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Traits of a successful CSM
While taking a break between plotting world domination and planning your latest vacation, you've probably wondered 'What traits help a Customer Success Manager excel' and I thought I would help you with it. (About Customer Success, you're on your own with world domination and the vacation!)
Before we dive right into the crux of the matter, a few lines about me;
Having worked across a variety of domains and traveled extensively for numerous projects, I was not alien to the concept of expense management. In fact, I was a repeat customer to the frustration of delayed reimbursements that were tangled up in convoluted terms and iron-clad conditions. Just saying!
It is on one of my travels that I discovered Fyle. First impressions? I was convinced Fyle was the SaaS product that holds the key to effortless reimbursements. Soon enough, through a series of fortunate events, I was a part of Fyle. My time here has only further strengthened my conviction that expense management no longer has to be a Sisyphean task.
During the course of my journey at Fyle, I have had the chance to interact with a myriad of customers with varying requirements and severity of expense management issues. The euphoria, the feeling of contentment when you solve a customer's problem, or when you onboard a customer successfully is unparalleled. I will try to elaborate on the practices we follow that have helped our customers, and hopefully, there might be a few takeaways that you could incorporate into your role as a CSM.
Don't be averse to change, in fact, embrace it!
Your customers need guidance on how to navigate through new processes, new workflows and it takes considerable effort to set things up. Be an ambassador for change and drive home the fact that change is for the better. Learn to anticipate change and proactively work with customers to manage it.
The easier it is for them to navigate through this change, the lesser the deviation from your project plan. When you create an environment of trust and confidence, your customers will be at ease knowing they can fall back on you in times of need. What makes you stand out from the rest is your ability to manage change and organise your work around constantly changing customer demands.
Sounds clichéd? Well, don't fall into that trap!
While your product might revolutionize certain aspects for your customers, it certainly will have limitations. Don't start selling snake oil. It may be easy to let customers keep believing they've been promised the world, but it's hard to watch it crumble around you when they start to feel that you have failed to deliver.
Managing expectations of your customers is one of the most important aspects of your relationship with them. This will help establish a baseline built on mutual trust that will set them up for success with your product. Being transparent about implementation timelines, and communicating the time and resources required to achieve this at the initial stages will help customers with transitioning easily to a new setup.
Curiosity may have killed the cat but lack of it only kills your appetite for success.
Remember that one stand up comedian you thought was hilarious and binge watched clips of their shows, and each time you heard the same joke, it got slightly less funnier? That might be you if you start to get complacent and try to use the same routine too often just because it works.
Being curious about newer ways to improve your work (reduce your burden to be more precise), being curious to learn more about your customer's processes, and willing to learn and explore, play a pivotal role in your success.
Selling, by not selling
Zen, but it works!
Let's face it, you are always selling something. You are selling a solution to your customer, you are selling your customer's problems internally, you are selling your skills to vie for the best CSM of the year. There are situations where you have to propose up-sells because you know that's the only way a particular problem could be dealt with. However, genuinely helping the customer is significantly different from prioritising the monetary aspect of the solution.
Selling is an art, and yes, customers can spot an insincere attempt to sell an unwanted feature from miles away. Tread with caution, lest you want to sour the relationship you have nurtured with a short-sighted strategy. Prepare, pitch, and proactively help. You will realize your goals!
My problems are more important than yours!
Almost every customer is going to tell you the same thing, 'this issue is high priority and we need it resolved yesterday!’ So unless you have a time machine, it's going to be difficult to juggle multiple customers and deliver within the timelines they expect. So, pull out your notepad and make a list of customer issues ranked by priority because you've been doing this long enough to know where the fire is.
Pro tip: put your health (physical, mental and emotional) at the top of that list because if you're not in top form, you might as well burn the list for all the help you'd be to your customers.
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