How do I increase customer retention? It’s one of our most frequently asked questions. Although the answer is multilayered and complex, one of the essential building blocks to answering it includes Customer Success Managers (CSM).
A career field that barely existed five or so years ago, CSMs make up ground zero for all CS functions — that includes keeping customers. And as C-level decision-makers work to understand the significance of CS in their business models, the need for CSMs continues to climb.
Now, you might be asking the very same questions C-suite has to ask once they embrace the need for CS and therefore CSMs. Chief among them is what qualities define an ideal CSM and what are Customer Success best practices. That’s why we’ve developed a top three list of our must-haves.
The top three traits of an awesome CSM
#1. Ownership: They own customer successes… and failures
When issues pop up, awesome CSMs don’t pass the buck. They own it and they troubleshoot it without losing focus on their mission to turn customers into brand advocates.
#2. Perspective: They understand what customers need to be successful
Awesome CSMs know where potential hurdles lie in wait. Customers expect and need help with training, integration, troubleshooting and, most of all, improved performance. They want answers — how do we reduce time spent on X, lower costs on Y, gain greater insight on Z. Reactive, shortsighted CSMs miss the bigger opportunity to be proactive and make their customers look good… like rock star-level good.
#3. Goal-oriented: Successful customer outcomes > happy customers
Of course awesome CSMs want “happy” customers, but they know there’s more to actually keeping a customer. That’s why their end goal is a happy AND successful customer who has their benchmarks met and exceeded because of their CSM.
So where do I find these unicorn CSMs?
All of this is well and good, but what you might be asking now — especially if you’re an HR specialist or recruiter who has the unenviable task of trying to find top-level talent in a small, still growing pool — is how do I find CSM candidates with all of this awesomeness?!
Well, you can vet out that pool trying to find the proverbial diamond in the rough. Alternatively, you can outsource your Customer Success.
Yes, outsource it.
Companies like ESG have done the heavy lifting for you. We understand the nature of the CSM role and creating clear and practical best practices for it. We’ve developed the role of Virtual Customer Success Managers (vCSMs) — trained professionals who engage with customers to help them better understand and utilize the full capabilities and features of your products, while helping your business achieve your desired outcomes.
You should know, though, outsourcing CS roles does so much more than just reducing hiring headaches. It also:
- Mitigates budget risks
- Guarantees maximum productivity
- Ensures enhanced customer relationships
- Improves everyone’s ROI
- Increases customer retention
So what? I already have a CS team full of superstars.
If your company is one of the lucky few to have a CS staff possessing those must-have traits, we often find that still isn’t enough to fully service your customers.
Teams tend to be too small to cover 100 percent of their customers. The coverage breakdown usually goes to the top 20 percent because they’re generating the bulk of the revenue. However, that leaves 80 percent of the customer base out in the cold. That’s where companies like ESG come in to augment your existing team. We work within that 80 percent to uncover missed opportunities and lost revenue potential.
Don’t try to build everything from scratch. As they say, don’t reinvent the wheel. And if you’re wondering what other traits make up successful CSMs, take a look at our latest white paper, The 10 Simple Traits of an Awesome CSM.