Our product is our customer’s experience. Our north star for Sales is new business. Our north star for Customer Success (post-sales) is retention and growth. Everything we do should somehow map back to our customer’s experience, closing new business, and retaining and growing our customers.
Customer Engineers are uniquely positioned to hear and understand our customer’s goals, needs, workflows, pain points, and hesitations. We can be the heroes or a source of frustration—that is determined by how we communicate, how we show up, how we advocate for our customers, and how we follow up.
I need context; I need to understand the how and why. Sometimes this means getting hands on, other times this means quizzing the experts, other times this means watching videos or googling to connect dots.
I also learn by participating or doing. I need to jump in, give it a try, ask questions, make suggestions, and share observations as early as possible. I’ll take feedback, guidance, and adjust my course along the way, but I struggle if I feel I don’t have the full picture. Give me action items.
I am direct and empathetic. I try to understand the preferred communication style of who I’m talking with and adjust my message in a way that they’ll be most receptive to. Great communication is key to great teams and strong individual relationships—this requires effort and grace from everyone involved.
For new ideas, I prefer to read, listen, and digest at first. This gives me a chance to organize my thoughts and build understanding. Then I prefer to get on a zoom or a phone call to bat around ideas, determine action items, and tease out solutions. I’ll always favor a 5 minute phone call (and you’ll have my full attention) over a 30 min Slack conversation.
I’m most productive working with other people (meetings) in the morning and most productive doing solo/deep thinking type of work in the afternoon and evening.
I first seek to understand the root problem to make sure we’re not talking about a symptom. From there I work to understand the impact of the problem and the desired outcome. Even if I (think I) have an idea for a solution, I like brainstorming and socializing ideas with others—this helps get buy-in, filter out the bad ideas, and figure out how best to execute.
The occasional public call-out feels good, but a thoughtful comment in private means more to me.
Sell me on the impact. Help me understand that it matters and it’s achievable. I’m data driven, so showing me the numbers will help me understand.
Asking for help shows vulnerability. Vulnerability builds connection. Asking someone for help is a great way to start building a trusting relationship with them.
Suffering in silence is all too common. If someone needs help with something, chances are they’re not the only one. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of maturity and humbleness. I also see it as an act of productivity: instead of being stuck and staying stuck, asking for help is taking action to get unstuck.
I like when people come to me for help. Even if I don’t know the answer, I’m happy to connect you with someone else, brainstorm a path forward, etc.
I like to give feedback in real time whenever possible. I’m thoughtful in how I deliver feedback based on the situation and the person. Feedback is best when it’s specific—the situation, the behavior, the outcome, and what should happen the same or differently going forward.
Making a difference. Making an impact. Feeling like I’m adding value. Helping others.
I can easily sink hours of evening focus time into a project I’m energized about.
How do I feel about getting messages after/outside of hours that are meant for me to see and respond to during active hours
I try to be as responsive as possible, so I have a hard time leaving a message until morning. If you need something urgently from me, send it immediately (or even better call me), but if it can wait I’d prefer to receive it during business hours.
A private slack message or a phone call to check in. If it’s something you can help with, I’m usually pretty forthcoming and will let you know.
Feeling like we’re talking past each other, spinning our wheels, or not making real progress despite spending energy on something.
Golf or an activity that gives my mind a break and a distraction.
Lack of humility. Holier-than-thou and smug attitudes cause others to retract and dampen the voices of the rest of the team.
Employee growth, coaching, and mentoring. Customer Success and the customer experience. Making technical subjects approachable and digestible. The confluence of technical requirements and business outcomes.
At the moment, how to optimize the effectiveness of Sourcegraph demos.
Breaking 80 (golf). My burger spreadsheet.
Stagnation. That I’m not growing fast enough.
The harder I work, the luckier I get.