Name: Olivier Fiaty-Amenouvor
Company: Camunda, inc
Role: Senior Customer Success Manager, Strategic Accounts
# of years as a CSM: Unofficially 15 years, officially 7 years
Location: Fully Remote (San Diego, CA)
Tasneem: We sat down virtually with Olivier to understand his role and what his day-to-day is like as a Customer Success Manager at Camunda. But before we dive in, we're curious to know how you ended up in the CSM world.
Q: How did you decide to be a CSM? What is your background?
Olivier: I joined Customer Success seven years ago as a modification of my prior role of Account “Service” Manager role (that I was serving under for eight years prior). My then-company started to look at better ways to address their customers retention issues by incorporating new retention strategy, onboarding and more proactiveness in our engagement with customers. I embraced it right away as it aligned with what I was already doing with my customers with constant collaboration with Sales counterparts and cross-functional teams. At the time of that transition, I began following thought leaders on LinkedIn to learn more about the concept of Customer Success. So, I feel that I have been doing Customer Success my whole fifteen year career in Tech.
Tasneem: That makes sense - you were educating yourself along the way all those years! I'm sure your role responsibilities have changed over the years. Tell us a little more about your current role.
Q: Could you describe what a day in the life of a Customer Success Manager looks like for you at Camunda?
Olivier: My workday habits vary from day to day according to what’s on my schedule. But on a typical day, I go through my emails to respond to any urgent messages from clients, then I consult my internal company communication platform for any messages to address and see what’s going on within my company.
Then, I review any deck that I have prepared for clients’ meetings and see their level of engagement in our CSM platform to understand their adoption journey thus far. Then, I conduct those meetings to add value each time by sharing tips or new features that will help their experience.
After meetings, I send short but meaningful recaps with the deck presented. Towards the end of my day, I take products courses to learn the latest about our solutions. I also allow time during the day to collaborate with my teammates.
During my lunch time, I take a half hour walk outside to get some steps and sun in, and use the rest of my lunch time to read about the latest of Customer Success on LinkedIn or host my popular half hour Customer Success 1:1 Chats with CS People around the world.
Tasneem: I really like that you add some time in your day for a break. I know my colleagues take time for walks or even virtual coffee breaks with teammates. We really have to find better ways to connect in this remote world!
Q: Looking back at when you started, does anything surprise you about the role or industry? Anything you wish you knew?
Olivier: When I look back, I am confident that I have chosen the right path. I started in Tech as an Account Service Manager about fifteen years ago while pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Systems and Information System Security. I loved interacting with my customers by helping them achieve the outcomes of their investments to my company and building strategic relationships with them. So much so that after completing my degree of Bachelor of Science in Information Security, I continued in what is now called Customer Success path, but was called back then Account Management.
I learned quickly, thanks to Thought Leaders in the Customer Experience space, mostly on LinkedIn and applied all of their methods which allowed me to deliver outstanding results to my customers and earning multiple awards with companies I worked/work at. Last year, I was recognized by the Global Customer Success Community (sponsored by SuccessHACKER), as a Thought Leader Watchlist in North America. The only thing I wish I knew was my passion for client experience as I would have taken a Bachelor in Business Administration or related courses in Account Relationship Management.
Tasneem: Congrats on your accomplishments! I'm sure it's rewarding to see how much you've grown. Speaking of growth, I have a couple of questions regarding that topic.
Q: Did you have a mentor? Why was that important?
Olivier: I did not have a mentor per se but like I mentioned above I learned a lot from Thought Leaders on LinkedIn and attended Webinars and joined Customer Success groups like Success in Black, Gain-Grow-Retain, PreFlight etc.
I am now seeking a mentorship from a Thought Leader I admire and look up to, that was recently promoted to a Chief Customer Officer from a Vice President of Customer Success role.
Q: How do you continue to educate or up-skill yourself?
Olivier: I constantly continue to learn from Leaders in the space that host webinars about diverse CS Topics, collaborate on CS communities like GGR, Success in Black and PreFlight. I also host my popular CS 1:1 Chats with CS Leaders and Professionals all over the world to exchange and learn. I also get to attend CS conventions, like Gainsight Pulse hosted last month
Tasneem: Ah, I love how you have embraced CS community. Networking and attending conferences is a great tip.
Q: Any other tips or advice for CSMs or those looking to enter the role?
Olivier: My one piece of advice is to Learn why your customers purchased your Company’s solutions. In other words, what problems your customers are trying to solve by signing up with your company. That’s the key to providing a great customer experience. The rest will follow (adoption, retention, proactivity, engagement, etc…).
My ideal CSM candidate if I were to hire one, would be someone that really cares for customer’s experience and great at cross-functional collaboration. No matter what field or line of work you are coming from, trying to break into CS, if you have those 2 skills, then you can be a great hire CSM. If you care for your customer’s experience, you will try to understand what success means for them and how your company’s solutions contribute to that success. And since as a CSM we are not Product Managers, nor are we Account Executives, Technical Support, Marketing and Executives, we need to successfully collaborate with all these teams to deliver a great Customer Experience
Tasneem: I couldn't agree more. Passion and teamwork are vital to the CSM role.
Q: Anything else that you want to add?
Olivier: I would like to mention the great work we are doing at Success in Black by promoting and advancing Customer Success within the global Black community.
As a Founding Member, my work is focused on Talent and helping many SiB members land their first CS job by providing tools and coaching, with the help of Leaders in our community and with the assistance of many Partners in the CS Space (Allies). You can check out our website www.successinblack.co or follow our LinkedIn page.
Tasneem: That's amazing. It's great to see how you've not only embraced the CSM role, but are helping others along the way. We'll have to discuss your work with Success in Black and bringing diversity to the CS world in another interview. Between the two of us, there's a lot of diversity already so I'm hopeful. Thank you Olivier for sharing your day in the life of a Customer Success Manager! We look forward to seeing your continued success!
You can learn more about the CSM role here. To learn the steps to make your career switch, read about the CSM Career Path and Progression or grab a copy of Success in SaaS: Your Step-By-Step Guide to Landing Your Dream Job as a Customer Success Manager in Tech