In order to be a great Customer Success Manager, one of the most important skills is to be passionate about helping people. In customer service, having that passion for putting the customer first will always shine through and have a tremendous effect on your relationship with the customer. Some of the best companies have adopted a customer centric culture with their mission focused on making the customer their “North Star,” or guiding light. If you can curate a seamless experience for the customer, you can gain a customer for life. If you’re passionate about the customer, they’re going to be passionate about supporting your business.
Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
Having empathy for a customer’s problem is an immensely valuable skill in customer service. Being able to deal with a difficult customer or diffuse an escalation is a must-have. It shows the customer that you genuinely understand their pain point instead of brushing their concerns aside. Given how many times we are exposed to bad customer support from previous interactions, it’s quite refreshing to come across someone who can listen to your frustration, validate what you’re feeling and respond in a compassionate way before solving your problem. That is not a skillset everyone possesses, which is why a high EQ is the marker of an exceptional CSM.
As the main Point of Contact or POC for the customer, you are responsible for the customer’s long term success. From the onset, you will want to establish yourself as an expert advisor who will use your knowledge and expertise to ensure that they get the most value from the product. To gain their trust, you must set the right expectations and deliver on those expectations. When you gain the clients’ trust and credibility, you can advise them on steps to take because they will look to you for best practices and recommendations. In the end, they will think of you as a partner who is invested in their business versus a vendor.
Excellent Communication and Presentation Skills
In a customer facing role, it’s crucial that your communication and presentation skills are excellent. When you talk to executive stakeholders or C-Suite, they have very little time to spend with you so you have to come prepared and be clear about the message you are trying to convey. If any of these crucial elements are missing, it jeopardizes the health or sentiment of the account. The customer will not take time to understand you so you have to understand them. Take time to learn what communication methods work well and what kind of data you can share with them to keep them engaged. Typically, you will work on presenting executive Quarterly Business Reviews, which shares the health and adoption metrics of the platform.
Product Mastery and Tech-Savviness
In a technology focused company, you will need to have a) a deep understanding of the product and b) basic technical skills. Depends on the company, but some organizations have training and implementation fall under the CSM role or in a bigger company, they will separate that out into an Implementation Manager role. In either scenario, you will still have to field product questions and run educational workshops to ensure your client is using the product. Therefore, subject matter expertise and confidence in this area will help you build trust. For technical skills, you will need to have a basic understanding of how to navigate the company’s tech stack and common suite of products to achieve target metrics. Some of these skills are assessed during the interview process with the goal of understanding your knowledge and comfortability with using different tool sets.
Lastly, being organized is vital to the CSM role. Based on your role, you may be managing anywhere from a half dozen to a few dozen key accounts that drive revenue for the company. In order to make sure that you are meeting key targets and creating touch points with each client, the CSM will need to be hyper organized. Without having that extensive level of detail and organization on your account, you could jeopardize the sentiment of the account or risk losing your customer to a competitor. It’s important to establish best practices such as holding Quarterly Business Reviews, recording meetings, notes and having a checklist to stay on top of your book of clients.