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Ritika Puri

Ritika Puri

6 Words of Wisdom for Every Customer Success Manager

It’s hard to imagine that we’re halfway through 2020. All of our lives have changed, in a way that we couldn’t imagine, in the blink of an eye. So many customer success teams are under pressure to hit milestones. But we’re also entering a new phase — the second half of the year. The world keeps moving forward, and people in customer-facing roles are in positions to make a positive impact.

Our June 26 Customer Success Community Hour was all about finding inner strength to keep going and stay optimistic. We discussed tactical, tangible ways in which we can all make a bigger impact when it comes to mitigating churn. Here were some tactical highlights from the conversation.

1. Keep your vibes up 🎶

We do our best work when we are in our best moods. That’s why we all put together a special collaborative playlist on Spotify just for customer success teams to help keep you inspired and motivated. Go directly to Spotify or come join us in the community to add a fun song to the rotation. We hope the music brightens your day!

2. Acknowledge your superpowers 💪

Right now, a lot of businesses are struggling with churn. As the global economy becomes more constrained, companies are working hard to bring on new business and retain customers. Now, more than ever, customer success teams are playing an even more important role in company growth.

Some churn is inevitable. With involuntary churn, factors are outside of your control maybe budgets have been slashed and there have been staff reductions. Many businesses are struggling.

But some churn is voluntary. Your customers may not see the value-add of your product, for instance. It’s up to you to make sure that your customer sees the right story.

Your superpower is in your ability to drive product and relationship value, plus highlight positive business outcomes to improve customer retention and growth.

3. Build strategic listening skills👂

Listening to your customers’ needs will help you get ahead of customer churn. An important step that high-performance customer success teams can take is to revisit their ideal customer profile and the “happy path” they take to success. Who are your best customers? What steps should you take to create more of them?

With this perspective, your sales and marketing teams can actively venture out into the market, to find people who would make good long-term customers and you can create and foster an environment that encourages the development of those ideal customers in your current cohort.

This ongoing effort gives your company a more thoughtful, long-term perspective into what an effective acquisition strategy will look like and what the onboarding and steady-state phases of those customers could be.

4. Get ahead of risk ⏳

One effective step that customer success managers can take to easily and quickly identify accounts that are at risk of churning (and take action) is to revisit success plans and customer goals. Have they changed? Are you aware of the updates? With this knowledge, companies can deploy risk mitigation plans to keep the customer. 

We talk about one simple way to assess customer health in the article The Human-First Customer Assessment: Why You Need It & How to Do It. Take a peek if you’re looking to build, simplify, or improve your customer health scoring efforts. 

At its core, an effective risk mitigation plan will align everyone around a central outcome. CSMs will need to team up with others, including executives, cross-functionally, to figure out how to keep that customer on board.

Bringing in more people, and creating a rallying cry, will make organizations stronger and more tightly integrated, overall.

5. Be a champion ✨

One way to reinforce and elevate your value is to learn to see your customers’ worlds through their eyes. As a champion, on the side of your customer, you’ll do wonders for your business’s customer success strategy. You’ll learn your customer’s needs and how they express those needs in their language. Then, then you can tie it all into your messaging.

A great customer success strategy hinges on your ability to champion the customer. One place to start identifying your North Star is to ask the question “What would you like to accomplish this quarter?” So much of your strategic efforts will revolve around supporting the answer to that question. 

6. Offer help ✋

A lot of businesses are struggling, navigating layoffs, furloughs, and uncertainty.

Perhaps your customer success team can offer guidance in these situations. For instance, you could help maintain a program that might otherwise be shut down, during a business restructuring.

Over time, these services have the potential to shape-shift into new lines of business for your company. The way to validate their feasibility and viability is to try.

Need brainstorming support?

Come join our Humans of CS online community and bring your questions to the next Humans of CS Community Hour on July 31st at 12 PM EDT. We’ll open the floor to troubleshooting real-world scenarios at the top of everyone’s mind. Until then, feel free to reach out to us with any questions that might come up. You can think of the community as your extended team.

Contributors Statement

This work was a collaboration between Quala and the Humans of CS community. Ritika Puri was the writer.

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