By Kristen Hayer
I’ve been on the road about 50% of the time this year, and my life has been a blur of airports, hotels, Lyfts and conference rooms. There have been days when I woke up in a chain hotel and was confused about the city I was in because they all look the same (still love you, Marriott!) After several years of being heads down building our business, this year has been like a travel boot camp for me.
I know many of you are CSMs and CS leaders who also travel. It can be grueling, especially when you have other customers and email to tackle when the day is done. I thought it would be fun to share what I’ve learned about optimizing travel time, and to hear your travel tips as well. Here’s my list, in no particular order:
Get a Work Space Membership
It can be a little depressing to spend the day working from your hotel room, and the wifi in coffee shops can be sketchy. If you often find yourself in big cities, it is worth $50/month for a WeWork (or similar) membership so that you have a professional workplace with perks like fancy water, phone booths, and fast Internet. Alternately, ask your client if they would be willing to let you take over a conference room for the day.
Stick to an Airline and Hotel Chain
Of course, points are great, but the side benefits to membership programs are sometimes worth more than the points. If you’ve been following our blog for a while you know I am a Delta fan. If you’ve ever met me in person you also know that I’m almost 6 feet tall. As a Gold Medallion member on Delta, I’m almost always upgraded to free Comfort Plus seats, which have 2 extra inches of legroom. That is everything to a tall person!
Work Between Meetings
Working a full day with a client and then having hours of work to do at the end of the day to catch up is rough. I find that even if I’m onsite with a client for a full day, there are breakpoints throughout. If I have to choose between working during the breaks or working into the wee hours of the night, I’m going to choose the breaks. If you make the most of that time you can really cut down on evening work, which frees you up to…
This is the hardest thing for me to do when I’m traveling, so I’m definitely not coming at this from a place of perfection. However, when I take my workout gear I’m more likely to work out. When I schedule my workouts I’m more likely to work out. When I choose a hotel with a gym I’m more likely to work out. If I work out, I’ve noticed that my travel is smoother, my mood is better, and any time zone changes have less of an impact.
Keep a Go Bag
This sounds a little like the beginning of a zombie movie, but it is just a small bag with travel size toiletries plus a complete 2nd set of makeup. I store it in my suitcase, and it keeps me from forgetting stuff and having to buy things on the road. If I’m totally honest, my go bag is largely made up of stuff I had to buy on the road because I forgot things. Now I don’t have to worry about it. Pro Tip: If you like moisturized skin, sheet masks are easy to pack and make for a relaxing end of each day.
I used to travel on a combination of coffee, diet soda, and a glass of wine to wind down. That is a recipe for dehydration, bloat and poor sleep. After reading a number of articles written by flight attendants, I switched to water when I travel and cut (most of) the caffeine. I’ll still have a glass of wine, but I make sure I’m hydrated and drink a bunch of water afterward. It may seem counterintuitive, but less caffeine and more water makes you more alert.
Find the Fun
My favorite business trip, hands down, was a trip last summer to Memphis. I was out there for a client kick-off meeting, and got in the day before. I ended up with a morning to kill before things got started, and decided to visit Graceland. It was fun to see something uniquely Memphis, gave me something to talk about for the entire visit, and made the trip a nice balance between work and business. Think about how you can weave a little fun into every trip.
These are my travel tips, but I’d love to hear yours. What do you do to make travel amazing? How do you get all of your work done on the road? How do you find a solid work-life balance? Please share!
Need more practical Customer Success tips? The Success League is a customer success consulting firm that offers a CSM Certification Program that starts this week. For more information on these classes our workshops, and consulting services please visit TheSuccessLeague.io
Kristen Hayer - Kristen believes that customer success is the key to driving revenue, client retention and exceptional customer experiences. Her areas of expertise include developing success goals and metrics, designing the optimal customer journey, selecting technology, training teams, and building playbooks. Prior to founding The Success League, Kristen built and led several award-winning customer success teams. Over the past 20 years she has been a success, sales, and marketing executive, primarily working with growth-stage tech companies. Kristen has her BA from Seattle Pacific University and her MBA from the University of Washington.