Who and what the brand is, gets determined by the customer’s experience and perspective. And customer experience and perspective gets determined by the employees of the brand. Its a circular relationship.
In this circular relationship, it becomes important to have a team of employees that are dedicated to customer service and satisfaction.
“All of your customers are partners in your mission.” -Shep Hyken
A common misconception is that after the sales, the task has been completed. In truth though, winning the client’s heart and making a sale is just the first step. After this, the business has to keep on proving to the customer that its product is valuable. This is dependent on the team responsible for promoting the products and building customer relationships. It is here that the customer success manager comes into the picture.
But first, let us understand some of the basic terms.
What is Customer Success?
Customer Success is achieved when your customers can get the desired outcomes while using your products and services. It is an effort that the business undertakes to ensure that the customers are connected with their products and services throughout their journey with the company.
It is a long term business strategy that is aimed at retaining the customers, reducing customer churn rate and increasing customer loyalty. Customer Success leads to business success, revenue and growth. This is why a customer success manager role is very important for your business.
Who is a Customer Success Manager?
Customer Success Managers are also known as CSMs. The customer success manager’s focus is on customer loyalty and building long term relationships with the customers. The role of customer success manager is part of the customer service roles. Most often, customer success managers stay with the same customers throughout their employment duration with the business. Customer success managers play a crucial role in customer retention and bringing in
What Does a Customer Success Manager do?
The role of a customer success manager starts when the customers are getting close to agreeing to a deal.
Customer success manager ensure that the customers are satisfied and happy before their purchase up till the full lifetime of the products/services. They bridge the gap between sales and support.
Though the role of customer success manager is quite recent, an annual growth of 34% has been reported. This is because of the growing usage of subscription and consumption-based services.
A customer success manager is not a salesperson or a support agent. He is the person responsible for building a positive image of the level of support to be expected from the business.
A customer success manager helps the customer in seeing what the product/services can do for them. They also help the sales with this demonstration.
A good relationship between the customer and the customer success manager becomes the bargaining and convincing chip for closing deals. Considering this, a customer success manager would be most effectively employed at:
- A product/service which has complex technical requirements
- A high-value product/services
- A product/services which will lead to high revenue in future
Customer success managers are relationship managers that predict customer issues and address them before they become a wildfire. By understanding the requirements of the customers, they can mentor them in a manner that the business's products/services fulfill all their needs.
This leads to an increase in product stickiness for the customer. Consequently, reducing the customer churn rate and increasing the business revenue. Customer success managers, thus, increase customer retention and expand customer accounts.
We would now have a detailed look into the main responsibilities of the customer success manager.
Representative of the Company
Customer success managers work one-on-one with the customers and hence influence the customer base significantly. Customer success managers become the personal advocates of the business explaining to the customers why and how their needs will be met by the business.
These initial meetings between the customer and customer success manager play a major role in determining how the brand is understood. Understanding the brand will also determine whether or not the customers refer it to their friends. A positive customer experience is must for the long-term health of the business.
On-board New Customers
The biggest priorities of the customer success managers are on-boarding. On-boarding of new customers involves educating the customers on how to use the business’ products/services.
While on-boarding, the focus is kept on the features that immediately aim to solve the customer’s problems and needs. This gets the customers hooked to the business products and services immediately, hence reducing customer churn rate.
Following Up on Renewals
Customer success managers are responsible for creating loyal, repeat customers, rather than one time users.
Customer success managers keep a track of the customer’s product expiration dates and take follow-ups to renew their contracts. Following up and renewals are essential for customer retention.
Encouraging Up-selling and Cross-selling
A customer’s lifetime value for the business is increased through up-selling and cross-selling. This is done on the recommendation of the business’ team. Strong relationships between the customers and the customer success managers lead to the customers trusting such recommendations.
Customer success managers recommend premium products and services when they better fulfill the customer’s goals. It is the customer success managers who also explain the benefits of such additional purchases to the customers and hence securing more revenue for the business.
Building Relationships between Customers and Support Team
When a product or service is sold to a customer, it is expected that they will have several questions and need after-sales service.
To ensure the smooth delivery of such services, the customer success manager helps in building a strong relationship between the customers and the support team.
In case of technical issues, minor product problems and business questions, it is the support team that helps the customers. Customer Success Managers also decides whether the customer services should be outsourced or not.
