What does the Customer Success team at Linode look like?
Currently, there are five of us in the organization: one Vice President, one Manager, and three Specialists. We all work together as a tight-knit unit to help our customers, undertake exciting projects, and establish new policies and strategy to drive Linode forward.
Over time, our team will of course grow larger. This is just a snapshot of its current state.
First, let’s start with our CS leadership team.
Richard Myers is the VP of Customer Support & Success at Linode. He has his own blog that I would highly recommend. Rick successfully led Linode’s Support team for several years before branching out to take on Customer Success.
Joe Bower is our Customer Success Manager. Having risen through the ranks of the Support team over the years, he was a natural choice to break off and create a completely new CS organization from scratch in 2017.
Now we get to our three Customer Success Specialists: Sam Smith (myself), Tom Candino, and Caleb Aviles.
I first started in Linode’s Support department in 2016 after a brief career in Finance. When the chance to join Joe and help build our Success team came up, I jumped on the opportunity. I was drawn to the idea of creating something new at Linode, and after reading Guy Nirpaz’s Farm Don’t Hunt, the Customer Success approach just struck me as a perfect fit for our company. It was a no-brainer to take the leap.
Joe and I ran the team as a dynamic duo for a few months before getting the green light to expand further. Tom joined us in September of 2018, and Caleb followed soon after in November.
Tom is another convert from the world of Finance. Despite not having a background in Linux, cloud computing, or anything at all related, his ambition and desire to learn made him a natural choice to join the team. Tom has since grown to become a crucial part of our organization, nurturing relationships with some of our largest and most important customers.
Caleb was the only one of us to actually work in CS before his current role! With his experience and unwavering emphasis on acting as a constant champion for our customers, Caleb rounds out our team as the newest member. Caleb has been able to apply his experience since day one, already leading a few major initiatives for us.
Well, that’s the whole team! In the coming months, we’ll be hiring more and expanding the reach of our department to engage with Linode’s entire customer base. This will require new hires, new promotions, and perhaps most interestingly, new personality types and skillsets within the team. I’m looking forward to seeing what we look like at this time next year.
This has been my first post about the Customer Success team at Linode. I could write more about the typical CS topics like CLTV or churn, but I think it’s more interesting to get into the specifics of our approach and experiences at Linode. There is a lot of CS material out there, but a lot of it is pretty vague. Calculating CLTV doesn’t help if you don’t know how to hire a team and engage with your customers. Knowing the churn rate of every cohort doesn’t get you anywhere if you can’t find a way to impact it. And, most importantly, none of your metrics will matter at all if you can’t find a way to communicate the importance of Customer Success across your entire organization.
I’d like to give a more personal, practical view of how to build and run an effective Customer Success team that others can learn from. More to come soon!