Updated: May 14, 2021
Customer Success Hero | SAM SMITH
The more I talked to other people in Customer Success, the more I feel like everybody does it differently depending on their company.
Sam Smith is part of the original team to implement the customer success function at global cloud platform provider, Linode. By setting themselves the mission to make every customer a success story, they have seen greater customer retention and platform usage as a result.
Sam Smith, Senior Customer Success Specialist, Linode
Founded in 2003, Linode is the world’s largest independent cloud infrastructure provider. Headquartered in Philadelphia, the company serves a customer base of 800,000 developers, startups and businesses across a global network of 11 data centers. Sam has been with Linode for 4 years, originally joining the Support team. He now holds the role of Senior Customer Success Specialist.
WHY IS SAM A CUSTOMER SUCCESS HERO?
One of Linode’s key differentiators in the market is that they provide a 24/7 phone line, delivering highly technical support to their customers both night and day. Sam began his career as a part of this Support team, but two years ago he took a different path: he embarked on the challenge of setting up a Customer Success function within the business for the first time.
As team member number two in the newly formed department, Sam and his colleagues made it their mission to define the scope and purpose of ‘Customer Success’ within the organization.
Given the diverse nature of Linode’s customers, this was no small feat. The challenge they faced was serving an incredibly wide range of customer requirements, from the individual developer right up to the Enterprise reseller segment. As Sam explains:
Our platform is kind of a blank slate - you can do whatever you want on it. Anything that runs on a computer, basically runs on Linode.
In response, Sam’s team set their focus on a single goal: forget sales, just make the customer successful and they will grow and so will their usage. And it’s a strategy that works.
CEMENTING CUSTOMER SUCCESS AT LINODE
As the Customer Success function has developed, so has the customer satisfaction with the product. A key factor has been assigning a dedicated Customer Success Manager to larger projects to be on hand to resolve any issues before they escalate.
As a result, accounts that may have previously been at risk of churning have become newly engaged. Not only that, Linode has also seen a deepened usage of their platform as their customers gain the confidence to try new things, secure in the knowledge there’s a dedicated Customer Success team to guide them through.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR SAM
While the team have well defined playbooks for onboarding different customer segments, as they scale further the plan is to bring more automation to this process, ensuring that their customers see success faster on the Linode platform.
SOMETHING YOU WOULD NEVER GUESS ABOUT SAM
Despite spending most work days in front of a screen, Sam is an avid hiker and loves the outdoors. He has been on many long backpacking trips throughout the backcountry in the American West and Northeast. On most weekends, you can find Sam exploring the beautiful parks of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York, trying not to get lost.
To hear from more thought-leaders in the customer success industry, head to our podcast series here.