My favorite thing about Customer Success might be it’s potential. Not only the potential of the field itself (it surfaced in the early 2000’s), but the potential the field holds for those of us who work in it. Customer Success can look so different depending on the company and product which means a wide range of people can find their way to a seat at the table.
But once one sits down there are a few universal traits all aspiring Customer Success leaders should adopt in order to excel.
- An Undying Drive for Successful Outcomes
Being solutions-oriented is important but being outcome-oriented is a different beast. As CSMs, we definitely solve problems for our customers and constantly look to improve their experience but we’re also looking at all possible outcomes to different situations in order to preempt what could result in a bad customer experience.
There’s a new product release? Customer Success wants all the details so they can email their customers ahead of time.
Is there a bug? Customer Success wants to know who is affected and what they’re experiencing — and we’ll even help you get to the bottom of it if we have to.
2. A Metrics-Driven Mindset
We can’t assess the outcomes or experiences our customers are having if we can’t manage their feedback. If we can’t manage the feedback data then we can’t measure it.
If we can’t measure data we can’t understand it. — we can’t understand the customer.
So, as soon as possible, CS should strive to gather data in whatever forms it’s available. Maybe it’s simple usage data from the back end of the website. Maybe it’s voluntary feedback from customers or maybe it’s data from a short survey — whatever the information, Customer Success needs to hold on to it and understand it. This is why CRMs are so valuable to Customer Success teams. Companies whose Customer Relationship Management playbooks are in different stages can find a CRM that does as much or as little as they need.
A successful CSM is constantly thinking of better ways to manage data and track progress in order to provide a more organized workflow, a deeper understanding of the customer’s relationship to the product and ultimately a better customer experience.
3. A High-Stress Threshold and a High EQ
Although our job may not get as emotional as a B2C support person, a human touch is necessary in all client facing roles. Business owners, c-suite execs and department heads might be in a more strategic, business-oriented mindset, but they’re still consumers who expect a level of empathy from their account managers — whether they know it or not.
People might think they don’t need customer service but when it’s lacking they’ll blow the horn.
Even if they’re not expecting it, being great with people can only help you improve as a Customer Success professional. Managing stress, putting out fires and creating an environment that’s conducive to progress is a great way to position yourself as leader.
4. A Voracious Appetite for Knowledge
And not just knowledge about Customer Success but about their current company, the industry it’s in, and anything else related to their job they can get their hands on. Whether they’re reading books, listening to podcasts, tuning into webinars or talking to other experts, a Customer Success leader knows there is always more to learn and constantly seeks to hone their expertise.
You’re not going to find a long list of Customer Success bootcamps but there may be one or two that catch your eye. But even if there’s a degree in a field you love, nothing beats a hunger for learning on your own. True leadership in Customer Success means mastering proactiveness — not just for your customers but for yourself.