has continued to evolve in response to the pandemic. Having this core focus has allowed us to remain flexible with our customers and react with agility to the renewed pressures that the second wave brought to EMEA, and we’ve emerged much stronger for it.