What’s customer success? We spoke with 7 Chicago tech companies to find out

by Michael Hines
March 13, 2019

Customer success has become a fast-growing field in the tech industry as more companies seek to differentiate themselves from the competition with a personal touch. That said, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, as every company interacts with, and measures the success of, its customers differently.

We recently spoke with customer success leaders at seven Chicago tech companies to learn more about what their teams do, the impact they make and what they look for in candidates.

 

Hireology Chicago customer success jobs

Hireology’s hiring and talent management platform gives companies a single tool for managing their recruiting and onboarding as well as payroll, benefits and time. VP of Customer Success Debra Senra said what makes her team different from others is its proactive nature — and ability to make a real and lasting impact on the company.

 

What impact does customer success have on your company?

Customer success is essential to Hireology: Without our customers, we would have no business. The customer success team is a direct feedback mechanism for our product, and for changing market dynamics that we need to address as a company. Through the customer success team, we can measure in real time our marketing talk tracks and our positioning in the market, which ultimately helps to shape the types of customers we target in sales.

At Hireology, customer success is a proactive function that acts as a key strategic partner to the business, with the opportunity to make a great impact.

 

What makes your customer success team unique, and what do you look for in candidates?

Our customer success teams use differentiated service models, which enable us to provide the right support to each of our customers. Our teams are very metrics-focused, and we run our customer success team similarly to a sales organization, except we’re measured by customer retention. We look for candidates who are comfortable with performing based on key performance indicators and who have a sales-oriented mindset. We look for individuals who are resourceful, empathetic and creative thinkers.

Members of our team also need to think quickly on their feet and be responsive to customer objections. Customer success teams at other companies may be more reactive and simply respond to customer-identified issues. At Hireology, customer success is a proactive function that acts as a key strategic partner to the business, with the opportunity to make a great impact.

 

Sprout Social Chicago customer success jobs

Sprout Social’s social media management and analytics platform is used by brands and organizations of all sizes to create deeper connections with their customers and fans. Manager, Enterprise Customer Success Ali McAnaney said that given the wide variety of companies Sprout Social works with, an ability to develop unique and customized strategies is essential for success on her team.

 

What impact does customer success have on your company?

From sales to product to marketing, our customer success team impacts every facet of our business. We are not just helping sales close big deals but truly investing in the customer relationship from the start. Sprout’s customer success team nurtures customers through every part of their journey, fostering ongoing growth and retention. This relationship is essential as we work to create a community of engaged advocates that help inform our product vision. Acquiring a new customer is five times more costly than retaining an existing one, so having a dedicated customer success team is a no-brainer.

We are not just helping sales close big deals but truly investing in the customer relationship from the start.

 

What makes your customer success team unique, and what do you look for in candidates?

With more than 25,000 customers worldwide, our customer success team must develop unique strategies for the various industries, customer profiles and use cases they come across. From one-to-one management to group cohort experiences, we’re working daily to reach all of our customers in the way that works best for them.

As a rapidly growing and evolving company, we’re looking for customer success managers who not only celebrate change but thrive in it. We need team members who communicate with empathy, approach challenges from a solution-oriented mindset and truly enjoy delivering exceptional customer service.

 

Kin Insurance Chicago customer success jobs

 

Kin Insurance is a digital-first insurance company that helps homeowners find coverage that meets their needs without having to input endless amounts of property data. Operations Manager Liz Gutierrez said the company’s customer success team is crucial to its success, given the fact that the insurance industry is driven in large part by referrals.

 

What impact does customer success have on your company?

Our goal is to make homeowners insurance more accessible and straightforward, and that starts with our customer success team. It’s our job to help customers understand their policies and make informed purchasing decisions. To achieve that goal, we’ve built a culture of learning — our entire team is licensed, fully cross-trained on all our operations and engaged in monthly sessions to review what we learned.

Our team gets customer feedback on every interaction, and we do annual wellness checks with all of our customers to see how we can further improve their experience. In this industry, the majority of our business is referral-based. When we help our customers, the flood gates open with referrals.

Our goal is to make homeowners insurance more accessible and straightforward, and that starts with our customer success team.

 

What makes your customer success team unique, and what do you look for in candidates?

Our company motto is, “Run through walls! But if you fail, own it, fix it, learn from it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.” Our customer success team takes that to heart. We are always looking for ways to streamline our processes and deliver the highest-quality experience. One way we do that is by giving every consultant on our customer success team a project they own from start to finish. This type of structure empowers individual growth and improves our procedures over time. We are looking for forward-thinkers and problem-solvers who can quickly adapt to change. At a young startup, workflows can change in an instant.

We’re in an industry that technology hasn’t disrupted, and customers don’t know what to expect from an online homeowners insurance company. We have a lot of incentive to innovate now, set the bar for excellence high and differentiate ourselves early.

 

Smokeball Chicago customer success jobs

Smokeball’s legal practice management software helps small law firms work more efficiently by automating document creation, automatically tracking time, managing emails, and more. Director of Client Success Ruchie Chadha said that in addition to ensuring the success of clients, the company’s customer success team also delivers feedback that impacts many other aspects of the business.

 

What impact does customer success have on your company?

