CSM from the Trenches – 4 Ways to Bring Value to Customer Engagement

March 4, 2016

Sam Feil

Customer Success Manager

For those just joining my blog series CSM from the Trenches, welcome. In this series I discuss trends, best practices, and advice for frontline customer success managers. You can read my last post here.

Being on the CSM frontline allows me to directly influence the success of my clients. I love that; as my clients are successful, I’m successful. Each day I learn from the trenches what it takes to make clients happy and successful. Let’s move forward with this week’s blog post!

Be Prepared for Each Customer Engagement

When it comes to SaaS, keeping clients engaged and actively progressing through their “lifecycle” can sometimes be a challenge. For this reason, it’s important to come prepared for each engagement; successful customer management requires desire and action.

I’ve learned that as I prepare for appointments (whether they be on-site or via conference call), having a plan or agenda enables me to help others make and keep commitments, remain focused, achieve goals, and become successful. Even if it’s a last-minute plan, this helps heading into an engagement.

However, an agenda won’t tell you everything to say or how to say it. Instead, customer success managers are responsible to thoroughly understand their clients and coach them according to their needs; effective CSMs are always working to improve their knowledge and abilities.

4 Ways to Bring Value to Customer Engagement

In order to make each touch and engagement meaningful, I focus on these best practices:

1. Organize and Summarize a Customer Plan

To help me prepare for an effective engagement, I try to organize and summarize what I will talk about into some sort of agenda or plan. Keeping it focused is key, enhancing each conversation with client-specific questions and examples. Strive for simplicity; leverage experience.

2. Focus on Customer Needs

I always adjust my approach to meet the needs of each client. As I prepare for an engagement, I try to review and refine these adjustments.

3. Prepare to Answer Customer Questions

As a CSM, we hear many questions. I try to record these questions and follow-up with answers. If I don’t the know answer, I ask appropriate co-workers to point me in the right direction. I keep track of frequently-asked questions and their answers for future reference.

4. Review and Evaluate the Engagement

After every engagement, I evaluate how well it went. Did I bring value to the engagement, if so, how? Did I focus on their needs? Did I leave my client with some sort of commitment for follow-up? Did I properly address their questions? Did I use effective questions? Based on my performance, I adjust in order to improve.

These 4 things will help you bring more valuable as a customer success manager to each engagement. I look forward to sharing more best practices, advice, and learning from the CSM trenches.

If you missed my last “CSM from the Trenches” post, here it is:

5 Habits to Become a Proactive Customer Success Manager

Check out our eBooks below for more customer success best practices and advice:

Customer Success as a Culture: Product Leaders Edition

Customer Success as a Culture: Marketing Leaders Edition   

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 by requesting a 30-minute demo.

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