Alister Sheppard is Local Measure’s Head of Customer Success. He’s been with us since 2019 managing a distributed team across Singapore, Australia, USA, Spain & Netherlands. In the words of our CEO Jonathan Barouch, Alister is “enthusiastic, operational and a true leader”. Find out more in this edition of Life at Local Measure.
Tell us about your career journey and how you came to be Head of Customer Success for Local Measure?
Before Local Measure, I was leading operations teams in big tech companies across different regions (Australia, Philippines & India). At one point, I was looking for the opportunity to diversify and came across the role on LinkedIn. Having been an all-rounder throughout my career, Customer Success seemed like an area where my skills were transferable and I could have a more tangible impact on the bottom line of a company.
After a couple of chats with the Local Measure team, I was very impressed. I loved their ambitions and felt the role was a good fit (fortunately they did too!)
People may not be entirely familiar with the term Customer Success. Could you explain it a little more?
Customer Success as a function differs based on each company. At Local Measure, the Customer Success team owns the implementation of our software solutions. We understand technical and user needs, and project manage the roll out of the solution against a timeline. We also provide the onboarding and training support to our customers throughout the implementation and post implementation stages. We are the main point of contact for customer queries, technical issues, escalations and general day-to-day customer support.
We have an excellent team of all-rounders who are all proactive, adaptable and ready for anything that comes their way.
As Head of Customer Success, what does a typical day at work look like for you?
No two days are the same at Local Measure. As a tech company that moves super fast, and where priorities keep changing, we have to be adaptable to cope with that change. At a high level, I spend half of my time in customer meetings and project delivery meetings, making sure our customers are getting what they need, as well as internal staff meetings, checking in on my team and keeping projects on track. Another quarter goes into working on strategic, long term pieces of work that will have an impact on the business in the next 6- 9 months. The final quarter is filled with admin, emails and contributing to internal discussions and company culture. Our slack channels are very busy!
What do you enjoy most about working for LM?
Top of the list is the fact that I get the complete freedom to own the Customer Success function within Local Measure. Over the last two and half years, I have led recruitment, strategy, and leadership with accountability for the success of my team’s output. The value that my team brings to the table is probably what keeps me motivated the most.
We pretty much run 3 different businesses within Customer Success. We have our legacy product catering to travel and hospitality customers. We have Loopon, a guest communications platform that we acquired in 2019. And we have Engage for Amazon Connect, our new cloud contact center solution helping businesses scale customer service.
I am blessed to have such versatile and adaptable people in my team and that is how we were able to cope through all the changes and challenges that last year threw at us. The team is scattered across five countries, with different nationalities and languages added to the mix. Every week I look forward to catching up with everyone and hearing what is happening on their side of the world.
Tell us about the impacts of last year. How did it impact your team and what positive learnings will you take forward?
Being adaptable, pivoting at the right time and releasing a brand new unexplored product played to our advantage. Individually and as a company, we learnt that it is okay to challenge the norm.
Overcoming challenges of this magnitude gives you the confidence to know that future challenges can be overcome together.
You recently wrote an inspiring LinkedIn article titled '5 Leadership Reflections Since Adopting My Dog, Bobby'. Tell us more about these insights?
Having only had to look after myself for a long time, having a young dog taught me a great deal about accountability. And this extended to accountability for people around me as well.
Everyone has their own challenges and they’re all equally important. While checking in with my team at work, I am mindful that each of them is dealing with unique circumstances such as managing kids or a sick family or living alone. As a leader, you have to look at your team as individuals and pay them the respect, empathy and compassion that their situation deserves.
You can read Alister’s article on LinkedIn here.
You've had a global career working in New Zealand, London, Melbourne, Philippines and Singapore. What differences have you experienced and how did you adapt each time?
I was lucky to travel a lot as a child and as a result, I always feel comfortable in other countries. New Zealand is a small country and I always wanted to explore further abroad.
The best way to understand different perspectives is to travel. With Uber I was very lucky to travel for work. Many of the countries I traveled to had different languages, massively diverse cultural norms, workplace dynamics, and communication styles.
My top tip is to embrace that you are different while staying true to yourself and to learn about the local community. Best way I was able to adapt and understand the cultural norms was through connecting with people, speaking to them, building relationships and trust. People really open up once they see that you are putting in the effort to understand their culture and slowly you start to build your small circle of friends.
Back to Customer Success as a career path… What would your advice be to anyone exploring this as a career opportunity?
One of the non-negotiables for a career in Customer Success is that you must be comfortable being customer facing. In our line of work, we call it the “boardroom presence”, which translates to whether you can go into a boardroom and speak about your products in front of potential customers, understand their needs and influence them to make sure your product matches their needs. I would also throw in presentation and problem solving skills as must-haves as well.
My advice for anyone looking to get into the Customer Success industry would be to have a look at a bunch of different job descriptions, talk to people in these roles, figure out the strengths needed for the role, and determine whether your own strengths and interests align with what the role demands. If not aligned, figure out ways (in your current role) to add to your strengths and build experience that will help you to step into a role like this.
Interested in a career with Local Measure? Find out more here.