Top 5 Qualities of a Great Customer Success Manager

December 12, 2018 Jamie Lowary

The Customer Success Manager role is a challenging one. These individuals will be facing both internal teams and external customers, trying to strike a happy balance between both while making the customer experience everything that it can be.

Instead of putting out individual fires on a one-time basis, this role requires someone to find big problems that customers are having, communicate with the marketing and product teams, and find solutions. 

This can be a daunting task requiring technical knowledge, some creativity, and a lot of patience, so it’s important to find someone who has the right personality for the job. Training, after all, can help the right individual succeed, but having the right qualities are essential in order to balance everything that a Customer Success Manager is responsible for. 

Let’s take a look at the 5 most important qualities that the most successful Customer Success Managers will have. 
 

Empathy 

People who are naturally empathetic are typically best suited for customer-facing roles, and this is true for Customer Success Managers. These individuals need to be able to really listen to customers, care about their experiences, and convey that they care. Only individuals who really care about the customer experience will have the dedication needed to fight to improve it. 

The ability to step into someone else’s shoes and walk a few miles can make all the difference between someone who is successful in this position and someone who struggles. By truly being able to understand the customer’s pain, they can also come up with the best solutions. 

 

Problem Solving Skills

Problem solving skills is unsurprisingly an important quality that you want to look for. A Customer Success Manager’s entire role involves identifying key problems and then working with the customers and with internal teams to find long-term solutions. 

Ideally, this person needs to be able to think outside of the box. If there was a simple solution, after all, it likely would have been addressed without the CSM’s intervention. 

It’s also worth pointing out that this role requires a single individual to keep track of, analyze, and find solutions to complex concerns that are often found in disjointed data. In addition to finding solutions, they’ll need to be able to assess the biggest problems and prioritize which ones to tackle first to impact the most customers in a positive way. 

 

Natural Advocates 

Customer Success Managers must be strong, natural advocates. Their entire job is to fight to improve the customer experience, which can sometimes be more difficult than it sounds.

Businesses after all can sometimes be reluctant to make changes even if there’s clear indications that change is needed. Switching an operating system or creating a new operational process can be a nightmare for everyone involved but necessary to improve the customer experience. Switching things up can be expensive, time consuming, even frustrating, and businesses or team members might put up a bit of a fight so that they’re not inconvenienced.

The Customer Success Manager will need to be the customer’s advocate, ready to go to bat to tackle whatever tasks are needed internally. 

 

Strong Communicator 

All Customer Success Managers are facing both internal team members and external customers constantly. A large percentage of their job relies on strong communication abilities so they can get as much accurate information and different perspectives as possible. They may also be responsible for coordinating efforts or starting initiatives across multiple teams, which can be a lot to keep up with. 

Imagine trying to figure out where in the buying cycle customers are consistently getting confused or stuck, requiring you to reach out to these potential users or analyze their complaints or questions while learning about their business and how your product or service is valuable to them. Then, once you’re able to assess the problem, you need to deliver the information to multiple team members (and possibly multiple teams) within your company. In many cases, this may involve conveying why it’s important from a big-picture perspective while using a few singular, detailed examples. 

If you’re able to find someone who can communicate clearly and directly while staying organized, they could be a great fit for this role. 

 

Technical Knowledge 

It’s essential that your customer success manager has in-depth, technical knowledge of how your business and your product works. 

If you’re selling sales software, for example, and they don’t understand that you need to sell more than $100,000 in order to trigger certain analytics features, they’ll never be able to understand a customer’s complaint about a lack of analytics. Similarly, if you’re selling ad management software but they have never run an ad campaign a day in their lives, all their other great qualities won’t be able to help them much.

It’s essential to ensure that your Customer Success Manager has the ability to fully understand anything that could impact the customer experience at any point, and that requires technical knowledge. This will include:
Details about product pricing, product features, and product capabilities
Familiarity with the actual site and product or service
Understanding of the customer base and how they’ll be using the product or service 
How the product works from an internal perspective 

 

Conclusion 

It’s harder to keep customers on board with so many competitors just a few clicks away in a Google search. Having the right personality to work with both customers and internal team members directly to find and create solutions is essential. 

When you’re looking to fill the role of a Customer Success Manager, look for someone with a lot of passion and who is ready to advocate to give your customers the best experience possible. With the right technical knowledge in place and some strong communication and problem solving skills, they’ll be an invaluable asset to both you and your customers.

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About the Author

Jamie Lowary

Jamie Lowary is the Channel Relations Manager for PATLive. PATLive is a 24/7 live answering service that answers calls for thousands of businesses nationwide. To stay tuned with more customer service focused content follow @JamieNLowary on Twitter.

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