Lead(H)er - Jennifer Hogan Mahoney, Vice President of Customer Success at SmartBear
“I realized I wanted to be in customer success after I realized the impact customer success can have on relationships, both internally and externally. It’s interesting just how powerful relationships can be - it leads to customer expansion and transforms how a company views its customers,” said Jennifer Hogan Mahoney, Vice President of Customer Success at SmartBear.
Jennifer grew up in the tight-knit community of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. After graduating high school, Jennifer went to Assumption College and pursued a degree in communication and education.
“Halfway through college, I changed my direction and thought I wanted to be a teacher. Although I was uncertain where my life would lead me, upon graduation I decided to take a teaching opportunity. This was a great experience, but ultimately I realized I wanted to be in a traditional business environment.”
She moved on to start her career as a sales support person for a private healthcare system in Waltham. Moving on from sales support, she became an account manager at Tufts Healthplans where she first got to experience the impact of relationship management. Once she spent several years in the space, she decided to switch things up.
Ultimately her career in Customer Success truly started when she was recruited to Picis, a high acuity software used in operating rooms. She was their Client Service Director and the main relationship point of contact for the customer.
She went from managing a single software platform at a 600 person start-up vendor to managing multiple platforms and technologies across an 80K person corporation when the company was acquired by Optum. Jennifer’s role expanded into managing larger customers at an executive level. She learned how customer success can benefit an organization by allowing for expansion and growth opportunities.
“I managed the Boston market. I love Boston so it was great because I spent a lot of time in the city working at a lot of hospital systems such as Partners, Boston Medical Center, Hallmark Health, Stewart, Cape Cod Healthcare—all the major health systems. Additionally, I was also part of the pilot program evangelizing one point of contact for the customer, across all products and technologies. This gave me an incredible amount of insight into the importance of continuity for the customer, and continues to drive my strategy today.”
Again, Jennifer’s role expanded when Optum divested their clinical applications to Harris Computer, a Canadian company owned by Constellation Software. Looking to put various healthcare companies together with a set strategy, they asked Jennifer to develop a customer success platform and program that was built with scale in mind.
“I started with the Picis business unit and rolled out a customer success platform that included customer success managers that were located in North America and Europe. I managed the strategy from net promoter program to leads, sales pipeline, and managing customer relationships. Once I had the program solidified for Picis as part of Harris, that program was presented to more of Harris’ businesses as a proven method not only to retain but also to improve customer adoption.”
After almost three years with Harris, Jennifer joined SmartBear, where she is currently the Vice President of Customer Success.
“I took the opportunity to come into SmartBear and develop the customer success organization, which is growing in scale and scope internationally. After just under a year, we have global customer programs in support of our strong customer-first strategy.”
“Our customer success teams engage with every functional area of the company. They are the champions of the customer internally, working with support, product management, leadership, and development. We’re able to operate with a feedback loop, being the voice of the customer for feature requests, product enhancements, and overall customer requirements. We also work with sales and marketing, having developed strong relationships with our customers to showcase our product portfolio and support the brand.”
Jennifer is known for having mantras that she instills in her team, a few favorites are “bad news doesn’t get better with time,” “come with solutions not problems,” and “do something amazing.”
SmartBear is currently 375 employees and growing. They have a fast-paced collaborative culture and seven offices worldwide. Their global HQ is located in Somerville at Assembly Row with beautiful views of the river.
Rapid Fire Questions
BS: How do you manage stress?
JHM: I have an acoustic mix on Spotify that I listen to. When facing a stressful situation, I put my headphones on, take a step back before addressing the situation at hand.
BS: How many cups of coffee do you drink a day?
JHM: I do a double shot of espresso and that’s it!
BS: What do you like to do in your free time?
JHM: Spend time with my two boys. As you can imagine they have very busy schedules with school, sports, and friends; so if we have any free time I just like to snuggle and watch a movie or take a walk around the pond.
BS: Where is your favorite spot in Boston?
JHM: Anything Back Bay, sign me up! From the architecture to the local coffee shops, even just a stroll by the river is enjoyable.
BS: If you had to choose one thing, what would you say is your greatest accomplishment?
JHM: My greatest accomplishment is being a mom! I am lucky to have two amazing boys and a supportive husband who enables me to balance it all.
BS: Ten years ago, is this where you would have seen yourself?
JHM: Surprisingly, yes. Ten years ago I was well into my career in Customer Success and had the vision of running the team.
BS: What one piece of advice would you give to a recent college graduate?
JHM: Stay focused, keep an open mind and take all opportunities that come your way.
Images courtesy of SmartBear.