A few months ago, Ardell Strother joined the Cloud Communications division of NTT Ltd.’s family as Customer Success Manager. Having worked in this role for several companies before, Ardell has perfected his skills including conflict resolution, proactive project planning and customer communication follow-up.
He is currently totally focused on understanding how our customers are consuming our products and services. He is coaching and consulting them regularly to maximize our technology. His dedication and listening approach allow him to maintain a positive working relationship with customers year after year.
We wanted to know more about why he decided to become a Customer Success Manager and how his career path led him to work for our company.
Q. In your opinion, what are the top qualities needed to be a good Customer Success Manager?
The most important quality is the ability to listen. Emotional intelligence is the key to building relationships. You have to understand each customer’s challenge or conflict before you can serve them appropriately. Secondly, you must be determined to deliver for customers. Customer Success Managers are the front line of defense for any company so we must take the lead when it comes to advocating for customers, and do so through creative thinking and a passion for resolving issues.
Q. You started working for the company a few months ago. Can you tell us your recruitment story?
I was recruited by a former co-worker. The Senior Director of Customer Success for North America asked the team for referrals because he was looking for someone with prior Customer Success Experience. Of course, I did have to compete for the role with a few other candidates! The process consisted of various rounds of interviews, and was fantastic because each phase was conducted 100% virtually.
Q. What’s the atmosphere like at the Cloud Communications division of NTT Ltd.?
The atmosphere and culture here at the Cloud Communications division of NTT Ltd. is work hard and collaborate with your global colleagues while having a great time. This is a serious business, but from the company President and CEO downward, there is an attention to the wellbeing of all employees.
Q. It says on your LinkedIn profile that you studied Criminal Justice and Psychology. Can you explain us how/why your career path evolved from that to Customer Success Manager?
Although I am very analytical and enjoy research, I realized I had a natural grasp for relationship building and management skills. During the summer of 2017, I knew I wanted to change career path based on two factors: 1. Transfer my skills and 2. Enter the technology market. Fast forward three years and here I am at the Cloud Communications division of NTT Ltd.!
Q. You say in your video that you love hearing customers talk about the benefits they gain by adopting the solutions you propose. Can you give us some examples?
I have a customer that implemented MS Teams with Direct Routing (calling) shortly before the global health crisis. On our first monthly meeting after the start of remote working, a customer told me that even though his team had now transitioned to working full-time from home, there had been no negative impact at all. He and his team fully embraced Microsoft Teams and it was of immediate benefit during this unpredictable time. This testimony meant a lot to me because I knew I played a part in their successful digital transformation.
Q. What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a Customer Success Manager?
My first recommendation would be to research who we are and what we do. I joined this team because I had a genuine interest in cloud communications solutions. My second recommendation would be researching cloud communications software and solutions to gain a better understanding of the market we serve.