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Too often Customer Success Managers (CSMs) can get swept up in the day-to-day grind of activation questions, project management, and renewal processes. It can be easy to lose sight of the original goal at the heart of your role: to create successful customers. And at the end of the day, your most successful customers are the ones who trust you, your recommendations, and your services.
Building a culture of trust and value is something that CSMs must be aware of and work towards every day. Even the smallest of customer interactions can be used to solidify your relationship and reinforce this value.
The customer always comes first, but this doesn’t mean they’re always right. Use your experience and training to help shape customer decisions to better fit their needs. Even the little daily decisions you make should be prefaced with the question “How will this help my customers?” Think of how you would respond as a customer. People just feel better when their needs are taken care of.
This is also a good way to get back on track in case you ever get bogged down with competing priorities. It’s easy to think that people don’t notice when you’ve ‘forgotten’ them a little, but trust us - they do. Your customers will not only trust you more but will fully realize the significant role you play in their day-to-day happiness and well-being.
If a customer ever reaches out with a question, comment, or issue, follow up as quickly as possible. This not only shows customers that you are aware of their needs, but it reinforces the overarching theme of putting the customer first. And don’t worry, even veteran CSMs can get a little squeamish when sending bad news or a negative answer to customers. It’s important to remember to keep your tone confident, your message straightforward, and present multiple solutions. Your customers understand that issues occur and they will appreciate you even more for being straightforward with them.
Keep in mind that not following up in a timely manner not only reflects poorly on you from a professional standpoint but it can also really annoy your customer. And annoyed or irritated customers are less likely to engage in renewal or growth discussions, no matter how many times you reach out.
This one is extremely important when it comes to building a true value-based relationship with customers. They are paying top dollar for your product, and they deserve to know if there are any issues or setbacks - especially if there is critical data housed in your system. It can be hard to divulge product setbacks or roadblocks to customers, but just remember that customer trust is a two-way street. You should be able to trust your clients to work with you through issues. Plus, reinforcing this relationship of trust will make it easier for customers to come to you with questions, hesitations, and - the holy grail of CSM conversations - testimonials and praise.
Did one of your customer advocates just have a baby? Is a project manager’s son or daughter graduating from high school? Knowing your customers goes beyond the confines of the office. It means knowing the big events that are shaping their daily life. Sending a flower arrangement after the loss of a parent or a congratulations card after the birth of a child can make a huge difference in your relationship and solidify you and your team as a true provider of value for this customer. And always remember holiday gifts are a must for any discerning CSM team.
This is important across the entire company but especially so when it comes to the CSM role. Sales may sell a certain feature or product may hint at certain updates, but never promise your customers anything you know you won’t be able to deliver. This includes agreeing on deadlines that you know will be impossible to hit.
Your customers are smart people. They will know when you are lying or when you are covering something up. CSMs interact so regularly with customers and help them through so many issues that it can be easy to want to tell them anything just to appease them. But just remember that every interaction reflects back on you as a person and your company as an organization, and every lie is just another loss of trust for both.6
Born in the same vein as ensuring the customer is always first, working towards the critical goals and KPIs of your customers is key. Yes, your main goal may be a fast and painless activation or large renewal, but your customer might not always be in line with that. Working towards their critical goals and KPIs reinforces the feeling that you are working for their best interests and helps solidify this trust and relationship value.
Check out some resources below for more customer success best practices and insights for how you can build value in your daily CSM role
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.