Interview with Marie-Lou Merceron – Customer Success Manager

Marie-Lou Merceron Delivery Manager
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Team Insight at YellowDog

With businesses and teams all over the world working remotely, the efficient management of our operations is crucial to continued progress. We joined our Customer Success Manager, Marie-Lou, to find out more about her, her role, and how she’s finding life in lockdown.

What Does Your Role as  a Customer Success Manager Involve?

Customer success at YellowDog is about putting customers and their challenges at the heart of what we do. From the moment they engage with us, to the moment they start using our solutions, there is an end-to-end journey in which they need to be supported.

In my role as Customer Success Manager, I help our sales team during the pre-sales process to distil customer requirements; I manage the delivery phase of a customer project; and I work with our support team to drive continuous improvement. Ultimately, my responsibility is to ensure there are no bumps in the road for our customers.

The Role is Always Changing

Even surrounded by the uncertainty of the current pandemic, YellowDog is scaling quickly. The profile of a customer, and what they need from us, is constantly evolving. In this ever-changing environment, business processes need to be robust but agile. We never say:

“We’ve defined this process, that’s it forever.”

We are at the edge of it all the time. Every few weeks our processes get reviewed and enhanced to make sure we are always delivering the best service for our customers.

I always say to the team, “the success and quality of what we deliver will depend on how diligent we’ve been with ourselves.” We don’t want to rush past things to get something done quickly, we want to make sure we’ve done things in the right way.

Although taking a pause for breath can feel unnatural for a rapidly growing company, it is sometimes necessary to take that step back to make sure a job is done well.

What Does a Usual Day Look Like for You?

One thing I like about my role is there’s no ‘usual’ day. I’m fine with that because I would get massively bored otherwise!

My day typically starts with my to do list, which usually includes several projects running concurrently, at different stages. I will review customer deliveries, reprioritise tasks for the operations team and liaise with the sales team if I need some more information or advice.

I also do fortnightly catch ups with our customers to gather feedback. I then share this feedback with our Product Manager, Niall to see whether we can add customer suggestions to our roadmap.

What Do You Enjoy About Your Job?

I enjoy the diversity of the challenges we have; being able to bring people together from a range of departments to discuss and brainstorm solutions for customers. It’s really exciting to listen to our customers’ challenges and to be able to come up with a solution for them.

I talk a lot about our customers viewing us as a partner rather than a supplier. When we get feedback from customers saying – “it’s great working alongside you, you’re a great partner to work with”, it gives me so much satisfaction.

What is the Biggest Challenge You Face in Your Role?

I often find myself in between operations and sales. Both want the same thing, but ultimately, they make decisions based on their knowledge and experience. As a Customer Success Manager, the customer comes first so I have to be the unbiased arbitrary and decide what the right way forward is for them. That’s not always easy to communicate when there are strong opinions from different stakeholders. However, managing people and processes is a fundamental part of the job.

How Do You Keep Yourself Busy in Your Spare Time?

Before lockdown, I enjoyed being on the go all the time – I’m a very active person. I’d normally be bored within 4 hours at home!

However, I’ve adapted by spending time talking to my family and friends over video calls and taking my dog, Milou out for walks in the countryside.

Fun fact about Milou – ‘Milou’ is the name of Tintin’s dog in France. Most British people have only ever known Tintin’s dog as ‘Snowy’.

I also enjoy making crafts in my spare time. I’ve recently been making beeswax wraps to replace cling film. It’s surprisingly easy to make! You just get some fabric, grate some beeswax on top and then, with a layer of greaseproof paper (to prevent your iron getting ruined), you iron the beeswax into the fabric.

Making Time for the Environment

In the past couple of years, I’ve started thinking about the amount of waste we produce in a week. It never really hit me until I spoke to my family who trialled a zero-waste month. They managed to reduce their waste to a small pot, and they’re a family of five! They admitted it was difficult, but they made the time to achieve it and I found that inspiring.

When you start to pay attention to the waste you produce, you start to realise most of it isn’t necessary. There are some really simple alternatives like the beeswax wraps including shampoo bars, soap instead of shower gel, and cotton pads that you can just put in the wash. I also buy loose leaf tea now.

What Are You Looking Forward to Post-Lockdown?

Seeing my family! I come from a family that’s close, but sadly I can’t see them as they are back in my hometown in France. Although I can still get my quota of family time virtually, I am excited to see them in person.

I also love to travel. When you’re in ‘work mode’, it can be difficult to self-reflect and take pride in what you do. Traveling is an opportunity to stop, look at what you’ve done, appreciate it and take some time to chill out… then get back to work! I hope we can return to traveling as we once did, but I’ll settle for a staycation for now – as long as the weather remains nice!

Do You Prefer Beach Holidays or Bustling City Breaks?

Beach holidays! I hate going to places that are too crowded. If I could be on a desert island for a couple of weeks, with cocktails, good food, my partner and Milou – that would be the dream.

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