Customer Success Manager: The Definition, Responsibilities, and Necessary Skills
Customer success is a business model that ensures all customers achieve the desired result from your business or product. This helps ensure that the customer is satisfied with your business, staying loyal and not leaving you for a competitor. Customer success can also encourage customers to promote your business.
The customer success aspect should always be the focus in any business to ensure that all concerned parties are involved. It is hard to keep track of all the metrics that need to be monitored and analysed to improve your customers’ requirements in a growing business. But how does one help with customer success in a growing business when there are so many other concerns? The answer is simple. You hire a customer success manager.
Who Is a Customer Success Manager?
A customer success manager is someone who focuses on improving the customer success of an organisation by ensuring that the customer has a positive experience with the product. They help improve brand loyalty and offer extensive care of the customers’ needs.
A customer success manager dedicates themselves to forming a relationship between the customer and your business. They make sure that customer success grows as the business grows, allowing for mutual growth. To build that relationship, a customer success manager does various tasks. These tasks all contribute to improving the customer experience.
Responsibilities of a Customer Success Manager
As mentioned earlier, each responsibility contributes to strengthening the customer experience. The following are the responsibilities of a customer success manager.
Build Brand Advocates
The customer success manager must help customers understand how your business or your product can be of use to work for them and solve their problems.
The customer success manager should be able to go beyond just explaining the product and its features to the customers. They should be able to build potential advocates for the brand that encourage customers who are satisfied with your products to promote them and refer to them with their friends.
There is no better way to use word of mouth than if it is generated from an existing happy customer. These customers bring in more customers by recommending your products and services.
Encourage a Product Upgrade
A product usually has multiple levels of features designed to cater to the needs of many different customers and their requirements. While this is a good plan, there might be certain customers who might show restraint with your product and would settle for just using the basic plan.
In such cases, the customer success manager should pitch in and understand the customer’s reluctance to evaluate their upgrade plan. They should build a relationship with the customer and help the customer understand the plans, explaining how the upgrade plans could be the best fit for them. This helps to make sure that the customer also has their needs satisfied and the revenue of your business also increases. It is important to note that an upgrade should not be talked up and sold if the upgrade does not offer any benefit to the customer. The upgrade should be mutually beneficial.
Onboarding New Clients/Customers
One of the essential responsibilities of the customer success manager is the need to be active with onboarding new clients/customers to the business. The onboarding process should involve:
- Making a demo of the product.
- Helping customers understand the requirements of their business.
- Explaining the plans of the products.
- Other tasks related to offering an excellent experience to new clients/customers who are not familiar with your business or product.
Explaining and helping the customer understand your product is a job half done. A good customer experience starts right from the onboarding process.
Understand the Customer’s Needs
As the name suggests, a customer success manager should be focused on the customer side of the business, which includes walking in the shoes of the customers and understanding how they perceive the product. Customer success managers should always be keen on understanding the customer’s needs and making sure that they are heard.
They should focus on improving the experience created by the product by considering the customer’s needs. They should answer customers’ queries and make sure that they are met. It is the role of the customer success manager to get feedback from customers and pass it on to the company to fix changes and improve the customer experiences.
Build Trust with the Customers
The basic building block of any relationship is trust. It is the same with customers and your business. Establishing trust between the customers and your business will ensure that they will have the right amount of patience to tolerate mishappenings and offer you a chance to fix them.
The customer relationship manager is responsible for projecting your business so that customers can easily trust them. To help customers trust your company or product, you will need to ensure that they do not have a bad experience using them. Meaning, you have only to make the actual pitches. Always staying honest with the customers will help you increase their trust. The customer success manager makes sure that there is no distrust between the product and your organisation.
Handle Account Escalations
Certain customers can face problems with your product and might want to deal with someone with a proper understanding of it and have complete mastery over it.
The customer might be having a minor issue or something that has the potential to bring loss to their business. The customer success manager is responsible for handling such problems and ensuring that they do not negatively affect the customer experience.
