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Women in Customer Success Podcast

Marija S. Pilley, host of the Women in Customer Success Podcast, sat down with Kia Puhm to discuss how companies can be customer-centric to achieve smarter, faster revenue growth.

In the episode Marija asks Kia about her career journey and what lessons she's learned, as well as what it means to be customer centric and where to start in getting to know your customers.

The following is a comprehensive list of questions Marija posed to Kia prior to the recording and her answers.

How did you enter Customer Success? Tapped on shoulder to figure it out.

What do you enjoy in your work? Using customer/human centric design principles to solve problems and achieve results/triple win.

What motivates you at work? Eloquent solutions, successful & happy customers

When you leave work in the evening and look back on your day, what needs to have happened for you to think “yes, that was a good day”? I’m happiest when customers are excited to see the solutions we’ve been working on come together. They have these AHA moments when they realize the power of customer-centric design and the methodology “clicks” for them. I get to consistently replicate the excitement I had in discovering how to achieve the triple win using customer-centric design.

Career lessons and tips - What advice would you give to Customer Success professionals to grow and develop their careers? Be open to learning and trying new things. Don’t shy away from change, use it as an opportunity. Respect customers, don’t be afraid of them. The former allows you to make good decisions in their best interests.

What’s one lesson your job has taught you that you think everyone should learn at some point in their life? Really know who you are and stay true to yourself. A person is not the company they work for or the job title they have. They are the sum of their inherent characteristics, behaviours and experiences.

Any business/career challenges and how did you overcome them (perhaps related to being a woman in business)? Many. Especially when I started my career in a male dominated industry and equity and diversity weren’t even terms discussed. I had to work harder, stand up for myself and make sure my voice was heard.

What are you passionate about / expert on in Customer Success? Helping businesses accelerate revenue growth by aligning to the patterns of their most successful customers. I love eloquent solutions that achieve a triple win.

What's your advice for aspiring leaders? Same advice as before: work hard, be open to learning and trying new things. Don’t shy away from change. Act with integrity and be respectful.

Whom do you admire in business (or CS)? Authentic, hard-working, open-minded people with high-integrity. People that are the real deal and have earned their knowledge and experience through hard-work.

What’s one thing that people are generally surprised to find out about you? That I was an elite, world-class athlete, and that I can be fun and crazy. I’m a typical type-A personality so driven and focused in all aspects of my life. When people see me in a business context they see one side of me, in a social context I’m still me but it looks different.

Rapid fire questions:

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Extroverted introvert.

What is one book you’d recommend to my audience and why? Good to Great by Jim Collins. It aligns to my thinking of building a great company to achieve results, not just trying to drive revenue in the wrong ways.

Would the 16-year-old you be surprised to find you in this current job? Yes. The internet didn’t exist. Technology was in its infancy. SaaS & CS didn’t exist.

If you had to completely change your career tomorrow, what would you do? Exactly the same thing.

If you could be remembered for one thing, what would it be? Being a frontierswoman in CS.

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