RWL182: Mastering Mindset for Remote Work Success w/ Jennifer Becker, Head of Customer Success at File Stage

Have you ever found yourself at a career crossroads, wondering if the skills you’ve honed in one industry could unlock doors in another? Our guest, Jennifer Becker who is Head Of Customer Success & Support for File Stage, is the embodiment of such a great pivot, moving from hospitality to SaaS with elegance and insight. Her journey is a testament to the power of a growth mindset, transferable skills, proving that empathy, resilience, and adaptability are key currencies in any professional domain, especially when steering a remote team towards success.

Today’s conversation is a treasure trove for anyone seeking¬† to cultivate a thriving career remotely. Jenny unravels the art of landing a role that resonates with your core values and the excitement of tackling challenges head-on with a globally dispersed team. Her insight enlightens job seekers but also offers companies a looking glass into the future of remote careers.

Jenny’s reflections on leadership in a virtual space stand out, illuminating the pathway for nurturing team well-being and continuous personal growth. Whether you’re managing a remote workforce or carving your own career path, the lessons in empathy, breaking stereotypes, and the pursuit of a compatible work culture resonate deeply. We owe a huge thank you to Jenny for sharing her experiences and to you, our listeners, for joining us on this enlightening ride into the world of remote work and leadership.


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Hey everybody, it's Alex once again from Remote Work Life. I have another great guest with me today. I have Jennifer Becker. Jennifer Becker is a team leader for customer success and the support team of one of my favorite companies, file Stage, and a couple of weeks ago I was speaking to Nicholas, who is the CEO founder of File Stage, and he recommended that I speak to Jennifer, and I was just so happy that he got the recommendation that we're here now, jenny, and I'm just so glad to have you on the podcast, so you're very welcome.


Thank you, I really appreciate the invitation.


Now, it's great to have you here and, as I said, file Stage, one of my favorite companies and, of course, a remote company building some great things. What I wanted to know from you, jenny, is well, I suppose we could begin by you telling us a bit about yourself. Just fill us in a bit about you and your background.


Sure. So yeah, my name is Jenny. As you said already, I'm 28 years old, working now in the SaaS industry with a quite diverse background in the past Really went through hotel and tourism industry, found my way through looking at innovative tech products and really finding my joy in tech products, and then applied for the job at File Stage. And now I'm the customer success team lead at File Stage and take care of my customers here.


Now it's great. It's a great story and I think it's a very interesting career that you've developed. You've moved, as you said, I think what we were talking before we went on stream. You were talking about how your career has moved from not being in SaaS to being in SaaS. How did that all come about? Tell us a bit more about your I suppose, the stages of your career through to where you are currently now as a team leader within a great SaaS company.


So I grew up in a family that has like really deep roots in the hotel industry and almost everybody in my close family was working in the profession of the hotel industry, so I somehow slipped into it as well, did my apprenticeship as a hotel manager, and honestly, I am super, super happy and grateful to have this experience, because working in the hotel and restaurant industry really teaches you a lot about people and you always need to react on the spot, right away. So you work long hours. You always need to remain calm and friendly, nevertheless how stressful the situation is, so I really wouldn't change a thing about it and I would actually really do it again. But I also realized during my apprenticeship that it's nothing I would like to do for the future as well. So after successfully completing my apprenticeship, I kept working in the hotel and tourism industry, but had my main focus rather on sales and marketing and got my first leadership positions here as well. I then completed a remote part-time study for a vegetable professional of business and during that time, I said, I really realized that I'm interested in technologies and innovative tech products. So I wanted to combine my, on the one hand, very commercial driven personality with, on the other hand, my strengths of being very empathetic and enjoying to help other people and make them more successful. So that's when I started to look after CS roles.


Sounds good, and you mentioned that hotels. Were it part of your background then? So was there, I guess, an expectation that you carry that on in your career, or was that you know, did you? Yeah, was there an expectation on you that you that was going to be part of your career, do you think?


I wouldn't really say so. No. So I worked, or I was quite hands on when I was young, in my parents' restaurant as well, so I was used to it. I know I was good at it as well, because I'm really good with people. So I really enjoyed doing this and it was just a natural thing to do at first.


