What does a Customer Success Manager do?
Ever heard the old adage, “Happy wife, happy life”? Well, the same philosophy applies to your customers. When it comes down to it, a CSM wants to do their best to keep customers happy and, in turn, reduce churn.
This comes down to a few key activities:
Onboarding is one of the most important tasks a CSM will undertake. Their close relationship with customers gives them an advantage in finding the quickest way to value for each client.
This doesn’t mean that CSMs need to take on the entire burden of customer onboarding. Instead, they should focus on the initial first steps to getting a customer to their goals and then hand it off to your Onboarding or Customer Support team.
A great way to take much of the burden of onboarding off of CSMs is by creating an onboarding framework that can be applied broadly across all your customers. From there, this framework can be tweaked and improved upon as needed.
The relationship a CSM has with a customer is often the most important one during the customer lifecycle. It’s not enough for CSMs to simply onboard them and then let other departments take over.
The role of a CSM should instead include Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs) to encourage customers to renew their subscriptions. Even if a customer has been happy and healthy for a long time, this doesn’t mean they will stay that way. Following up will proactively save at-risk customers from churn.
Account Managers aren’t the only ones responsible for upselling and cross-selling to customers. Introducing customers to new products and services is a key way to increase a customer’s lifespan and keep them around longer.
This is another place where having a close relationship with the customer is helpful. Because you’ve already led them to success with an initial product, they already trust you. This, in turn, makes them much more amenable to sign up for subsequent offerings.
Translate and Communicate Customer Sentiment
While other customer success roles also provide access to customer sentiment, no position has quite the overarching reach that a CSM does. Unlike other customer success agents, the CSM has access to the many different streams of incoming customer information.
Using this information is a key part of what a CSM does. By putting this information together to create a complete picture, CSMs are able to translate the data into something legible that other members within the company can use.
Having access to complete customer information and constant interaction with customers puts the CSM in a unique position to advocate effectively for your company. By encouraging a positive outlook among customers, CSMs can influence them to renew their contracts as well as spread the word among their friends and colleagues.
It’s easy for CSMs to get overwhelmed with their workload—as you can see, there’s a lot to do. That’s why it’s important that a CSM is able to identify issues that can be resolved by other team members and refer them accordingly. Otherwise, they can find themselves getting overwhelmed and their own work performance could suffer.
Ideally, the interactions between a CSM will focus on long-term goals and actions. The relationship between a customer and CSM should enable the customer to problem-solve more effectively on their own in the future. In contrast, small problems like technical issues or questions should be directed to other team members or departments.
This doesn’t mean that CSMs should delegate everything. The sign of a great CSM is the ability to roll up their sleeves and get dirty
. Instead, they should be able to recognize when their workload is beginning to affect job performance and take action to correct that.