The past few months have been ripe with changes, and not just for CSMs. Virtually every single industry and role has been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and, as the weeks turn to months and short-term solutions turn into long-term strategies, companies of all shapes and sizes are starting to fall into a new routine.
For many CSMs, adjusting to the ‘new normal’ requires double the processes. First, CSMs must adjust to new internal processes, workflows, and changes happening within their own organizations and departments. In addition, they must also work to adapt and navigate the changes happening with their customer contacts, departments, and accounts.
If you’re a CSM working directly with customers who are trying to navigate the new normal while still relying on their vendor resources, here are some tips for you to be a better partner:
- Recognize that your customer teams might look slightly different than before. Unfortunately, not every business has come out unscathed by the COVID-19 crisis. Many organizations have suffered layoffs, hiring freezes, and, sadly, loss of staff to the virus. While it is the goal of every CSM to further implementation projects and meet deadlines, now is the time to recognize the emotional stress some of your customers may be under. Staying empathetic, personal, and respectful during this time can ensure your customers feel connected and gracious during this time.
- Don’t let technology stand in the way of getting things done. By now, people (especially those who work for SaaS-based organizations) should be comfortable and familiar with working from home. Depending on your location and your company, it’s more than likely that your team is probably still working from home and may be doing so for the foreseeable future. Your customers are also working from home, which means additional resources, calendars, and technology you need to account for. In order to truly put your customers first and make every single customer interaction valuable, technology cannot be a roadblock in the process. Everything from your video call software to presentation systems to data collection should be meticulously set up to make it easy for customers to use.
- Through it all, your customer goals – and your team goals – are still going to lead the way. It can be incredibly daunting to think about facing the rest of the year after the ups and downs of the last few months. If there is one thing CSMs need to remember, it’s that your customers are your customers for a reason. They are looking to your team to deliver a solution or product for a reason. They still need the value your team has set out to provide, so don’t lose sight of your original goals! Just because you have to pivot to meet specific customer challenges that come up doesn’t mean you can’t complete the tasks you set out to accomplish.
As customer success teams and customers alike start to realize the full impact of the COVID-19 crisis and begin to adjust to a very different future, CSMs will be on the front lines to seamlessly usher customers into this new era. By recognizing that your customers are dealing with the same issues and challenges as your own internal team and understanding that you cannot simply get by with the same strategies as before, you can be a better CSM – and business partner – to your customers during this time.