As a customer success manager, your number one goal is to keep your clients satisfied. After all, without keeping current clients happy, how can you continue to grow your business?

Take a look at the funnel below; this is typically described as a back-end marketing funnel. Essentially, it lays out the steps of what should happen after a client purchases your product.

However, those of us who work in customer success know that this funnel has less to do with marketing than it does with customer happiness. As a customer success manager, it is your job to keep clients grinning in order to help them through the funnel, from loyal purchasers, to active advocates of your product. This is no simple task. When leading a team of customer success managers, whose day-to-day activities help keep your current user-base happy and engaged, everything feels like an urgent priority.


Matrix-Based Prioritization

In order to balance your workload and transform your clients from loyal users to proactive advocates, try using matrix-based prioritization to facilitate your decision-making progress. This approach will help you determine where to focus your efforts, save you time, and allow you and your team to work more efficiently.

But, how exactly do you use a decision matrix? The most common decision matrix is called the Eisenhower Matrix; in this matrix, one uses the criteria “critical” and “urgent” to evaluate tasks in their to-do list and decide what to work on first.

Priority Matrix

Photo courtesy of: Priority Matrix

There are four quadrants:

1. Critical and Urgent: tasks in this quadrant require immediate attention. Deal with these items as soon as possible, no matter what else is on your desk.

2. Critical but not Urgent: these are important tasks that advance your long-term goals forward, but take the backseat to more urgent problems. Ideally, most of your effort should be focused here.

3. Not Critical, but Urgent: think of these things as the little interruptions in your day that pull your focus away from more important work. Do your best to deal with these quickly, so you can get back to more important work. Whenever possible, delegate these tasks to someone else.

4. Not Critical nor Urgent: consider this “the rest”. Leave this tasks until absolutely everything else is finished. In reality, you may never get to them at all, but saying “no” to this works help you free up time for more important tasks.

Matrix-Based Decision Making in Customer Success

Often, it is difficult for people to understand the difference between Critical and Urgent, especially in the realm of customer success, where everything feels so pressing. Consider this quote from Seth Godin’s recent blog post, Deconstructing Urgent Vs. Important.

“Mollifying an angry customer is urgent, building systems and promises that keep customers from getting angry is important.”

In his post, Godin also describes how Critical and Urgent forge a cause and effect relationship:

“Important means: long-term, foundational, coherent, in the interest of many, strategic, efficient, positive… “ he says, “if you take care of important things, the urgent things don’t show up as often. The opposite is never true.”

Think of it Like This:

Critical and Urgent, are reactive. Often, work in this quadrant appears when you are trying to fix something that could be prevented.

On the other hand, Critical but Not Urgent work is proactive work. This is the sweet spot where a majority of your energy should be focused in order to ensure you are building a well-functioning process. A lot of work that you do in this category helps you to avoid those “reactive” dilemmas. This proactive work is what will allow you to make loyal customers into active promoters of your product.

Here are a few more examples of work that fits under Quadrant 2:

  1. Creating a well-functioning “help” blog that answers customer questions.
  2. Setting up and email newsletter for paying customers, to keep them up-to-date on your product and your company.
  3. Implementing a customer rewards program, to show your current clients how much you care.

The Benefits of Working Proactively

When we work proactively, many good things happen. You and your team can accomplish more as you spend less time fighting fires, and more time focused on meaningful initiatives. This results in less stress, and more forward progress, no matter what your metric.

What’s more, your happy customers will become happier customers. This is step one to ensuring they become active advocates of your product.

How to Implement

Implementation of this strategy is as easy as 1..2…3 (…4).

  1. Compile a list of everything your team is working on, from daily help tasks to long term initiatives.
  2. Categorize items in the matrix described above.
  3. Work hard and fast until you finish all Critical and Urgent tasks, then move on to your proactive quadrant, Critical but not Urgent
  4. Repeat and reprioritize as necessary!

Customer Success Managers can encourage employees to follow this process by making it easier for them to carry it out. Priority Matrix is built around the Eisenhower Method of time management. Not only does it facilitate this style of prioritization, but also allows managers to delegate work at the touch of a button, and increase visibility across shared projects.

Customer success is not a department, it’s a company culture. Below you can download the full “Customer Success as a Culture” eBook series:

Customer Success as a Culture: Sales Leaders Edition

Customer Success as a Culture: Product Leaders Edition

Customer Success as a Culture: Marketing Leaders Edition