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The Watering Hole | March 11, 2021

It’s A Bird. It’s A Plane. It’s Shippo’s Customer Success Team!

The Customer Success team at Shippo may seem like an ordinary customer-facing team from the outside, but they’re much more than that. Led by Jo-Anne Rodriguez, better known as Jo, the Customer Success team is a group of superheroes.

Leading a team of superheroes is no small feat—it takes tremendous leadership and commitment. When Jo isn’t hopping in and out of meetings, she’s removing roadblocks for her team.

Pictured: Jo and Johnson, co-winners of The “Most Likely to Put A Smile On Your Face” Shippo Award.

“Jo is everyone’s go-to human for advice or a fun chat—not just for her super team!” our office manager Margaret explains. “She’s always present (and first in) for Shippo team events, and somehow plays a part in ensuring its success. We joke that she’s become a part of the People Ops team, but it’s true! I’ve grown to lean on her for insight on team vibes, and she never fails to tell me when someone’s in need of a little extra love.”

“There are so many times where she’s impressed me with her ‘we-can-do-it’ attitude no matter the frustration or difficult task at hand”, our VP of Growth Johnson recalls.

We took a moment to catch up with Jo, hoping to grab a few ingredients from her secret recipe to running a successful team. Here’s what she has to say about Shippo and the CS team.

How would you describe the customer success team?

They’re heroes. On a day-to-day basis, the CS team has to work quickly and effectively with hundreds of small businesses and help them get their packages shipped. On top of being Shippo product experts, they’re also shipping industry experts because there’s a lot of intricacies involved with running an e-commerce business and getting things shipped. They have to know a lot in order to help our customers. 

How else can I describe them? They’re human, curious, funny—they’re just people-people. We emphasize to our customers that we’re human and not robots; we care about them and we want to see them succeed. Our team really finds joy in helping others and solving hard problems. Whether that’s helping customers or internal teams at Shippo, we’re always there. 

What makes Shippo’s CS team different?

We don’t use the term “tickets”. We have Opportunities To Delight (OTDs).

This goes back to being human and seeing our customers as humans, too. We want our customers to know we see them as real people– not just a ticket. When a customer reaches out for help, we see that as an opportunity to delight and a chance to provide a solution to their problem. We have fun doing it, too! The way our team comes together to solve problems amazes me.

I’m also pretty impressed by the amount of information that our team knows across the board. I’ve worked with other open API and SaaS products before, but I’ve never worked with a product like this. We work with carriers, platforms, our customers, and sometimes their customers, so the level of help and support can be different at any given moment.

How would you describe yourself as a manager?

I’m pretty hands-off. I’ll tell you our goal and the metrics we’d like to achieve, but I’ll leave it up to you to get us there. I’m here to remove any blockers that might prevent you from getting us to that goal, but it’s up to you to ask. It’s fully your project and your team, my job is to enable you.

If you ask my team, they would probably say I move incredibly fast. The other day, Laura Lynn called me a ninja because I finished one thing and was immediately working on the next.

What’s it like running a remote team?

Even though we’re a fully remote team, we feel really close to each other. A lot of the team haven’t had the chance to meet in person yet but they’re still like best friends. There’s a lot of friendly banter and wagers–ah, that reminds me– Rodrigo took a bet that if we zeroed out our queues, he would get a hippo tattoo. I need to collect on that bet!

I think that being remote actually allows my team to thrive. They really enjoy being remote and they’re more productive working from home. For some moms on our team, for example, the flexibility to be at home allows them to get work done while being there for their kids. 

Pictured: Members of the Product Support and Customer Success Management team.

What are you looking for in a CS candidate? 

Someone who loves working with people—you can’t teach that. I look for people who not only show that at work but in their personal lives, too. I like to ask them what they’ve done recently outside of work to help someone because that’s huge to me.

The other thing is someone who is super curious because I don’t want us to just answer the specific question that comes up, I want someone who is curious about asking deeper questions and anticipating ways we can help our customers.

I think anyone who enjoys tough challenges and working with a super supportive team to overcome those challenges would be an excellent candidate for our team.

What does success look like for you and your team?

Success for me isn’t necessarily having closed out every customer OTD or solving every problem that comes up. As a manager, my goal is to help members of my team move forward in their careers. Success to me means providing growth opportunities for my team.

What’s your background? Why did you join Shippo?

I’ve always been in CS. Before Shippo, I was with a smaller, healthcare tech startup as their Head of CS. In the past, I’ve led CS and Support teams, and I’ve also done product support and implementation myself.

I joined Shippo because I was looking for a challenge. I was super interested in the e-commerce industry and I found a ton of challenges around shipping logistics. Technology can enhance our everyday lives and Shippo’s technology was doing just that for entrepreneurs and small businesses. I joined Shippo because our product and technology were designed to help people– something I’m really passionate about if you can’t tell by now!

Just for fun: If you weren’t working at Shippo, what would you do? 

I love working here and I love our team but if I had to leave Shippo…

I would get into event planning. It sounds stressful but spending someone else’s money to plan big, extravagant events sounds really fun. I already plan all of my friends’ parties, birthdays, trips, and weddings. I really enjoy it!

I would travel and eat because I just love to explore new places and try new foods. Vietnam has probably been my favorite trip so far.

Leon Tan is on the marketing team at Shippo. Prior to joining Shippo, Leon worked in the e-commerce space, helping new DTC brands as they enter the market.

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