The 4 Traits of a Great Customer Success Mindset

April 22, 2016 Pam McBride

The 4 Traits of a Great Customer Success Mindset

What’s the secret to great customer success? It starts with great customers – the ones that realize true value from your solution, provide invaluable product feedback and are the most vocal advocates. Customers don’t usually start out like this by definition. Customer success plays an integral role in making them “great” by employing a great customer success mindset with 4 predominant traits.

Mindset 1: Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (EI) - sometimes referred to as (EQ) are those ever-important emotional and social abilities that make individuals really good at what they do. Individuals with high EI have a self-awareness that helps them understand and empathize with co-workers and customers. EI is key to a great customer success mindset because a CSM will remain focused on the outcomes, applying their emotions to tasks like problem-solving. The change-agent CSM explores possibilities, is open to new solutions and will always advocate for the customer.

Mindset 2: Clear and Thoughtful Communicator

A second common element you’ll find among effective customer success professionals is how they communicate internally across their organization and externally with customers. Their focus communicating is to always do so within the proper context:

  1. What is the situation?

  2. Who am I communicating to?

  3. What is the appropriate tone – professional? Friendly? Funny?

Context and authenticity make CSMs good communicators. They are also great at listening, receiving feedback, interpretation, and translation. Each opportunity to communicate is viewed as an opportunity to learn.

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Mindset 3: Effective Negotiator

We all negotiate on a daily basis whether on a personal and professional level. We negotiate with friends, family, and nearly every service provider we subscribe to. Ask anyone in your organization who they think the effective negotiators are and they’ll likely point to members of the sales team. Sales reps hold the ultimate responsibility to close the financial contract with the customer and that takes some serious negotiating skills.

But the financial contract with the customer is only one step in their journey and as part of a continuum for building strong relationships CSMs quickly develop effective negotiating skills with customers (renewal, upsell or cross-sell) and colleagues.  Whereas the sales rep focuses on one audience, the prospect/customer, CSMs need to plan negotiation strategies for several audiences – product managers, developers, executives and customers – and their respective interests. They are masters at collectively identifying and articulating what people really want, creating learning conversations, designing options and presenting alternatives.

Mindset 4: Intellectually Curious

An intellectually curious person has a deep and persistent desire to know and will continually invest time and energy into learning more about people, places, things, and concepts. CSMs who have a genuine curiosity to gain a better understanding of what their customer’s business does, what problems their industry may be facing and their individual daily challenges will relate to customers on a whole different level. Digging deep into the details opens up opportunities to interact and engage more with customers. When CSMs become immersed in their customer’s environment that immersion drives them just a little harder to know more, practice more and seek out better ways to teach others.

It’s no accident that CSMs are great multi-taskers too. Could that be the result of applying the 4 traits in a supercharged execution mode and being proactive at managing their time – we think so.

Is there a mindset you think has been missed or overlooked?

Accelerating Customer Expansion by Managing the Customer Journey

About the Author

Pam McBride

Pam McBride has over 15 years in B2B/tech marketing and SaaS businesses employing every data-driven marketing tactic along the way: demand generation, lead management, metrics/insights, PR/content/social and programs for acquisition, retention and upsell. She finds growth where others couldn't and creates motivated engaged teams that deliver great work to drive results.

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