They might face a situation where they have to go through multiple customer issues and queries. It is best to prioritise them and handle them based on the threat level. Customer success managers should put out any small and manageable fires before they grow and harm the customers.
Periodically Check Customer Health
To better understand the customers and their level of loyalty towards the product, the customer health score is allocated to each customer. This is done to find and focus on the customers with bad health scores to ensure that they get the proper care required before they churn. Meanwhile, the customers with average health are targeted to make an upgrade whenever necessary to try to convert them into advocates of the brand.
The customer success manager should conduct various questionnaires and update the customers’ feedback to get their new health score. In doing so, the customer success manager should understand the overall customer base of your business and come up with a strategy to address any concerns.
The Necessary Skills for a Customer Success Manager
As a customer relationship manager, certain skills go with the nature of the job and help them manage every aspect of their duties. The following are the necessary skills that a customer success manager should have:
This goes without saying. A customer success manager needs to build trust with the customers. They need to have exceptional communication skills to handle customers and the customer support team.
Building relationships is a skill that anyone running a business must possess. They need to bring in new customers, satisfy their needs, and make sure that they trust the brand. Customer success managers build relationships and maintain them to create a profitable business.
A customer success manager has to have the natural confidence required to have a healthy conversation with customers. They must possess enough confidence to convince customers to invest in the product. This can only be gained when they have enough knowledge about the product and continuous customer management training.
Customers’ experience is the topmost priority for the customer success manager. In such a case, they should be able to see themselves in the customer’s place and understand their needs. They should be empathetic towards the customer and know how they feel even before the customers can communicate it with them.
Putting out fires and handling issues as they come in is the routine of a customer success manager. In such a case, they have to address multiple problems and solve them each with the goal of the customer’s happiness in mind. Being a strategic thinker helps the customer success manager to handle problems and come up with solutions that also benefit the business.
The customers are not supposed to have the workings of your platform figured out with a product-based service. Customers usually belong to various demographics, and they might all learn the platform at multiple speeds. The customer success manager should be patient enough to deal with customers repeatedly asking the same questions. They must be an excellent teacher to understand the customer’s queries and sort them out.
The customers go to customer support with their issues and problems. At times, the situation might escalate. The customer success manager should always be an active listener and ensure that the customer feels validated when they come with problems to solve.
The customer success manager will have access to various metrics that offer insights into the customers. As mentioned earlier, the customer success manager has to put out flames as they come in. They need to possess time management skills that help them handle multiple issues and make the best use of their time. It is also important to note that the longer a problem takes to resolve, the more negative the customer experience.
The customer may not be aware that a customer success manager has multiple projects that run parallel. They want to get their issues resolved as quickly as possible. Handling various projects, ensuring that none of them miss any crucial deadlines, and delegating the work are necessary skills.
Upselling and Cross-selling
The customer may not be aware of upgrading the product or the premium features that may make solving their issues easier. The customer success manager, understanding the customer’s needs, should also be able to make a sales pitch of the features that would be helpful for the customer. They should be able to do it so that they sound confident and know the customer and the product or a feature they are pitching.
The customer success manager should have a close relationship with the customer support team. They might have to instruct the customer support team on an issue. To do that, they should not be aggressive in the way they communicate. Instead, they should be assertive and make sure that the instructions are passed in a proper manner.
A customer success manager would need to access various data to ensure that they are moving on the right path and tracking the right metrics. They have various customer health metrics to track. It is necessary that they can interpret the data and plan the customer success strategy based on it. As a customer success manager, analytical skills are necessary to make such assessments on their own.
A customer success manager is important for any business. It is better to have someone especially fulfilling the duties that make the customer experience positive. In order to stay competitive in the job market, customers are the key. If customers are satisfied with your product and have trust in your brand, they would be loyal, which could reduce the churn rate of your business.
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