what is a customer success manager

What is a Customer Success Manager?

What is a Customer Success Manager?

Customer Success Manager (CSM) is a customer facing role whose goal is to ensure value delivery to their customers. CSMs guide their customers to the desired outcomes and maximize derived value from the purchased product or service. They act as catalyst for customer retention. 

The main priorities for a CSM are the following:

  • A customer remains a customer. 
  • The customer gets value continuously so that they keep purchasing. 
  • Ensuring that the customer utilizes the product effectively.
  • To provide additional value to the customer. 

How are customer success managers measured?

Most common KPIs for customer success managers is renewals.Additionally, customer retention may also be responsible for driving expansion revenue through upsells, cross-sells, etc. It’s a mix of different metrics. The foremost thing is to strategically align with the customer and their desired outcomes.

Achieving ROI (return on investment) is key. If the customer is able to do that, you can be pretty sure that as a CSM you’re doing your job efficiently. 

A core skill for a CSM

A customer success manager needs to master social skills, undoubtedly. Yet the most important one would be to ‘listen effectively’. This is vital to maintaining a great relationship with the customer. When you listen to the customer, s/he will open out more to you. This process creates opportunities for encouraging honest feedback and builds a sense of trust.

What do Customer success managers do?

Customer success manager role is key to customer retention. Customer success managers are tagged to a portfolio of customers. CSMs are then responsible for delivering customer success to this portfolio of customers. They work with both their customer and also internally with the team. CSMs use internal resources and expertise to enable customers to get to their goals. 
 
Customer success managers understand customer needs. CSMs act as the bridge between them and product or service. With the goal of guiding each customer to get their needs met in the shortest possible time and effort.
Additional Read: Customer Advocacy guide

Renewals

How is a customer success manager different from a customer service representative?

A customer service representative is the first respondent to the customer when the customer initiates a request or a query. Customer service representative ‘reacts’ to an inbound request from the customer. Whereas customer success manager is a ‘proactive’ approach. CSMs use data and intelligence driven customer success software to monitor real time account health and reach out proactively as needed.
 
Customer success managers are responsible for renewals. So they are always focused on the long term strategic business objectives of their customers. They are always addressing ‘what can I do with your product or service’.  Whereas a customer support or service team is looking to answer the specific query that the customer has raised. Also important, but more addressing a typical question of ‘how can I do this’.   With the rapidly increasing subscription economy customer success managers are key pillar for any business. Customer success managers was identified as the top most promising career by LinkedIn in 2019 and 2020.

Final thoughts on Customer Success Manager

A Customer Success Manager needs to understand the customer’s business thoroughly. Once that’s done, a diligent CSM needs to develop plans, set quantifiable goals, create playbooks, and monitor those to prove value to customers. Hence, no doubt that with the rapidly increasing subscription economy customer success managers are key pillars for any business. Customer success managers were identified as the topmost promising career by LinkedIn in 2019, 2020, and 2021. 

Customer Success Software

Puneet leads CustomerSuccessBox. He is deeply passionate about the three product joys - the joy of producing, the joy of selling, and the joy of ownership. His inspirations come from family, friends, mentors, people he works with and from free thinkers like Eric Ries (The Lean Startup), Tim Brown (Change by Design: Design thinking) and many more.