Talent Spotlight: Stuart Richardson Reveals the Evolution of the Customer Success Role

Talent Spotlight: Stuart Richardson Reveals the Evolution of the Customer Success Role

Samantha Shankman

20 Apr 2022
4 minute read

Welcome to The Talent Spotlight Series, where we chat with our global team members. The participants were selected by their peers for the incredible work and team spirit, and how they embody Navan values.

Manager of Enterprise Customer Success for EMEA Stuart Richardson is coming up on his one-year anniversary at Navan. Bringing more than a decade’s worth of insights and knowledge to the Navan customer success team, he plays an integral role in its continual evolution, thanks to his innovative approach to customer success.

Stuart started his corporate travel company journey at American Express GBT, where he led client management for the UK. His team of nine oversaw all types of clients, including small businesses, international enterprises, and everything in between.

“I loved the leadership role,” says Stuart. “I really enjoyed the coaching and mentoring aspect of managing the team and being able to see them grow and further their careers. As a manager, you get involved in all aspects of the client lifecycle, and I enjoyed being able to help them problem-solve and arrive at a resolution.”

Stuart then moved to Egencia, where he tried on a new role as senior commercial manager and then program manager on the customer success and excellence team.

“I looked after the strategy around how the company renewed clients, so basically risk, retention, and renewal. How do we retain clients that we already have and mitigate churn? It was interesting to build out those strategies and then look at how we grow clients from a profitability point of view. Egencia didn’t know how profitable their clients were or how to build an upsell program. It was really interesting to go through that process change with them and, because I was doing so much project work around that, I naturally moved into program management,” says Stuart.

Following nearly five years at Egencia, Stuart took a break to think through the direction of his career and whether he wanted to continue in project management or return to client management. It was during this time that Navan got in touch with him.

A New Approach to Customer Success with Navan

Today, Stuart oversees the Enterprise and Corporate teams in EMEA; he describes the role and approach as different than his experiences at other companies in the travel, corporate card, and expense management industries.

“Navan shows innovation in the way that we look after our clients,” says Stuart. “What differentiates Navan is how quickly we can move. The technology is extremely forward-thinking and really delivers on ease of use,” he says.

Stuart has been on the front lines as the role of the customer success manager (CSM) has evolved with new technology and through the COVID-19 pandemic. The approach his team takes at Navan is more integrative than anything he’s been able to do before.

“As a team, we've become trusted partners, and that's where you want to be as a CSM. You want to be integrated within your client's ethos so you're not just there to facilitate the conversation if something goes wrong. You should be there to be able to grow that client in line with their goals, whilst also achieving our internal KPIs. It's about the partnership,” says Stuart.

“The other part of the CSM role is that you need to grow revenue and attain to the platform, so that's what we are focusing on now. How do we expand clients effectively? How do we host those conversations around the commercial aspects of the contract? There's a lot going on about how we refine that piece of our business, which is really exciting.

From a CSM point of view, we're very much looking at end-to-end management, so being part of the sales process and owning the implementation process, which is very different from any other travel management company. It is usually outsourced to someone else and then the CSM is assigned to the account, but here you own it. That can only be a good thing, because then you know everything about the client by the time they go live.”

Outside of the product itself, the interview process had a large effect on Stuart’s decision to join Navan.

“I could really feel the culture of the company coming through with every person I met. Everyone was really easy to get on with and chat with and, even though it was a formal interview process, I felt at ease. It was all very natural.”

His first impression of the culture proved to be correct, and Stuart has felt connected to the entire organization while working mostly remote.

“It helps that we have a very flat structure when it comes to hierarchy, and everyone is extremely approachable. Slack really helps with that, too—it’s a great tool to be able to just message someone and ask if they’d like to catch up for five minutes.”

Culture is an integral part of what makes Navan who we are and allows us to work together to innovate quickly for our customers and users. See what roles are available to join Navan today.

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