Representative of the Customer
Customer success managers work closely with the customers. This close association leads to the customer success managers knowing the customer’s needs and expectations the most. This is often sourced from customer feedback and demands.
Sharing these insights with the business will lead to the development of a product/service or an upgrade that meets the customer expectations. This leads to high customer satisfaction, higher customer retention and rising revenue for the business.
By sharing these insights, the customer success managers are also giving a voice to the customers which is a must for every business. A customer will continue their deal and come back for more only if they feel heard, represented and looked after.
What Does it Take to be a Good Customer Success Manager?
For a customer success manager to be good, the prime requisites are:
- The customer success manager should have good emotional intelligence.
Good emotional intelligence will ensure that the customer success manager understands and empathizes with the customer’s requirements.
- The customer success manager needs to have good communication skills. A clear, competent voice, with a strong grasp of the language leads to better communication between the customer and the customer success manager.
- The customer success manager should have a good understanding of project management. As a customer success manager who collaborates with 2 teams simultaneously, he should know what information to give and which tasks to assign to whom. This ensures that the customers get what they need and so does the business.
- The customer success manager should have a good understanding of the usage of a particular product or service. This will lead to the customer trusting the customer success manager’s recommendations.
- The customer success manager needs to be proactive. He also needs to be willing to improve the processes such that the customers get their “this is it” moment with the sales team.
- The customer success manager should have strong organizational, presentation and leadership skills. Only then will the customer success managers be able to lead the customer success team.
- The customer success manager also needs to be confident as they would need to control and take fast decisions on several occasions. Based on the information, which can also be limited at that point, they need to be able to convince the customer and the sales team.
- The customer success manager needs to be able to navigate through conflicting situations. They are the problem-solvers and the advocates and during conflicts, they need to be able to solve them in a respectful, professional and empathetic manner.
- The customer success manager needs to have analytical skills and strategic thinking. This will ensure that they can handle vast data every day, identify challenges and opportunities and make the most of both.
- The customer success manager needs to be resilient. It is by being resilient that they will be able to identify the root cause of customer’s problems and find a solution. By doing so, they will be able to please the prospects and secure revenue for the business.
Hence, for an individual to be a successful and efficient customer success manager, he doesn’t need formal training and qualifications. However, the skills mentioned above become the prime qualifying requirements.
It is cloud platforms like Deskera CRM which helps them in carrying out their role of customer success managers.
How does Deskera CRM help the Customer Success Managers?
Deskera CRM is a cloud platform through which the business can manage its sales and support from one platform. It can generate leads through email campaigns and get analytics on the same. It can also close deals and provide after sales support through the same platform.
Deskera CRM pipeline will give the business complete visibility across all stages of the sales pipeline. It will give real-time insights with the inclusion of information like deals won/lost, deal value, deal stage, email conversations and linked contacts. The pipeline can be tailored as per the exact process that the business is undertaking.
Deskera CRM will also aid the business in contact management, allowing easy tracking. This platform also has space where the new deals with their values are added. A winning probability is also shown for each of the deals added.
Considering all these features and services offered by Deskera CRM, it becomes the go-to platform for the customer success manager.
The real-time insights, the progress of the deals and the analytics help the customer success manager to decide his strategies, distribution of work, contacting existing customers, pursuing new leads and ensuring proactive customer support.
A helpdesk for the customers can also be created on this platform. The Deskera CRM dashboard will ensure that all the information including the customer service metrics is ready for the customer success manager on one platform.
For a business to have long term success, having strong relations with its customers becomes a must. It thus becomes essential for the customer success manager to fulfill all of its responsibilities as discussed in detail earlier. These are:
- Representative of the company
- Onboard new customers
- Following up on renewals
- Encouraging up-selling and cross-selling
- Building relationships between customers and support team
- Representative of the customer
To be able to undertake these responsibilities successfully, a customer success manager needs to have:
- Good emotional intelligence
- Good communication skills
- Good understanding of project management
- Good understanding of the usage of a particular product or service
- Be proactive and willing to improve the process
- Strong organisational, presentation and leadership skills
- Be confident
- Be able to navigate through conflicting situations
- Analytical skills and strategic thinking
- Be resilient
Customer success managers are the need of the hour and in the trends persisting right now, rightly so.