What does it take to be a great Customer Success Manager?
Well, you may get a lot of different answers when asking multiple CS professionals. In my “not-so” humble opinion, there are 3 things that truly separate the good CSM’s from the great CSM’s.
If you want to truly excel in CS, you need to implement, what I call, the 3 B’s
- Be Empathetic
- Be Proactive
- Be an outrageously great communicator
Pretty simple, eh? Let’s dive a little deeper.
First off, without empathy, it’s next to impossible to succeed in this career field. Sometimes, this is easier said than done but working on this skill will lead to immeasurable success. Take time to make your contacts more “human” and less “transactional” and it will be time well invested.
“Of all the skills that you can acquire as a CSM, becoming more empathic is probably one of the important that you can develop. Customer Success is known as a “human-first” concept and endeavor. As a CSM, you must reach out beyond yourself and place yourself in your customer’s shoes.”The Customer Success Professional’s Handbook by Ashvin Vaidyanathan and Ruben Rabago
Next is being proactive.
If you haven’t read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, you should read it…right after you’ve finished this article.
Spoiler Alert: The first habit is Be Proactive. So it’s not just important for CSM’s to be proactive, it’s important for everyone to implement this habit in their day-to-day life, regardless of career path!
For a CSM, being proactive means not waiting around for your clients to reach out to you with an issue. And it means actively managing your book of business so that you can identify problems before they happen.
Tedious daily task, emails, meetings, etc. can get in the way of this so it’s important to block out time each day to proactively manage your book of business.
In The Customer Success Professional’s Handbook, chapter 3 is all about the day in the life of an effective CSM. The 2 most important things every CSM should do at the beginning of their day are as follows:
- Check your calendar before doing anything else.
- This will allow you to know what you have going on that day so you can prepare appropriately. Having your critical appointments be top-of-mind is key to proactively preparing for them. It is also an opportunity to reprioritize non-essential meetings.
- Review your proactive to-do list.
- This a list of deferred items from previous days, important date-triggered events such as customer renewals, upcoming business reviews, and anything else that requires your attention today.
So moral of the story, stay on top of your book of business the best you can. It will position you as a Trusted Advisor for your clients, help reduce the risk of churn, and mitigate risk.
And finally, being an outrageously great communicator.
The Gain, Grow, Retain podcast recently came out with a fantastic podcast all about communicating with customers. The hosts, Jeff and Jay, interviewed Kristi Faltorusso. If you know of these three, you know this is basically the holy trinity of Customer Success.
Kristi is the VP of Customer Success at IntelliShift and every month they have a live product webinar that they invite all their clients to. So far, they have seen great success with these webinars and it’s the CSM’s job to follow up with their clients that attended to ensure the client is adopting the product features that were discussed in the webinar.
Listen to the full episode here:
This is one of many effective ways/methods to communicate with clients. Follow up about everything. Their renewal, a product request they had, your previous QBR. Heck, if your previous conversation included some talk about a big game their favorite sports team was about to play, follow up on that.
To reiterate, simple follow up is one of the most effective ways to show your client that you are listening and that you care.
What would you add to this list?