Our client success team is focused on championing for the customer, contributing significantly toward rapid product development and driving business growth. We are intimately aware of our clients’ daily challenges, and we deliver feedback to our internal teams on go-to-market strategy, talent development and data analytics. We take this part of our job seriously. At Smokeball, our goal is to help lawyers better serve their clients and communities. When we can innovate for the client and refine the product to achieve this, we are all in.

Each team member has the flexibility to tailor the process to best meet client needs and provide a great customer experience.

 

What makes your customer success team unique, and what do you look for in candidates?

One of our core values is, “If you see it, you own it.” We trust and empower the client success team to make their own decisions. Each team member has the flexibility to tailor the process to best meet client needs and provide a great customer experience. We come from diverse backgrounds and each have unique skill sets, and we thrive on collaboration and communication.

We look for individuals who are solution-driven, creative and willing to go the extra mile to make the client journey a successful one. We enjoy coming to work every single day, and our customers are better served because of this. If you play a mean game of ping pong and like to laugh, we consider that a bonus.

 

Signal Chicago customer success jobs
PHOTOS VIA ALLISON WILLIAMS

Brands leverage Signal’s customer identity platform to give their marketing teams the data needed to connect with consumers across multiple devices and channels. Account Director Jule Mammoser said that her team always takes time to learn from its losses — and celebrate its successes.

 

What impact does customer success have on your company?

Customer success is the beating heart of Signal. Without our customers, where would we be? Our team is constantly leading the charge to add value for our clients, and we do so with an excellent group rally from all cross-functional teams. Being on the front lines allows us to share the big wins and key moments with the whole company, which helps keep everyone in lockstep and working toward Signal’s overall mission and vision. Since we pride ourselves on helping brands form the strongest long-term relationships possible with their high-value customers, we make even more of an effort to practice what we preach.

Customer success is the beating heart of Signal.

 

What makes your customer success team unique, and what do you look for in candidates?

The customer success team is a “work hard, play hard” type of group. I’ve never worked with a team of professionals so dedicated to problem-solving. We look for candidates who aren’t afraid to dive in and get their hands dirty when it comes to solving problems or thinking of new, innovative paths to success. Thinking outside the box is key, and knowledge sharing is also vital.

What truly makes Signal’s customer success team unique is the bonding — not only over the wins but also the losses, which helps us chart a smarter course for the future and makes our team stronger and more proactive in client work. We certainly celebrate the hard work and effort when we can, such as in Signal’s wine-tasting club.

 

Eved Chicago customer success jobs

 

Eved’s digital payment and spend-management software is designed to make it easier for companies to track and manage their event spend and data. Head of Client Services Alex Milling said one thing that makes the company’s customer success team unique is its ability to punch above its weight when it comes to the sheer size and scope of the organizations it works with.

 

What impact does customer success have on your company?

From key stakeholders to end users, we want to ensure we are providing value to all of our customers. We strive to proactively deliver value to our clients, provide world-class customer service and effectively address concerns that our customers raise. Eved’s customer success team serves as the intermediary between customers and internal teams such as product development and finance. Like any growing software company, our customers directly shape our tool, and we treat their feedback as an opportunity for us to constantly improve.

Being a part of a small team and serving huge clients often calls for quick thinking, creativity and attention to detail.

 

What makes your customer success team unique, and what do you look for in candidates?

What makes us unique is the ratio of our team size compared to the size of our clients. We often partner with Fortune 500 companies that have users and stakeholders located across the globe. Being a part of a small team and serving huge clients often calls for quick thinking, creativity and attention to detail. When there are roadblocks, our leadership is very open to trying new tools, technologies and practices if we believe it will drive better results. We look for individuals whose vocabulary does not include, “That’s not my job,” and for innovative self-starters who bring their ideas to the table.

 

Syndigo Chicago customer success jobs

Syndigo’s platform is used by retailers, manufacturers, foodservice companies and more to collect, store, manage and publish information about products for sale. Senior Director of Client Engagement Tina Krebs shared what makes someone a fit on her team, while Director of Client Engagement Chris Jackowski spoke to how the company’s unique backstory — Syndigo was previously five companies under the Gladson umbrella — gives it an edge in customer success.

 

What impact does customer success have on your company?

Jackowski: Customer success has a major impact on our organization. Success can be different for each client — whether it’s time, labor and cost savings, increased efficiencies, sales increases, increased consumer engagement, effective product launches, accurate data, etc. Our goal is to provide them with the tools and support they need to achieve their visions of success, and in doing so, build strong, long-term partnerships. One could say our success is predicated on our clients’ success. We strive to customize and align our strategies and goals with each of our clients to help them realize value, and ultimately, success.

One could say our success is predicated on our clients’ success.

 

What makes your customer success team unique, and what do you look for in candidates?

Jackowski: We’ve created a team that is diversified in terms of experience, product group knowledge, technical expertise, and brand and product awareness. That diversification allows members of our team to constantly learn from each other and share best practices in weekly skill-building and knowledge-sharing sessions. They are focused on growing strong client relationships and creating value, not just on supporting day-to-day requests and answering questions.

Krebs: Our ideal candidate has a passion for cultivating strong client and peer relationships that are rooted in integrity and a “no limits” mindset. They have experience in client services or account management, and aim to drive customer loyalty by showing that same loyalty firsthand in the quality of their day-to-day interactions with our clients. They are organized, efficient problem-solvers with an interest in technology who are open to feedback and strive to constantly improve.

 

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