No, it's great and I think, like you said, there's the skills that you you've gained in that sector dealing face to face with customers and de-escalating different things and keeping people happy, understanding, listening all of those different kinds of things are great, transferable skills that you've now taken to. Now you're actually a team leader with with file stage, so is that when you were in the hotel, did you well, in fact? Let me go back a little bit. So your background is more about working in in businesses that aren't remote. So how did you make that transition then from working in a co-located environment to then working in a situation where you're working remotely? Because, as much as the the skills, the CS skills and the customer service skills, there's various similarities. Working in the co-located environment as opposed to working remote is very different. How did you make that transition?


I think working in the hotel or also tourism industry makes you being very resilent and also very agile, so you learn how to adapt to different situations and I think that was a great asset I had when changing from an in-present role to a remote role. So just having this situation of being agile around it, knowing how to react on things, being very organized because you usually have very stressful situations in the hotel industry as well really helps you to get your things going in a remote environment as well.


So, Jenny, fast age. As I said before, I interviewed Nicholas and he recommended you to the podcast as somebody who, now you are working in tech. You've made that transition from a non-tech environment to a tech environment. But what I'm interested to know is what does your typical day look like now?


So generally I think, in customer success we don't really have repetitive typical days. But, of course, working remotely, you try to get your routines and you have your typical tasks. You do so, I think, generally what I do, typically also covering that part of remote work waking up in the morning, obviously, having my first coffee together with my husband. He then commutes to work whilst I kick off my day with a walk usually, and then I start to take care of my customers. So I'm answering requests and inquiries. They are coming my way. We often work cross-departmental as well, so we have different projects like growth experiments or tasks that we work on supporting sales with bringing customers over the finish line, or also share just product knowledge and use cases with the product team. Then, on the other hand, I of course, conduct strategy sessions and onboardings with our clients, so we look at what are the typical pain points, what are the things they would like to achieve with the product, what have they achieved maybe already in the past and how can we actually help them to move towards their desired goal. Then usually I have my lunch break. I really am a nature person, an outer person, so I go again for a walk, get some fresh air, take some rest to do the afternoons, which are usually around revenue growth. So we regularly monitor our customers' behavior in the system. We check for opportunities or identify opportunities for cross-sells and upsells, and then go after them, of course, and then also identify turn and contraction risks. So are there any indicators that they could leave for another competitor or because of budget cuts or anything? Then, at the end of the day, I'm also responsible for my team members, so I train the team and make sure they are well, especially with a remote environment. Again, you don't really see the faces from on a day-to-day basis, so you can often hide behind this as well. It's just something that's really important for me that my team always feels well and knows there's an open door where they can come to if there's anything along, then. I'm a person who always thinks and tries to get to move on. So thinking never stops, even though office hours sometimes stops. So to prevent me of thinking too much about work afterwards, I actually plan my day each evening for the next day to make sure everything's off my table. I don't have to worry about it anymore, and then I can come with a fresh brain to work on the next day.


Right, like you said, it's not every day is the same day. It sounds like you're very busy, lots of different things to do, but yeah, a bit like me, I also plan what's to come the next day. Then my mind releases my mind and I'm able to relax and wind down from work. So that's a good point. It's a good point and for you, because you've transitioned from hotels in a collocated environment, in a sort of physical environment where you've got physical contact with, or at least direct contact with, the people that you're either working with or your customers, to an environment where, like you said, you're fully remote, where you get to see or you don't get to see your teammates and people that you work with as much. But what I'm interested to know, jenny, was remote work, a deliberate choice for you?


100%, yes. So my grandfather always worked remotely and I always admire to do so as well, because it allows you to work from a place wherever you're comfortable, and I am definitely not a person feeling comfortable in big cities or commuting to work, so I really enjoy being able to live out in the countryside, taking my lunch breaks for nature walks and just having my furry friends around me.


Furry friends. What have you got? What animals do you have?


We actually have a dog, so we have a miniature pincher who's always around me.


So, yeah, Lovely, and I think it's the number of people I've interviewed and I've tried to find out about how they came to be working remotely. What is often the case and is this is a case for you is that they've seen somebody either in their family, in their direct family or you know close friend, has worked remotely and that's inspired them, and it sounds like your grandfather inspired you. What? What was it that he did?


I can't really tell. I think it's really abstract to if you speak to people that do not work remotely, it often has the stereotype of people sitting at home in the bar for a binge watching Netflix and just trying to keep their mouth busy, and it's actually not the case. So I think what yeah inspired me or excited me about remote work, was being close to the ones you like the most and being in an area you're comfortable with. So, working in an office previously, I know I Tend to like silence and if you don't have a single office, you do have people around you the whole time and people speaking to you, and I can't get zoomed in if I have this Environment. So really having or building that own environment where you can deliver your best work is what, yeah, attracted it to me.


