It is easy to say that getting clients is a cakewalk, but the work involved is significant. Getting onboarded as a customer can often feel like climbing a ladder in the dark—you know there’s the next step, but not where it is. Here comes the customer success manager with a flashlight to assist the customers onboarding to your product.
The prediction is that by 2023, there will be a greater shift toward AI-driven experiences and user engagement. Customer success will be heavily reliant on technology providers’ ability to deliver customer loyalty in more personalized, engaging, and contextually relevant experiences.
In the times like overnight success of Chatgpt, customer success managers may react stronger than before, the hardest challenge of CSM’s work is to solve problems even before they arise. CSMs need to redesign the process to understand how we are providing value– and if we truly are.
Before we talk about the key responsibilities of a customer success manager, let’s understand more about customer success managers.
What is a customer success manager?
A customer success manager (CSM) is a professional who helps customers achieve their desired outcomes and maximize the value of their product or service by providing guidance, support, and identifying opportunities for improvement. The goal of a CSM is to ensure customer satisfaction and success with the product or service.
Have you ever gone out to eat in a fancy restaurant & overwhelmed with the cuisine, and couldn’t decide what to eat, this is how a customer success manager is in the picture. Success members help to accompany customers at each touch points to support the customers.
What is Customer Success with an example?
Customer success is like a gardener tending to a beautiful garden. Just as a gardener nurtures and cares for their plants, customer success professionals work to cultivate and nurture relationships with their customers, helping them to grow and thrive.
Just as a gardener must continually assess and address the needs of their plants, customer success professionals must also continuously assess and address the needs of their customers, ensuring they have the resources and support they need to succeed.
More important for the customer success team is to have a customer success mindset.
Now let’s jump to the second half of the blog which is the challenges of a customer success manager.
Here are seven challenges that customer success managers (CSMs) may face early on in their careers and some suggestions on how to tackle them:
1. Understanding the product and industry: As a CSM, it is important to have a deep understanding of the product you are supporting and the industry in which it operates. This will help you provide valuable insights and solutions to your customers. One way to gain this understanding is to spend time learning about the product and industry through product demos, training sessions, and industry research.
2. Building relationships with customers: CSMs need to establish strong relationships with their customers in order to understand their needs and help them achieve their goals. This can be challenging, especially when working with difficult or unhappy customers. To build strong relationships, try to be empathetic and understanding, and always be willing to listen and help.
3. Managing customer expectations: It is important for CSMs to manage customer expectations and ensure that they are realistic and aligned with the capabilities of the product. This can be challenging when customers have high expectations or are unsure of what to expect. To manage expectations, it is important to communicate clearly and transparently and to set clear goals and timelines.
4. Resolving customer issues and complaints: CSMs will inevitably encounter customer issues and complaints. It is important to handle these issues quickly and effectively to maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty. To resolve issues, try to gather as much information as possible, be empathetic and understanding, and work with other teams (e.g. engineering or support) to find a solution.
5. Balancing multiple priorities: CSMs often have a lot on their plate, with multiple customers and projects to manage at the same time. It is important to prioritize tasks and allocate time effectively in order to deliver results for all of your customers. One way to do this is to create a schedule or to-do list and regularly review and adjust it as needed.
6. Staying up-to-date with industry trends and changes: The customer success field is constantly evolving, and it is important for CSMs to stay up-to-date with industry trends and changes in order to provide the best possible service to their customers. This can be achieved through continuous learning, such as attending industry conferences or taking online courses.
7. Measuring and demonstrating customer success: As a CSM, it is important to be able to measure and demonstrate the success of your customers. This can be done through metrics such as customer retention, renewal rates, and customer satisfaction scores. It is also important to regularly communicate and report on these metrics to stakeholders, such as the customer and your team.
3 key responsibilities of a customer success manager
1. Onboarding and training
According to a survey conducted by the Customer Success Association, the top three areas where customer success teams add the most value are onboarding and training (72%), customer advocacy (69%), and account management (68%).
A customer success manager is responsible for helping new customers get up and running with the company’s products or services. This might involve providing training and support to help customers understand how to use the products effectively, as well as identifying any potential roadblocks or challenges that customers might encounter.
2. Account management
Another survey by the Customer Success Association found that companies with a strong customer success function saw an average increase in customer retention of 23%.
A study by Gainsight found that companies with a customer success function saw an average increase in the customer lifetime value of 41% A CSM is often responsible for managing relationships with key accounts and ensuring that customers are getting the most value possible from the company’s products or services. This might involve tracking customer usage and engagement, identifying opportunities for upsell or cross-sell, and working with customers to address any issues or concerns they may have
3. Customer advocacy
A customer success manager is often seen as the voice of the customer within the company, and is responsible for advocating on behalf of customers to ensure that their needs and concerns are heard and addressed. This might involve working with different teams within the company, such as product development or support, to ensure that customers are receiving the best possible experience.
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Customer expectations can be thought of as the “wish list” that customers have for their interactions with a company. Just like how a child might make a list of presents they hope to receive for their birthday, customers have a list of things they hope to receive from the companies they do business with.
This “wish list” might include things like
- Convenience: Customers want the process of purchasing and interacting with a company to be easy and efficient.
- Personalization: Customers want to feel like they are valued and that the company understands their unique needs and preferences.
- Value: Customers want to feel like they are getting a good deal and that the product or service they are purchasing is worth their money.
- Transparency: Customers want to know what they are getting and how the company operates.
- Accountability: Customers want to know that the company will take responsibility if something goes wrong and will work to fix any issues.
- Social responsibility: Customers increasingly want to do business with companies that prioritize sustainability and social impact in their operations.
By understanding and meeting customer expectations, companies can build trust, loyalty, and satisfaction with their customers.