Responsibilities of a Customer Success Manager

BY Tim Londergan
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24 hours after my last automotive service I received a request to rate my level of satisfaction. Chances are you’ve received a similar request. This is a familiar attempt by businesses at checking in on how they are doing. I appreciated the gesture and responded with an honest appraisal. Evidently, their customer success program works because I got a call to clarify why I did not provide a top rating. It is one of the responsibilities of a customer success manager to follow up on dissatisfaction.

Businesses need to know that their customers are being taken care of. Once discovered, businesses must quickly resolve issues in a way that satisfy the customer. This action allows the organization to retain customers and to fix problems that may be systemic in their day-​to-​day operations. Analyzing customer feedback is yet another one of the responsibilities of a customer success manager.

Eric Johnson, in an article for typeform​.com, writes of strategies identified by customer success experts.

Characteristics of the Best Customer Success Managers

Hire the right people with the right traits. Stephen Noone O’Connor, global director of customer experience at Vend, suggests that the best customer success agents possess several key traits. Of those traits, the following two resonated with me: 

  1. Adaptability. A customer success person needs to adapt quickly and successfully. When they discuss a problem with a client, they must be able to shift gears. Not every client will contact the success center with the same problem or the same attitude. Your best agents will be able to determine, after a minute or two of conversation, how to adapt the typical resolution process to yield an acceptable outcome for the client.
  2. Empathy. When you're hiring for customer success positions, use sales skills and psychometric assessments to look for specific behavioral tendencies. The ideal candidates will be naturally empathetic. They'll listen to the customer and assure them that they will help them. If your favorite candidate doesn't show high assessment scores for empathy, make sure they are coachable. 

Responsibilities of a Customer Success Manager

You must also train and coach your customer success managers. And they need guidelines for how to handle the most challenging situations. 

Strategy. Begin by understanding your customers’ end goals. Establish a way to monitor the progress and devise a method of feedback. Map the customer journey from awareness to advocacy.

Collect data and act on it. Immediately respond when a problem arises. Maintain, categorize and act on data to assure no problem falls through the cracks.

Be the voice of the customer. Communicate with every level of your company on what it is like to be a customer. Describe what customers like and don't like about the product or service you sell. Make this information visible to the whole organization via email or another internal communication system.

Scalability. As your organization grows, your customer success program must grow with it. Develop and revise processes that effectively and efficiently service both new and existing customers.

Acquiring new customers is increasingly expensive and difficult. That is why your customer success managers must focus on keeping existing customers happy. The essence of the responsibilities of a customer success manager is anticipating the challenges and questions that result from doing business. Proactively providing solutions and answers is the goal. An effective program has the power to help you grow your base of advocates and promoters. Consider the customer success program a win-​win as you boost customer satisfaction and retention.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash.