Next week, the Klaviyo team will be all-hands-on-deck for Klaviyo:BOS. This event brings together some of the brightest industry leaders, fastest-growing brands, and expert product specialists who will share real-world examples and actionable strategies that’ll help you own the entire customer experience and grow your brand.
We can’t wait to see so many of our customers and community members there, and we hear you’re excited to come to Boston, too! Before you get to town, we thought we’d introduce you to a few team members who’ll be on hand to help you have a great experience.
I recently chatted with Alex Bi (data scientist), Geanna Flavetta (technical writer), and Chris Rignoli (senior product expert) about their journeys at Klaviyo, how they help customers on a daily basis, and how they’ll be available to help you next week.
Read on to put a friendly face to a name and learn more about some of the people you’ll meet at Klaviyo:BOS.
Katie Tierney [KT]: Tell me a little about your career path before you came to Klaviyo. What were you doing?
Alex Bi [AB]: Klaviyo is actually my second job out of school. Before I joined the company, I was doing a fellowship where I was on the economics team at an environmental non-profit. I was basically crunching numbers and analyzing data to support some of the policy teams working on natural gas and electricity markets.
Geanna Flavetta [GF]: I actually came to Klaviyo from a completely different field. Before I joined the company, I was (and still am) working on a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering specializing in Environmental Organic Chemistry. Very different, I know! I originally wanted to be a professor because I enjoy making systems efficient and understanding how people learn. Early on in my program, I realized academia wasn’t for me and decided I wanted to do something different while still working with those same passions.
Chris Rignoli [CR]: I probably don’t have a typical resume. I grew up in the restaurant industry. My family owns a restaurant, so I spent 15 years working there as a busboy, food runner, server, bartender, and I did some floor management. From there I went to college to try something new. I got my EMT certification and worked on a truck for a little over a year and a half, but soon learned a career in this field required more hours a week than I could give so I needed to make a switch. I knew I was good at tech and it’s a fast-growing industry in Boston, so I wanted to find a way to break into that field. I found a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company where I could use my transferable skills and ended up working in a support role. That’s where I was before I came to Klaviyo.
[KT]: Why did you come to Klaviyo?
[GF]: I loved Klaviyo’s emphasis on data. With my background in engineering, I was constantly dealing with data. Seeing the power behind the data from my research that helped fuel data-driven environmental policy choices stuck with me. I could see that at Klaviyo decisions were made with a grounding in data. Also, Klaviyo gave its customers the ability to own their data and make smart marketing choices to help grow their brands.
I also saw that Klaviyo was a product I could believe in. When I was looking at different companies around Boston, Klaviyo’s product stood out. The fact that we could positively impact someone’s livelihood bolstered my desire to work here.
[AB]: I came to Klaviyo for a few main reasons. First, I like the data science work a lot so I knew I wanted to find that type of role. Second, my girlfriend was working in Boston so that was a big plus. And then, I really clicked with Eric Silberstein and Ezra Freedman, Klaviyo’s vice presidents of data science during the interview process. I really didn’t know too much about the role or the company when I first applied, but I became more and more intrigued as I met more people on the team and knew it would be the right place for me to work.
[CR]: So, unfortunately, I was caught in a round of layoffs at my last company. There, I met Will Murray who’s on the marketing team here at Klaviyo. He had put in his two weeks around the same time I was laid off and he ended up working at Klaviyo. After about two months of being unemployed, Will asked me, “Are you still looking for work?” And I said, “Yes, it’s very hard to find something right now.” He said, “Send me your resume.” I did, and Klaviyo called me within a day.
I spoke with the head of support who liked my resume well enough to give me a chance based on Will’s referral. I definitely knew Klaviyo was a place I would want to work and I’m really happy things went well through the interview process.
[KT]: On any given day, what do you do in your role?
[GF]: Technical writing at Klaviyo looks extremely different from the traditional technical writer role. I’m not just writing help center articles all day. Technical writers are the professors of the product, instructing new hires and customers alike. On any given day, I’m bouncing from a product training to a meeting with the product team about documentation for a new feature to filming a help center guide to running a webinar. There’s never a dull moment.
