top of page
  • Writer's pictureSusmita Asad

Customer Success Manager: Everything You Need to Know

Updated: 6 days ago

“ When your purchasing journey unfolds seamlessly, you feel confident and experience such customer service where every element falls into place effortlessly, it’s probably the customer success manager making everything right. “

Happy customers are the authors of a product or service's success. However, with each customer being unique, a one-size-fits-all approach no longer guarantees their satisfaction.





A designated individual within companies, commonly known as a Customer Success Manager, now takes on the responsibility of creating, executing, and enhancing captivating customer journeys. A CSM is the CX hero of an organization. 


What is a Customer Success Manager ( CSM )?


A Customer Success Manager serves as the link connecting sales and the customer experience. In an organizational context, the role of this position is to guarantee customer satisfaction throughout every stage of engagement.

 

The mission of a customer success manager is to achieve all customer goals, leading to a higher likelihood of customer retention within the organization.


Whether it’s celebrating a happy purchase or resolving an after-purchase complaint, a CSM is the powerhouse behind all customer-centric circumstances.


A Customer success manager is not just a person, it's the entire system of an organization’s customer journey design.


1. Identify Customer Needs 


Before committing to a purchase, customers must feel valued, and a key strategy for achieving this is for a customer success manager to pinpoint their needs early in the process.


Responsibilities


  • Actively listen to your customers while interacting.

  • Taking every feedback from customers seriously.

  • Leveraging customer data and analytical tools to understand customer needs.

  • Map customer journey and review touchpoints for a closer view of customer behavior.


2. Onboarding Process Support 


Customer onboarding refers to the complete set of actions a business takes to smoothly introduce new customers to its product, and it is a distinct responsibility that a customer success manager must oversee. 


Responsibilities 


  • Plan a personalized customer orientation program. 

  • Make sure they obtain all the resources included with the product.

  • Communicate support channels and respond promptly. 

  • Seek feedback during and after the onboarding process.


3. Product Education Design 


Proper product education enables customers to use the product to its full potential. The role of a customer success manager includes educating customers on the features, functionalities, and best practices of the product. In this role, a CSM aims to eliminate user frustrations for the coming stages.


Responsibilities


  • Tailor the content knowledge according to the level of your customer needs. 

  • Generate user-focused content, visuals, and resources essential for bolstering understanding and familiarity with the product.

  • Break down information into manageable chunks for your customer to understand better. 

  • Enable self-paced learning materials on demand.

  • Provide comprehensive training for customer support representatives to deliver personalized support throughout the entire customer journey.


4. Customer Relationship and Loyalty


“Just having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore. If you want a booming business, you have to create raving fans.” ― Ken Blanchard.

The primary responsibility of a customer success manager is to establish and sustain a positive relationship with customers after the onboarding process, ensuring their long-term retention.


Responsibilities


  • Conduct periodic check-ins to understand the customer's evolving needs. 

  • Actively seek feedback to understand customer satisfaction

  • Make communication channels available to customers' preferences

  • Initiate personalized interactions and build a community.


5. Solving Reported Problems ASAP


Every product or service faces shortcomings due to the evolving customer experiences, resulting in occasional customer complaints. Consequently, a Customer Success Manager should swiftly address and resolve any issues raised.


Responsibilities


  • Respond promptly to customer complaints to demonstrate responsiveness.

  • Investigate the complaint thoroughly to identify the root of the problem.

  • Provide updates on the progress of issue resolution.

  • Foster collaboration with the teams in charge of resolving the matter.

  • Following the resolution, collect feedback from the customer.


6. Cross-functional Collaboration


A Customer Success Manager consistently partners with various teams to ensure the seamless integration of customer journeys. This includes concurrent collaboration with both the sales and solution teams. Regardless of the department, a CSM's involvement is essential at every customer touchpoint.


Responsibilities


  • Act as a liaison between different teams, like the sales and solution teams.

  • Plan and participate in collaborative strategy sessions to enhance customer service.

  • Establish a feedback loop between customer service and other teams.


7. Reducing Churn Rate


The percentage of customers who discontinue their subscription or stop using a product or service over a specific period, known as the churn rate, shows the percentage of customers who are not satisfied with the product or service.


