What is a Customer Success Manager?
If you are in the process of hiring a vendor, technology provider, or business service partner, your comparison should go beyond features, benefits, and price. Think about the implementation and day-to-day support. This is where customer success managers can make a big difference. So, what is a customer success manager?
One of the key components to building long-term relationships with new clients is a dedicated customer success team. Their value is in the name: customer success. They are involved in all stages of a customer life cycle or customer journey.
What is a Customer Success Manager?
A customer success manager (CSM) is your client’s personal connection with your company and brand. A CSM’s customer-facing role is to build strong relationships and ensure that the client maximizes the value of your product or service. They work towards not only customer satisfaction but also long-time customer loyalty.
The most productive customer support teams combine the skills of account manager, customer service, help desk, trainer, and business consultant all in one role. A proactive approach to customer success management can significantly contribute to your company’s bottom line through customer retention, cross-selling, and upselling.
Responsibilities of a Customer Success Manager
Helping new clients gain "hit the ground running” is one of the best practices of a good customer success manager. Onboarding should focus on the key features or products tied to the customer's needs and goals. It’s also important to educate clients on any value-added resources your company offers. These tools help our clients launch their training solutions and maintain momentum post-launch.
Beyond implementation, they strive to fully understand customer needs and provide ongoing training on any features, functionality, reporting, etc. Training topics will evolve as the client’s expertise with your service evolves and their needs change or as new functionality is required.
A successful customer success manager will work to gain an in-depth understanding of the client’s existing needs or challenges. They will also look for opportunities to add value and share best practices. There are times when companies only utilize a fraction of the services they are paying for. The CSM can work to ensure they are leveraging services effectively and realizing the full value of the solution.
Voice of the Customer
One of the most important tasks of a successful CSM as the primary point of contact is to be the customer advocate. To listen to customer feedback and communicate with the proper internal departments. Is a certain solution consistently failing? Is there a new feature that multiple clients are requesting? Your customer advocates may be the key to future innovations that help your company.
The role of a CSM also includes administrative tasks. The CSM works closely with new business acquisition, support, billing, and other technical teams to ensure exceptional customer experience and quickly resolve any customer issues.
What Qualities Does a CSM Need?
A customer success specialist requires a variety of soft skills to be successful. Here are a few of the top skills that support the best customer experience:
- Adaptability: To handle a wide variety of questions and requests.
- Interpersonal Skills: To successfully work with different personalities and technical skill sets.
- Empathy: To be able to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and understand how the change process may feel intimidating or overwhelming.
- Relationship building: A CSM may be the single point of contact for a client. The entire account and the revenue that comes with it rely on the CSM’s ability to be a trusted advisor and provide a positive experience.
HSI is Proud of our Customer Success Managers
One of HSI’s core values for all employees is customer focus. Our customer success managers play a vital role. They are dedicated to building strong customer relationships and delivering customer-centric solutions. You can measure their effectiveness with customer retention through a net renewal rate of over 100%. This demonstrates their ability to not only renew and retain customer contracts but also identify additional opportunities to expand and grow the contract.
If you are comparing vendors, ask about their client churn rate. This will be an indicator of the level of service and whether they satisfy the customer’s needs. In the training industry, you may find that the support team members are called account managers or learning consultants.