What does a Customer Success Manager (CSM) do, and how can they improve your customers journey?

Customer Success Managers (CSMs) work hard to provide the best customer experience possible by prioritizing customer needs and helping them throughout the customer journey. They monitor the customer experience and their achievement of value.

Equipped with insight into customer activity and an understanding of how to prevent churn, they search for ways to grow customer lifetime value. Customer Success is an ongoing process of monitoring and working to proactively enhance the customer experience. Using best practices turns that everyday vigilance into goal-based, results-driven processes that ensure your customers realize the full potential of your product.

What Do Customer Success Managers Do?

The day-to-day activities of a Customer Success Manager are primarily divided between the work they do independent of the customer—before and after engaging with them—and the time they spend working with the customer.

Preparation and Assessment

The work that goes on separate from the customer involves two facets. The first is preparation, which involves the thoughtful coordination of resources and ways to help the customer reach milestones and their defined business goals. The second is analysis, which means incorporating early warning systems and monitoring changes in customer data and health.

Customer Engagement

The customer engagement side of the CSM’s role is where customer information gets turned into the actions that shape the customer experience. These engagements are the organization’s opportunity to deliver additional value to a customer.

Engagements include:

  • Helping the customer use the product to meet their goals
  • Providing training and demonstrations
  • Customer communication, both using a tech-touch and via direct channels
  • Responding to customer concerns and coordinating support
  • Developing customer advocacy and referencability

The most important aspect of the CSM’s role is where the two elements meet. When your early warning system identifies an opportunity or potential risk, the CSM has to take action and proactively intervene.

5 Critical Customer Success Manager Best Practices

A CSM’s primary goal is to maintain and promote customer satisfaction and drive customer growth so that both parties realize their maximum potential value. The five best practices for Customer Success Managers outlined below are all focused on building the relationship and driving value for the customer.

1. Share Customer Data Across Teams

Understanding the customer is everyone’s responsibility. CSMs should work to ensure that every conversation, interaction, and engagement is recorded and shared across the enterprise. Make sure that information is gathered in one central, accessible location and that there are no unnecessary barriers.

Preserving and analyzing customer information lets you surround a customer with touchpoints that are relevant to their unique needs. It provides continuity so your customer never has to repeat themselves. This helps keep satisfaction rates high and churn rates low.

2. Track Customer Metrics

Customer Success Managers have a wealth of real-time customer information at their disposal. That raw data is, however, of little use until it is properly analyzed. Your management team should identify which metrics directly reflect customer success so the CSM can track and intelligently engage with customers. Measurements such as product usage, feature access, and license utilization, for example, often correlate strongly with customer product engagement. Still, always consider a customer’s unique business goals when identifying the most important metrics to watch.

Once identified, these metrics must be used as the basis for value-driven engagements. If, say, product usage rates drop, it’s time to engage with the customer and initiate a campaign to reignite product passion.

3. Establish Internal Goals for Proactive Engagement

CSMs have a lot of responsibilities, so it’s a good idea to set specific goals for yourself. Make sure you are constantly working to refine your day-to-day processes so you can stay organized and aware. Goals might include reviewing open escalations, monitoring any bottlenecks in the customer journey, or identifying trends in customer onboarding.

Establishing internal goals also makes it easier to take proactive action. When you know the objectives you are working towards, you can plan ahead and engage customers before they reach out. This kind of proactive engagement will show how much you care about your customers.

4. Effectively Scale Customer Tracking

CSMs need to automate and group customer monitoring so they can scale their actions across a portfolio. This can mean organizing customers with common traits, such as industry or size, into segments where trends are more easily identified. You can also establish an early warning system that will automatically notify the CSM of changes in customer behavior.

5. Regularly Review Each Stage of the Customer Journey

Previous performance is no guarantee of future success. As such, CSMs should regularly review all the significant stages of the customer product journey, from onboarding through adoption and renewal.

Each stage should be assigned clear goals that relate to the effective use of your product. When customers fail to meet these targets, the CSM—and indeed the entire enterprise—must be willing to reassess standard practices.

Customer Success Depends on Customer Information

The role of the CSM is to proactively monitor customers in anticipation of opportunities to improve the customer experience. And in order to do this efficiently, Customer Success Managers should make use of a customer success platform. This kind of software helps you organize and make sense of all your customer information.

Your CSMs need a customizable, scalable platform that uses automation to help turn customer data into goal-based actions and informed, proactive engagements. Without a good early warning system in place, your CSMs will be a step behind, left reacting to the customer experience rather than guiding it.

Couple Customer Success Manager best practices with a leading customer success platform to maximize the potential for growth—both for your customer and for your enterprise.

Totango helps you become better equipped to manage and assist your customers. Request a demo to see how Totango can make you a better business partner.

Read more: 3 CSM Compensation Best Practices