[AB]: When I first started, I was mostly coordinating the one-off experiments we were doing with customers. This was in the very early days of Smart Send Time. We were testing out a model, and I was working with 10 or so different customers who were interested in trying it out with us and running experiments.
After that, I started building expected date of next order, which is a big feature on its own. I spent time trying out different models to see if they worked. And then, I started coding to try to implement the model to fit into our existing codebase.
Now, I’m doing more things like improving our customer lifetime value model.
[CR]: When I first got hired, I spent a lot of time answering emails or taking live chats. I’d answer general questions like, “How do I do XYZ in Klaviyo? Where can I find this report? How do I turn on flows?” Over time, that evolved into handling more questions related to email marketing strategy.
As my role evolved, I saw that there are definitely areas that you can step into as a product expert beyond answering emails or live chats. For example, as Klaviyo started hosting workshops across the country, product experts had the opportunity to go to them. I went to the one in Miami to help answer questions in between the presentations, as well as help with the heavy lifting.
[KT]: What’s been a particularly interesting and or challenging thing you’ve worked on that’s helping customers or Klaviyo grow?
[AB]: One interesting project I’m working on now is an internal tool to help our customer success team more effectively help our customers. The tool essentially saves our internal team a lot of administrative time digging for data so they can spend more of their time using their deep knowledge of customers to find more insights into what’s happening with their businesses. This helps them produce more valuable quarterly growth reports (QGRs) and share even more ideas and opportunities to grow their businesses.
[CR]: I’ve been involved in helping grow the live chat team in a more efficient way. I make sure our queues are managed and that the chat team is using skills, techniques, and thought processes that are going to help them answer customers in live chat.
There are some nuances to helping people solve a problem on the spot, which was a challenge during the Mailchimp/Shopify breakup. That kind of news isn’t really something you can anticipate, so our live chat queues were much higher than normal. We had so many new customers signing up at that time who were looking for support through live chat. This increased our queues, which was a good problem to have but a problem we needed to solve nonetheless.
It was a big learning experience, but it definitely helped us see how we needed to grow the team and how we needed to improve our live chat feature in order to create the best possible experience for both our customers and our team members.
[GF]: One thing I’m working on is something customers can see at Klaviyo:BOS. Since the spring, I’ve been working with our product design team on a redesign of our help center to make it easier to find important information and quicker for our new users to get up and running. We have a lot of incredible resources and we want it to be simple for our customers to not only find the answers to their questions, but to also dive in deep to get the most out of the marketing best practices and tips we have out there.
At Klaviyo:BOS, I’ll have an area where people can test out the new design and give their feedback. I’m looking forward to getting their input and using it during our last iteration of design work before we start building it out.
"One thing I’m working on is something customers can see at Klaviyo:BOS. Since the spring, I've been working with our product design team on a redesign of our help center to make it easier to find important information and quicker for our new users to get up and running."
Geanna Flavetta, technical writer at Klaviyo
[KT]: What aspect of Klaviyo:BOS are you most looking forward to?
[AB]: I’m excited about so many of our customers being in the same place as us. I’m really looking forward to talking with them in person. It’s a great way to get to know them and to hear what they think about some of the concepts for new features we’re thinking about. It’s a really good way to get feedback and it’s just nice to connect in person.
[GF]: Definitely meeting customers, without a doubt. Because I don’t often interact with customers in my role, meeting the people behind the brands and hearing their stories reinforces just how great it is to make resources that help them grow their brands.
[CR]: I’m looking forward to seeing how much it’s grown since last year. We’re expecting more than double the crowd so we’ve really increased our support capacity this year. The one-on-ones with product experts were really popular last year, so I’m sure people are looking forward to those. More than anything, it’s really cool to meet customers that I’ve talked to regularly in live chat and actually put faces to their names.
