Meet our remarkable team Mateusz&Mateusz. They are experts responsible for customer satisfaction and LiveBank product development. The gentlemen’s energy and passion greatly inspire us, so check it out yourself.
1. Hi, guys! You are the perfect Dream Team. Customer Success Expert and Product Manager always together or sometimes separately? 😏
Mateusz Wierzbinski (MW): Very good question. 😊 Are you asking in a personal or business context? Because, as you say, the chemistry between us is evident ;), but it’s the result of experience and the joint implementation of many projects. Such quantum entanglement – even if separately, connected.
Mateusz Grys (MG): We have learned to speak and think as one organism over many years of cooperation. On the other hand, sometimes we have moments of so-called “constructive criticism.” I have always appreciated this in partnership with Mateusz.
2. Let’s start by telling us how you joined Ailleron.
MG: We joined Ailleron inspired by a meeting we attended while working at a bank. The LiveBank system was presented to us in 2019. After the meeting, I told Matthew that working for this company would be cool. To be able not only to implement such systems but to create them from scratch.
MW: It was a “classic” reverse transfer – from business to the world of technology in general meaning. In my case, there was an opportunity to develop a solution that enables communication using digital channels. I created and managed a team that implemented customer service in the banking sector in a practical way. As Matthew mentioned, Ailleron gave me a chance to influence LiveBank’s development.
3. Now, it is in this LiveBank team that you are creating new solutions. So, tell us briefly what you are working on and how the product works.
MW: In short? I wonder if it’s possible. 🙂 During one of the presentations, I heard the opinion that I was narrating so passionately that one hour was not enough for me. Long story short – as a Customer Success Expert, I work on customer happiness and satisfaction with the LiveBank product.
MG: In the role of Product Manager for the moment, I am working on the strategy, vision, and development directions of the LiveBank product available in different technologies – cloud and onpremise. Within the framework of joint activities, we want to propose a new value of the LiveBank product in different versions to advertise this product to customers as effectively as possible. I am presenting the values that, thanks to the system’s use, translate into the money earned by banks.
MW: I also work on onboarding customers and training the teams that will use the solution. I share ideas and practical experience. In general, I work on making the implementation a success.
MG: Also, my work can often be perceived as a man from “moving cards” in Miro and drawing dots and dashes. But, if you read into these cards, there are a lot of interesting ideas for LiveBank development.
4. Your work is hugely based on customer contact and cooperation. At what point in product development do you step in?
MW: The presentation to the customer is a natural place to start. From that point on, we are constantly in the communication loop. I am in contact with the customer not only until the solution implementation but also afterward, collecting feedback, informing about news, etc. Success with the customer is built through our time together.
MG: Most often at the initial stage, because the Product Manager’s role is to drive a high-level vision of how the product should work. On the other hand, just as often at the verification stage, the vision must be reflected in the product. This stage is brought up very often during discussions with customers themselves. This is the step where we validate whether what we have come up with from “dots and dashes” and assumed in our product is the answer to market and customer needs. And, of course, I still use my extensive banking experience. Sometimes, I suggest how something can be created so that the bank’s final service has a “WOW effect.”
5. You mentioned directly contacting a bank customer in your previous positions. Today, you support the banks themselves, which are the ones that have become your direct customers. Does your previous work have an impact on what you do today? Does it make your job easier?
MG: Today, it makes our work much more easier. Spending 1/3 of your professional life in a bank makes it hard to get rid of how you try to act and think. Previous work significantly impacts how we perceive our clients needs. In conversations, we quickly find a platform of understanding and can easily engage in dialogue, often speaking directly. We come from the same background as our clients.
MW: It definitely has an impact! Thanks to our financial industry experience, we have been clashing with the same problems and have similar goals. It’s easier to talk and ask questions by comparing our perspectives or ask straightforwardly why you want to do things this way and not that way. I need to understand the client’s vision and have a very flexible approach to this vision. The other party must realize that we are partners in the conversation and that their goal is ours. By combining these 2 perspectives, we can warn of challenges in advance and achieve goals faster.
6. Soft skills that facilitate communication, negotiation, and understanding customer needs are essential in your positions. What traits do you think are necessary in the role of Customer Success Expert and Product Manager?
MW: The Customer Success (CS) position is crucial, as it is the ears, eyes and heart of the product approach. I am on the front line of contact with the customer, listening, helping, and understanding their expectations. The range of such skills is quite broad, with the need to maintain good communication. I would start by being attuned to the other person. Empathy allows you to understand the customer’s perspective, challenges and goals. The rest of it: product knowledge, analytics, working with data, and industry knowledge can be assimilated. Building relationships can also be learned, but having the predisposition to strengthen and develop these traits is worth having. Above all, I work on relationships and building trust.
MG: There is a famous movie called “A Beautiful Mind.” Inspired by it, I think creativity and empathy are important. They help us understand the problem and step into the shoes of the clients, allowing us to transfer how the client or partner perceives our product. The product should enhance the user experience. Therefore, in the case of LiveBank, we need to remember that it is necessary to understand not only the bank’s needs but also the needs of a customer who will use the tool.
In conclusion, soft skills are important, and a light dose of joyous madness and a smile from the “twins” help build relationships quickly.
7. Is it to be understood that you have it? 😏
MW. 😀 Yes.
MG: Of course! My mother always said that I was a very ingenious person, and I was often able to generate her problems creatively. 😀 At the bank, I was regarded as someone who could create ideas for several strategies ahead, so I was often active in project groups or building the company’s strategy. The ability to connect the dots and business gut feeling came in handy.
8. And are some more technical skills also useful?
MW: It depends on what one means by that. Would I be able to write the code for the solution myself? No, I wouldn’t. But, understanding the technical aspects of a product or service helps define the boundaries and capabilities of the product. The CS role is sometimes such a translator between business and technology. So it’s worth assimilating certain aspects and general principles and concepts.
MG: At the stage of working with the vision, technical skills are not the most desirable element, although they can help. The tools in the Product Manager’s position may differ from the ones our developers use daily. On the other hand, issues related to the specifics of our work are indeed required to address aspects of the product well. One needs to navigate with the same language and technical concepts.
9. Guys, whenever I meet you, you are always smiling, passionately talking about your work. It’s clear that you enjoy what you do. So, what do you value the most in your career at Ailleron?
MW: For the opportunity to work in the office. 😊 But most of all, I like the atmosphere of creation and openness to ideas in our company.
MG: For good coffee. 😊 For the opportunity to realize my ideas, which were often lacking due to various limitations in banking. Here, I can create and see the tangible results of that, which before was only a concept in a PowerPoint template.
10. What are the development opportunities in your positions? Does the company support you in this development?
MW: The company gives me a free hand in terms of development. I can devote a certain number of hours to self-development, which is outside the scope of other training provided. If I get to a point where I need to augment and structure my knowledge, I take advantage of those development hours.
MG: I am constantly learning and discovering new meanderings of my position. We live in a world where the dynamics of processes are pretty high, with new methodologies emerging every now and then. How does the organization support me in being a Product Manager? I can always count on my team members, especially those with extensive and rich experience. I gain a lot from using agile management methods, which I can transform into how I operate in my role.
11. As you mentioned before, it all started with a job in a bank and customer service. What is the best way to start as a Customer Success Expert and Product Manager?
MW: From making that decision. The Internet contains many training videos describing the job and how to prepare for the role. However, I emphasize that you must take the customer’s perspective to understand their needs and expectations. So it is worth starting by listening.
MG: When I joined the company, I never expected to move into the role of Product Manager. I started as someone tasked with building strategy and the entire customer success team – that was the goal set for me by the General Manager. Meanwhile, because I worked closely with the production, sales and marketing teams, I was given the opportunity to prove myself from a so-called advisory body to a more creative position for a person who can create a more strategic approach. The result of our recent vision of LiveBank as a tool to digitize the mortgage process was implemented at ING Bank Slaski.
12. What advice would you give to people who want to enter the IT world and try their hand at this side of power?
MG: First of all, to have an open mind. When it comes to people from the banking world, we have a lot to offer, especially in working systematically, creatively, and often under time pressure. This experience allows us to transfer what we’ve learned at the bank to new ground, particularly in roles such as Product Manager and Customers Success Expert. This acquired knowledge is a tremendous added value. We think like our clients, partners, and their customers because we spent a good chunk of time in the banking environment with Matthew.
MW: The IT world is not just about coding. There is a great deal of space and roles that are also needed. It’s like a car – the engine alone won’t make it run, you need a steering wheel, wheels and a driver 😉 One such element may be the skills you bring to the table as a candidate.
Guys, thank you for simply and clearly explaining what distinguishes the roles of Product Manager and Customer Success Expert and how these positions are essential, especially when working with customers. You also showed us that it is worth betting on ourselves, our development, and following what we want and like to do. Thanks!