Same, absolutely the same here. I love that. What you just said there in terms of being in an environment that you love and around the people that you love the most. Again, for me, you know my family I've got kids it's my, you know, it's my I have the ability to be around people but also create that environment myself where I can work my best, and it sounds like you you're doing the same thing. And tell me, though, I mean, you're doing lots of things, lots of great things with fast age. You mentioned how you know how you go about your day, but how did you know that your current role was, was the right one for you? Because that's always a difficult thing for sometimes people to figure out. How do you, how did you know that the current role is right, right for you?


So, generally, I think the custom success profession is really, really multi-faceted, so I really really enjoy this part of it. I'm a person that really drives when it when I can come up with creative ideas to solve complex problems or creates some complex workflows and, at the same time, help people to achieve their desired outcomes without having repetitive days. So this was would be the one the one part and the other part is I'm a really commercial driven person. So combining all these little parts and things that I am really, really good at, additionally with learning new things from different industries each day, was what got me hooked on the job.


And where do you find this particular job? Because I know there's right now there's just so many different resources out there. There's, you know, job boards. There's so many different places and I think it's sometimes can be quite difficult to know where to look for certain jobs and it's sometimes quite difficult as well to know. Well, you know you're doing a due diligence To actually understand that that company and that role is something that's that's right for you. But where, where did you discover your job?


So something that is especially important for me is the environment I work in, as I said already, so I was looking for a remote job, but I think the culture of the company is super, super important as well. So I have my eyes open on LinkedIn, actually and look that, yeah, different job posts, but also, what did the people actually say about the company they work for? So what do, what are the advertisements they do, what are the things they just post on on a regular basis and what's the, let's say, message that comes across? So I actually found my job on LinkedIn as well. I really really like the the LinkedIn job at file stage had, because it was really really yeah well written. I could find myself in this job advertisement and it was really really Personal as well. It was not that's typical. This is the requirements we have, these are the specifics we have and these are your responsibilities.


Yeah, it's. Another thing is that Sometimes when you look on places like LinkedIn not just LinkedIn, but job boards you, you read the job descriptions and they're very you know one job description is it's read very similar to another, to another. So it's as much. It's very difficult to craft a good job description. It sounds like file stage has done that, they've crafted something that has drawn you into the role and obviously now it's you, you're in the role and it's things that you expected or they talked about the job description have materialized. And it's good to see and understand that there are companies that can still write job descriptions because there's so many that just do such a bad job of it. What steps did you take to actually then, once you've discovered that job? What steps did you take to apply for the role after that?


So, as I said, I first got hooked by the job advertisement because it was just really personally written and you could really read that Falsic was taking care of his or their employees. So I actually checked the different rating tools that you have to see, okay, what are the insights other employees have said about Falsic? Then I said check their LinkedIn profiles, have a look. Okay, what do they actually say about the company themselves, what are the things that are in their mind and they're just processing at the moment and say like that. And then I applied for the job and I actually really liked at Falsic that we had or you know, they back then had a questionnaire about the role itself, so it wasn't sending a cover letter and a CV and only purely looking at this. They were a questionnaire in the beginning where you really needed to emphasise yourself as a person, which again made me feel like, okay, they really take care of the people there. It's important for them that it's a cultural fit and that's where, yeah, we started off with.


I liked that and again, there's a lot of attention that people, when people are hiring, hiring managers, they pay a lot of attention to resumes, they pay a lot of attention to cover letters. In this instance, it sounds like you know, having a questionnaire can help the person who's hiring and it will also help you, as the person applying for the role, to understand what's in the mind of the people who work within that company. And it's a lot more revealing than just having somebody send you a CV, isn't it? Or a resume. So no, I like that. Actually a question. Another question is what is it like to actually work for your team? What's that like?


So I honestly really love working for Falsic and not only for my CS team and just a general team of Falsic because I think the founders have done a very, very good job in creating a culture that is really taking everybody on board and as being 100% remote, we do have a quite diverse team. We have different cultures and we bring everything together with socialized. We're like-minded people and, yeah, we just all try to do our best work here and additionally, yeah, being in a scale up with Falsic now it, of course, allows you also to do things outside of your role. So I really appreciate having the ability to cross-functionally just grow my horizon with doing different tasks and talking to different people, talking to different cultures there as well.


