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Elizabeth Chung
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Behind Classy’s Core Values: Adapt and Overcome

This post is part of a series giving you a closer look at the core values that define the Classy culture. Here we introduce our customer success team and what the principle “adapt and overcome” means to them. Earlier we dove into how Classy aims to “lead by example” and “create meaningful value.

The way a company responds to tough challenges often shapes both its growth and reputation. The willpower to adapt and overcome is a driving force of the Classy culture, and it is an especially critical value of our customer success department. Here, we introduce a few members of the customer success team and dive into how our core value, “adapt and overcome,” influences their role and the way they approach their work.

1. What is the difference between customer support and customer success?

marshall peden customer success core value

Marshall: Customer support is pretty much purely reactive. You’re addressing calls, emails, chats, and any issues as they come in. Customer success is more proactive, where you’re able to foresee the client’s needs and propose solutions before those issues even arise.

Also, there are times when you’re talking to a client, and you can see where the question is going—but the client is having a hard time articulating it. Customer success is about helping them get to what you perceive is the problem, so you can offer a solution faster. If they don’t know what the root of the problem is, you must be able to tease it out with leading questions.

Jo Moya classy core value

Jo: Right, clients don’t always know the questions to ask. I feel like that’s where our team comes in and recognizes where the holes are. We share our knowledge of the product so that organizations can be successful on an internal basis for all of their programs and constituencies.

2. How do you adapt your communication skills to address a wide range of different clients?

Ed Trujillo classy core value

Ed: I first have to adapt to the mode of communication. On chat and phone, you have to know your available resources and respond to issues quickly. When you’re talking to a client via email, you have a bit more time to research solutions for them. For the most part, I adapt my communication skills by growing my own knowledge of the product, so I can offer clients the information they need as quickly as possible.

Jo: So much of it comes from empathy. Whenever we have new people join our team, I sit down with them and talk about the Classy voice, and the importance of staying consistent in how we talk to different clients.

Whenever we get on the phone with a client, we want to recognize their frustration before we even answer their question.

Just saying,

I definitely understand where you’re coming from, and I will do whatever I can to help,

goes a long way.

Whatever the issue or whoever the client, people are people at the end of the day, and they want their concerns to be taken seriously. Our team just tries to be as empathetic and understanding as we possibly can.

3. How does the customer success team help organizations reach their goals?

Marshall: On the reactive side of things, we make sure to provide our clients with the responsiveness they need and deserve. We have pretty lofty goals for ourselves in regards to the time we take to respond to clients and resolve their problems.

On the proactive side of things, we not only try to anticipate the issues they might run into, but we also draw from previous cases to offer best practices and lessons learned from other organizations that threw a similar campaign or event. We work with such an amazing group of people who are affecting incredible change in the world. There are so many great examples that we can draw from to help not just our current clients, but our future clients as well.

4. What does “adapt and overcome” mean to you as a member of customer success?

Jo: So much of customer success is thinking outside the box. Sometimes clients will tell me specific, nuanced things they want to do, and I’ll have to attack it from a different angle or perspective to achieve that end goal. You never say “no” as your initial answer. You also need to know the right people to ask for additional help.

Ed: Yeah, that last one Jo mentioned is big for me. If I don’t know how to best address a certain issue, I reach out to the right colleague for help. No one on our team is all-knowing, so a big part of adapting and overcoming is knowing how to utilize your available resources.

Marshall: The great thing about our company is that there’s no dividing border between different teams. We really foster an environment of collaboration. So if our team doesn’t have the technical or strategic expertise to find an answer to a problem, we can lean on colleagues to uncover a solution, or find a serviceable workaround until we get a more permanent solution in place.

5. What is the biggest challenge you’ve encountered in your role? How did you overcome it?

Jo: When Classy first started, there was a big lack of resources, as typical with startups. But now that we’re growing our capacity for resources, I think the challenge is to stay aware of how other departments are changing, who’s responsible for what, and what can or can’t be done on certain timelines. Each team fits its needs into a bigger picture. I continually trust that we’ll get the increasing number of resources we need—and that each time we do, we’ll be in a much more agile place than before.

Ed: I think my biggest challenge is learning how to give up responsibilities as our team grows. I might think I should be doing a certain task, but that task might be better suited for someone else. I have to remind myself that delegating frees up my time to help out with other things.

Marshall: In our role, we grow so keen to our clients’ immediate needs that we lose sight of improving our overall operations and resources. You often just want to get through tickets as efficiently and judiciously as possible, but at some point you have to take a step back and ask,

What are we not doing that can empower our clients and reduce their dependency on these more traditional support channels?

We have to make time to think about how we can make this a more self-service platform.

6. What is your favorite lunchtime takeout order?

Ed: Oh man, Chipotle. Love it. Chicken burrito bowl with tortilla on the side. Always.

Marshall: We’re pretty lucky here in downtown San Diego because of its cornucopia of restaurants and food options. Mondays are all pretty much pho for me. There’s something so invigorating and healing about a nice pho broth. Other than that, a quesadilla or Santa Fe burrito from Valentine’s is pretty high on my list.

Jo: I’ve never had it takeout, but probably the Neighborhood’s mac and cheese with hamburger helper. So delicious. You have to get it with jalapeno, and you have to get it at least Medium Hot, no matter what the people upstairs tell you. The spicier, the better.

By its very nature, customer success both solves and prevents problems, daily. Not only does the team assist and empower organizations to increase their bottom line, but they do so by first overcoming roadblocks within their own roles. This resolve is what drives them.


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