In today's competitive business landscape, companies strive not only to attract new customers but also to retain and nurture their existing ones.
And in 2023, we know that retention has been the name of the game.
In this pursuit, customer success managers (CSMs) have emerged as invaluable assets.
But, the role of CSMs is still misunderstood by many- sometimes including the company who has hired them in the first place.
Without a clear understanding of their role, the CSM and the customers they serve can feel up a river without a paddle.
And that feeling rocks retention rates, and not in the way we want...
CSMs perform the crucial role of ensuring customer satisfaction, driving adoption, and helping customers achieve tangible value from their products.
That’s a lot of “roles” for one person, but it all falls under the customer success umbrella!
Let’s take a look at how the best CSMs drive customer value.
Customer success starts with building strong relationships.
CSMs act as the primary point of contact between customers and the company, fostering open lines of communication and trust.
Without them, or with a CSM without the proper training and tools, the customer can feel unsupported, and like the big investment they just made wasn’t worth it.
Down the line, this inevitably leads to churn and dissatisfaction.
The right CSM will take the time to understand the unique goals, challenges, and needs of each customer.
By establishing a solid rapport, CSMs lay the foundation for a successful partnership and ensure that customer expectations are effectively managed.
They serve as a bridge between customer needs and product development teams, relaying feedback, feature requests, and pain points.
By ensuring customer voices are heard, CSMs help drive product improvements that align with customer requirements.
Additionally, CSMs actively engage in gathering customer feedback, conducting surveys, and organizing regular check-ins to gauge customer sentiment and ensure their ongoing success.
A critical aspect of customer success is facilitating a smooth onboarding process.
When the handoff from sales to post-sales is rocky, and customers feel like they’re constantly repeating information they’ve already said, it can leave a bad taste in their mouths.
But with a great CSM, they can accurately guide customers through the initial stages of product implementation, providing comprehensive training and support.
They help customers understand the product's features, functionalities, and best practices.
By assisting with adoption, CSMs ensure customers derive maximum value from the product and minimize any potential hurdles.
When CSMs can be proactive and are able to find the best channel of action before the customer asks, they save both themselves and the customer time.
The best CSMs take that approach to monitoring customer progress and identifying areas for improvement.
They keep a watchful eye on customer usage patterns, performance metrics, and key success indicators.
They don’t just ask the customer how they think it’s going. They’re ensuring that they’re getting the full picture of their experience by looking at all of the information made available to them.
By analyzing this data and information, CSMs can provide timely insights and recommendations, helping customers optimize their product utilization.
Moreover, CSMs act as a reliable source of support, addressing any questions or concerns promptly, and ensuring customer satisfaction remains high.
One of the primary responsibilities of CSMs is to help customers achieve their desired outcomes and derive real value from the product.
Every customer has varying goals on what they want from your product- so a one-size-fits-all approach just doesn’t work for customer success.
If CSMs are working off of a basic playbook and failing to customize their approach to each of their accounts, they’re better off doing nothing. The customer just becomes a check on a list.
CSMs should work closely with customers to define their success metrics and develop a roadmap to reach their goals.
They can then provide the proper guidance on how to leverage the product effectively, unlocking hidden potential and finding new opportunities.
By demonstrating the value of the product, CSMs also play a pivotal role in driving customer retention and expansion.
Like we mentioned earlier, to best serve customers, CSMs need a holistic picture of their pain points and what’s to come.
A huge part of that is appropriately using the data their company is already collecting on customers.
We already mentioned that leaning on an overly simple “playbook” of QBRs and email check-ins won’t get CSMs the information they truly need to help their customers be their best.
But, access to data is major. When CSMs are able to leverage things like product usage data, they can get better predictive analytics to work off of.
And when we have accurate aggregations of data, we don’t have to rely on feelings or anecdotes about what the next best step is for us. Data removes the guesswork of what’s really our next best move.
We can simply lean on what is laid out for us, with evidence!
And you don’t have to be a data scientist to leverage the value of data...
CSMs are Integral to the Best Possible Customer Experience
Customer success managers are indispensable in helping customers achieve real value in their products.
Through their expertise, dedication, and focus on building strong relationships, CSMs enable customers to navigate the challenges of implementation, drive adoption, and unlock the full potential of the offerings.
In a world where customer success is paramount, having skilled CSMs can make all the difference between a satisfied customer and a truly successful one.
And of course, skills can be learned. And practiced.
But what can really separate a “skilled” CSM from a great one, is how they can combine the skills they have, and the tools available to them.
One tool that can get CSMs there?
Tingono makes understanding your customer easy.
We’ve made it simple with our AI-powered models to see what customers are likely to churn, where your best opportunities lie, and have included automations and notifications so that CSMs and customers can spend less time guessing, and more time growing.
Curious to make your customer success team even more revenue driven? We want to talk- and show you how we’re doing this.