"More than anything, it's really cool to meet customers that I've talked to regularly in live chat and actually put faces to their names."
Chris Rignoli, senior product expert at Klaviyo
[KT]: Tell me a little about what you’ll be doing at Klaviyo:BOS.
[AB]: I’ll be emceeing the event, so I’ll be introducing the speakers taking the main stage. I’m really excited to introduce people like Megan Whitman, Kopari Beauty’s chief digital officer, Kara Goldin, Hint’s CEO and founder, Eric Bandholz, CEO of Beardbrand, and Andrew Bialecki, Klaviyo’s CEO. It should be a fun time!
[GF]: I’ll be sitting with customers and having one-on-one conversations like I did last year, but I’ll also be previewing that new help center design I mentioned. People can come over, click through it, give their feedback, and we’ll take that into consideration for the final design phase. It’ll be really fun!
[CR]: I’ll be doing a mix of one-on-one meetings with our customers and working in live chat for our normal day-to-day support. While we have this huge conference going on and so many of our customers will be in one place, they won’t all be there so Klaviyo support still has to be online. Emails will be coming in, chats will be happening, so I’ll do some support work behind the scenes on live chat. And really, I’ll just help out wherever I can. If somebody needs help somewhere else and asks, “Who’s available?” I’ll raise my hand and hop in wherever I can.
"I’ll be emceeing the event [Klaviyo:BOS], so I’ll be introducing the speakers taking the main stage. It should be a fun time! "
Alex Bi, data scientist at Klaviyo
[KT]: Who are some customers you’re most looking forward to connecting with in person?
[AB]: I’m excited to see Michael Altman from Who Gives a Crap. He’s speaking at the event, but he’s also been one of our go-to points of contact for some of our data science experiments. I think he actually might’ve been one of the people who helped us think through the idea for the expected date of next order feature. We’ve helped him with some experiments with customer lifetime value, so I’m excited to see him.
[GF]: I met the people from Naturalicious at our workshop in Chicago earlier this year and they were incredible. They drove something like six hours from Detroit, in the middle of the night, so they could be there early enough for the event. I think they’re coming to Klaivyo:BOS, so I’m excited to see them and catch up if they can make it.
[CR]: Last year at Klaviyo:BOS, I met Lorna Ladd from The Dog Bakery. She noticed I was doing some sleeve work—a tattoo on my arm—and thought it was pretty cool so she asked me to share photos as my progress went on. At one point, she wrote into live chat for support and I actually ended up being the one to take that chat. She asked me how my progress was going, so once we solved her issue I shared a progress photo. It’s really cool to connect with customers on an individual level, so it’d be great to catch up with her again in person.
[KT]: It sounds like you’ll all have a great opportunity to connect with customers next week. Beyond that, how would you like to continue growing in your career at Klaviyo?
[GF]: I’ve loved working on big projects that involve a lot of interdepartmental work. Going forward, I would love to continue working with different groups around the company so we can have a better understanding of who our customers are, how they use Klaviyo, and how to best give them the information they need to own their growth.
[AB]: Right now, I’m happy working as a data scientist so I want to continue to work on new projects, build more data science-based features, and hopefully get better at my work with each project.
[CR]: Well, I’ve been working hard and I’ve been promoted to senior product expert. I’m actually the first senior product expert on the team and it was really cool to be promoted into that role.
Moving forward, I’d like to be in more of a leadership position where I’m a manager and have a team of my own. I really like teaching and helping other people be successful in their careers, so hopefully, my career here at Klaviyo continues to trend in that direction.
I’ve actually been picking up a lot of responsibilities wherever I can to help me move toward this goal. Right now, I help with the hiring pipeline and I manage other departments that come in and do live chat rotations. I help manage the team’s schedule—we rotate in chat and email—and I also help with some of our internal trainings, including those for our new hires. Wherever I can help or pick up some new skills, I try to take on work to push myself further.
Coming to Klaviyo:BOS next week? Learn more about the incredible speakers set to take the stage.
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