The success of a Customer Success Manager is intricately tied to their ability to minimize churn, as a lower churn rate not only preserves revenue but also signifies that customers are finding consistent value in the product or service.


Responsibilities


  • Utilize data and analytics to identify early signs of potential churn.

  • Regularly communicate with customers, provide updates, and offer support. 

  • Continuously communicate the value proposition of your product or service. 


Through consistently exceeding expectations in the roles and responsibilities described earlier, a Customer Success Manager (CSM) plays a pivotal role in achieving the overall success of customer services.


Difference: Customer Success Manager (CSM), Client Success Manager (CliSM), and Account Manager (AM)


No. They may work under the same department but their responsibilities are different. Despite their apparent similarities, the roles of a Customer Success Manager, a Client Success Manager, and an Account Manager have distinct responsibilities and nuances.



Customer Success Manager

Client Success Manager

Account Manager

Objective

Proactive relationship building and long-term engagement.

Tailoring strategies to convert individual customers into buyers

Maining personalized relationships with existing clients.

Focus

People-focused

Sales-focused

Loyalty-focused

Act as

Advocate of customers

Advocate of Company

Building the bridge


Five Types of Customer Success Managers


We have divided the types by their specific focus areas and approaches to ensuring overall customer satisfaction. Allow us to define each type for you for a better understanding. 


Five  types of customer success managers are, 


  1. Product-oriented CSM 

  2. Process-oriented CSM 

  3. Problem-oriented CSM

  4. Service-oriented CSM 

  5. Sales-oriented CSM


1. Product-oriented CSM


The product comes first for this customer success manager. His strategy revolves around maximizing customer satisfaction by effectively showcasing the features and benefits of the product. Great products take


2. Process-oriented CSM


A customer success manager focused on process orientation places a priority on optimizing customer processes, aiming to enhance efficiency and ensure seamless transitions at every stage of customer engagement.


3. Problem-oriented CSM

A problem-oriented customer success manager acts fast whenever any problem arises. This manager's proactive approach includes foreseeing potential challenges and proactively formulating solutions before they arise.


4. Service-oriented CSM


The objective of this manager is to provide outstanding service. A customer success manager with a service-oriented approach typically establishes transparent service-level agreements (SLAs) outlining expectations, and they actively work to meet and exceed these SLA requirements.


5. Sales-oriented CSM


A customer success manager with a sales-oriented approach places a central focus on utilizing customer relationships to generate additional sales opportunities and foster revenue growth. This strategy underscores the importance of not only guaranteeing customer satisfaction but also recognizing and seizing upsell and cross-sell prospects.


7 Characteristics of a Customer Success Manager


1. Communication 


Communication skills empower a CSM to comprehend customer ideas. Each customer possesses distinct communication preferences. For instance, one customer might provide concise instructions, while another may offer more detailed guidance. Some customers may focus on minor issues, while others require regular updates. A CSM must adapt their communication approach accordingly, catering to the varied preferences of each customer.


2. Empathy 


Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings of others. To excel as a customer success manager, it is essential to empathize with customers and immerse yourself in their experiences to gain a deeper understanding of their challenges. This empathetic skill facilitates the cultivation of meaningful, long-term relationships with stakeholders and serves as a critical factor in conflict resolution.


3. Proactiveness

The proactiveness within CSMs enables them to recognize potential issues and implement preventive measures, mitigating customer frustration. For instance, an adept customer success manager, being proactive, identifies a recurring problem a customer encounters with a software feature. Rather than waiting for the customer to report the issue, the manager promptly assigns a representative to reach out to the customer in advance, resolving the problem beforehand. 


4. Critical Thinking

Customers may frequently present challenges that were not heard or thought of before. This is where the significance of critical thinking comes in. A customer success manager employs their critical thinking skills to address and resolve issues that may not have been anticipated. This ability is invaluable in navigating any complexities and devising effective solutions to ensure customer satisfaction.


5. Time Management

Delaying customer responses can prompt them to switch to alternative service providers. Therefore, every Customer Success Manager (CSM) must possess strong time management skills. Effective time management enables CSMs to prioritize tasks based on significance and allocate time appropriately for each client. This ensures timely and attentive service for every customer, reducing the likelihood of customer dissatisfaction. 