And remind me because, like you said, falsic is fully remote. You are in different parts of the world. Where is your team based? Because you now have some companies, they have software developers here and then they have customer success there. How is your team distributed?


Actually worldwide. So we don't really take care where a person is, they are stationed. When we hire the people, I think it's important that this person can cover the office hours that they need to cover. So if we need somebody for US time zones, we of course need somebody who would be closer to the US time zone spreader than Asian. But in my CS team I do have a person sitting in Bali, I have another person in Corsica, I have another person in Mexico so it's really spread me and another person we're in Germany, so we have it all over the world actually.


Sounds good again and, like I said, it makes sense when you've got the kind of business that fast ages, is that you're able to. If you've got people in those different continental areas, then you can attend to customers all over the world at any time and, yeah, there's no real down time, I guess. If there's people across the world, yeah, definitely, and we talked a little bit earlier about your time in working in hotels and the sort of transferable skills that you had and that you gained from being in that role. But obviously now your career is in an upward trajectory. You're the team leader. You lead the team, the CS team. You're leading the support team. Did you envisage being in a leadership role within a remote company?


Yes, I always envisioned myself to be in a leadership position because I not because of the power people perceive when you say, yeah, I'm a leader of a team or anything rather because I truly believe that leadership is about growing the people in your team and giving them the ability to grow where they want to grow it to as well. So I really enjoy this part and I really enjoy making sure people outgrow their roles and manage to get into new roles, etc. So I really really love that part of it. Working remotely, I said I always love to work remotely and I think I'm a very empathetic person. So working remotely is easy for me because I can speak to people, I'm empathetic, I understand what's going on. Usually I can also read faces sometimes a tiny bit. Of course, I'm not a magician looking at a face and knowing what this person feels, but it helps me a lot to understand what's actually really going on with that person and sometimes needing to dig a bit deeper to get everything out of that person.


Yeah, I think earlier on you said one of the things that you is one of your main concerns is making the team feel well. You mentioned empathy there. How do you make the team feel well? Because you've got people all over the world and you don't always get that face to face contact and that's one of the things that I've noticed is one of the biggest challenges that people are talking about, now that they've either just gone remotely or they've been working remotely for a while, and the biggest challenge is making a team feel well. I mean, do you have any sort of tips or advice for people, for managers, how they can do that?


So I think there's not really a blueprint for it. But working remotely, you should have the time aside to also speak about personal stuff with your employees, because otherwise, if you're in an office environment, you may go to the water cooler and have a water cooler talk with somebody, and this is like the personal things you usually have for working remotely. You don't have this touch points. So I usually recommend to just have a few spare minutes in each meeting to talk about personal stuff, what's going on in people's life? Because yes, of course they're here to work, but work is only one part of their life. So I think it's really really important to just be clear of that. Be clear that a person needs to feel comfortable, especially in a remote environment, to deliver their best works as well. If they are not comfortable, if they're not happy, they can't deliver their best work. So it's a big chunk that you need to take care of as well.


I love that. I love that and I think again, the teams that I've been in where my manager has, where I've really sort of admired the manager, it's been a time when the manager has gone beyond just work and has said, alex, how are you getting on with this or how is that? And they've kind of taken time to actually talk to me beyond you know, work's things and everyday things. So, yeah, I really love that idea and what's the biggest challenge that you've had to overcome to contribute to building your own sort of, I guess, your personal career?


I think the biggest challenge I had to overcome was actually breaking stereotypes and allowing myself to be me. So it's a quite personal topic, but, as said before, I ended up in SASS. I have worked in the hotel and tourism industry and I was promoted to a branch leader when I was 20 years old, so I always really needed to position myself against people that have been older than I was or longer in the job, or people that have just not taken me seriously because of my job, my age, sorry, being surrounded by people pointing me towards the direction like you can't achieve this because of my age. It was quite tough on me in the past, so what I did to overcome this challenge was actually continuously learn and find environments that allow me to drive in, so finding environments that really match my personality because, there's working environments that are driven by this personal approach and there's working environments where it's not driven by a personal approach, and it's fine because there's people that like to not have this personal approach in their life or in their work life, but it's not fine for me in the end. So I always try to learn more, educate myself more on the things I wanted to do, things I really love to do, and, most importantly, on myself, and I always, as I love to lead the team and grow them, influence the business outcomes with just my personality. So I think knowing my strengths and weaknesses have really helped me to overcome this challenge and it brings me, or has given me, the confidence, as a young woman in a leadership position to really drive in environments I really like.


