I check in with my team during our weekly 1:1s and ask about their life outside of work, as that is the most important. Mental, physical and psychological health always come first and if someone is happy in those aspects of their life, they will be more engaged in their work.
I’m currently the Director of Customer Success at Brainbase. I lead our entire post sales strategy and manage an awesome global team of Customer Success Managers and Customer Support Specialists.
Tell us about your team!
How big is it?
We have 2 Sr Customer Success Managers and 5 Customer Support Specialists all across the world.
Where are your teammates located?
Our CS team is worldwide and located in the US, Ireland, Estonia and Australia.
What does your team do? What are you responsible for?
Our Sr CSMs are ultimately responsible for customer retention and ensuring our customers see value in our licensing software platform. They manage a book of business and are responsible for training, cultivating relationships and are our customers’ trusted advisors. Our CSS team is responsible for replying to our users’ questions and issues via live chat and email support. They play a big role in supporting our customer’s partners who use our platform.
What are the components of a strong remote culture?
I believe in getting together virtually and having fun outside of work. If your company can get together in person for a small team or company retreat, even better! It’s definitely a challenge in today’s remote working world.
The main component in my opinion is building relationships. For new team members, I think it’s not only important for them to connect with their direct team on a casual intro call and get to know each other, but for them to do the same with other teams. Depending on the size of your company, this should happen within the first month.
On the same point of building relationships, we try to find unique ways to bring our team together. We’re currently trying to set up a virtual game show with Luna Park. Fun and innovative startups like this are helping build strong remote cultures as well!
Lastly, I believe it starts from the leadership team and HR. If everyone is communicating well, truly believes in the company mission and you are hiring the right culture fit team members, you’ll build a strong remote culture.
Strong remote cultures are built on strong connections. Strong connections are built with Hailey.
How do you make sure your team is happy and engaged in their work?
I check in on them during our weekly 1 on 1s and ask about their life outside of work, as that is the most important. Mental, physical and psychological health always come first and if someone is happy in those aspects of their life, they will be more engaged in their work. I also try to give my team projects that mix up their day to day work so they don’t get burned out with the same routine over time.
The main component in my opinion is building relationships. For new team members, I think it’s not only important for them to connect with their direct team on a casual intro call and get to know each other, but for them to do the same with other teams.
What's your biggest challenge as a remote leader?
I believe life is about relationships and it’s a challenge to connect as much as you’d like without physically meeting or constantly seeing your team in person. You aren’t in the office with your team everyday, you don’t have those small conversations like you would in an office setting. I think those small moments and the ability to grab lunch or happy hour after work are big challenges on the camaraderie side.
My Remote Manager Toolbox
We’ve done virtual happy hours, game nights and we’re trying to set up a small team horoscope reading event! One of our team members is very passionate about horoscope reading and I’m excited to make this unique event happen. We have been trying to have an in-person company retreat but we’ve had to continually postpone it due to Covid.
I stole this from my last startup, but we always start our CS team meetings with “Good news personal, good news business”. This has been a great way to continually learn about each other every week. Everyone goes around and says one good thing from their personal life and one good thing from work. It can be from the past week or going forward. For example, on the personal side, it can be as small as “I had a great night of sleep!” to “I got engaged over the weekend!”.
It’s always fun to start meetings with good news from everyone.
Products & Tools
We use Bonusly and it’s integrated with Slack. We can give “bonusly points” to teammates for anything that aligns with our core values. For example, if someone from another team helped you with a project, you can give them 50 bonusly points and add a hashtag with one of our core values #helpinghand. Everyone can see your bonusly slack post as well. As people acquire up points, they can donate money to a charity or buy a gift from bonusly partners.
Resources for remote leaders
Gainsight’s professional certifications and courses have helped me be a better CS leader. I love audio books and a few that have helped me are “The Hard Thing About Hard Things”, “Zero to One” and “The Outcome Generation”. I also listen to CS podcasts that feature CS leaders. One of my favorite CS podcasts is “The Customer Success Channel”.
Make your company a great place to work
"Adding Hailey has been by far the lowest effort, highest impact thing we’ve done to bring our globally scattered team together!" - Mary Grace Reich