6. Team Collaboration 

Collaborative teamwork is a foundational attribute of customer success managers, representing the collective system of customer services and their collaboration efforts to uphold customer satisfaction. Establishing a collaborative environment promotes ongoing learning and development for every team member. To promote such an environment, a CSM himself must have team collaboration skills that can set an example. 


7. Resilience

Keep in mind that every role involves winnings and setbacks. This is particularly true when you're at the forefront of dealing with customers, where frustration naturally accompanies a heavy load of responsibilities. The ability to bounce back and be resilient makes a customer success manager strong. Resilient CSMs can retain customers even in challenging situations. Instead of being discouraged by setbacks.


Customer Success In BPOs and The Role of a Manager


Imagine the man behind multiple clients from different projects, running all around to make sure every client serves the best to their customers. That is a CSM in BPO. So, it is common for global businesses to outsource their customer services from BPOs. The BPO companies assign a customer manager for each project. Sometimes, one customer success manager handles multiple projects. This slightly differs from the role of a regular manager.


 Additional Section


How to Become a Customer Success Manager


With the increasing recognition of the importance of customer satisfaction, numerous businesses are restructuring their customer service divisions. Consequently, abundant prospects are emerging for individuals interested in pursuing a role as a customer success manager. Keep reading for a brief guide on how to become one. 


Job Responsibilities 


The role of a customer success manager includes a wide range of responsibilities, many of which have been outlined in the preceding section on roles and responsibilities. This section will illustrate how hiring managers identify and allocate the job duties associated with a customer success manager.


  • Establish and maximize customer satisfaction as the primary responsibility of the CSM.

  • Implement and optimize customer success strategies to enhance the overall customer experience.

  • Assist customers in acquiring comprehensive knowledge about company products.

  • Collaborate with sales and other departments to efficiently resolve customer queries and complaints.

  • Proactively identify customer concerns and design preemptive solutions.

  • Conduct regular webinars and training sessions to educate customers on new product features.

  • Build and nurture strong relationships with clients to foster long-term partnerships.

  • Analyze customer feedback and data to identify trends, areas of improvement, and opportunities for upselling.


Skill Development 


A customer success manager needs both soft skills and hard skills. The soft skill is to understand customer concerns with empathy, and the hard skill is to resolve actions swiftly. The skills that you need to start mastering at an early stage to become a CSM is communication. 


Tips on developing customer service skills before starting your career as a customer success manager ( CSM ). 


  • Master Customer Success Fundamentals: Deepen your understanding of customer success principles and best practices to establish a strong foundation of knowledge.

  • Study Successful Case Studies: Read case studies from companies renowned for their robust customer service teams. Analyze the factors that contributed to their success and apply these insights to your learning.

  • Gain Practical Experience: Acquire hands-on experience by working as a customer service representative. This role provides invaluable insights into customer interactions, problem-solving, and relationship building.

  • Stay Informed About Industry Trends: Stay attuned to evolving customer needs and changes in industry trends. Learn how successful organizations adapt to these shifts to stay ahead in the market.

  • Master CRM Tools: Familiarize yourself with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools such as Salesforce or HubSpot. Proficiency in these tools is crucial for managing customer interactions and data effectively.

  • Enhance Networking Skills: Attend various industry events to expand your professional network. Strengthening your networking capabilities allows you to connect with experienced professionals and stay updated on industry developments.


Salary


A customer success manager's monthly earnings in the USA can range from $50,000 to $150,000 annually, depending on their experience level. Let's give you a breakdown according to industries,


  • Manufacturing: Median salary of $130,747, 8% higher than the average across all industries.

  • Biotechnology & Pharmaceutical: Median salary of $123,881, 3% higher than the average.

  • Telecommunications: Median salary of $123,607, 3% higher than the average.

  • Information Technology: Median salary of $122,346, 2% higher than the average.

  • Financial Services: Median salary of $120,355, 0% lower than the average.

  • Healthcare: Median salary of $116,440.

  • Education: Median salary of $112,932.

  • Retail & Wholesale: Median salary of $105,940.

  • Nonprofit & NGO: Median salary of $88,179.


Final Note

If you are a customer success manager reading this blog, we thank you for being amazing. We value the daily struggle behind making every customer journey perfect. And, if you are someone aspiring to become one, feel free to contact us for some more details.




54 views
bottom of page