Kia Puhm, a trailblazer in the field of Customer Success, has 26 years’ experience in tech leading businesses through the transition to best-in-class practices resulting in increased revenue and customer loyalty.
Obsessively passionate about aligning the interests of customers, vendors and employees to attain the highly desired triple win, Kia developed the Intelligent Framework (driven by industry-first metrics and benchmarks) to help companies be customer-centric to achieve smarter, faster revenue growth.
What do you want our readers to know about you?
I can summarize my 26-year career into 2 ‘AHA’ moments. One, is that thinking from the customer perspective is the most powerful way to align a company operationally, and two, using the customer journey as the success path, and building an intelligent framework to service customers is by far the most powerful way to grow revenue and retain customers.
I spent years trying to solve all sorts of business challenges, some seemingly mutually exclusive, with a lot of pain and effort before I realized this. That’s why I’m so obsessively passionate about customer-centricity to figure out optimal solutions where everyone can win.
I’ve been around long enough to know it’s not always possible but just like the elusive ‘runner’s high’‚ when it happens it’s a thing of beauty.
What would you like to see more of in the workplace?
Doing the right thing and taking the time to do things right. Too often I see companies blindly embarking on new initiatives, implementing operational practices or trying to move too fast
without understanding how those things actually help drive their business forward. Ironically,
this inhibits success and leaves employees confused and forced to act chaotically. My mantra is
‘we’ve got to slow down to speed up’.
What characteristics and/or qualities do you admire in the women you work with?
Strength of character and intellect. Women that are not afraid to think independently and
voice their thoughts. Hard-working women that don’t let challenges stop them or slow them
down. Women that have high integrity, are willing to stick up for ideas, causes or people they
believe in. Women that support one another and who give others the space to be themselves.
And in the end, having a sense of humour to laugh through the tough times together with is
icing on the cake.
What advice did you wish you were given earlier in your career?
That business is not always fair. Working hard and doing good work does not, alone, guarantee
your success in business. You need to advocate for yourself and ask for what you want.
Building relationships and spending time relating to others (something that, to an engineer,
may feel like wasting corporate time) is important for one’s success. I also wish I knew more
about sales as a career early on.
How do you think COVID will change the future of work for women?
I believe the use of technology and innovation in the way we work will increase even faster than it did before. Working in the office as the only option to work is a thing of the past. Changed
attitudes towards work and what is really important in life will have people re-evaluate work-
life balance and what that should look like for them.
Everyone is going through all of this together. Theoretically, women are at the same starting
point to adapt to the new realities and take advantage of opportunities that arise as a result.
How do you think we can increase diversity in the workplace?
I think we need to understand each other more and open our minds to our differences and
celebrate them, so we can eradicate biases and discrimination. When we remain close-minded
and driven by fear we miss out on so much. We should not be afraid to talk about diversity and
the benefits of inclusion. We should create an environment that values opinions and thoughts
so we can address any proverbial ‘elephants in the room’. Once we do that, we naturally
become more aware of the need for diversity and when we lack it in our organizations.
What is one example of a positive, memorable experience you’ve had in your career.
I feel grateful for having had many positive experiences but the most gratifying are when
colleagues have told me that, through my behaviour, I have made a difference in their life.
People have shared with me that I made them better and helped shape their career. I’ve been
quite moved at times by this.
What was one belief you had that you later realized was a myth?
That business leaders and investors will always do the right thing.
Why are you fabulous?
What you see is what you get. I’m a straight shooter who wants to get to the truth without ego. I ‘see’ and appreciate people for who they are. My energy and drive (when positively channeled) moves people positively.
Do you have a mantra or quote that inspires you? If so, please share it below.
“If you’re always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” – Maya Angelou
Where can people find you online? (i.e. links to your website, social media, etc.)