A company or any business can’t go far without good customer management. The companies that do value customer experience are statistically more successful than those that don’t. The smallest percentage of customer retention can even add significantly to the revenue.
We talked to industry experts to learn what qualities a customer success manager needs to develop in order to get results.
“My tip for becoming a good customer success manager is to practice relational intelligence. CSMs with relational intelligence read expressions and body language of customers, and use it to customize their approach to better suit them. They build better and deeper connections by aligning their methods with customer needs. CSMs can then have different kinds of relationships with customers, for example, task-focused, friendly, or strict business. Having a deeper understanding and the right kind of relationship enables them to better serve customer needs and act as a bridge between them and the company.” (Bradley Stevens)
The Right Engagement Strategy
“Another tip for being a good customer success manager is to find the right engagement strategy for each customer. Every customer has their own unique needs and CSMs need to figure out the correct channel to address these. New customers may need to be met once or twice a week, while old customers who bring good business may only need a monthly meeting. Knowing when and how to meet customers is integral in keeping them satisfied.”
Bradley Stevens, CEO at LLC Formations
Focus on Solutions and not Features
“Many managers will overthink and always try to focus on pointing out issues and features of the product, a successful customer manager will shift their attention to providing solutions. Yes, finding a solution can be the more aggressive approach but in the long run it serves you better in building an honest and trustworthy relationship with the customer.” (Janet Patterson)
Improve Your Technical Prowess
“The main crux of your job focuses on technology and description, so work on improving your technical knowledge and skills in order to be the best available manager to your customers. It is better if you have experience of around 4-5 years in the tech industry as it helps you understand the niches of your current role much better.
Janet Patterson, VP of Marketing Communications for Highway Title Loans and the feature editor of its Lending Blog.
“Nothing can beat the effectiveness of soft skills such as communication skills, controlling your nerves in challenging situations, and great problem-solving skills for this role. You always need to have these because as a Customer Success Manager you’ll be dealing with customers and clients all day, and without effective soft skills, you won’t be able to give customers a great experience. When you listen to them patiently, you’ll be able to come up with a workable solution, and then communicate that solution to them.” (Matt Bigach)
“As a Customer Success Manager, you’re expected to solve problems that customers face every now and then, and this is not possible if you’re not able to empathize with them. Your poor and flawed products or services may hurt them emotionally, and they expect you to understand their sentiments and the situation they’re facing. Without empathy, you won’t be able to feel what they feel, and consequently won’t be able to solve their problems, which is your major duty. So, to become a Customer Success Manager, you need to have empathy first.”
Matt Bigach, Co-founder at Nexus HomeBuyers
Problem Solving and Communication Skills
“A customer success manager’s most prized skills are problem-solving and communication skills. His/Her tasks revolve around making customers or clients happy and satisfied. When a client has an issue, it’s his/her duty to find a workaround to solve the issue. It’s also crucial to have a great relationship with the client through active communication. Even when not asked, giving updates on the status of the services they hired the company for is a good practice. Different tools of communication should also be presented to clients and the customer success manager should adjust depending on the most convenient for the client.”
Michael Humphreys, Founder & CEO Z Grills Australia
Manages the Expectations of Customers
“A customer success manager (CSM) is someone who manages the expectations of customers. They ensure that the desired outcome is achieved after a customer uses a business’s services or products. A skilled CSM extends the lifetime value of a customer by earning their loyalty and nurturing a close relationship with them. Some of the qualities that I look for in a CSM are good organizational skills to be able to maintain relationships with each client. They need to be able to garner trust in each customer by knowing the product or service inside and out, being able to offer appropriate recommendations. They also have to naturally be people-persons, interested in forming relationships and proactively managing customer’s problems.”
Grant Aldrich, the CEO of Online Degree
Consider The Customer’s Experience If They Leave
“When developing our brand’s customer experience program, we need to consider the customer’s experience if they leave. Customer attrition is a natural part of the business. Companies should view attrition as part of a larger customer lifecycle and ecosystem. Think through the continued value of a customer even after they have left. Planning a positive exit is good for the customer and good for business. It doesn’t require large budgets or extraordinary effort to take care of your customers.
“It takes good planning and understanding the long value of positive customer experience – even those who are leaving. Every customer helps pave the way to a company’s success. If we express gratitude even a leaving customer can continue to help the company grow. How a customer is treated when they join is critical. How a customer is treated when they leave is also important. The customer lifecycle is more than in-and-out.”
Jeff Newman, CEO at Mauka Technology
Have a Proactive Role
“Several factors contribute to being an efficient customer success manager, but the most important one would be to take on a proactive role. Identify your customer goals, then create concrete plans to achieve them. Strive to take the lead in the buyer-seller relationship by discreetly guiding your customer into performing your desired outcome. Also, avoid pivoting your efforts to short-term problems. I understand that achieving immediate results can appear tempting, but bear in mind that they fall under a different department. Customer service relies on short-term solutions, while customer success focuses on long-term realization.”
Devin Schumacher, Founder at SERP