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First of all, if you are reading this, I can only relate to how thrilled you must be to kick start this new journey of yours as a Customer Success Manager! Brace yourself, because this is going to be one memorable experience of your professional stint.
While it may have started with ‘guess the customer’s mood today’ on calls initially, to you getting to a place of being your customer's trusted strategic advisor, it’s important to understand some basics to keep in mind if this is your first stint as a CSM.
So, every time sh*t hits the roof, just remember TO BREATHE!
Yes, sometimes, all you will need is a walk in the fresh air and minutes away from your laptop and phone. It works like magic, and you can think of this blog you read somewhere and hopefully, it’d make us both smile wherever we are.
So let’s jump in to see 5 things to keep in mind when starting your journey as a newly appointed CSM.
There is never a silly question and you will not know till you ask. I would also give you the benefit of the doubt and that because you have chosen to be in this role, that you do not hesitate to ask questions. But the slight possibility that you do, let this serve as a reminder for you to develop this skill of asking questions -
I cannot stress enough the importance of first gaining clarity concerning what it is that you are setting out to achieve - be it your product training, demo sign-offs, or your first kick-off call. I say this after much trials and experimentation of being the enthusiastic new kid on the block and wanting to do any and everything all at once. It doesn’t work.
Asking questions is very critical in building your relationship with your customers. Understanding why they chose your product?
Setting realistic timelines after consulting with your clients, to check in and measure progress?
These are of course some very basic examples, but the more comfortable you get in asking questions, you are golden.
Patience and resilience are key attributes of a successful CSM. Understand that building strong customer relationships and becoming a strategic advisor takes time. Be patient with yourself, your team, and your customers.
Your resilience will be tested, but each challenge will present itself with an opportunity to refine your skills and enhance your ability to navigate these difficult conversations.
As cliche as it is, patience is a CSMs superpower and while I may digress into this sounding like a wellness coach, you need to actively take care of how you build patience into your life, not just as a customer-facing professional but also as an individual.
Transitioning from understanding the customer's mood to becoming their strategic advisor is a journey that’s like a roller coaster!
Actively build towards keeping a strategic perspective in mind. Understanding the broader goals and objectives of your customers and how your product or service fits into their overall strategy is an important skill set you’d have to work towards gradually as you get your hands dirty.
This mindset will not only enhance your value to the customer but also position you as a trusted partner in their success, without which there is no Customer Success.
In addition to your product, platform, or service offering that you will learn in-depth about, you must become familiar with the tools that you will be using daily right from the get-go, so that when you start managing a book of accounts, you don’t encounter any hindrances.
Efficient use of all technology, streamlines communication, data analysis, and customer engagement. As a CSM your success is intricately tied to your ability to leverage technology effectively & providing proactive and strategic support to your accounts.
At the risk of sounding like a wellness coach yet again, in the fast-paced world of customer success, it's easy to get caught up in the demands of what this role entails. Regular breaks, time away from screens, and moments of self-reflection contribute to maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Taking care of yourself ensures you can better support your customers.
Customer-facing roles can be very exhausting because you are constantly on the move of engaging: internally with teams and externally with your customers. While we as CSMs love this and multi-tasking, it is very important to also understand where to draw the lines. And sometimes, it is okay to say NO. It’s a skill you develop over time and with practice and I need to mention it here so that at least there is awareness about it.
In conclusion, embarking on your journey as a Customer Success Manager is undoubtedly exciting and challenging at the same time. As you navigate through the initial phases of this role, remember that the little roadblocks that you face are growth opportunities and a testament to you being here in the first place. So don’t forget to give yourself a pat on your back, once in a while or ever so often. I’d leave that up to you and the discovery of how you sail this ship.
Want to know what a day in the life of a CSM looks like? Check out my latest article.
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