Did you ever think about how the Client Success Manager brings value to your company?
We always talk about putting the user first when we discuss projects with our clients. This explains the vision which needs to be employed when creating software, otherwise - who’s going to use it?
When discussing Client Success Management, it is important to take a step back and realize that your CSM team is directly involved with your clients.
Is this essential in any customer-facing business?
Yes, it is of the utmost importance to make sure that you’re focusing on the real users of your service or product.
Being an active listener, in all areas of your business, is a quality which many successful organizations practices, via their CSM teams.
One of the biggest value adds we hear about, from our clients, is their dedicated CSM. Therefore the worth of a CSM team is real because they not only add that essential human touch to the relationship, but they can also listen and highlight important points in your client relationship/journey. Thus allowing the business to better understand the client lifecycle, make data-driven decisions, and ultimately bring essential improvements to the product/service offering.
Active collaboration between the CSM and the client is a goal, however, it is not easy to achieve, because… Well, at the end of the day we are all human, and we are all busy, and we don’t always check emails and meetings can be quite boring and so on.
So how does this goal become something attainable, how can we ensure we make it happen?
To be able to form a long-lasting relationship with your clients, drive customer retention, create a fantastic experience and ultimately deliver excellent software, you need to really empower your CSM team with the right resources and tools, to be able to work successfully.
The tools are only the end results, however, the main goal is to create a business mindset that puts the client first. You are really setting yourself up for success by actively engaging with your clients and understanding the 4 basic questions that should form your strategy:
- What problem(s) are you solving?
- How are you solving this problem?
- What pain points have they encountered prior?
- How can you mitigate these and form a great relationship?
When your business works along these lines (and that list is very short - in reality, there is a wealth of client-focused questions to be asked), you are ready to equip your team with the right tools, because you have identified what these tools should be, how they should work and, ultimately, what benefit they are bringing to the client.
What tools do you need to create a strong CSM team?
- I would dare to say that the strongest tool needed is a super solid, very easy to understand, Team Playbook.
Personally, I am a big fan of them, because I have noticed that these tend to be living documents, which once created showcase your company’s vision for Client Success and shape the roadmap for accomplishing it. Within this Playbook, you should attempt to share the business vision for Client Success, and outline some of the key actions and intervals that each CSM should undertake during the client lifecycle.
- Next, you’ll need a customer-focused CRM, like Zendesk, or others.
You can create excellent funnels, for pre and post-sale actions, and really lay out the ground rules for nurturing clients during their relationship. This will become your source of truth or your primary source of truth for all client relationships.
- Third, you need to be able to really dig in deep, and focus on satisfaction surveys and active listening.
These tools form the 2 parts of data gathering, one is the quantitative part (surveys) and the other is the qualitative part (listening). They will really help you understand how well your organization and your product/service is doing now, and over a period of time, data which in turn will help you shape future actions. Needless to say that this is the fact because you have data, at your use, when making decisions, and in turn, your decisions will ultimately be better because they are data-driven.
Regardless if you are a B2B or B2C type of organization, Client Success Management is essential. There are numerous reasons why, and this article highlights some of them. To be successful when setting up a CSM team, or with your current one, you need to:
- Ensure that your organization is client-focused
- Empower the team with the right guidance (the team Playbook)
- Create processes, which will shape your approach to CSM
- Offer the CSM team the right tools to ensure Client Success
All of the above will work really well if you have the right people on the team (a topic for another article), and you have an appropriate feedback loop, which feeds CSM data to decision-makers and that data, in turn, shapes future decisions.