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Welcome to our blog series CSM from the Trenches, a community for frontline Customer Success Managers (CSMs) that discusses trends, best practices, and advice for 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.
This segment of the series focuses on 7 mentor questions for the frontline. The goal is that by sharing our experiences we’ll be able to learn and apply more practical advice / practices to our careers.
Let’s get started with this week’s post!
While I think it's obvious that clear communication is important in customer success, I think that accurate creation of expectation with your customers is of paramount importance. This is particularly true when dealing with a segmented customer base.
Whether you segment by size, growth potential, pricing package or some other method, it's vital to your success that your customers have a clear understanding of the level of customer success that you will deliver to them. I find that this, more than anything, helps to avoid frustration and issues down the road.
I find that my day gets off to the best start if I can begin with some proactive activity. I divide my time into 3 segments:
Out of these three categories the third one is arguably the most important but also the easiest to put off, because I am accountable only to myself to complete it. So I try and start there.
Several years ago I was working in the legal technology space and had a customer where I was not seeing the type of usage that I wanted within our product. My numerous conversations with my primary contact told me that everything was fine, right up until the customer cancelled.
This taught me to always have a healthy skepticism for subjective narrative feedback that is not verified within the data. The downside of building relationships with your customers is that they don’t want to disappoint you or say anything negative. This can lull you into a sense of complacency as you are having good (i.e. pleasant) interactions with them while your tool may not be solving for their needs.
Working in Client Success is fulfilling to me because I derive genuine pleasure from helping others. I thrive on being useful to my customers and get excited by helping them to be successful.
Trust but verify. Talk to your customers and build relationships with them but always verify what they are telling you with data. At the end of the day, the rubber meets the road with the use of your product or service. If they are not using your product to solve for their given problem or use case then they should be deemed at-risk.
My success follows the success of my customers. If I can help my customers be successful with my product or service then I will always find success in my role. It’s really that simple.
Here are other customer success resources:
Customer Success eBooks:
Other CSM from the Trenches Posts:
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.