Customer Success Management is More Than Just Customer Happiness

By June 22, 2016
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There’s a somewhat newer job title popping up all over the tech world and it’s called “Customer Success.”

When I tell my friends that I am Customer Success Manager at EverString I get questions across the board about what exactly I do all day—”what does the job entail?” “so, you make sure people are happy?” Well, friends, colleagues, and peers— let me tell you what this job truly is. And for those of you considering a CSM role, hopefully this gives you a better idea of what you are getting yourself into.

The Standard Responsibilities of a CSM

Yes, one of our high level goals of us CSMs is to ensure customer happiness, but the role stems way beyond just general satisfaction with the product. Every company out there has a different flavor of the CSM role. Traditionally, Customer Success is most comparable to Customer Account Management. There some standard responsibilities of a CSM pretty much across the B2B space to ensure a positive CSM-customer relationship and promote renewals. They are as follows:

• Document and report out on your understanding of the unique account during  the on-boarding process
• Ensure a customer is fully implemented and briefed on how to be successful with your product
• Assume the role as the primary contact after on-boarding hand-off point from prospect to customer
• Build relationships and maintain connections with all contacts engaged in your products at an account
• Host recurring success reviews to understand feedback, needs, and gain trust
• Answer and help with any questions or concerns that come up throughout subscription
• Align customer’s success goals with strategy and product features
• Consult the customer frequently to ensure customer engagement and share best practices
• Maintain customer expectations vs. the reality of product offerings
• Communicate internally regarding customer’s feedback, needs, and wants
• Align with all departments in regards to customer status

Renewals and Upsells

Those of you familiar with the CSM role will notice that one of the main responsibilities not listed is renewals. Let’s talk about that.

In my experience, to have CSMs be overly focused (or worse) compensated based on renewals does not tend to go well for the business. While CSMs should have an intimate understanding of whether or not a customer is likely to churn, often times incorporating compensation into the renewal process creates barriers in the relationship building process.

Think about it, if the CSM is compensated based on renewals, then the person that is supposed to be helping the customer is going to eventually be bombarding the customer to hit a quota. Many organizations choose to not have a quota tied to renewals, or leave this responsibilities in the sales rep’s hands.

When the renewal process delegated to the sales reps, the customers and CSMs alike feel more comfortable fielding calls and opening up to an on-going feedback cycle. This leads to higher usage, greater retention rate, and increased customer promotion of your products. All of this, of course, leads to more revenue and ultimately profit growth.

Are You Considering a CSM Role?

A CSM job can be very rewarding for the right individual. The job is very diverse, covering everything from customer interaction and internal alignment, to consulting and training. It requires an outgoing personality and ability to receive negative customer feedback. It requires that you turn that negative into a positive by finding solutions to any problem.

A majority of your daily time is spent building relationships and helping your customers succeed in their craft, while striving towards company growth! Every day offers a new experience. You get to work with all kinds of people. You get to be creative in solving problems. You get a working knowledge of all departments in your company. You learn a lot…not only from peers, but from customers alike.

Customer Success Management can be an extremely gratifying career path, so if this sounds like you, do your research and consider getting into the field!

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