I love that. I love that and it's it leads me quite nicely onto the next question, actually, because it sounds like you you're very self aware of you, know what you're, where you're strong. You know what your, where your strengths are, If it's fair to say as well. I think you had a career ambition and you're achieving the ambitions of your career, or at least you're taking steps to do that. One of the challenges that I've faced when not just me, but lots of people when they're working on a remote basis, is, yeah, you've got to be self-aware and know your strengths, know where the gaps are in your learning. I found it quite difficult to continue my learning because maybe it's just me, but I came quite isolated at one point in my career. I didn't reach out. I got so focused in my work that I didn't continue my learning. I wasn't deliberate about it. How do you go about continuing to learn and staying up to date?


I think learning doesn't always only come back to reading books or reading blog articles. I think something I tend to do quite often is also question the status quo and question why certain people do certain things. It's, of course, sometimes also an annoying characteristics of mine always asking why do we do it like that? Wouldn't there be a different way to do it as well, and challenge things with it. It also helps me to understand the thought process of other people, which helps me to take the best out of it as well. But besides that, of course, I also like to consume books. I like to consume podcasts and really always stay up to date and exchange with people that are actually doing what I admire or what I would want to do. That really helps me to stay up to date and learn new things.


That's great. I assume you then pass those sorts of things onto your team to encouraging them with their own learning. Of course you're building a great team. Nicholas is building a great team within file stage as well. I guess you're a big part of building that team, given that you're a team leader. You're a manager. You've got manager responsibilities. The business itself is growing. There's plans to grow the business as well. I guess what and how are you growing and building the team within file stage? How do you do that?


I think there's not really a blueprint for this, but I think the most important thing to grow your team and to ensure everybody is growing their personal life or personal career as well, is finding the right people with the right mindset. I think you're able to teach skills, but you're not able to change the mindset of a person. For me, working in a scale up, I look for people that are driven to learn and grow and, at the same time, aren't afraid to fail, sometimes as well, and get their hands dirty. I think having a similar mindset within a team is really building a strong alliance that is generally caring for each other, that always assumes best attend from each other and that always try to go the extra mile for one another. I think truly having this very, very close team can move mountains, sometimes by just working together and having the right people on board. This now sounds a tiny little bit like having people that are always like-minded, have the same characteristics, but I don't think that is necessarily needed. I think it's even better to have characteristics that are not differentiating a bit from each other. The mindset needs to match, but you have to have different characteristics because they will challenge each other. They will bring up new ideas, and I think that's really, really important to drive a team.


No, I love that idea because obviously everybody thinks the same way. Then how are you going to grow? How are you going to develop? Like you said, you want people, in a way challenging the state, to grow, as you mentioned, asking questions and always growing and developing themselves.


Yeah, and often the weaknesses and strengths are completing each other. So if somebody has a weakness on the one hand, the other person might have the strength, and then they can pull together and we have great outcome of it.


No, I like that and Nicholas was talking about he didn't go into too much detail last time about some of the plans and the growth of the business of file stage. What do you have in mind for your team and what's in store for file stage? What's in the future for file stage as you see it?


So I think we're currently in a quite challenging market and I think everybody needs to think outside of the box, and I think my team is a really, really good example of how you can bring many different heads together to achieve great things. So we have people that are really, really creative. We have people that are super, super organized and like to document stuff, and I think this, brought together, can lead to very, very good things being in the scale up. We, of course, have processes that aren't stable at the moment, so we're working on this, we're moving this forward, and I think that team approach that we currently have, with everybody being on board, everybody willing to do stuff, is really driving this as well, and I think one of my main beliefs is that a good product can only drive with the right people, and I think I'm really really confident that we have the right people at file stage to drive the product and try for the market share we have at the moment.


I love it. Love it and we'll certainly be keeping an eye out, jenny, for what you're going to be doing your future with file stage and looking out for file stage in general, because it sounds like there's some exciting things in the future. But today I just want to say thank you so much for being on the Remote Work Life podcast, and maybe I mean I've got so many more questions that I want to ask you, but I know you've got a busy day ahead, so maybe we could have a part two in the future. But who knows what I just want to say for now. Thank you so much for being with me today.


Thank you as well, Alex. We're really nice.

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