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Success Never Stops: The Role of a Customer Success Manager

Helen Wiersma, Customer Success Manager & Theo van Ravenswaay, Director of Customer Success
September 16 2020

Mutual success is the philosophy at the heart of our business. Customer success is all about building an enduring a long-time relationship through engagement and taking an active interest in the customer’s ongoing success- something that you don’t switch on and off.

Of course, it’s easy to interpret the role of a Customer Success Manager (CSM) as sales or service staff, but their role is much more varied and important than that. 

Steve Jobs defined it well: “Some people say, ‘Give the customers what they want.’ But that's not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they're going to want before they do.”  

In short, we make it our business to know our customer's business. That doesn't just mean acquainting our teams with their core business. CSMs provide other essential functions across our organization, from sales and onboarding, through to implementation and bridging the gap between clients and in-house technical, finance, and accounts teams.  

What Makes a Great CSM?

It’s too easy to say a CSM must know something about everything. But it’s the truth. 

A great CSM must be empathetic to the customer, interpret updates, answer inquiries relating to technical processes, understand contract terms and obligations, and have an eye for solutions that will enhance the customer experience and provide tangible business benefits. 

In that respect, they are the eyes and ears of both parties. 

As we quip, “You need to be a sheep with five legs”. That, of course, doesn’t mean it’s an impossible job– rather that it requires a multi-talented person with product knowledge, business acumen, patience, and ability to think on their feet.

Measuring Success

We place a lot emphasis on our customer relationships. We take pride in our customers having confidence in us and enjoy working with our teams. In other words, the whole experience, sometimes referred to as the customer journey, needs to be positive– not just the experience with our products or services. 

We gauge this through a bi-annual Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) surveys. Customers are asked to name and rate five service aspects, ranging from performance, support, and pricing, to change management, transparency, and pre-sales.  

In that way, we are able to identify areas for improvement and measure them as key metrics going forward. We plan brand new customers’ first review for after six-months in order to start the process of continuous improvement. 

An important part of the CSM role is license compliance. It’s a difficult area to cover and, although the customer purchases directly from or through us, we are able to advise on any license changes or compliance issues with new servers. Some would say we are the customer’s personal shopper and stylist for the Microsoft stack! 

It’s not a job for the faint-hearted, but it’s ultimately a hugely rewarding one that brings success to customers and ensures we anticipate their needs and meet their challenges, every time. 

Our CSMs step in as the ambassador or voice of the customer in our organization and remain a single point of contact for each customer. In that way, we make it our business to ensure the success of every part of our cooperation. We’re in it with you- for the long run.

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