How to Make Customer Success Managers Successful?

Customer Success Managers
Most companies today are dedicated to designing elevated customer experiences to propel their company forward. Owing to this, we have witnessed the rise of the customer success teams…teams that are committed to helping customers achieve their desired outcomes from the products or services they purchase. But why has the customer success team become so important? The answer lies in some data: Given these numbers, it is hardly a surprise that most organizations have customer success teams in place to guide their customers to value as fast as possible. The caveat here is that customer success is still a very fragmented experience because of which, many times, it fails to deliver the desired results. Here’s what we feel organizations need to do to make their customer success managers successful.

Deliverance from a fragmented universe

While organizations have a dedicated customer success team in place, they often forget that along with this team there are several other contributors to success. All the product stakeholders, the product team, the finance and marketing team, the training team etc. play a critical role in creating that ‘aha’ moment in the customer journey. Customer success teams have to often oscillate between one team and the other to gather customer data, identify customer issues and resolve their pain points to deliver the promised experiences. The focus thus shifts from the customer to the data gathering. And the gratification delivered to the customer is often delayed. Delayed gratification is, in today’s economy, as good as no gratification as the customer is used to highly intuitive experiences. Customer success teams have to have access to all information and interactions related to the customer. They cannot be spending time accessing and asking for customer data. Gaining a comprehensive 360-degree view of the customer and the manner in which she interacts with the product, therefore, becomes essential for proactive monitoring and success.

Customer success cannot be reactive

Did you know that 79% of customers would willingly take their business to competition within a week of experiencing poor customer service? Also, a company can lose 50% of its customer base during its first year alone to churn owing to poor onboarding. And given that it costs 5 to 25% less to keep an existing customer than to get a new one, these numbers can certainly not be ignored. Customer success teams often have to take a reactive approach to customer engagement and management. In the absence of proactive data, these teams are not able to identify the customer pain points when the customer experiences them. The customer raises an issue and the team jumps to resolves it. Often, they resolve this issue in an impressive time frame. However, what about those customers who do not raise issues? What if they do not intimate the company of the challenges they are facing or the product improvements they want? Customer success has to, therefore, move out of the product to drive loyalty. The customer success teams have to be armed with the right customer insights, at the right time to help them understand how and why the product will benefit them. Embedding emotion analytics, or sentiment and behavior analytics into the product helps in expanding the customer journey positively. With data, customer success teams can proactively identify the challenges customers face and provide a solution even before an issue has been raised.

Pay attention to the silent ones

The customers who complain get attention. The customers who are low-touch also get attention. But what about those who quietly use your product actively, don’t complain and are generally passive in replying to surveys etc.? This customer base often lies ignored and can jump off the wagon at any given time. Customer success teams clearly have a tall order chalked out for them. They need to ensure that ‘all’ customers see the value and reach that ‘aha’ moment in their product journey. ‘No one left behind’ has to be the motto of the customer success team. And while this is easy to say, it can be difficult to deliver. Access to current customer data and usage insights, a 360-degree view of the customer, information on customer drop off points, analytics, customer sentiment, and behavior etc. helps customer success teams interact with these silent customers who seem happy but can potentially jump ship at any time.

Streamline the information framework

Finally, for customer success teams to be successful, the information framework has to be proactive and streamlined. The dependencies have to be reduced. Information exchange with the customer has to be highly personalized and contextual. For this, these teams need to have the bandwidth to not only push the content created by marketing teams that are relevant to the customer, but also be able to create content from existing company resources to resolve and enable customers closer to where work happens. Professor Theodore Levitt, former professor of Harvard Business School, said, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!” It is up to the organization to understand that the product is just a means to an end for the customer. But it is the customer success managers who make it a great deal more. It is only fair that this team gets access to all the right resources to make that happen.