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CSM from the Trenches: Mentors – Vic Kasoff, Director of Customer Experience, NarrativeDx

For those just joining our blog series CSM from the Trenches, welcome. This series, now a community for frontline Customer Success Managers (CSMs), discusses trends, best practices, and advice that can help the frontline.

Being on the CSM frontline allows us to directly influence the success of our clients. I love that; as our clients are successful, we’re successful. Each day we learn from the trenches what it takes to make clients happy and successful.

CSM from the Trenches Mentor Questions

We recently launched a new segment of the CSM from the Trenches series that focuses on 7 mentor questions for frontline CSMs. The goal is that by sharing our experiences, we’ll be able to learn and apply more practical advice / practices to our Customer Success careers.

Let’s get started with this week’s post!

Location: Austin, Texas
FromVic Kasoff, Director of Customer Experience

Question 1

What is one customer success best practice you’ve applied in the last few months that has had a positive impact on your success in your role? How has it helped you?

With so many priorities being juggled by the CSM team, time management and prioritization are key. I always try to follow a variation 5-minute rule. If a task can be done in 5 minutes, just knock it out. It helps me create a meaningful to-do list, manage my non-stop Inbox, and plan to provide surplus value for my clients.

Question 2

What are one or two things you typically do during the first hour of your day that leads to a productive day?

I keep an early schedule. Arriving in the office around 7 or 7:30, I make sure I first pull up my calendar and plan out the day. If it’s a jam packed day with executive updates, team check-ins, and internal meetings, I know I need to prep for the day. Typically I’ll do the same thing at the end of the day to set myself up for the following day.

Question 3

What are one to three books, blogs, or thought leaders that have greatly influenced your career, and why?

Recently, I’ve read If Disney Ran Your Hospital: 9 1/2 Things You Would Do Differently as I prepare for the Certified Patient Experience Professional exam. Not only is it relevant for putting great patient experience into perspective, but it highlights meaningful tricks Disney uses to ensure a memorable and impactful interaction with clients.

Question 4

How has a failure, or apparent failure, during your time as a CSM set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure”?

When I first started in the customer success world, I had no idea what I was doing. I came in from a different world in engineering with just a few raw skills to help. As I began to grow in my CS career, I leaned on those skills. Communication, project management, and an analytical mind have been critical for my evolution. Leveraging those, I could focus on the areas I could “fail” in develop a rounded set of skills to be successful.

Question 5

What do you find most fulfilling about being a CSM?

Working with clients to not only drive ROI, but help set up the goals and resources needed to be successful. Seeing a plan come to fruition and showcasing the value not only makes our job easier, it also helps our project teams be successful in their organizations.

Question 6

If you had to give one piece of advice to another CSM, what would you say and why?

Be yourself when trying to develop relationships. It can be exhausting to try and have a “work personality” and a “home personality.” Clients are going to appreciate your openness and honesty which will help develop the trust needed to drive success.

Question 7

What is one customer success principle you try to live by?

I try to run towards criticism and opportunity. It’s easy to sit back and rely on past success or easy processes, but anybody can be a good CSM for easy clients. A determined and focused individual can really showcase their value and potential by taking on challenges and constantly striving to be better.


Want to share your mentor advice? Submit your answers here.


Join the ClientSuccess CSM from the Trenches LinkedIn Group: Join Here

Here are other customer success resources:

Customer Success eBooks:

Customer Success as a Culture: Customer Success Leaders Edition

Ultimate Guide to SaaS Customer Success Metrics

Other CSM from the Trenches Posts:

Sam Feil, ClientSuccess – 3 Best Practices that Drive Powerful Customer Experiences (How to Avoid the Dreaded Car Dealership Experience)

Erica Newell, Marketware – 5 LinkedIn Best Practices to Build, Grow, and Improve Client Relationships

Mieke Maes, Intuo – 5 Keys to an Effective Customer Apology

Priscilla Zorrilla, 15Five – Asking the Right Questions to Challenge Customers

SoapBox Team Shout-Out

Learn more about how ClientSuccess can help your company develop a strong customer success methodology and strategy with easy-to-use customer success software by requesting a 30-minute demo.

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