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5 Lessons in Leadership: A Conversation with VP of Client Success at Indeed, Diane Melchionne
Customer success is critical for businesses of all sizes, whether a startup, small business, or Fortune 500 company. However, defining and managing customer success, especially in a business poised for growth, requires deep insight and a strategic approach.
I moderated a discussion with Indeed’s VP of Client Success for the Americas region, Diane Melchionne, as she reflected on her extensive experience leading client success teams. When Diane began at Indeed, she joined as employee #47 at the burgeoning startup. Fourteen years later, she leads almost 800 of the company’s 12,000 employees. In this informative conversation, Diane delivers valuable insights into the integral role of client success management in driving growth, as well as guidelines for building a resilient team.
Company Success Begins with Your Customers
Indeed began as a search engine where jobseekers could search for all jobs across the web in one place. Over time, this has evolved to represent both sides of the employment marketplace—job seekers who want to find and get their next job, and employers who want more qualified applicants—dramatically speeding their time to hire. The Client Success team at Indeed is dedicated to ensuring that employers have the right tools and products to make great hires easy and fast while ensuring this leads to a great experience for job seekers.
Diane has seen Indeed through a period of rapid growth—playing an integral role in the development of their international and domestic client success teams. For Diane and her team, client success management is rooted in Indeed’s pay-for-performance business model, meaning employers only pay when Indeed delivers value. By monitoring and optimizing performance, proactively identifying opportunities to improve an employer’s recruitment strategy, and addressing feedback from customers, client success teams are central components of a company’s overall success.
1. Define Your Company’s Core Values
When Diane hires employees for Indeed’s client success team, she looks for curious, caring, and positive people who will ask illuminating questions, treat customers with respect, and be fun coworkers. The key is understanding your company’s core values and asking job candidates about times when they embodied those attributes. Grit, problem solving skills, flexibility—these qualities can be found in people with a range of life and work experiences and indicate they will be valuable additions to a team. As Diane put it, “One of the things I’ve seen among the most successful leaders is their ability to get into the nitty-gritty. You’ve got to roll up your sleeves and do the hard work with your team.”
2. Foster Relationships Across Teams
Gathering feedback is an important aspect of managing client success across an organization. At Indeed, information sharing between departments facilitates communication and optimizes impact—and physical proximity helps. As Indeed began to scale, they moved their sales and client success teams to the same location as product developers. This allowed the product and engineering teams to hear firsthand what customers had to say about Indeed’s product suite and fix bugs or add features.
3. Make Progress One Step at a Time
Maintaining a level head while navigating adversity is an integral leadership skill. In a chaotic environment, teams can spiral or feel paralyzed. After working in client success through a financial crisis and a global pandemic, Diane attested that focusing on what you can control helps leaders drive growth amid uncertainty. Having systems in place to facilitate small steps forward in a crisis allows teams to forge ahead when faced with unexpected obstacles.
4. Provide an All-in-one Customer Resource
Despite the power and potential of new tools and technology, sometimes problems require a human touch. Diane’s team experienced a turning point when they expanded their role to become customers’ ultimate product resource. Whether looking for technical support, ways to optimize performance, or strategic product implementations, customers know that their client success team can address any of their concerns.
5. Support Women Workers With Freedom of Choice
As a leader in business and tech, Diane offered a valuable perspective on female empowerment in the workplace: “The only way to know how to support women is to ask them and treat them as individuals.” Once employers understand what female employees want out of their career, they can help them achieve it by providing options and networking opportunities. It’s important not to make assumptions about what women want, emphasizes Diane. For those who are unsure about their goals, she has one bit of advice: “Don't feel pressured to be CEO, and don't think you can't be CEO. Just think about what makes you really happy.”
The learnings from this Coffee Break tap into how growing companies can shape meaningful approaches to customer success and develop leadership. If you’re interested joining our growing team and learning more about roles in customer success at Modern Treasury, check out our Careers page.