Customer Success Program is a growing segment. As costs skyrocket, skilled headcount gets more difficult to source. And your ability to manage at scale becomes more of a competitive advantage.
The need to adjust, respond, and rapidly deploy resources becomes more and more critical. I’ve listed the 10 most important skills to manage a successful Digital Customer Success Program here.
Life comes at you fast. Doesn’t it? The year 2000 was 22 years ago! Can you believe it?
Customer issues arise just as quickly and can sour relationships (and adoption) quickly. If your customers are continually finding it difficult to get answers to regular questions, it’s only going to get worse when there is a high-priority issue.
Agility to respond quickly and effectively to a large number of specific customer issues is the desirable skill in Customer Success program.
2. Strategic Thinking
Look, we throw this word around alot. But what does it all mean? You will get a myriad of requests for all kinds of customers in your book. Scheduled meetings. Ad Hoc meetings. Presentation prep. CRM Notes. Follow ups. So many things.
Knowing when to focus on what with a strategic mindset is a primary skill to master. Evidently, we now know “multitasking” is not the best use of our time or brain power.
There are tons of ways to prioritize tasks. Aligning your task priorities with you company’s priorities is key. Don’t over think “strategy” here. It’s simply being proactive on what you focus on.
Are you in a renewal cycle? Updating health scores could be a strategic focus for your tasks. Bucket “like tasks” together. If you are working in your CRM, stay in your CRM and complete all tasks before moving on to your QBR prep.
3. Technical ability
This is a bit dependent on industry to be honest. But, in most of the roles I’ve worked in it’s been important for me to understand how SaaS platforms work in a general sense. Integrations, API’s, Webhooks, Sprint cycles tool sets that build and support web services.
I’m not an expert by any means. But to continue to thrive in a fast paced Digital Customer Success environment, a basic understanding of how platforms are built, and how they work within their ecosystem is an incredibly important skill to have.
Work is hard. Life is challenging. You need to mortgage your house in order to afford a tank of gas except you can’t afford a house because everyone has to work two jobs just to afford a dozen apples once a month.
It’s important to remember that you are dealing with humans. With their own set of goals and problems. Take a breath. Try to see the world through their eyes. Do everything in your power to get on their team and better understand the pain they are going through with whatever problem you are trying to solve for them.
Life gets better when we start with empathy!
Effective communication strategies are a “must have” when I’m interviewing candidates for any customer facing role. Capturing feedback and knowing how to communicate that feedback to sales, product and leadership. It all takes a different lens and being able to pivot to the most important parts is key to a successful Customer Success Program.
Business can be slow. Especially when you break into the enterprise or strategic space. It takes time.
A good portion of what we do is “change management”. And large businesses need a lot of space to turn their ship around. Whether it’s new process, integrations, sales approvals, the lot. They all take time.
Also, it is important to understand and communicate expectations and timelines. Oftentimes it won’t get done in a day, a week or even a month for that matter. Focus on your goals, set achievable targets and have some patience.
Get ahead of things. Whenever you can. If one customer is reporting a bug that is causing work stoppage, make sure you get a move on! Get that ticket in. Reach out to other customers that are affected. Build out a mitigation strategy and a communication plan. Get ahead of things.
CS isn’t sitting at your desk waiting for someone to reach out to you. It is getting ahead of things. Researching usage trends long before that QBR gets scheduled. Understanding their business model long before that check in call. Lots of strategy. You can’t afford to be reactive so get ahead of things!
Read more on how to shift from a Reactive to a Proactive CS here.
8. Time Management
How you schedule your time is just as important as what you do with your time. We live in a world that is begging for our attention. There are many ways to build out your day. And folks in CS are juggling a lot of tasks.
Figure out what works best for you. One thing that I like to do is set specific times that I check Slack/Emails. I usually work in two chunks; 10 am and 3 pm. I stay out of my inbox and slack until those hours. Although, there will always be emergencies on slack that need attention. But most of the time I follow these rules.
This helps give focus on the tasks in front of me without having to multitask and potentially lose the plot entirely.
Emotional intelligence. Can you read the room? Are there competing events taking your customers away from your call or current goals? Knowing how your customers are feeling at that moment is a much needed skill to help guide them towards your optimal outcome.
10. Follow Through
Trust is built with action. If you say you will follow up, or submit a bug report, or update status. Do it… also on time. Every time! That is the best way to build trust. Follow through is a seed to be planted that will pay off dividends time and again.
Finally, the key to a successful Digital Customer Success Program has always been agility. How you respond to variables and challenges that you face on the macro level. Focusing on these key strengths will ensure you are prepared to partner with your customers to help them meet the outcomes they need to be successful.
Have any feedback? Suggestions? Critiques? I’d love to continue this conversation on LinkedIn.