Lattice Life

"An uplifting, positive place to go to work every day": On running customer success at Lattice

August 27, 2019

Grant Maestas is Head of Customer Success at Lattice, where he's one of our earliest employees. Here, he and Lattice’s content marketing manager Sulagna Misra discuss how he ended up at Lattice, how it's changed and stayed the same since he's started, and why working at Lattice is so special.

So you've been at Lattice for so long. How long? When did you join?

January 2017. So, two and a half years ago.

How did you get into CX?

I was in North Carolina for college. Went home to Denver for the summer. Took the LSAT. Was waiting to get my scores back, and started applying to law schools which was always the plan. And was pretty depressed — I did not want to go to law school. The consistent thing I heard from every single lawyer I talked to was, "Don't go to law school if you're not sure." So by the time I graduated, I think I was feeling a lot less excited about it. I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do. I know I wanted to work for a company where I could see my impact, so something like a startup was very appealing to me. And getting to the Bay Area was also a priority.

I had a friend working at a late-stage startup that was growing fast, and I applied for an account manager role out here. Stars kind of aligned. Got it, and did not look back. And decided not to go to law school. 

How did you get to Lattice?

So, I was really bored at my last company. Great company. Great culture. Takes great care of their employees. But it's a little bit more old school. Slower to iterate. I also had a very demanding job, but I felt like I was kind of a robot. We talk a lot about engagement here and I was pretty disengaged by what I was doing. 

Coincidentally, as I was starting my search, the former head of sales at my last company was consulting at a small HR tech startup and reached out and said, “Hey, I'm consulting for this startup, I'm not sure if I'll go there full time, but they’re looking for their first post-sales hire.” He arranged for me to meet the team and I was immediately inspired by the mission and founders.

I knew that, for me, personally, this would be an incredible opportunity to learn and grow. I had the ability to be autonomous and manage a team assuming that things went well.

How do you feel about how Lattice has scaled over the past few years?

It’s been extraordinary. I’ve been here since the beginning and this feels like the third reincarnation of Lattice. 

What has surprised you about the company’s growth?

When I joined Lattice, I was very overwhelmed by how friendly and helpful everyone is. As we’ve grown 10x that’s stayed consistent with the company.

Even if it’s impossible to be friends with all the new people, I trust them. I know who hired them, so I trust their competence and character. 

What do you do on weekends?

These days I don't make a ton of plans, which can frustrate my significant other. I like to go into the weekend with very little idea of what I'm going to do because my life is so busy during the weekdays. 

Some stuff that you could find me doing: lounging at the park, hanging out with friends, having a glass of wine, watching trashy reality TV. I spend a lot of time keeping up with politics. As a political science major, I'm very interested in what's going on right now. I’m probably not involved enough, but it consumes my brain.

And then I play kickball on Sundays, and that's really fun. I played a lot of soccer growing up and hate to lose, so I'm the annoying competitive guy at the recreational kickball game. Those are the main things.

What's your favorite part of working here?

The people, the pace, and the product — in that order. I'll start with the pace because that’s maybe the least obvious. For context — one potential concern voiced by people I interview is regarding the competitiveness of our space. There's a lot of HR solutions. Money is pouring into people software because companies finally realize people are your most valuable asset. And for me, that's what I really love about being in this space. The pace forces you to differentiate and it forces you to move really fast. Coming from a company that was further along, I’ve welcomed the fast pace and hyper-competitive environment we operate in. We make decisions quickly, we go quickly, and then we’ll change our decision quickly when it no longer makes sense for the company.

The product speaks for itself. I care a lot about our product and feel passionate about what we’re trying to do for our customers. We have a top-notch EPD (engineering, product, and design) team and it’s been rewarding to watch the product transform over the past two and a half years. When I’m having a tough week, I spend 30 minutes catching up with our Head of Design, Jared, and I always leave excited about what’s next. He’s usually at least a year ahead of what we’re actually seeing in the product.

The people, I think, is also pretty obvious. The CX department is a super talented group of people, across both our Customer Success and Customer Care teams. At this point, I am actually the worst CSM which means I am doing something right, right? [Laughs] I just need to stay the best at hiring and mentoring. 

But yes, Lattice would not be Lattice without people like Emily, or Nate, who keep the team moving during really crazy weeks. Or the wonderful Customer Success managers I have the honor to manage every day. That’s what keeps me going.

Generally speaking, Lattice has done a really good job of hiring passionate people who care deeply about the outcome of the company. It’s a very uplifting, positive place to go to work every day, especially during really stressful months.

I feel like there are really high standards in Lattice, because we make HR software. 

I agree. Culture means a million different things to a million different people. To me, culture just means how you feel at work. I would describe Lattice’s culture as a self-imposed high-pressure environment.

On the one hand, it’s super laid back. People are friendly and appreciative. You are trusted to do your job and have full support from others. On the other hand, you push yourself hard. You collaborate with a really smart group of people who are very ambitious, so it’s only natural to put a lot of pressure on yourself.

I feel like the CX team is pretty good at praising each other, it's very collaborative and connected. 

I think so. It’s a job that lacks glory. You aren’t chasing huge deals or shipping new products. It’s a marathon and a good day is one where you help solve your customer’s problems, small and large. But that’s exactly why you do it. You like solving problems and the complexity of the role. We also get to work closely with all corners of the organization.

So whenever we have a win, we strive to recognize that person. If a customer shares feedback about someone on the team, which happens unprompted countless times, we share it with the whole company, so everyone recognizes the important work we do.

Interested in joining the Lattice CX team? Apply here — we look forward to your application!

Want to learn more about careers in general at Lattice? Read up on us here.

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