What was your background prior to becoming a CSM? What attracted you to customer success?
Prior to customer success, I had my own startup. My business partner and I attempted to launch a messaging application, but struggled to find the respective funding to compete in that space. When we decided to close the doors to our venture, I knew I wanted to stay in tech and gravitated toward sales in the SaaS space. Customer success presented itself organically and really complimented my strengths and aspirations for genuinely helping customers find the most value and utility in a product.
What does your typical day look like?
This is a great question because it recently shifted. Previously, a large part of my day was spent reacting to a variety of responsibilities. Customer emails, phone calls, calendar reminders...I was reacting to what was most important on a daily basis which worked, but was in need of improvement. Recently I switched to a proactive approach, assigning specific tasks to days of the week (ie. Monday’s focus is churn risks, Tuesday is growth/expansion, Wednesday is customer training, etc.). The task allocation to specific days not only helps organize the week, but helps me focus and do my best work as it relates to those specific tasks.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Something that has been highlighted in the tech space recently is empathy. If you’re a founder, you are connecting profoundly with an issue that you feel driven to solve. If you’re a designer, you look to user experience to define problems and then architect solutions. This all requires sincere empathy for the customer or user, and this is equally important in customer success. I love getting into the most granular topics with our customers, and finding real ways to help solve problems or unlock value that may be overlooked.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Keeping perspective on my own abilities and potential areas of improvement can often take a back seat to the day-to-day. Making sure to allocate time to learn from new departments, try new strategies, and continuing to push my own limits in terms of product and design knowledge is definitely a challenge. It’s absolutely essential to make the time to continue to expand my own skill set, so I can ensure I’m helping drive success with relevant information.
Which team (outside of your own) do you work with most closely, and why?
I wish I could buy our support team cocktails EVERY DAY for the amazing work they do. I’m in constant communication with a variety of support team members (via Slack of course) to ensure customer questions/needs are being addressed. They have literally never let me down. Having a great relationship with support helps to keep me informed on platform updates, as well as minute-by-minute updates on customer tickets. Not to mention, I love sending tons of smiley emoji’s and GIF’s when they jump in to save the day!
What advice would you give someone who is just starting his/her career in customer success?
With the digital age we live in, the constant email interruptions and Slack pings can cause you to lose sight of who you’re trying to help. I always remind myself there is just another person on the other side of my inbox—and to be empathetic. Keep emails short and sweet, and don’t be afraid to jump on a call to dive into the details. If you genuinely make yourself available to help, the customer will absolutely sense that and it makes the whole process that much better.
In our Ask a CSM series, we're talking with some of the industry's leading Customer Success, Education and Training professionals about the ins and outs of their day-to-day. Stay tuned for new Q&As each month!
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