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What Does a Customer Success Manager Do?

Blog by Ian Luck
February 14, 2018

The role of the Customer Success Manager can sometimes seem like a jack-of-all-trades and maybe in fact, at times, it is. But the core principle of every Customer Success Manager will always be to make their products invaluable to customers.

Achieving this target then means working with different teams and employing different skill sets. Here we run through what goes into a typical day in the world of Customer Success.

7:00 Start the day with a bang

[caption id="attachment_15289" align="alignright" width="309"]BC5DD62102 A healthy start to the day will give you more energy to tackle the days problems.[/caption]

Take a look at the profiles of other Customer Success managers, and you will pretty quickly start to see a pattern. People in Customer Success, are an active healthy bunch.

For success in any form, means being healthy. A healthy manager means more energy, more brainpower and happier customers. So hit the gym, go for a run or have a healthy breakfast to be the best you can be for the day ahead.

8:45 Beginning the day

The morning is when your brain is at its freshest and most productive; so don’t waste it on remedial tasks. By all means respond to quick customer questions, but don’t waste too much time on this. This opening period should be just reactive, answering easy to answer questions and organizing what is to be done for the day.

The “gurus” have their workday sketched out, so after logging in to your account management tool, plan the day ahead.

9:15 Analysis, dialogue and customer care

Start with reviewing who needs specific attention. Use your CRM alongside customer experience tools and analytics to get an overview of customers. Discover at risk customers that may not be reaching out for help, and potential upsell opportunities. This is not an everyday task but needs to be mentioned because it is a vital part of Customer Success.

[caption id="attachment_15283" align="alignright" width="342"]President Barack Obama talks to Coach Mike Krzyzewski, who led Duke to win the NCAA Men's Division One Basketball Championship, in the Oval Office, April 6, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House. Why spend 15 mins writing an email when it can be said in 1 minute. The phone is easy, efficient and creates a stronger, more personal relationship[/caption]

It’s 6 - 7 times more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to hold onto existing customers. The morning period then should be devoted to contacting customers, both scheduled in advance and those without an appointment that need some help. Don't hesitate to jump on the phone, it is efficient and fast, however some customers may still prefer emails. TIP: Learn for each contact which method of communication they prefer.

Seek solutions to problems in order to retain customers longer, the aim is not to delight customers but reduce the effort a customer must do to resolve a problem. Remember it’s about Customer Lifetime Value, so while things may seem costly now, the longevity of a relationship is where the returns lie.

This period should also be about starting a dialogue with those customers that are coming up for contract renewal, start usually 90 days before.

12:30 Lunch

Take a break. You’re not doing your work or your customers any favors by powering through. TIP: Maybe use this break to flip through your LinkedIn stream and share some like-love with your customers.

1:00 Onboarding

A big part of making customers successful is the first in-app experience a customer has with your product, this sets the tone of the relationship.

This is a mixed process between Sales and Customer Success. Customer Success Managers with their advanced technical product knowledge are critical to onboarding. Sales know how to sell a product, but when it comes to using it, that’s the role of the Customer Success Manager.

[caption id="attachment_15298" align="alignleft" width="325"]confused_customer-e1435736682765.jpg Don't leave customers with more questions than answers.[/caption]

If a customer’s onboarding experience then is confusing, overwhelming or just puts up barriers in one form or another to achieving success, you have a problem.  A poor onboarding process will result in a large drop-off immediately after sign-up and low free trial-to-paid conversion rates. Create onboarding plan or map that will ensure each customer is capable of using your product unassisted and is able derive value from it.

Onboarding is also a point at which companies can gain a fresh perspective about their product. New customers, more than existing, will highlight just how user friendly your tool is, aspects that are not clear, and will have far more queries. Existing customers understand your product too well to notice any “ease of use” problems. This kind of feedback is invaluable information for Product Development.

3:00 Outreach, Roadmap and Product Development

The work you did in your morning analysis session now needs to be put into action. In the morning you dealt with customer queries and problems, but now is the time to contact those “quiet” customers that your metrics say are dissatisfied. Find out what they need and what can be improved to make their use of your product more successful.

The same goes for those customers that are showing great potential with your product. Are they really active with it and giving high quality feedback? With it being 50% easier to upsell existing customers, think of ways that by upgrading their product, it will improve their experience.

A good Customer Success Manager will also be looking to continually tweak or re-evaluate the customer journey map and work with Product Development. This is partly informed by the analysis of how customers are using a product and customer feedback metrics, and is also the result of a Customer Success Manager’s interactions with customers.

For Product Development, the Customer Success Manager is there gateway to understanding what the customer really needs. A close working relationship is needed, where both teams continually communicate to provide the product their customers really need.

5:00 The warm down

You might have customers all over the world and customer emails, support tickets and other forms of request come in at all hours of the day. Use the last 30 minutes of the day, just like the opening of the day. Tackle easy to answer questions and set aside and plan more difficult tasks for the next day.

The day’s end

Head home, enjoy the evening. Your customer’s success also depends on your success.

But for that especially high touch service, make sure to peek at your emails every now and then, and reply to your hottest accounts to provide that lasting impression. This is especially true if you have customers in different time zones, as they might still be at work when you’re at home.

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