Modern CSMs working in the SaaS industry wear a lot of hats – and we mean a lot. They’re project managers, act as a liaison between customers and other teams, escalate incidents and issues, keep customers moving forward in their project plans, and are responsible for the general well-being of customer account health. There is no shortage of things to do, which is excellent for providing day-to-day value. However, cultivating long-term relationship value can sometimes get lost in the shuffle of all of these different responsibilities.
CSMs are the voice and source of truth for customers within a vendor organization. To delight and satisfy customers, they must continuously cultivate this relationship – on top of all their other responsibilities.
Here are a few considerations to take into account as you’re looking to build value with customer accounts:
Approach every situation with your customers in mind.
Every day, SaaS organizations make announcements about new product features, issues, alerts, and platform ideas. The best CSMs take in all of this information with their customers in mind. How will this impact their current program? What do they need to know about this corporate announcement? How can you broach this upsell opportunity, and when? Every internal situation should be handled with the customer in mind to ensure the resolution is managed correctly.
Prioritization is critical.
It is easy for things – and customers – to slip through the cracks and ‘go dark with so much going on.’ CSMs need to be diligent about reaching out, even just for a short check-in, to make sure things are running smoothly. This is why we recommend prioritizing customers in a high-touch, low-touch system to ensure you are delivering the right communication experience to the right customers.
Become a partner, not a vendor.
Sure, your customers are investing in your platform and looking for a specific value from your services. This doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t forge an actual human relationship with your customer contacts. Get to know their business, their interests, and their values. Ask personal questions about where they live and their families. This can turn customer check-ins into informal catch-ups, which can work wonders in cultivating long-term value.
Monitor your language and how you present issues.
If you’re successful in forging a personal relationship with customers, it can be tempting to loop them in the second there is an issue or notice that needs to be shared. While it is essential to be transparent with customers, it’s also important to remember that they are not internal team members. Work with your other teams to understand customer-appropriate language for communicating product issues, bugs, and notices.
The bottom line
Customers are the lifeblood of any SaaS organization, and CSMs are tasked with making these relationships run smoothly in all regards. By focusing on long-term relationship building as well as the day-to-day operations of ensuring these customer relationships run smoothly, CSMs can deliver the best of both.
Ready to learn more? Check out these additional ClientSuccess resources: