A proactive Customer Success organization is one that doesn’t wait for problems to arise but creates value where and when it is required. Below are the 5 elements of a proactive Customer Success Manager’s toolkit.
Prioritize your customers
Organize your work
Categorize your customers
Automate your processes
Prioritize your customers:
If you prioritize by answering to whoever is shouting the loudest, the only kind of work you’ll be able to do is that of a reactive firefighter. By prioritizing your accounts, you’re ensuring that your attention is where it needs to be before problems even arise with your customers. There’s always a certain amount of reactive work that’s necessary, but by putting in the necessary amount of upstream work where it is most needed, you’re effectively reducing that load.
Start with static rules, and move to dynamic segmentation through iteration. There is no single way to prioritize customers, look at what insights are most actionable for you: what impact can you have on the customer, how much value can they get from your actions, and, of course, what overall business value do they represent for your company?
Organize your work:
Being disorganized directly impacts the work you do with your customers, which, ultimately, impacts them, and their teams. If you’ve agreed to send a metrics report by the end of the day, sending it tomorrow morning won’t do it. Your customers are relying on you, and they expect you to be on top of it. With all of the project management tools available, from Trello to Customer Success Platforms, it would be absurd not to rely on the power of technology to make sure you never - ever - drop the ball. And no, Gmail does not count as a task management tool.
Categorize your customers:
Creating actionable categories of customers enables CSMs to define powerful engagement strategies, which lets them get in the driver’s seat and lead the relationship. A beginner’s mistake is to segment your accounts along the same rules as Marketing or Sales: by deal size or geography. These aren’t actionable lines of segmentation, instead, consider your customer journey, different phases within it, health score, or even churn risk. In Customer Success, you’re able to multiply your efficiency if you implement dynamic segmentation rules as opposed to static ones. Define your segments by looking at actions you can take to drive outcomes, as opposed to the characteristics in themselves. Another common mistake is to think that segmentation only applies to the company-wide customer base, and therefore belongs to CS executives. In fact, individual CSMs who don’t categorize their book of business are missing out on a great opportunity to increase their performance.
Automate your processes:
Computers are very good at doing what you’re bad at: tedious and repetitive tasks. By relying on automation of time-consuming and repetitive tasks, you’re able to free up your time to do what you’re good at: relationship building, creative problem-solving, and much more. Automate things like customer emails and internal messages, calendar invitations, or workflows. Take small and personal interactions, and think of ways to scale them up. As you iterate, look at your more complex processes and introduce automation to simplify them. There’s nothing worse than doing time-sucking tasks when they’re not creating value for the customer.
You can’t be truly proactive if you’re not seeing ahead. You need to know everything that’s happening in your entire Customer Success universe. Reactivity arises when you’re in the dark, so make sure to always have an eye on your customers’ worlds and take action before problems are dropped on you. At scale, this materializes itself in a command center, or dashboard, which allows you to visualize your world without needing to drill down on each account every day.
Finally, iterate. Everything you put in place won’t work right away. Each process works differently and will need adjustment over time, through iterations. Add these 5 things to your toolkit, invest in them over time and continuously, and you’ll get to a solution that actually fits within your business.
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